Huanuco Information

Kotosh : The Temple of the Crossed Arms




Part of the magic of exploring Peru is the astounding number of discoveries and archaeological ruins located near many of the country's main cities. This is the case of the Temple of the Crossed Arms of Kotosh, just 4 km from the picturesque highland town of Huánuco.

Nearly 5,000 years old, Kotosh is one of the earliest signs of civilization in the Americas. The site features a series of pyramid-shaped mounds including a chamber decorated with a mud sculpture of two pairs of crossed arms, one of the oldest examples of sculptures in the Andes.

Because of the age of the ruins, experts have had difficulty studying the decoration of the temple. Some believe the crossed arms inside the complex symbolize alleged sacrifices carried out by the high priests as offerings to their deities.

Others, however, see the crossed arms as a symbol of protection against their enemies and even a representation of ritual communion. In any case, the absence of ruins of housing in the area point to the fact Kotosh did not house many people, but rather was a sacred spot, a pilgrimage center.

Part of the landscape of Huánuco and Peru, Kotosh is a living symbol of the ancient treasures Peru guards in every nook and cranny of its territory.


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