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

Marvelous Maize

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.

By |2020-10-01T06:34:59-07:00October 1st, 2020|Ancient Andean Cultures|4 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

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.

Go to Top