Category: South America

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Circles of mystery: Strange ancient earthworks in Brazil’s Amazonian rainforest

Hundreds of enigmatic earthworks lay hidden for millennia beneath what was thought to be virgin rainforest. Who built them, and why? In searching for answers, Jennifer Watling discovered how ancient human activity holds the clues for future forest-management. The discovery in recent years of mysterious circular earthworks in western Amazonia is one of the most […]

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Travel: The Yucatán

Richard Hodges visits sites in the shadow of Chichén Itzá. Hotels, at their best, resemble oases in a desert. Mayaland – nestling in the shadow of Chichén Itzá, one of the New World’s Seven Wonders – is just such a place. Its civility and graciousness are rooted in the Carnegie expeditions to this Maya metropolis, […]

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Lapa do Santo: Decapitation and ritual in ‘the Saint’s rock shelter’

Inside Lapa do Santo, excavations are revealing the complex burial practices of an early Archaic community. André Strauss tells CWA about the grisly finds. Body mutilation, decapitation, defleshing, and possible cannibalism: these chilling descriptions seem more appropriate for a serial killer’s to-do list than for an archaeological project report. But as queasy as they might […]

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NEWS: Clues of Maya Collapse

Archaeologists have developed a highly-refined chronology for the two major Maya collapses using the largest set of radiocarbon dates ever obtained from a single site. The circumstances behind the Preclassic (2nd century AD) and Classic Maya (9th century AD) collapses – two periods of widespread urban abandonment across Mesoamerica – have long been the subject […]

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Quito

Discovering the pinnacle of Ecuador Ecuador’s capital of Quito, high in the Andes mountains, is one of the world’s most breathtaking cities, as Tim Tatton-Brown explains. Situated in the High Andes of Ecuador, at well over 9,000 feet above sea-level, Quito is the highest and one of the most extraordinary capital cities in the world. […]

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48 Hours in Mexico City: what to do and where to go

Home to over 21 million people, Mexico City is a glorious, sprawling, beautiful, and endlessly captivating capital. As the city with the largest number of museums in the world, it is packed with archaeological and architectural treasures that showcase an astounding cultural history. In 1519, Spanish Conquistador Hernán Cortés arrived in the region and witnessed […]

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Inca Gold at Pacopampa

Archaeologists investigating the Late Formative Period temple complex at Pacopampa (featured in CWA 75) discovered Inca offerings deposited more than 1,000 years after the site was abandoned. The find suggests that ancestoral ceremonial centres maintained their spiritual connection with subsequent cultures long after their original inhabitants were lost to living memory. Archaeologists from the Pacopampa […]

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Bogotá’s Gold Rush

Modern Colombia boasts a treasure trove of ancient sites, including the mountain city of Ciudad Perdida (see CWA 53), the megalithic sculptures at San Agustín, and the burial chambers of Tierradentro. The country’s star attraction, though, is Bogotá’s Museo del Oro – often cited as one of South America’s greatest museums, and home to more […]

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Lords of Sipán

Nadia Durrani, former editor of CWA During my time as editor of CWA, I visited some of the world’s most exciting sites. Of these, perhaps the most extraordinary was that of the Lords of Sipán (CWA 35). Lying on the white-hot coastal strip between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains of northern Peru, it […]

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Unusual offerings

Over 130 human skulls, thought to be the remains of human sacrifices, have been discovered in a remote Mexican field, far from known ritual centres. Dated to c.AD 660-869, they were found during excavations led by Christopher Morehart of Georgia State University, who was investigating ancient agricultural practices near Lake Xaltocan. The skulls, all adult […]

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Book Review: Tenochtitlan – Capital of the Aztec Empire

Tenochtitlan José Luis de Rojas University Press of Florida ISBN 978-0-8130-4220-6 Besides Ancient Egypt, no civilisation has been examined and scrutinised more than the Aztecs. Human Sacrifice, vicious and bloody wars, magnificent architecture and a spectacular downfall have brought the Aztec empire eternal fame. In this informative and stimulating book, José Luis de Rojas brings […]

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