Archaeologists Discover Wari Ritual Complex at the Pakaytambo Site in Southern Peru.

March 15, 2023

The complex has a D-shape temple on a large, monumental platform next to housing structures for officials and people linked to the Wari empire. It was strategically chosen, being between the Andean highlands and coastal valleys of Arequipa and along a prehistoric transit route with ecological and political advantages.

The pre-Inca Wari culture spanned from the 6th-10th centuries.

“Open plaza spaces like this would have allowed local communities to participate in ritual gatherings organized by the Wari,” University of Illinois Chicago postdoctoral researcher David Reid said in a statement.

Reid, who also led the study, said these ritual events “would have been critical in maintaining political authority across great distances of the Wari Empire.”

The Wari built other D-shape Wari temples that have recently been found across Peru, providing greater clarity on how the empire expanded and influenced life across the country.

The research was published in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology. News of the discovery was first reported by the Art Newspaper. has the report here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Moche/Wari Era Peru


New Research on the Use of Psychedelics in Early Nazca Culture

March 15, 2023

Researchers in Peru haver analyzed the remains of 22 individuals from the early Nazca culture (100 BCE-400 CE)at 3 Nazca sites. 4 of them were trophy heads, a child, an adult female and two male adults. They found a high level of mescaline  from the San Pedro cactus in the sacrificed individuals and in the child’s hair. This cactus is known in the Quechua language as Huachuma, meaning “removing the head.” And the child and the other three had their heads removed after sacrifice. The female adult had also been chewing coca leaves. The male heads were free of drugs since they were males capture in combat.

More recent Inca civilization gave ayahuasca to child sacrifice victims as an anti-depressant while they awaited their fate. However, as the study authors note, “this is the first proof that some of the victims transformed into trophy heads were given stimulants prior to their death.” 
The same study also found evidence of ayahuasca use among other mummified individuals from the Early Nazca Period – which ran from 100 BCE to 450 CE – and therefore provides the earliest archaeological evidence for the consumption of these two psychedelic plants.
Ayahuasca was found in the hair of two other individuals among the remaining 18. One had so much in his hair that it suggests he was a shaman. Coca was found in five others. This is the earliest evidence of the use of Ayahuasca and San Pedro ever found, and confirms the use of Coca leaves in the early Nazca culture.

The study has been published in the Journal of Archaeological Science. has the report here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Nazca Era Peru

168 New Nazca Geoglyphs Discovered in Peru

January 7, 2023

Archaeologists from Japan’s Yamagata University have discovered 168  new Nazca Lines on the Pampas de Juman in the Nazca Desert in southern Peru, the latest addition to over 800 straight lines, 300 geometric figures, and 70 animal and plant designs

The figures depict humans, camelids, birds, killer orca whales, cats, and snakes, and date to 100 BCE-300 C.E. Some measure just 10 or 20 feet long, which helps explain why they went undetected for so long. In comparison, the biggest geoglyphs measure about 1,200 feet across.

They conducted researcjwith drones, taking aerial photos, and conducting field surveys from June 2019 to February 2020, using high-resolution aerial photographs taken by drones. A.I. technology provided an assist in spotting and deciphering the age-old markings. The Nazca Lines can now be found across a 170-square-mile area.

only 5% of all existing Nazca lines have so far been found. These geoglyphs were created by removing black stones from the surface of the earth to expose a white sandy surface below.   it is unclear how the black stone was removed.

Some geoglyphs are in danger of being destroyed due to the recent expansion of mining-related workshops in the archaeological park.

Artnet haș the report here with many photos;

New Research into Chincha Culture Funeral Rituals in Ancient Peru

January 6, 2023

Researchers analyzed hundreds of human remains from the Chincha culture in Peru going back as far at 1000 CE in large mortuary structures to study the use of fingerprinting red pigment on skulls in funerary rituals. They found different kinds of red paint were used and only certain people were painted. Using X-ray powder diffraction, X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, and laser ablation ICP-MS, techniques, they found that 24 of the samples came from iron based ochres like hematite, 13 came from mercury based cinnabar, and one was a combination. Cinnabar came from hundreds of miles away and the hematite came from local sources.

Most of those whose skulls were painted were adult males. Bones of women and children who had healed traumatic injuries and those whose skulls were modified as babies were also painted. They used textiles, leaves and their hands to apply the pigment. It appears that the painters also entered the mortuaries to paint those who had been desecrated during the European conquest

The research is published in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology.

Live Science has the report and photos here:

Elite Craftsmen Tombs Uncovered at the Wari site of Castillo de Huarmey in Peru

October 20, 2022

Tombs of elite craftsmen of the Wari culture has been discovered at the Wari site of Castillo de Huarmey in Peru. The site is known as a site for elite burials dating to 500-1000 CE. The newly found tombs have the remains of Wari craftsmen.

Four adults (two men, two women) and three adolescent burials were discovered inside adobe brick tombs, along with their tools and supplies.

The primary burial is that an adult man who appears to have been a basket weaver based on the grave goods. He died at the age of 40. His body was wrapped in layers of fabric and buried alongside his tools of the trade: axes, knives, saws, and a cane used to make baskets. There was also beautiful jewelry, such as a gold headdress and a gold ear ornament inlaid with a semi-precious stone. The other man and the adolescents were buried with him. The two women were close by.  Archaeologists believe they may have all been related.

