A temple named by archaeologists - "Temple of Fire" has been unearthed at the ancient El Paraiso archaeological
site located on the left bank of Chillon River Valley and about 2 kilometers inland from the shore,
north of Lima, Peru.
El Paraíso, one of the earliest examples of monumental stone architecture in the Americas, is the name of a large
archaeological complex of stone structures dated to the early preceramic or the so-called "Cotton Preceramic".
Age estimation of archaeological remains suggests the Pre-ceramic Age (3500 BC to 1800 BC) -
(before the introduction of pottery).
Location of El Paraiso in Peru where archeologists have discovered a "Temple of Fire".
Recent excavations have confirmed a dependence upon seafood, but there was also agriculture, especially of the
industrial crop cotton.
The temple - measuring 6.82m by 8.04m (22ft by 26ft) - was found in one of the wings of El Paraiso's main pyramid,
and the temple walls were made of stone and covered in fine yellow clay which also contained some traces of red paint.
El Paraiso, which required about 100,000 tons of rock to finish, was built around 2,000 BC and occupies an area
of 50 hectares.
The discovery is believed to be about 5,000 years old and if the date is confirmed, it would be among the oldest sites
in the world, comparable to the ancient city of Caral, a coastal city 200 kilometres to the north.
It includes a hearth that experts believe was used to burn ceremonial offerings. The so-called Huaca El Paraiso
(Ruin or Sacred Hill of Paraiso) was a central ceremonial site for the area.
"The smoke allowed the priests to connect with the gods," said Marco Guillen, who led the team of researchers
who made the find.
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Peruvaian archaeologists estimate the temple at the El Parison site is 5,000 years old.
Archaeologists found the hearth in mid-January as they were carrying out conservation work at a set of
4,000-year-old ruins known as El Paraiso, located 40 kilometres north-east of Lima in the Chillon River Valley.
Deputy culture minister Rafael Varon told reporters the discovery shows "that the Lima region was a focus
of civilisations in the Andean territory".
Archaeologists believe the ancient coastal civilisations raised crops including cotton, which they traded
with coastal fishermen for food.
El Paraiso has ten buildings and is one of the largest ancient sites in central Peru.