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Few territories in Peru combine, like the province of Alto Amazonas, the intense and effervescent commercial activity reflected in the city of Yurimaguas, with the natural beauty of the Amazon and the centuries-old cultural wisdom manifested in the Chayahuita textiles or the still scarcely studied petroglyphs of Cumpanamà.

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How to get to Cumpanamà?

On the way we find the set of cave engravings of Cumpanamà, a sample of the rich artistic tradition of Loreto, which would have been born in the Formative Period, about five thousand years ago. These icnographic elements give us signs of the high degree of social and agricultural development reached by their authors, belonging to an organized society, with a deep relationship with nature and their magical-religious beliefs.

The area of these petroglyphs belongs ancestrally to the Shawi ethnic group, settled between the Sillay, Cahuapanas, Paranapura rivers and their tributaries, in the heart of the Upper Amazon.

Who discovered the stone?

This enormous granite stone, 17 meters long, 14 meters wide and 4.5 meters high, was discovered by science by geologist José Sánchez Izquierdo in 1997. The petroglyphs of Cumpanamà are a series of figures engraved on stones of different sizes, of which the so-called House of Cumpanamà stands out.

Among the graphics, there are also anthropomorphic, heliomorphic, escutiform, ofidiomorphic, territorial divisions and river courses. Cumpanamà is a word in the Chayahuita or Shawi language, spoken by the ethnic group of the same name. For them it is the maximum divinity that is present in many of the myths that are part of their traditions and rites.

The presence of the cave engravings could indicate possible specific rituals related to the territory and sacrifices for the fertility of the land.

What is the Cumpanamà House?

The Cumpanamà House is 13 meters long by 8 meters wide and 6 meters high. Most of the engravings could be rituals related to the territory and sacrifices to make the land fertile and productive. It is not known with certainty about the age of the petroglyphs, neither about their authors. It is believed that they were made by very ancient Shawi communities.

Almost all the engravings were made by the method of percussion and then retouched with abrasion in order to give a three-dimensional effect; figures of high and low relief were obtained in this way.

The petroglyphs are located in the basin of the Achayacu ravine, 1500 meters away from the Cachiyacu river, in the district of Balsapuerto.

To date, 50 pre-Hispanic archaeological monuments have been identified and registered in the Paranapura river basin, but according to specialists there are many more.

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Featured image: Youtube – Ricky Aventuras