Architectural Monuments of Chavin Book Report

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Architectural Monuments of Chavin

Written in 2008 by William J. Conklin and Jeffrey Quilter, Chavin: Art, Architecture, and Culture was published by the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA to reinterpret one of South America's most important archeological sites: Chavin de Huantar. Located in the mountain valleys of Peru near the confluence of the Mosna and Huanchecsa rivers, Chavin de Huantar was built in approximately 1200 BCE by the Chavin civilization, one of the region's most influential cultures during the pre-Incan era. A collection of monuments, gathering grounds, and massive temples, Chavin de Huantar was considered to be the focal point of the Chavin people's system of worship, with people making pilgrimages for hundreds of miles to assemble in one of the site's enormous plaza's, and to make offerings to their deities in the region's most prominent temple. As Conklin and Quilter explain in their comprehensive analysis, Chavin de Huantar was more than simply one civilization's capital city or ceremonial center; it was one of the world's most advanced architectural sites of its era. By approaching the study of Chavin de Huantar's distinctive architectural attributes with both a scholar's precision and a student's passion, Conklin and Quilter's Chavin: Art, Architecture, and Culture represents perhaps the most thorough and up-to-date examination of this historical site's architectural significance.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Consisting of a colossal pyramid with a flat top, Chavin de Huantar was surrounded by a series of smaller temples which have been termed a, B, C, and D. By modern archeologists, as well as an open-air plaza known today as the Circular Plaza. The most advanced architectural designs within Chavin de Huantar, however, were observed in the site's two primary temples, the Old Temple and the New Temple, which housed an array of advanced design features including acoustically-tuned water features, animalistic relief carvings, stone obelisks, and divinely inspired sculptures (Conklin and Quilter). For the Chavin people who lived and worshiped within the boundaries of Chavin de Huantar, the site represented the centerpiece of their civilization, and the architectural techniques used in the site's construction are befitting of its monumental status. As Conklin and Quilter observed in their book, the process of excavation and filling used by the Chavin to create suitable foundations for their massive edifices was remarkable in that the fills "are massive and seem to signify the intent of Chavin constructors to noticeably modify the overall landscape context of their structures" (20). The stonework used in Chavin de Huantar's construction was primarily white granite and black limestone, an architectural choice that resulted in the Black and White Portal and the Black and White Stage, two of the site's most symbolically meaningful locations. As Conklin and Quilter concluded in the book, the religious significance between the colors black and white, which equate to the eternal cycle of day and night for the Chavin, motivated the site's designers to source building materials by excavating over 50 miles away.

Another prominent feature of Chavin de Huantar that Conklin and Quilter devoted much of their attention to was the site's distinctive structural design, as the Chavin paid the utmost attention to aligning features within the monument to one another. Time and again the authors focused their… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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