In 2010, Archaeologists found a royal mausoleum that housed the remains of one queen, 57 aristocratic women, six human sacrificial victims, and two guards who had their feet amputated so they could never desert their post. More than 1,300 objects in gold, silver, bronze, gemstones, wood, bone, shell, and painted ceramics were housed in the mausoleum. The newly discovered tombs of the elite craftsmen were located just below the mausoleum.

Archaeologists have named this part of the cemetery the ‘Gallery of Elite Craftsmen’.

Arkeonews has the report here with photos:

Researchers Study Mummies from Chile and Peru

October 20, 2022

Researchers used computed tomography (CT) scans to create virtual 3D reconstructions of the bodies of three mummified bodies from Chile and Peru to see how they died. One male was hit on the head and stabbed in the back. Another looks to have been hit hard in the neck dislocating his head. Their skeletons would not have told of these factors. The mummies were preserved in very dry desert environments. The mummies were dated to as far back as 1,200 years ago. One was buried with his fishing tools. The other two were buried with woven cotton and hair from llamas. The female died from natural causes.

The study is published in Frontiers in Medicine. 

Live Science has the report here:

A New Elaborate Tomb Has Been Uncovered at the Pacopampa site in Peru

October 20, 2022

A possible tomb of a religious leader has been uncovered at the Pacopampa site in Peru dating to 1000 CE. He died at age 25-35 years of age. He was buried with musical instruments and exotic artifacts. The tomb was sealed with a huge rock weighing half a ton. In the tomb, archaeologists found seashell necklaces, malachite beads, and semi-precious stone earmuffs. And they also found pututos or shell trumpets. Strums snails were found imported from far away Ecuador.

The Pacopampa complex has 12 sites within it of great importance. The tombs in the complex are dated to 2,900 years ago.

Ancient Origins has the report here with photos and a video:

76 More Child Sacrifices Uncovered at the Chimu Site of Pampa La Cruz in Peru

October 20, 2022

Seventy-six more child sacrifices uncovered at the Chimu site of Pampa La Cruz with their hearts removed. All had a transversal clean cut across the sternum to open their rib cages to remove their hearts. They were buried on top of an artificial mound. So far, 323 child sacrifices have been found there, and 137 child and 3 adult sacrifices at the nearby site of Las Llamas, also with their hearts removed. They may find as many as 1,000 children. The earlier sacrifices found dated to 1100-1200 CE. The newly recovered 76 still have to be radiocarbon dated.

The Chimu built an artificial irrigation system and new agricultural fields nearby and may have sacrificed the children to sanctify these projects. El Niño may have played a role as the children may have been sacrificed to appease the gods during bad weather events.

Live Science has the report here:

Huge Hidden Chambers and Passageways Being Studied at the Chavín de Huántar Site in Peru

July 13, 2022

Archaeologists have found hidden passageways and galleries inside the Chavín de Huántar in Peru. These were probably used for religious rituals using psychedelic drugs. Sensory deprivation and religious chambers were in the larger galleries.

“These are stone-lined passageways, corridors, rooms, cells, and niches, big enough to walk through, roofed with stone beams.” Built in stages between 1200 BCE-200 BCE.

36 galleries and their associated passageways have now been found at Chavín de Huántar over 15 years of excavations. The latest network was detected only a few years ago and was not explored until this year. They were found in 2019. The complex was a center for the Chavin culture. The site is 10,000 feet high and the largest Chavin religious site.

Passageways led to a main gallery with two ritual stone bowls, one decorated as a condor. The two bowls were probably used to grind psychedelic drugs. 

There was a tradition in Chavín to inhale hallucinogenic snuff made from seed pods of the vilca tree, which contain a powerful hallucinogenic substance that includes dimethyltryptamine, or DMT.

Major excavations wil begin soon.

Live Science has the report here:

Remarkably Preserved Wooden Figure Found at the Site of Chan Chan in Peru

JULY 13, 2022

A perfectly preserved wooden figure has been uncovered at the Chimor culture Chan Chan site in Peru. Chan Chan is the largest mud brick city in the Americas dating to 850 CE-1470 CE.
At 1200 CE, 100,000 lived at the city.

The figure is 46 centimeters long and 16 centimeters high and represents a human figure with a trapezoid-shaped hat decorated with seven vertical stripes of alternating light and dark colors.
The nose protrudes from the plane of the face and the figure has almond-shaped eyes and circular ears with a black resin inside that would have served to affix mother-of-pearl plates.
The character appearing to be a porter who carried high priests, dignitaries, and sacred objects.
Its torso, arms, and hands appear to have been painted red, and dark circular spots can be seen on its chest. 

In addition, the character wears a triangular skirt, the edge of which is decorated with small rectangular bands, similar to those of the hat. Its legs are straight and its feet are set apart, and the fronts of them have been partially cut or broken off.

The Ministry of Culture also said that nectandra seeds were also recovered that would have formed a necklace (some have thread inserted), and under the sculpture a small black bag with brown and white thread decoration was recorded.

The report is in;

New Child Sacrifice Research in Peru

April 13, 2022

Researchers in Peru conducted toxicology tests on a hair strand and fingernails of two children and found they had been drugged during sacrificial rites. The remains are 500 years old. They were given ayahuasca and cocaine. The children were sacrificed to the gods to avert natural disasters. In this study. The children were sacrificed in the Ampato volcano.

