According to researchers, the ancient Peruvian Chavin culture may have been the first civilization to be ruled by an authority, over 3,000 years ago
It was believed that authoritarian structuralized ruling systems were not implemented in human society earlier than 5,000 years ago.
Archaeologists now believe that they have found the actual site where human authoritarianism came into existence: in a remote part of modern-day Peru.
According to reports, researchers firmly believe they discovered the ultimate evidence that a pre-Incan culture, the Chavin, which inhabited the Peruvian Andes over 3,000 years ago, may have been the first ancient society that was ruled by authoritarianism.
According to researchers, over 3,000 years ago, ancient priests used architecture, psychoactive drugs and iconography to exert their control over the population.
Dr. John Rick, an archaeologist at Stanford University and one of the world’s leading experts on the Chavin, states the priesthood were able to fully manipulate the people by creating an illusion of power.
Commenting the discovery, Dr. Rick said:
‘We live in authoritarian systems today, no matter how democratic they are, they are authorities.
‘Yet, 5,000 and certainly 10,000 years ago, nowhere in the world was anyone was living under a concerted authority. But today we expect that. It is the essence of our organisation.
‘The site of Chavin can tell us about the outstanding single organisational characteristic human beings have, which is authority structure.
‘This is looking at one of the primary components of what it means to be human in the world today.’
For over 20 years, Dr.Rick and his team have excavated and studied the Chavin culture and their ancient sites of Chavin de Huántar, just north of Lima in Peru.
It is believed that the ancient Chavin emerged around 1,200 BC establishing themselves as one of the dominate ancient societies in the region by 900 BC, before the mysteriously vanished in 200BC.
One of the main sites of the Chavin Culture, Chavin de Huántar, is believed to have been a dominant religious center located at the mouth of two rivers in the region, attracting people from all around the area.
Archaeologists have discovered vast underground area located beneath the architectural stonework.
Dr. Rick claims the priests who ran Chavin may have used these to give themselves an aura of power and control over the elements.
Today, researchers estimate that there is over a kilometer of underground labyrinth and gallery like areas specifically designed to manipulate those who entered them. Interestingly, researchers learned that the architecture of the ancient city was specifically designed to alter the way sounds were projected in the city.
„I was fascinated with the evidence we have of the manipulation of people who went through ritual experiences in these contexts.After a while, I realised it was being done for a purpose. The planners, organisers, and orchestrators were trying to get something – what they wanted was an increase in their level of authority.
‘They went to incredible creative ends to get there,“ said Dr. Rick.
Archaeologists have discovered engravings suggesting that ancient priesthood used psychoactive drugs to manipulate its visitors.
Among the numerous findings, researchers also discovered that priests had access to a sophisticated hydraulic system used to control the flow of water into the city.
„They were playing with this stuff,’ said Dr. Rick. ‘They were using water pressure 3,000 years ago to elevate water, to bring it up where it shouldn’t be. They’re using it as an agent to wash away offerings.“
It is believed that the visitors of the Ancient Chavin were given a sense that the ancient priests had access to supernatural powers, the dark underground mazes, in a combination of drugs helped reinforce that experience exponentially.
Dr. Rick explains in his new book, Innovation, Religion and the Development of the Andean Formative Period: „These were the elite from Chavin and the aspiring elite form the regional areas surrounding Chavin. They are really in the process of developing a hierarchy – a real social structure with a strong political power at the top.“
Researchers consider the ancient Chavin as one of the best examples of authoritarian rule in ancient mankind.
„Chavin is one of the earliest sites with monumental architecture. It is a site that has many mysterious features – underground space and enigmatic art, a very rapid building program and manipulation of light and sound and other things. They needed to create a new world, one in which the settings, objects, actions and senses all argue for the presence of intrinsic authority – both from the religious leaders and from a realm of greater powers they portray themselves as related to, „ said Dr. Rick.