South America's Lost Cradle of Civilization

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Lost Worlds of South America Course
As one of only six places on earth where civilization arose spontaneously, South America offers insight into how human societies formed. Go on a trek of discovery through the archaeological knowledge of more than 12 seminal civilizations, and gain rich insight into the creative vision and monumental achievements of these…
Remnants of the Past—Andean Culture Today
The Andean civilizations have left a remarkable legacy in the modern world. Investigate the many ways in which contemporary peoples in South America maintain ancient ways of life, seen in agriculture, community organization, traditional lifestyles, and astronomical and religious observances, and contemplate what these practices mean in our own time.
Early Americas: Resources and Olmecs
Shift your attention to North and South America. These were among the last regions humans would settle, and you follow their progress from nomadic hunter-gatherers to the civilizations that would be defined by geography and available resources, beginning with the Olmecs of what is now Mexico.
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In the first of three episodes on the Andean Moche culture, chart this civilization's outstanding features. Discover the immense pyramids, adorned with brilliant color murals, road systems, and sophisticated art. Examine the evidence of extensive warfare, both in the art and in excavated weaponry and sacrificial victims.
Blood and Corn: Mayan Civilization
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Although civilization almost always tends to be an urban phenomenon, there are exceptions. Examine the origins of societies that evolved sophisticated cultures but did not build cities, including hunter-gatherers like the Fenni of Scandinavia, the Aborigines of Australia, and the seafaring peoples of Polynesia.
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Turn your focus to Peru and Mexico and the many cultures that left behind stunning examples of their now-vanished civilizations, from impressive pyramids and tombs to startling examples of artistic pottery, especially those produced by the Moche.
Native-American History
Explore the fascinating history of the Native American people. Follow their history from migration to the Americas, to the development of civilizations throughout the American continent. Discover how every part of America was flourishing long before European settlers arrived. See the impact of early Native Americans in North and South…
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Lake Titicaca is the site of one of South America's most impressive civilizations. Discover the huge urban complex of Tiwanaku and its cultural connections to Chavin de Huantar. Explore Tiwanaku's mysterious architecture and its "raised field" agriculture, an engineering feat that allowed for the support of a large population.
Weaving the Future
Weaving the Future is a video portrait of a unique indigenous community living in the Andean highlands of northern Ecuador. The story of the Otavalo Indians is not a stereotypical tale of "isolated people struggling to survive." Just the opposite. The people of Otavalo have successfully adapted their traditions of…
Cuzco and the Tawantinsuyu Empire
The city of Cuzco stands as the supreme achievement in architecture and aesthetics of pre-Columbian South America. Study the city's astounding features, such as its hydraulic engineering, anti-seismic construction, and its perfectly fitting stonework that defies explanation. Learn also about the culture of ancestral mummies, the golden Coricancha temple, and…
The Moche—Drugs, Sex, Music, and Puppies
This episode investigates the dramatic iconography seen on Moche ceramics. First, learn about the complex rituals and practices of modern South American shamanism. Then study images on Moche pottery usually interpreted as depicting victory in war, and indications that they actually describe an elaborate culture of shamanic healing.