The research is published in the Journal of Archaeological Science

Natureworldnews has the report here;

This practice was earlier reported with the discovery of three Inca mummies also found in a volcano in Argentina. Three girls aged 13 and younger were selected out for sacrifice a year before their deaths. Using biochemical analysis of the hair of the children showed consumption of coca and alcohol. The children were separated from their parents and put under the care of priestesses. They fed the children elite food like maize and llama meat. In the last 6-8 weeks of life, coca and alcohol use surged. Chewed coca leaves were found in the mouth of the 13 year old. The children were put into a stupor before their death. They were brought to a high altitude and buried with spondylus shells from the coast, feathered headdresses from the Amazon, figurines of gold and silver.

The study was published in the PNAS journal.

National Geographic published that report;

Ancient Sican culture surgeon’s tomb uncovered in Lambayeque

April 13, 2022

Archaeologists have uncovered the tomb of a Sican culture surgeon in the Lambayeque region of Peru. The surgeon was buried in a lotus flower position sitting cross legged. He was surrounded by knives, needles and tumis. The tomb is dated at 900-1,050 years old. The tomb was in a ceremonial temple. He wore a golden mask and he was a specialist in cranial trepanations. This procedure was done to remove hematomas and remove fractured skull pieces incurred in combat.

The tomb artifacts included a golden mask with feathered eyes, a bronze breastplate, and surgical instruments such as tumis or knives with a crescent-shaped edge (made of a mixture of gold and silver), dozens of knives with wooden handles, awls and needles. The bark of an unknown tree was found that would be one of the plant species used as an analgesic or infusion.

The tomb is in the Huaca Las Ventanas which began excavations in 2010-11. The Sican culture spanned 700-1375 CE. has the report here;

Trepanation in the Ancient Andes

April 13, 2022

Researchers in the Peruvian Andes have uncovered 1,000 year old skulls showing the practice of trepanation. 32 skulls were uncovered and gave evidence of 45 separate procedures, all the skulls of men. It was forbidden to do this on women or children. Trepanation began as a practice at 200-600 CE. The Peruvian surgeons evolved their practice with new drills, cutting and scraping tools. They studied on skulls of the dead. They can see that patients survived after this surgery since bone grew back after the procedure.

Research leader Danielle Kurin said, “We can see where the trepanations are. We can see that they’re shaving the hair. We see the black smudge of an herbal remedy they put over the wound.”  She used radiocarbon dating and insect casings to determine how long the bodies were left out before they were mummified, and multi-isotopic testing to reconstruct what they ate and where they were born.

The research is published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology

Smithsonian has there report here with a photo;

Ancient Peruvian Wari Queen Face Re-constructed

March 3, 2022

The Wari timeline stretched from the 7th to 12th century. A National Geographic team explored site in 2012. A team led by the University of Poland along with a Peruvian team found a passage through buried walls, Four women, including a queen and possible princesses. 54 other elite were also found.The excavations included finding a copper ceremonial ax and a silver goblet.

A forensic expert from Sweden has re-created the face of the queen who lived at the site of  El Castillo de Huarmey. They used a computed tomography (CT) scanner to make a virtual, 3D image of the skull. The data sent the digital data to a 3D printer, which made a replica of the skull in vinyl plastic. 

It’s important to know the person’s sex, age, weight and ethnicity — factors that influence the thickness of facial tissue

The report in Live Science states that forensic expert Nilsson knew the Huarmey Queen was at least 60 years old. Armed with that knowledge, he put 30 plastic pegs all over the queen’s replica skull. After this, he sculpted the face. This was made from the ‘inside out,’ muscle by muscle.” He used plasticine clay to sculpt the muscles, relying on methods that help forensic artists reliably rebuild a person’s eyes, nose and mouth. “The ears are more speculative,” he said.

Next, he covered the muscles with a layer of skin. “Details, wrinkles and poresare sculpted to get it [to be] realistic,” he said. “When I’m finished sculpting the face, I make a mold, in which I then cast the face in silicone. In this way, I can get it very realistic.  Nilsson used prosthetic eyes in the reconstruction, as well as real human hair that he inserted, strand by strand, into the silicon scalp. “We actually used Peruvian human hair, bought in Peru by the Polish archeological team,” he noted. He even gave the royal woman metal earrings with a golden and worn patina. “They are an exact replica of her actual earrings, found in her tomb,” he said. Nilsson spent 220 hours on the queen’s reconstruction.  She looks wise [and] experienced, as well as a bit tired and maybe sad, or thoughtful,” The technique Nilsson used to re-create the ancient queen’s likeness is also used by law-enforcement agencies when a victim cannot be identified. About 70 percent of these cases are solved once a reconstruction is made, he said. “It is not a portrait of the deceased, but you get a good image of what the face looked like.” The Wari queen’s reconstruction is now on display in a new Peruvian exhibit at the National Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw, Poland.

