800-year-old wooden statues unearthed in Peru

Twenty anthropomorphic wooden sculptures and an intricate adobe wall were unearthed at the Chan Chan archaeological complex in northern Peru, government officials said on Monday (October 22).

The figures and the detailed wall are thought to have been buried more than 800 years ago.Researchers say the sculptures are the oldest idols discovered to date at the Chan Chan site.

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Chan Chan archeological complex in Trujillo, Peru
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Chan Chan archeological complex in Trujillo, Peru
An archaeologist cleans a wooden mask of the Mochica culture at Chan Chan archeological complex in Trujillo, Peru October 22, 2018. REUTERS/Douglas Juarez
An archaeologist cleans a mural of the Mochica culture at Chan Chan archeological complex in Trujillo, Peru October 22, 2018. REUTERS/Douglas Juarez
A wooden mask of the Mochica culture is seen at Chan Chan archeological complex in Trujillo, Peru October 22, 2018. REUTERS/Douglas Juarez
An archaeologist cleans a wooden mask of the Mochica culture at Chan Chan archeological complex in Trujillo, Peru October 22, 2018. REUTERS/Douglas Juarez
Archaeologists clean a mural of the Mochica culture at Chan Chan archeological complex in Trujillo, Peru October 22, 2018. REUTERS/Douglas Juarez
An archaeologist cleans a mural of the Mochica culture at Chan Chan archeological complex in Trujillo, Peru October 22, 2018. REUTERS/Douglas Juarez
An archaeologist cleans a mural of the Mochica culture at Chan Chan archeological complex in Trujillo, Peru October 22, 2018. REUTERS/Douglas Juarez
Archaeologists work on a mural of the Mochica culture at Chan Chan archeological complex in Trujillo, Peru October 22, 2018. REUTERS/Douglas Juarez
A detail of a Mochica culture mural is seen at the Chan Chan archeological complex in Trujillo, Peru October 22, 2018. REUTERS/Douglas Juarez
An archaeologist cleans a mural of the Mochica culture at Chan Chan archeological complex in Trujillo, Peru, October 22, 2018. REUTERS/Douglas Juarez
Archaeologists clean wooden masks of the Mochica culture at Chan Chan archeological complex in Trujillo, Peru October 22, 2018. REUTERS/Douglas Juarez
An archaeologist cleans a wooden mask of the Mochica culture at Chan Chan archeological complex in Trujillo, Peru October 22, 2018. REUTERS/Douglas Juarez TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Details on walls in the archaeological complex of Nik An, the only palace opened to the public of the ten palaces in the mud citadel of Chan Chan, the most important pre-Hispanic fort in America, built by the Chimu Culture between 900 and 1470 AC before being defeated by the Inca Empire, sitting on the outskirts of the northern city of Trujillo, in Peru, on October 22, 2018. - Experts work on the restoration of an ancient structure at Chan Chan, where archaeologists recently discovered 20 wooden sculptures. 'Only 10% has been discovered in Chan Chan, which is why we are sure that there is much to be unraveled in this Cultural Heritage of Humanity that Unesco granted him in 1986,' said head archaeologist Arturo Paredes at the site where some 500 people currently work - including 50 archaeologists - in five research and conservation projects. (Photo by CRIS BOURONCLE / AFP) (Photo credit should read CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP/Getty Images)
Aerial view of the walled archaeological complex of Nik An, the only palace opened to the public of the ten palaces in the mud citadel of Chan Chan, the most important pre-Hispanic fort in America, built by the Chimu Culture between 900 and 1470 AC before being defeated by the Inca Empire, sitting on the outskirts of the northern city of Trujillo, in Peru, on October 22, 2018. - Experts work on the restoration of an ancient structure at Chan Chan, where archaeologists recently discovered 20 wooden sculptures. 'Only 10% has been discovered in Chan Chan, which is why we are sure that there is much to be unraveled in this Cultural Heritage of Humanity that Unesco granted him in 1986,' said head archaeologist Arturo Paredes at the site where some 500 people currently work - including 50 archaeologists - in five research and conservation projects. (Photo by CRIS BOURONCLE / AFP) (Photo credit should read CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP/Getty Images)
Experts work on the restoration of an ancient structure at the Chan Chan archaeological site, where archaeologists recently discovered 20 wooden sculptures, in the outskirts of the northern city of Trujillo, in Peru on October 22, 2018. - The unique sculptures found in niches are fixed to the ground measuring an average of 70 centimeters and representing different characters. (Photo by CRIS BOURONCLE / AFP) (Photo credit should read CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP/Getty Images)
Details on walls in the archaeological complex of Nik An, the only palace opened to the public of the ten palaces in the mud citadel of Chan Chan, the most important pre-Hispanic fort in America, built by the Chimu Culture between 900 and 1470 AC before being defeated by the Inca Empire, sitting on the outskirts of the northern city of Trujillo, in Peru, on October 22, 2018. - Experts work on the restoration of an ancient structure at Chan Chan, where archaeologists recently discovered 20 wooden sculptures. 'Only 10% has been discovered in Chan Chan, which is why we are sure that there is much to be unraveled in this Cultural Heritage of Humanity that Unesco granted him in 1986,' said head archaeologist Arturo Paredes at the site where some 500 people currently work - including 50 archaeologists - in five research and conservation projects. (Photo by CRIS BOURONCLE / AFP) (Photo credit should read CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP/Getty Images)
Details on walls in the archaeological complex of Nik An, the only palace opened to the public of the ten palaces in the mud citadel of Chan Chan, the most important pre-Hispanic fort in America, built by the Chimu Culture between 900 and 1470 AC before being defeated by the Inca Empire, sitting on the outskirts of the northern city of Trujillo, in Peru, on October 22, 2018. - Experts work on the restoration of an ancient structure at Chan Chan, where archaeologists recently discovered 20 wooden sculptures. 'Only 10% has been discovered in Chan Chan, which is why we are sure that there is much to be unraveled in this Cultural Heritage of Humanity that Unesco granted him in 1986,' said head archaeologist Arturo Paredes at the site where some 500 people currently work - including 50 archaeologists - in five research and conservation projects. (Photo by CRIS BOURONCLE / AFP) (Photo credit should read CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP/Getty Images)
View of the archaeological complex of Nik An, the only palace opened to the public of the ten palaces in the mud citadel of Chan Chan, the most important pre-Hispanic fort in America, built by the Chimu Culture between 900 and 1470 AC before being defeated by the Inca Empire, sitting on the outskirts of the northern city of Trujillo, in Peru, on October 22, 2018. - Experts work on the restoration of an ancient structure at Chan Chan, where archaeologists recently discovered 20 wooden sculptures. 'Only 10% has been discovered in Chan Chan, which is why we are sure that there is much to be unraveled in this Cultural Heritage of Humanity that Unesco granted him in 1986,' said head archaeologist Arturo Paredes at the site where some 500 people currently work - including 50 archaeologists - in five research and conservation projects. (Photo by CRIS BOURONCLE / AFP) (Photo credit should read CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP/Getty Images)
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Peru's Minister of Culture Patricia Balbuena said the figures appear to be at the entrance of an important ceremonial centre or plaza. Some of the figures have what appear to be staffs and shields while others have decapitated heads.

The statues, 19 of which are in good condition, were inside a rectangular space dug in a row at the base of a wall in a corridor decorated with high relief drawings.

Officials say the 70-centimetre tall figures were created at a time before the Chan Chan culture, possibly around the year 1100.

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