When the Spanish conquistador Hernando Pizarro arrived at Pachacamac, Peru, in January 1533, he had before him one of the jewels of the Inca Empire. ‘We arrived,’ he wrote, ‘in this city thathat seems very old because most of the buildings are in ruins.’ Archaeological research at the site has since vindicated his judgement.
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 […]
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 […]
Archaeological sites that take years to record using traditional methods could be mapped in minutes, according to new research by Vanderbilt University. At Mawchu Llacta, a 16th-century colonial town in Peru, scientists are testing a remote-controlled flying device called SUAVe (Semi-autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), which is small enough to fit in a backpack and takes […]
By Melissa A Vogel University Press of Florida, £64.50 ISBN 978-0813037967 This is the first English-language work on the Casma, a pre-Inca culture that has received little academic attention to-date – something that Melissa Vogel sets out to redress. Focusing on the northernmost part of the polity, Vogel discusses a pivotal period, AD 900-1300, […]
The discovery of an intact Moche royal tomb was like something out of an Indiana Jones movie. A gang of impoverished local looters entered one of three pyramids at Huaca Rajada, Sipan, a major Moche site near the Peruvian coast.
Why were the bodies of a dozen newborn babies placed around the edge of a 1,000-year-old tomb?
Tiffiny A. Tung University Press of Florida, £64.50 ISBN 978-0813037677 Between AD 600-1000, the Wari Empire represented one of the first politically centralised states in the New World. This study reveals the biological and social impact of the military aggression on which this power was founded, with groundbreaking DNA and osteological data shedding light on […]
The discovery of a 13th-century priestess at a ritual site in northern Peru is forcing a reassessment of the role of women in Lambayeque culture. The 25- to 30-year-old woman was buried at Chotuna-Chornancap, adorned with elaborate jewellery, ceramic offerings, and gold and silver ritual objects proclaiming her elite status. ‘This has revolutionised our thinking,’ […]
The oldest corncobs unearthed in South America have been found in Peru. Dating to 6,700 years ago – at least 2,000 years older than previous finds of cobs – they were eaten by people who were yet to enjoy the convenience of ceramic pottery. According to a report in The Proceedings of the National Academy […]
Exactly 100 years ago, the explorer Hiram Bingham found Machu Picchu on the eastern slopes of Peru’s soaring Andes mountains. He was not the first to see it since the Incas left centuries before: local farmers were living on the land, and the site appeared on several maps – including that published in 1910 by Inca expert Sir Clements Markham. But he was the first to bring it to the attention of the world. Historian and author Christopher Heaney recounts the events of Hiram Bingham’s expedition that reclaimed Machu Picchu from the jungle.
The fact that llamas defecate communally so that their dung is easily gathered underpins the cultural achievement of the Inca civilisation and leads directly to the construction of Machu Picchu, says Alex Chepstow-Lusty, a British palaeoecologist working at the French Institute of Andean Studies in Lima. Chepstow-Lusty has studied pollens and oribatid mites from the […]