LIMA, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- After months of excavating, Peruvian archeologists discovered 19 guardian statues belonging to the ancient Chimu culture that developed 1,200 years ago on Peru's northern coast.
The statues carved in wood were presented to the press on Monday. Patricia Balbuena, Peruvian Minister of Culture, said the sentinels were placed in a watchful position along a wall.
The discovery puts before the public a ceremonial center in this archeological site that is part of the fortress of the regional Chan Chan culture, Balbuena said.
"What we have discovered is the entrance to a ceremonial center, an important center inside the Chan Chan fortress," Balbuena said.
Not only are the statues covered in clay masks, but also with a mural that is 2.3 meters wide and 2 meters high with figures of waves and cats.
She said the mural still has extensions that will be discovered in the next few years.
"This allows us to learn a little more about their culture... and we believe this is a project that will allow us to recover nearly 1,500 meters of murals because this was a city." Balbuena said.
The Chan Chan archeological center is located in the province of La Libertad, 561 km north of Peru's capital Lima.
What stands out from this discovery are the high-relief decorations, said Arturo Paredes, an investigator with the Chan Chan Project.
"The important thing of the findings is that we are in the entrances to the walled complex that appear in the wooden sculptures and the passage that leads to this entrance to the ceremonial courtyard is decorated with reliefs," Paredes said.
The Chan Chan archeological center was recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a world heritage site in 1986.