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1,200-Year-Old Telephone, Amazing Invention of the Ancient Chimu Civilization.

A 1,200-year-old telephone, a marvel of ancient invention, surprises almost all who hear about it. Reportedly found in in the ruins of Chan Chan, Peru, the delicate communication artifact is known as the earliest example of telephone technology in the Western Hemisphere.

This seemingly out-of-place-artifact is evidence of the impressive innovation of the coastal Chimu people in the Río Moche Valley of northern Peru. Ramiro Matos, curator of the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) told Smithsonian, “This is unique. Only one was ever discovered. It comes from the consciousness of an indigenous society with no written language .”

A man dressed as a Chimu elite or priest among the ruins of Chan Chan, Peru.

A man dressed as a Chimu elite or priest among the ruins of Chan Chan, Peru. Johnathan Hood,

How was the Chimu Telephone Made?

The early “telephone” appears to be a rudimentary speech transmission device, much like the “lover’s telephone” that has been known for hundreds of years, but which became popular in the 19th century. The old lover’s telephone was usually comprised of tin cans connected with string, used to speak back and forth; and mostly seen as a novelty. However the ancient Chimu device, described as an instrument, is composed of two gourd tops bound with a length of cord.

The gourds, each 3.5 inches (8.9 centimeters) long are coated in resin and act as transmitters and receivers of sound. Around each of the gourd bases is a stretched-hide membrane. The 75-foot (22.8 meter) line connecting the two ends is made of cotton-twine.

The simplicity of the device disguises its archaeological implications.

The enigmatic ancient communication device. Credit: Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian

The enigmatic ancient communication device. Credit: Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian 

The Mystery of the Precious Ancient Telephone

This one-of-a-kind artifact reportedly predates the earliest research into telephones from 1833 (which began with non-electric string devices) by more than a thousand years.

The gourd-and-string device is too fragile to physically test, but researchers can piece together how the instrument might have worked. What they must continue to speculate on, however, is how the Chimu used this ancient phone: what was its purpose?

As the Chimu are known to have been a top-down society , it stands to reason that only the elite or priest class would have been in possession of such a valuable instrument, posits Matos. The precious telephone, with the seemingly magical ability to channel voices across space to be heard directly in the ear of the receiver was, “a tool designed for an executive level of communication,” according to Matos.

Content created and supplied by: realsneh (via Opera News )

Chan Chan Johnathan Hood Ramiro Matos Smithsonian Western Hemisphere

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