Ancient Andean Cultures

Machu Picchu’s Unique Geology

Machu Picchu, the Inca citadel high on a ridge in the Andes Mountains, is one of the most impressive and widely recognized archaeological sites on Earth. Since I am fascinated by this spectacular place, I’ve written about it in several blog posts. In a new article I’ve focused on the geology – and this is posted on a website called "GondwanaTalks".

By |2020-09-23T19:37:28-07:00September 23rd, 2020|Ancient Andean Cultures|0 Comments

Ancient Andean Ritual Drugs – and Beyond

The Inca, Tiwanaku, Moche, Chavín, and many other indigenous Andean cultures used a variety of plant-based drugs – including hallucinogens and narcotics -- in their religious rituals. When the ancient people ingested what they considered to be sacred plants, access to a separate realm – a supernatural world – could be reliably achieved.

By |2020-09-08T07:02:21-07:00September 10th, 2020|Ancient Andean Cultures|2 Comments

Monuments, Megaliths, and Inca Builders

In the Andes Mountains of South America, the Incas and their ancestors invested enormous amounts of time and labor in the meticulous work of quarrying, transporting, and fitting together multi-ton stone blocks, or megaliths, for monumental construction projects..... The ancient Andean stonework is so impressive that many have found it difficult to believe that mere humans, who lacked draft animals and were using only stone-age tools, could be responsible for the construction.

By |2020-08-06T11:17:06-07:00August 6th, 2020|Ancient Andean Cultures|6 Comments

Salt Ponds of Maras

Small salt ponds numbering in the thousands are arranged on steep mountain slopes near the city of Cusco, former capital of the Inca Empire, high in the Andes Mountains of Peru. Known as Maras, and originating from a saline spring, these salt ponds have been tended carefully since Inca times 500 years ago, and possibly for hundreds (or thousands?) of years before the Incas.

By |2020-07-30T16:05:36-07:00July 30th, 2020|Ancient Andean Cultures|4 Comments

Ancient Metals and Ancient Mines – Part 1

Rich deposits of metals, created by the dynamic geologic environment that built the rugged Andes Mountains, became intertwined with Andean cultures in the New World. The Incas and their ancestors created metal products primarily for aesthetic uses and for religious goods. This contrasts with Old World cultures, where the emphasis was on the mechanical properties of metals -- strength, hardness and sharpness—for tools and weapons.

10 Fascinating Things You May Not Know About Llamas

The possibility that a llama antibody holds promise for a treatment for Covid-19 burst into the news recently. And this is just the latest of the many ways that llamas, originating in the Andes Mountains of South America, have been of great value to human societies over thousands of years.... read on to learn things you may not know about llamas.

By |2020-05-15T09:53:41-07:00May 14th, 2020|Ancient Andean Cultures|4 Comments

Fangs and Claws of Gold — Supernatural Creatures in Ancient Chavín Art

An eagle image covered with multiple fangs and claws -- a creature with a swirl of serpents replacing the fur –– a scowling half human/half beast figure on a crown – all meticulously crafted from hammered sheets of gold. These objects are among the many exquisite pieces of art crafted by the Chavín...

By |2020-04-23T13:17:29-07:00April 23rd, 2020|Ancient Andean Cultures|6 Comments
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