There are many civilisations that have been documented throughout Peru, however, we will concentrate on the most significant in order to better interpret a visit to the sights in and around Cusco and the central highlands of Peru. The oldest of these civilisations is that of the Norte Chico civilization and their impressive city of Caral, next come the Chavin people (900 BCE to 200 BCE) known mostly for their incredible archeological site in the Ancash region of Peru to the North of Lima. From these people, much has been understood in the use of plant ceremonies in relation to their dualistic metaphysical beliefs and traditions that have been otherwise difficult to understand. We can discuss the popular mysteries of The Inca Empire and Andean civilization and their implications on modern day interpretations, Peruvian heritage as romantic tales from Spanish conquistadors, the native elements in Inca philosophy, sun worship and the connection with spirit and about the traditions that have survived until today.
Norte Chico (3100 BC - 1800 BC)Our understanding of the pre-Colombian Peruvian civilisations begins with the complex cultures of Norte Chico of the north-central coastal Peru who are best known for the large settlement site of Caral, the most ancient city of the Americas that may hold the secrets to the origins of the Andean cultures and the development of the first Andean cities.
Chavin (900 BCE to 200 BCE)The Chavin empire are known almost exclusively for the ceremony grounds and monumental center Chavín de Huantar, however, Chavin style designs can be seen in other areas of Peru where the influence was brought about by trade routes. This influence has led archeologists to believe that Chavin acted as a cult practice and attracted people from outside the region to come and take part in the religious practices and ceremonies that were carried out using the San Pedro cactus for mescaline induced altered consciousness journeys.
Wari (500 AD to 1000 AD)How and when the first Andean imperial state developed has long been the subject of scholarly debate. By the time of the Spanish conquest in A.c. 1532, the majority of the vast territory of Andean South America had been united into a single political entity known as the Inca Empire. The Spanish conquerors were astonished not only at the size of the Empire but also by its sophisticated political and economic structure, and by its monumental public works. Soon after the Conquest, the Spaniards made inquiries into the origins of the Inca state, learning that the empire had been in existence for only about 80 years (Rowe 1946: 205; Schaedel 1978: 115). This seems entirely too short a time for the Incas to have not only conquered such a vast territory but also to have independently invented all of the political and economic institutions necessary to control it. Recent archaeological studies have demonstrated that the Incas were the end product of a long process of social evolution, and that the origin of the state and the concept of empire lay further in the past than the Spanish were told.
Research focusing specifically on the remains of the Wari culture reveal archaeological evidence for the emergence of an expanding state during the Middle Horizon time period (A.c. 540-900). Several monumental architectural complexes have been identified as Wari state centers of administration. Most prominent of these are Pikillacta near Cuzco in the southern Highlands, Viracocha Pampa near Huamachuco in the north Highlands, and the presumed capital of the empire, the site of Wari in Ayacucho. Additionally, Wari-style artifacts are found throughout much of what is now modern Peru. These data have been interpreted by many scholars to suggest that the Wari were the originators of the first Andean empire.
Killke (900 AD to 1200 AD)The Killke culture occupied the South American region around Cusco, Peru from 900 to 1200 AD, prior to the arrival of the Incas in the 13th century and are of importance to understanding the massive fortress, Saksaywaman, in the northern outskirts of Cusco during the 12th century.
Inca (1200 AD to 1572 AD)The Inca civilisation arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century. Its last stronghold was conquered by the Spanish in 1572. The Inca Empire or Tawantinsuyu as it was known in Quechua is the most mysterious of Peru’s Pre-Colombian history given that the empire reigned for less than a hundred years (1438–1533) yet achieved an incredible amount of carefully designed infrastructure. The interpretation of the efforts of the Inca are of most interest to this area, as it appears that the 80 years attributed to the Inca’s incredibly complex societies and structures is simply not long enough. This chronological problem, which also affects other civilisations such as the Egyptian Empire, attracts new interpretations of pre-Colombian heritage in Peru.
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