A Mysterious Cavern in Corani District, Peru

Why was there a hole in the ground with separate entries south of Aymaña in Peru’s Corani District, 4,000 metres high in the Andes Mountains? Even guide Ulices did not know the cavern’s purpose.

The cavern's two entrances from the outside, Corani District, Peru

In the foreground is the cavern’s side entrance while the hole above is visible as a depression in the hill

Approaching the top hole was dangerous as it dropped several metres below.

The cavern's top entrance, Corani District, Peru

The cavern’s top hole from above

The only safe cavern entry was from the side although this was not easy, for the hole narrowed substantially.

At the cavern side entrance, Corani District, Peru

At the side entrance

Entering the cavern, Corani District, PeruOur vehicle driver squeezing through the entrance’s narrowest point

Once in, the chamber turned out to be of substantial size. The walls appeared too straight not to have been touched by humans. But why did they do it?

Looking up through the Cavern's top entrance, Corani District, Peru

Looking up through the top entrance from inside the chamber

The cavern walls had various forms of graffiti including crosses carved many years ago.

Cross carved into cavern wall, Corani District, Peru

An old cross carved into the cavern wall

Besides graffiti, visitors also left rubbish, with food tins and beverage bottles scattered on the cavern floor.

The cavern interior, Corani District, Peru

The cavern is quite long and contains assorted rubbish

So, what was its purpose?

When I suggested the cavern could have been used for hunting, the penny dropped. Everybody agreed that this was its use.

After blocking the side entrance, indigenous pre-Columbians filled the cavern part way with water and camouflaged the top before attracting wild animals to the site. The animals would then fall through the top and drown. Afterwards, the hunters opened the side entry, draining the cavern, allowing them to retrieve their kill.

One less mystery to solve!

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