Archaeologists claim that there is increasing evidence that writing existed around 5,000 years ago in ancient Peru and that societies that inhabited this part of the world had already begun to develop a way to communicate through the written sign, just as it happened with the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians also five millennia ago.
The first signs of written language were located in a place called Checta, discovered in 1925 by Monsignor Pedro Villar Cordova. The archaeological site is located in the valley of the Chillon River, in the district of Santa Rosa de Quives, in the province of Canta. Located three hours away from Lima.
On the right bank of the creek Alcaparrosa at least 500 quilcas or petroglyphs were discovered by archaeologists. In recent studies researchers have discovered that the graphics on the rocks correspond to four different cultural periods and a lot of question have been raised in the archaeological community.
Archaeologist Gori Tumi Echevarría, president of the Peruvian Association of Rupestrian Art (APAR) is bound since 2009 to prove that the figures reflected in Checta have a hidden message waiting to be deciphered. Echevarría claims that his most important finding is having defined the timing and sequence of the site, in other words, the temporal order in which the quilcacamayoc made the figures on the stones which allowed him to eventually understand that there are four phases. The first phase, that corresponds from 2500-2000 BC and consisted in making small holes in the rocks. The second phase that ranges from 2200-1000 BC was abstract-geometric shapes like circles, circles with dots, crosses, spirals, straight and sinuous lines, etc. considered as writing. The third phase (1200-600 BC) is composed of semi naturalist reasons, while phase four (800-200 BC) represented amarus (snakes).
With this step, Tumi Echevarría managed to individualize every motive of phase two and see if there was a pattern in the other rocks. After the analysis at quilcas, it was discovered that the dotted circles, lines, and wavy lines, spirals and other symbols were a repeated phenomena.
He was very surprised after finding that these same figures are repeated in the quilcas found from Supe to Lurin.
“This cognitive phenomenon, writing, lasted 2,000 years, sufficient for the development and consolidation of a complex ideographic writing system” says Echevarría
According to his hypothesis, this writing system would have links with ancient traditions in the Amazon. To decipher these codes, the key would be in the ancient knowledge of Amazonian peoples, as there are testimonies of communities like the Yaneshas who claim to have made pilgrimage trips to the Central Coast.
In 1935, Monsignor Pedro E. Villar Cordova, doctor and professor at the National University of San Marcos, said in his study of Pre-Hispanic cultures of Lima the following about the petroglyphs of Checta:
“The representation of thought through ideographic writing, seems to be expressed in some way, by ‘pictographs and ‘petroglyphs’, whose lines denote an ideological effort in representing the symbols indicating a rudimentary form of hieroglyphic writing “(p 406. ).
The enigma of Peruvian writing called quilcas (rock art) has been an open question for Peruvian intellectuals and for many years this issue has been confined to historicist assumptions and the presumption that there was a writing system in Peru, whose denotative term “quilca “(present in all dictionaries Quechua and Aymara from the sixteenth century) is indirect evidence that proves the suggestions of scholars such Villar Cordova, Raul Porras Barrenechea, Victoria de la Jara, Eloy Linares Málaga, among others.
Recently, a study by archaeologists of San Marcos of detailed identification and analysis suggest it would have been the first and oldest writing in Peru’s ideographic character.
The evidence would prove that it was discovered in Checta -located in the valley of Chillon three hours from Lima where investigators believe the ideographic writing had a life span of 2000 years, and whose end was directly related to cultural and ideological impact of Chavin on the central coast of Peru, which occurred approximately 1,000 years before the common era.
According to archaeologist Antonio Wong, research shows that Checta is an archaeological site of prime importance with a sequence complex enough to derive a cognitive graphical development lasting approximately three thousand years.