Live Science has the report here;

Sacrificed Children Uncoverered at the ancient Peru site of Cajamarquilla

March 3, 2022

Archaeologists in Peru, at the site of Cajamarquilla have found six mummified children and 14 others sacrificed to accompany a dead nobleman to the afterlife in a tomb. The children were wrapped in a tight cloth. They were likely sacrificed for a nobleman. They were placed at the entrances to the tomb on top of each other. Cajamarquilla was built of mud beginning in 200 BCE and occupied till 1500 CE. The mummies were buried around 1,200 years ago. Buried llamas and earthenware has also been found in the tomb

The nobleman was about 20 years old, buried with his hands covering his face and tied up with rope.

CBS News has the report here:

New Discovery of White Pigment in Ancient Peru Changes the History of Color

March 3, 2022

1908, a lab in Niagara Falls invented a white pigment that is found in everything from plastic to pills. It is made from the chemical titanium dioxide.

In 2018, researchers in the United States discovered titanium white in 400-plus-year-old ceremonial wooden drinking cups made by the Inca and residing today in various museums. Carved with elaborate geometrical designs, the cups, called qeros, traditionally were not colored. But around the time of the Spanish conquest of Peru in 1530, the Inca started mixing pigments, including titanium white, into resin and decorating qeros with the bright goo.

How did the Inca jump 400 years into the future? There is a deposit, the Giacomo Deposit, at the Chile/Peru border that contains titanium dioxide and silica. The qeros in the museums look like the deposits at Giacomo. This has re-written the history of color.

Smithsonian has the report here;

Chincha of Ancient Peru Threaded the Spines of Their Dead

March 3, 2022

Spanish invaders in ancient Peru looted burials to take out gold and silver from the textiles that wrapped the bodies of the dead. Local Chincha people then tried to put the bodies of their dead back together.

The Chincha were a wealthy society of 30,000 people that included fishers and farmers, known as sea-faring merchants.

Researchers have found human vertebrae carefully threaded on to reed posts in the Chincha valley of Peru. 200 found so far. Radio carbon dates show the individuals died between 1520-1550.
It is plausible the action was a response to colonial looting, but many Andean societies revisited the remains of their dead which periodically brought out their mummies and gave them drinks before returning them to their tombs.

The research was published in the Journal Antiquity

Ancient Andean Use of Hallucinogenics

January 27, 2022

Archaeologists are researching the site of  Quilcapampa built by the Wari culture in Peru (550-1000 CE), occupied between 800-850 CE. They found a pit with a million seeds of Schinus molle: Peruvian pepper used to make a beer like drink, chicha. In another post they found seeds from the Vilca tree which are hallucinogenic in nature. Drinking chicha with this substance would provide a controlled and mild hallucinogenic high. Taken without the chicha gives one the impression of flying. This hallucinogen was widely used in Andean cultures.

Wari leaders probably used this experience to guests to solidify bonds between groups in the area.

The research is published in Antiquity, DOI: 10.15184/aqy.2021.177

newscientist has the report here;

LIDAR uncovers new structures near Machu Picchu

January 27, 2022

Researchers using LIDAR at the site of Machu Picchu in Peru at the nearby site of Chachabamba, where elite groups had to stop to purify themselves in a sacred bath before entering Machu Picchu, have uncovered 12 structures, and stone channels, some underground, supplied water to people in the area. They are able to map how the water was channeled to the sacred baths.

The scientists used a type of remote-sensing technology known as light detection and ranging, or lidar, which bounces laser pulses off surfaces to detect features and map their contours. 

The team from Wroclaw University of Science and Technology in Poland and Peru’s Ministry of Culture used drones with LIDAR to peer through the forest canopy. The researchers will return to the area after COVID subsides in the region.

The research is published in the Journal of Archaeological Science. 

NBC News has the report here;

Researchers studying ancient Peruvian skull with a metal implant

January 27, 2022

Archaeologists have found a 2,000 year old skull bound by metal in Peru. The skull was of an ancient Peruvian warrior. The skull is at the Museum of Osteology in Oklahoma. Ancient Peruvian surgeons carried out this surgery on a badly wounded warrior. They used a metal alloy that is made of material that is unknown. 

The metal tightly bound the broken skull bones together. Often silver and gold was used for this kind of procedure. has the report here;

New DNA studies of 2,000 Year Old Mummies in South America

December 28, 2021

Scientists have recovered DNA from the skin cells on the scalp and clothes of 2,000 year old  mummies from Argentina, Chile, and Ecuador. Female lice deposit eggs in the hair of the mummies and the mummy skin cells become incased in the cement produced by the female lice. The skin cells can also elicit information about how people lived and died 2,000 years ago run South America.

These nit samples are as concentrated as DNA samples from teeth, double that of human bones, and four times as much as blood. Their health and even cause of death can be indicated by the interpretation of the biology of the nits. The University of Reading did the initial research.

The story is reported in Heritage Daily;

Mass Grave of Textile Artists Uncovered at Chan Chan

December 28, 2021

Archaeologists at the ancient Chimu site of Chan Chan in Peru have uncovered a mass grave with mostly women, a few children and teens buried there. They were textile artists. They were surrounded by textile tools, needles, spindles and chalk. They were buried in a seated position with legs bent, and most aged under 30. But the average life expectancy was 40. These were elite people buried here.
They were wrapped in cotton and a fabric made from plant tissue.

It is not known yet how these people died. The burial place contained people who died at different times. Some of the remains were brought from a different burial group. 

