Peru temple, mural hints at complexity

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The sophisticated design and colorful artwork found in a 4,000-year-old temple unearthed near Peru's northern desert coast suggests that early civilization here was more complex than originally thought, archaeologists said.

Ventarron, a 7,000-square-foot site — a bit larger than a basketball court — with painted walls and a white-and-red mural of a deer hunt, points to an "advanced civilization," said the lead archaeologist who excavated the site last week.

"We have the use of a construction material that is not primitive," Walter Alva, a prominent Peruvian archaeologist who headed the government-funded dig, said of the temple's mud bricks, which were made from local river sediments instead of rocks.

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