Encounters with the ENSO – Part 2

El Niños, the warm phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climate pattern, could be devastating for ancient Andean societies. Direct evidence of these events is scarce, but clever archaeological sleuthing has revealed details of event recurrence – and desperate measures taken by authorities to stop destructive flooding.

By |2021-01-23T11:33:01-07:00January 21st, 2021|Ancient Andean Cultures, Our Amazing Earth|2 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

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

Tales of Transformation at Chavín de Huántar

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.

By |2020-03-18T19:26:27-07:00March 18th, 2020|Ancient Andean Cultures|4 Comments

Water and Power at Chavín de Huántar

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.

By |2020-03-04T20:25:58-07:00March 4th, 2020|Ancient Andean Cultures|0 Comments
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