Chavín de Huántar, high in the Andes Mountains of northern Peru, was the seat of an important religious power and cult that flourished for hundreds of years, beginning about 3,000 years ago. Shamanic beliefs and practices apparently played a central role in this religion, with some individuals using hallucinogenic drugs to reach altered states of consciousness for interactions with the spirit world. Exotic and somewhat sinister art forms, recognized as an essential part of the religion, depict these transformations.
Machu Picchu, the city built by the Incas on a steep mountain ridge, is a tremendous engineering achievement – and only one of many impressive constructions by the ancient Andeans. Among these is Chavín de Huántar in northern Peru, with a sprawling temple complex that was once the center of a powerful cult and an important pilgrimage site.
The faces of our ancient ancestors are fascinating. Andean art includes portrait head vessels of high-status men created by the Moche culture that flourished along the north coast of Peru some 2,000 years ago. There is careful rendering of nose shapes, chins and other distinctive details of appearance and personality.
The Qhapaq Ñan, or Great Inca Road, that united the Inca Empire in the Andes Mountains was a tremendous engineering achievement. The Incan road designers took advantage of many pre-existing roads and trails. They expanded [...]
When I hiked to Machu Picchu along trails built by the Incas in the Andes Mountains, I was traveling on what was once part of the largest monumental system ever built in the ancient world [...]
I was finally on my way to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, fulfilling a longtime dream to see the Andes Mountains and the archaeological wonders of Peru. While hiking along the steep paths and [...]
Did you know that camels evolved in North America? From early rabbit-sized jobs to long-legged 10-foot-tall giants, the diverse camelid family flourished in North America for more than 40 million years. Then, about 3 million [...]
Squeaky guinea pigs, also known as cuys, are native to the Andes Mountains. These small rodents were domesticated as a supplemental meat source, but also had important roles in the religious and social practices of [...]
Do you know the difference between a llama and an alpaca? Or does one fuzzy face pretty much look like another? They are closely related, but very different animals. Llamas and alpacas both played prominent [...]
Gold and silver were revered by the Incas and their ancestors - and copper was also widely used, but not as highly regarded. An Inca myth gives insight into the cultural significance of these metals. [...]