The report is here at Live Science

Strange Ancient Burials at El Rayo in Nicaragua

December 28, 2021

Archaeologists at the site of El Rayo in Nicaragua uncovered a strange gravesite with two bodies and three heads that did not belong to either body. One body was laying on its belly and was only the bottom half of the body. One looks to be a teenager with one skill in a bowl at its feet, and another skull in another pot. The three skulls were lined up on top of the bodies. Nicaraguans may be from Mesoamerica or from further south in Columbia. Or distinct people. The pottery with the heads were vessels for cacao mixtures.

There are other burial sites in Nicaragua with heads in pots. Perhaps the younger one was faced down to enter the afterlife. Both were lying on a bed of pottery sherds. Nearby was a long red stone blade. Were the bodies and skulls relatives? Was headhunting involved. Or were these bodies and skulls buried at different times. Researchers will study the heads for ethnic differences or different tribes. Trophy heads have been found in other parts of Nicaragua.

Haaretz has the report here

Complex Roped Mummy Found at the Cajamarquilla archaeological site near Lima 

December 28, 2021

Archaeologists at the Cajamarquilla archaeological site near Lima have uncovered a mummy fully bound in ropes with its hands covering its face. It dates to 1,200 CE. The site is being threatened by urban sprawl. The mummified individual lived high in the Andes 600 years before the rise of the Incas. The tomb in which the mummy was buried has stone tools, ceramic pots with vegetable matter. The area was multi-ethnic.

The Daily Mail has the report with many photos and a video.

The Oldest Adobe Structures in Peru Uncovered

November 27, 2021

Archaeologists in Peru have uncovered monumental adobe structures At the Los Moteros site in the desert region of the northern coast or Peru. The structures are dated to 5,100-5,500 years ago. Carol-Supe culture structures. This was the starting point for the evolution of complex adobe construction in Peru stretching over thousands of years. The Los Moteros structures were found by radar. And only adobe was used with no additions for stability. The clay deposits were in a place probably created by El Niño flooding.

Radar was used to detect an underground structure at the Los Morteros archaeological site measuring 10 meters (33 feet) long, seven meters wide and two meters tall. After it was unearthed, Mauricio and her colleagues were astounded to see that the walls were made of adobe, which was unprecedented for that era.

The archaeologists observed that the adobe bricks were made exclusively of clay and that no other material had been mixed in to provide greater stability, a clear indication that the architectural technique was in its very early stages.

An analysis of the bricks’ composition also showed that the adobes were cut from natural clay deposits located near the mouth of the Chao River and likely created by El Niño flooding.

The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)

La Prensa has the report here

Archaeologist at Coral Find Proof of Major Structures at Caral Were Astronomically Oriented

November 27, 2021

Archaeologists in Peru have found that the Caral civilization of ancient Peru, from 5,000 years ago, used astronomical calculations to build its most important structures. They studied 55 structures at 10 sites and found three orientations. “One toward the so-called major lunar standstill (when the moon’s range of declination reaches a maximum) and another toward sunrise in the summer solstice, which in the Southern Hemisphere occurs in December.”

“A third, weaker orientation was toward the rising of Sirius, the brightest star at night in the Southern Hemisphere.”

“It is not by chance that during every summer solstice the first rays of the sun enter through the stairs of the Caral Archaeological Site’s central pyramid and traverse its main hall through its niches. It’s very likely that a person had been on top of the buildings as the main point of observation to monitor both sunrises and sunsets, in the case of the solstices,”

The summer solstice is the start of the harvest period. The lunar standoff though only occurs every 18.6 years. 

The Caral inhabitants built an underground observatory for the person to work at night under a covered area.

The research is in Latin American Antiquity Journal

La Prensa has the report here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News on WordPress

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Peru (5000 BC-600 BC)

Combined Wari/Moche Mass Tomb found in Peru

October 29, 2021

Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of 29 people, including three children, in northern Peru.The skeletons date to 1,000 CE in the site Huaca Santa Rosa de Pucala. Three children and a teen were buried in front of the temple, indicating they were human sacrifices from the War culture. This discovery is far from the Wari sphere of influence. The Wari culture dates are 600-1200 CE in the Peruvian Andes. The tomb was constructed between 800-900 CE.

25 of the dead are from the Moche culture and four from the Wari culture. The Moche era was 100-700 CE on the northern Peruvian coast. The Moche burials were in clay tombs. Pottery and llamas, alpacas, guinea pigs were also in the tombs

Archaeology News Network has the report here:

Mike Ruggeri’s Moche/Wari Era Cultures

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New Research on a Sican Gold Mask with Red Paint

October 30, 2021

In the early 1990’s, the Sican Archaeological project unearthed a tomb containing a 1,000 year old gold mask covered in red paint. It was affixed to a severed head. And the skeletal remains of this man was also sprinkled with the same red paint. Four skeletons and more gold artifacts were also in the tomb. The man in question was a bent at the waist and placed upside down. Two of the other four skeletons were women arranged in birthing and mid-wife positions. Tow others were children in a crouching position. Researchers said the red paint on the male was cinnabar.

