Geology and Geography that Shaped Ancient Andean Cultures
The Inca Empire was built on the broad cultural and infrastructure features developed by their ancestors. These ancient Andeans built monumental stone structures that can still be seen today. They developed highly effective farming methods to provide enough food to support large populations, and their artisans created luxury items of finely crafted textiles and exquisite gold and silver ornamental objects. In mountainous environments nowhere else on Earth have the achievements of the ancient Andeans been matched.
The natural environment and the processes that are shaping the dramatic Andes Mountains, and the ancient Andean cultures that flourished in this environment, are the focus of my book. Geology creates the landscape, influences the climate, focuses human settlement patterns, determines agricultural and mineral production, impacts the natural history of plants and animals, and controls natural hazards such as volcanoes and earthquakes. Cultures are shaped by their natural environment.
My book addresses topics ranging from the inner workings of the Earth and plate tectonics to the great earthquakes and fiery volcanoes that are building the Andes. It covers the earliest people who explored South America, obsidian and gold mining, farming methods, hallucinogenic drugs, iconic stone structures and the construction knowledge required to build Machu Picchu, along with many other topics. It is a fast ride through more than 200 million years of geologic history, and 20,000 years of human history.