Maize (aka corn) was considered a sacred plant by the Inca, Tiwanaku, Moche and many other ancient Andean cultures. In the Andes Mountains, for millennia the principal use of this plant has been to make an alcoholic beverage called chicha. This beverage was so important to the social and economic functioning of ancient Andean societies that when there was a major disruption in the flow of maize, it helped to trigger the collapse of at least one society that had flourished for hundreds of years.
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".
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.
Hundreds of years before the Inca Empire rose to fame and glory, the Tiwanaku culture flourished in cold and thin air in the Andes Mountains....Collecting and transporting heavy stone blocks from distant quarries were among the many impressive accomplishments of the Tiwanaku people.
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.
Among the high peaks of the Andes Mountains, gold-bearing quartz veins in the granitic bedrock have been exposed by erosion from ice, wind and water. Numerous ancient small gold mines are found at altitudes that cluster around an impressively high elevation of 16,000 feet.
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.
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.