Oxford researchers recently performed a chemical analysis of the red paint using mass spectrometry. The paint had jot degraded after 1,000 years. The scientific analysis found organic material was mixed in to the red paint. The proteins unveiled found that it came from human blood and the egg whites of a Muscovy duck common to the region. The skulls face was pointing upward possibly in expecting re-birth while the two women were waiting for a re-birth. The red blood was added to the cinnabar implying an animating feature. The Sican practiced human sacrifice in very grisly ways. So finding blood in the paint would not be surprising. It is possible the women and children in the tomb were sacrificed to act as companions in the next world.

The research is published in the ACS Journal of Proteome Research
Izumi Shimada, the head of the Sicán Archaeological Project, was instrumental in this project.

LiveScience has the report here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News on WordPress

Mike Ruggeri’s Sican/Chimu Era Peru

Fascinating Gold and Emerald Find in Columbia

September 29, 2021

Fascinating Gold and Emerald Find in Columbia

Archaeologists in Colombia have found eight ceramic jars, with metallic figurines and emeralds inside a temple and its adjacent graves.

The Muisca (also called the Chibcha) crafted the jars called “ofrendatarios” 600 years ago. Their work may have inspired the legend of El Dorado — a legendary city made of gold.

Archaeologists uncovered the temple and graves in the remains of an ancient Muisca town located near Bogotá, A team led by archaeologist Francisco Correa, an archaeologist who conducts excavations prior to construction work, found the ofrendatarios prior to road construction in the area.

Some of the figurines look like snakes and other animals, while others look more like people with headdresses, staffs and weapons. The temple where the ofrendatarios were found may be related to ancestor worship.

Ofrendatarios like these have been found at other ancient Muisca sites.

They also be related to deities worshipped by the Muisca.

The Muisca were experts in metal crafting. There were no gold mines nearby, so the ancient Muisca traded for the metal with other groups.

Live Science has the report here with fascinating photos:

Ancient Parrot and Macaw Remains Found in the Atacama Desert of Chile

July 20, 2021.

In the driest desert in the world, the Atacama desert of Chile, archaeologists have found that parrots and macaws were imported there from 1100-1450 CE.. Feathers were found in burials, leather boxes and other material. They also found mummified birds. The birds had to be transported across steppes, cold weather, difficult terrain. 
The team found 27 remains of Scarlet Macaws and Amazon parrots

Using zooarchaeological analysis, isotopic dietary reconstruction, radiocarbon dating and ancient DNA testing, the research cataloged scarlet macaws and at least five other parrot species that were transported from over 300 miles away in the eastern Amazon. Their feathers were plucked as they grew them. The mummified birds had their mouths open and tongues out or had their wings spread.

The birds ate the same food as humans enriched with the nitrogen from maize fertilized with marine bird manure. They were brought by llama caravans across the Andes and the desert. Difficult for the llamas to traverse.

Reference: “Pre-Columbian transregional captive rearing of Amazonian parrots in the Atacama Desert” by José M. Capriles, Calogero M. Santoro, Richard J. George, Eliana Flores Bedregal, Douglas J. Kennett, Logan Kistler and Francisco Rothhammer, 29 March 2021, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2020020118

scitechdaily has the report here;

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Giant Building Discovered Under the Monte Alban Main Plaza

December 12, 2020

Researchers at Monte Alban, Oaxaca have discovered an ancient building under the main plaza there. The team that made the discovery was led by Dr. Marc Levine, assistant curator of archaeology at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History and assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences.

The team used drones to digitally map the main plaza, three geophysical prospection techniques — ground-penetrating radar, electrical resistance and gradiometry and high resolution 3-D images to uncover the large building for buildings. The team will spend the next two years analyzing the data.

The buried structure is 18 meters on a side and 30 meters below the surface, with stone walls a meter thick. The style resembles stone temples excavated in the 1930’s

The project was supported by the National Geographic Society, OU and the Sam Noble Museum. Others involved in the research include Scott Hammerstedt, research faculty at the Oklahoma Archeological Survey; Amanda Regnier, director of the Oklahoma Archeological Survey; Marcus Winter from the Oaxaca center of the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia; and Alex Elvis Badillo from Indiana State University. Detailed results of this project are published in the journal Latin American Antiquity.

Dr. Levine sent me a .pdf of his research report but our server cannot process these kinds of attachments for virus protection and band width reasons. I will ask him if he can send his research as a URL. It is in Latin American Antiquity,

Sam Noble Museum has the report here;

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Great Rock Art Discovery made in the Columbian Amazon

December 5th, 2020

Great Rock Art Discovery made in the Columbian Amazon

A groundbreaking discovery of ancient rock art in the Amazon rain forest of Columbia has led to observers calling this the Sistine Chapel of the Ancients.

Tens of thousands of paintings of animals and humans created at 10,500 BCE stretch eight miles on cliff faces. Depictions of now extinct animals like the mastodon, camelids, giant sloths, ice age horses tell us the date of these paintings. This discovery will take generations to study.

The discovery was made by a British-Colombian team, funded by the European Research Council. Its leader is José Iriarte, professor of archaeology at Exeter University and a leading expert on the Amazon and pre-Columbian history.

The images include fish, turtles, lizards and birds, as well as people dancing and holding hands, among other scenes. One figure wears a mask resembling a bird with a beak.

Many of the images are high up, some so high they could only be reached by drones. There are depictions of wooden towers among the paintings.

Many of these large animals appear surrounded by small men with their arms raised, almost worshipping these animals. Hallucinogenic plants are also portrayed.

