Ancient Andean Cultures

Ancient Boats and Enormous Blocks

How did the ancient Andeans and Egyptians move the massive stone blocks used to build their monumental architecture? With an abundance of human muscle power but only simple hand tools, they needed to be creative. Floating blocks on boats across lakes and along river channels was a possible transport method—but did they have the water and the engineering technology for this?

By |2022-09-29T07:06:34-07:00September 29th, 2022|Ancient Andean Cultures|0 Comments

Protecting Significant Sites in Egypt, Peru and Beyond

Safeguarding ancient Egyptian cultural treasures in the 1960s laid the groundwork for the UNESCO World Heritage Site program. These designations provide protections for places having outstanding cultural and natural heritage. Both Egypt and Peru have fabulous archaeological sites with World Heritage designations, and I’ve had the good fortune to see many. I hope to visit World Heritage Sites in many other countries.

By |2022-09-01T07:01:12-07:00September 1st, 2022|Ancient Andean Cultures, Our Amazing Earth|0 Comments

Creatures from the Moche World

Ancient Moche artists created an exceptional level of ceramic art over 1,500 years ago when this culture prospered along the arid north coast of Peru. They produced realistic three-dimensional ceramic forms of people and animals, and they decorated vessels with exquisite fine-line drawings. Several aspects of Moche ceramics recently caught my interest, especially the realistic ceramic animals and the drawings of supernatural creatures.

By |2022-07-23T06:35:35-07:00July 28th, 2022|Ancient Andean Cultures|4 Comments

Buildings That Last

In the earthquake-prone central Andes Mountains, there archaeological sites with monumental adobe and stone block structures standing that were built by ancient people hundreds and even thousands of years ago. Clearly, the ancient builders planned to have their important structures last–-and they had the knowledge to build appropriately for their environment. Buildings that promise to last a long time are also being constructed today.

Food, Fertilizer, and Inca Empire Conservation

In the past century, manufacturing nitrogen fertilizers with ammonia has been explosive (even literally...). Increases in crop production from manufactured fertilizers have benefited tens of millions of people. Unfortunately, this fertilizer produces tremendous waste in an inefficient process that is highly polluting; we could lower global use with alternative methods. Over 500 years ago, the Incas implemented laws to conserve their valuable guano fertilizer.

From Mummies to Día de los Muertos

Celebrations of the Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, involve traditions to remember and honor deceased family members and friends. In this post we examine a few customs around death, beginning with the mummification practices of ancient Andeans and ending with a street parade in Mexico City, inspired by the death-defying feats of James Bond.

By |2021-11-04T17:04:48-07:00November 4th, 2021|Ancient Andean Cultures|4 Comments

Tracking Traces of Dog Domestication

Dogs have been human companions for thousands of years. As the first animal species domesticated, dogs altered human relationships with the natural world and profoundly influenced the course of early human history. New data indicate that dogs most likely accompanied the first explorers as they traveled southward from Siberia and fanned out across the Americas.

Water Security in a Crowded World

Achieving water security has been a challenge throughout human history. Now, an astonishing two-thirds of the global population is projected to have difficulty accessing potable water by 2025. Energy and clean water production are correlated, and fortunately intelligent people are currently exploring options to harness the power of the sun to reduce water shortages.

Machu Picchu and Mysterious “Gold” Mortar

Machu Picchu is truly one of the wonders of the world. The spectacular ridge-top site of this city and the fine masonry of royal Inca buildings are stunning aesthetic and technical accomplishments. Early Spanish chroniclers reported "molten gold" was used as mortar during stone block construction, and a research paper by a chemist presents some intriguing insights.

By |2021-07-12T17:18:51-07:00July 8th, 2021|Ancient Andean Cultures|2 Comments
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