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.
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.
Machu Picchu, the mountain citadel high in the Andes Mountains of Peru, is a familiar icon of the Inca Empire. Perched high on a steep and narrow ridge between two mountain peaks, the site is ringed on three sides by the Urubamba River, a dizzying 1,600 feet below.
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.
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...
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.
When mammoths, mastodons, ground sloths, horses and other Pleistocene megafauna became extinct in the Americas some 12,000 or so years ago, what happened to the plants those animals were eating? It’s an interesting story, especially [...]
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 [...]
Gold and silver metals provided an essential symbolic link between the Incas and the cosmos. Gold was associated with the Sun in the Inca world, and sometimes known as the “sweat of the sun.” The [...]