Remains of the Ice Age meals of the inhabitants were also found at the site.

Some of the animals depicted could not have lived in the jungle, so the area must have been savanna like at that date.

There are many more paintings to be discovered there and will be explored when Covid is gone.

You can see this discovery on the Lost Kingdoms of the Amazon series. It is covered in episode 2 on Amazon on December 12.

The Guardian has the story here with many photos;

And here is a short You Tube video of the discovery.

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Mummified Llamas Uncovered at Tambo Viejo, Peru

November 20, 2020

University of Calgary and University of Huamanga researchers have uncovered the first known ‘naturally mummified’ remains of llamas. They were sacrificed at 1500 CE and had sacrificial markings.

They appear to have been buried alive. The Incas saw this kind of sacrifice as special offerings to the gods. Decorated guinea pigs were also found at the site as well as large ovens and tracings of feasts and celebrations. The animal sacrifice may have been an Inca ceremony to placate an annexed group. The graves were marked with tropical bird feathers.

Tambo Viejo was an Inca provincial center.

Archaeology News Network has the report here with many photos;

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An Important Inca Offering Found on a Reef Under Lake Titicaca

August 6, 2020

A llama carved from a spondylus shell and a cylindrical laminated gold foil object, dated at 1500 CE, were the contents of a Inca carved stone box found at the bottom of Lake Titicaca.

Divers found Inca offerings in earlier explorations in 1977 , and from 1988-1992 at the Koa reef. These new offerings were found at the K’akaya reef.

Researchers at the Université libre de Bruxelles have been investigating the reefs on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca. Lake Titicaca was a focal point for the Inca; a pilgrimage site, a place for alliances.

The lake is largely unexplored and there will be many more discoveries.

The research is published in Antiquity.

Penn State News has the report here with photos;

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Native Americans Mixed with Polynesians 1150-1230 CE

July 8, 2020

We have been looking for proof for a long time. Finally DNA evidence is found.

In the past, suspicions of this admixture were fueled by Polynesians cultivating a South American plant, the sweet potato. Long ago, Rapa Nui (Easter island) has evidence of ancient sweet potato fields, old stonework, and a Birdman cult that could be related to South America. Researchers studied DNA from 17 Pacific Island populations and 15 Native American populations from the Pacific coast of South America. A genome wide analysis of 807 people .was undertaken Several Polynesian populations have evidence of a background signature originating from South America. The Rapa Nui population has admixture from northern coastal people of South America. The same signatures were found in the Marquesas and Tuamotu Islands. The earliest signatures are dated to 1150 in the Marquesas and to Rapa Nui by 1380. The evidence points to Columbia as the place in South America where contact was made to Polynesians. This also suggests South Americans may have made it to some Polynesian islands before the Polynesians arrived.

It is possible Polynesian populations sailed to South America and returned to Polynesia with South Americans aboard or had mixed with South Americans before returning. More genetic studies will be made.

The early sweet potato plants have South American variations. And there may have been many contacts over this early phase.

DNA studies will be necessary to answer some of the remaining questions, and they should analyze living populations not included in the authors’ study, as well as DNA extracted from ancient bones. Nevertheless, Ioannidis and colleagues’ core findings have finally solved the mystery about a possible early Native South American physical presence in eastern Polynesia, and that is a great contribution. has the report here;

ScienceMag adds that the Native American signatures in the Eastern Islands have an identical short period, thus perhaps indicating a one time meeting rather than sustained contact. But Polynesians had the experience of long ocean voyages and could have visited many times to South America,

The NY Times adds that the evidence points to the Zenu people of Columbia was the possible group that made contact in Polynesia. Also Polynesians could have spent more time in coastal islands off of the South American coast. Mocha Island, off of the coast of Chile, has skulls that have been studied that look very Polynesian in shape.

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Americas News on Word Press

An Update on Hundreds of Newly Discovered Geoglyphs Older Than Nazca Being Discovered

July 8, 2020


Johny Isla, chief archaeologist for the Nazca and Palpa Lines for Peru’s ministry of culture, saw an image of a Nazca geoglyph in a German exhibit in 2014. He had never seen this glyph. It was of a killer whale deity, Using drones, he found the image 30 miles from Nazca. It depicts a mythological beast, part orca but with a human arm holding a trophy head and several more heads inside its body.
New drone research has now uncovered hundreds of such figures near Nazca which pre-date the Nazca lines by 1,500 years. They were created by the Paracas and Topará cultures between 500BC and AD200.

On one hillside, a warrior wearing a headdress and carrying a staff or spear stands close to a female figure. Between them is a mythological creature with a mass of tentacles or snakes. The figures are believed to symbolise fertility.

From the ground, the designs are now hard to see. But the drone’s eagle-eye reveals the full design on a monitor viewed by Castillo.

Photogrammetry is being utilized in the search. This is a highly detailed three-dimensional mapping of large areas. While the team have discovered hundreds of geoglyphs in Palpa, Castillo expects to find many more. “We’ve registered maybe just 5% of what there is,” he says.

