posted on Apr, 18 2003 @ 10:37 AM
Archeologists sifting through a looted cemetery have uncovered a 4,000-year-old gourd segment bearing an engraved image of the principal deity
worshipped by ancient Western cultures for thousands of years, in a find that pushes back by a millennium the suspected origin of organized religion
in the Americas.
The black-rimmed etching depicts the staff god, a figure that, until the coming of European explorers and missionaries in the 16th century, dominated
the belief system of civilizations that gave birth to organized societal structure and architecture.
The archaic figure, its jaguar-like fangs bared, feet splayed, the left outstretched arm ending in a snake head, the right gripping the hallmark
staff, appears in various incarnations in the religious renderings of societies that once flourished around the Andes mountains.