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The Aztecs
This two-part collection documents the rise and fall of one of the most remarkable civilizations. From the ancient Olmec and their giant carved stone heads to the magnificent pyramids of the moon and sun at Teotihuacan, the Aztecs were inheritors…
2 videos
Empire Of The Incas
For nearly 100 years, the Incas ruled the largest empire in South American history. The Incas had a society based on community and co-operation, with power controlled firmly by the Sapa Inca and the royal family. They were brilliant engineers,…
South America’s First People
Episode 3 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
The earliest evidence of humans in the Americas comes not from North America, but from Chile. Investigate the important Monte Verde site and its view into everyday life 15,000 years ago. Learn also about "Quilcas" cave art, the astonishing Chinchorro…
Discovering Peru’s Earliest Cities
Episode 2 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
The first cities in the Americas date to 3000 B.C. Investigate the means of subsistence of coastal and inland valley cities, and evidence for trade in marine and agricultural products. Learn about the sites of Kotosh, El Paraiso, and Caral…
The Moche—Drugs, Sex, Music, and Puppies
Episode 11 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
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…
Blood and Corn: Mayan Civilization
Episode 36 of History of the Ancient World
Delve into the achievements of the Maya, who were among the longest-lasting, most geographically extensive, and most culturally sophisticated of all Mesoamerican cultures. Grasp how we can know these things only because the Maya left behind what those other peoples…
South America's Lost Cradle of Civilization
Episode 1 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
Consider the remarkable evidence for South America as one of the true wellsprings of human civilization. Grasp the diversity of early South American cultures, from the Andean civilizations to the desert and Amazon regions; what these cultures shared; and their…
Early Americas: Resources and Olmecs
Episode 34 of History of the Ancient World
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…
The Inca Origins—Mythology v. Archaeology
Episode 17 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
Begin your study of the great Inca civilization by tracing the culture's origin myth, featuring a creator deity who made the cosmos and charged the Inca to found a kingdom in a fertile valley. Compare the mythology with archaeological evidence…
Chavín and the Rise of Religious Authority
Episode 5 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
The Peruvian site of Chavin marks the emergence of religion as the focus of public art. Study Chavin's distinctive architecture, with images of its characteristic "fanged deity." Learn about later religious iconography and artifacts at Chavin suggesting that it was…
The Inca—From Raiders to Empire
Episode 19 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
In charting the rise of Inca civilization, follow the pivotal reign of Pachacuti, the 9th Inca, whose vision to unify the Andes led to large-scale conquest. Learn how his heir, Tupac, doubled the imperial territories, and how the empire was…
Pots and Pyramids: Moche and Teotihuacán
Episode 35 of History of the Ancient World
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.
Enigmatic Tiwanaku by Lake Titicaca
Episode 12 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
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…
Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley
Episode 22 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
The mountainside complex of Machu Picchu was a royal estate of Pachacuti, the 9th Inca. Walk the site, entering at the Sun Gate, and explore the causeways, terraces, and many rooms of undetermined function. Study the solar-aligned Torreon and other…
Remnants of the Past—Andean Culture Today
Episode 24 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
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,…
Paracas—Mummies, Shamans, and Severed Heads
Episode 7 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
Investigate the fascinating Paracas tombs of the 1st millennium B.C., which contain richly adorned mummies, and grasp the significance of mummification. Study the elaborate iconography of Paracas textiles, the meaning of the supernatural beings they depict, and the practice of…
The Moche—Pyramids, Gold, and Warriors
Episode 9 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
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…
The Amazon—Civilization Lost in the Jungle
Episode 13 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
Recent discoveries indicate the presence of massive ancient civilizations in the Amazon. Survey the evidence, starting with the Beni region's elaborate systems of mounds, causeways, and canals. Continue with the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon, noting wide areas of human-enriched soil,…
The Chimú—Empire of the Northern Coast
Episode 15 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
This episode introduces a culture of warrior kings who became conquerors, second in influence only to the Inca. Learn about the Chimu's extraordinary royal citadels, urban organization, and intervalley irrigation technology. Investigate their subjugation of neighboring cultures, their imperial administration…
Cuzco and the Tawantinsuyu Empire
Episode 18 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
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…