The Guardian has the story here, with photos;

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Mike Ruggeri’s Nazca Era Peru

Large Ancient Andean Genome Study

May 15, 2020

Harvard and U.of C, Santa Cruz researchers, and researchers from Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Chile, Germany, Peru, the United Kingdom and the United States, undertook a genome study of 89 Ancient Andeans who lived between 500-9000 years ago, including the Moche, Nasca, Wari, Tiwanaku and Inca. They found that groups in the Andean highlands became genetically distinct from those along the Pacific Coast. North and South groups differentiated from each other 5,800 years ago.

They found genetic mixing between the Andes, south Peru, Argentina, and the Amazon. This demonstrates large migrations. Now they need to find out more about those migrations. There was genetic continuity among large scale Andean populations like the Moche Wari, and Nasca, so invading military forces did not alter the genetics of the population.

The research is published in the Journal Cell has the report here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News on Wordpress

The Rise and Fall of the Wari Complex of Cerro Baul in Peru

September 23, 2020

1,400 years ago, Wari colonists arrived in the Moquegua Valley in southern Peru. They occupied high dry land no one had used. They built a regional capital at the site of Cerro Baul, where they built large government structures and erected canals and aqueducts that carried water further than anyone had ever attempted. They carved mountain slopes into agricultural terraces, which captured rain and snowmelt to plots of maize, quinoa, berries to make beer. People moved there to create a large labor force.

Archaeologist Patrick Ryan Williams of the Field Museum calls the Wari strategy “conquest by hydraulic superiority.

Despite the Wari very violent aggression in other areas of Peru, they built a multi-ethnic society of relative peace in the Cerro Baul area for 400 years. Wari, Tiwanaku and local communities lived together from 600-1000 CE. Each culture maintained its own styles of pottery, architecture, temples and burials.

A huge earthquake destroyed the aqueduct system around 900 CE, and its appears the Wari had a hard time getting a work force to fix the damage completely. And then an extreme drought took place at a time that the aqueduct system was weaker. At 1050, the Cerro Baul structures were abandoned, and in a huge end times feast, rooms were burned, a brewery was destroyed, and smashed drinking vessels were placed on top.

Science Magazine has the detailed report of an international team of archaeologists here;

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A Massive Pyramidal Structure Uncovered in Peru

December 24, 2019

A massive pyramidal structure has been uncovered at the Sechin Archaeological Project dating back to 3000 BCE. The archaeologists dug deep and found a series of steps that may have served as the seat of government of the ancient Sechin culture. They also found two skulls of an adult and child and a dismembered skeleton. There is an adobe wall at the top of the steps with the ancient fingerprints of the builders made when they put their fingers into the wet clay of the bricks.

Ancient Origins has th3e story with photos here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Oldest Andean Cultures

3000 Year Old Water Temple uncovered in Peru

December 3, 2019

A 3,000-year-old ‘water cult’ temple used for fertility rituals has been discovered in Peru in the Lambayeque region by a team of Peruvian archaeologists led by the famed Walter Alva. The tempo includes large blocks and a central staircase. It is located in the springs of the Zana valley and has holes similar to other water cult sites.

Huge walls surround the temple.

There are 21 tombs there dating to 1500 BCE-292 CE. Ceramics and metal object including knives. The tombs were re-used by the Inca in a later era.

The temple’s age is in the formative period predates major hydraulic works. It is located between rivers and there are small wells shows that this site is one where water is shown to be of great importance in the Formative period. The temple was abandoned by 250 BCE. After the Chimu culture used it as a burial place around 1300 CE.

20 of the burials were from the Chimu era. There was one Formative era burial buried east to west and with a ceramic bottle with two spouts and a bridge handle that was a Formative era style

It was built in three stages; 1500-800 BCE the foundations were built. 800 BCE-400 BCE the temple was built with Chavin influences. 400-100 BCE circular columns used to hold up the roof.

The reports are found in the Daily Mail and Live Science with lots of photos in each report;

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143 New Nazca Geoglyphs Found

November 17, 2019

Japanese archaeologists have found 143 new Nazca geoglyphs dated at 300-100 BCE, some so large, they can only be seen from the air. They have been working on this since 2004. The geoglyphs were created by removing the black stones of the top soil to expose the white sand below. The team used high resolution satellite images along with fieldwork. The oldest geoglyphs are from 16 feet to 165 feet. The newer ones are 300 feet on average.

The larger ones are often animals and are placed at ritual sites it is thought. Various pottery were destroyed in the ritual. The smaller ones are on paths that could have been way posts for travelers to got toward the larger geoglyphs, for ritual activity.

IBM developed an AI device running a geospatial analytics system on the IBM Watson Machine Learning Accelerator (WMLA), which sifted through huge volumes of drone and satellite imagery, to see if it could spot any hidden markings bearing a relation to the Nazca lines. This machinery will be in use into the future.

The Yamagata University website has info here;

And Science Alert has the report here, with photos and a video;

And more photos at The Daily Mail;

Mike Ruggeri’s Nazca Era Peru

Children Buried with Human Skull Helmets Uncovered in Ecuador

November 17, 2019

Archaeologists in Ecuador have found two babies buried with helmets made from the skulls of other children. They are dated to 100 BCE. They were part of the Guangala culture. The same grave complex uncovered 11 individuals buried with shells and stone ancestor figurines. This may have been an attempt to protect the unsocialized very young children’s souls, and the stoned ancestor figurines may also have been protective devices. Further analysis of the skulls are being carried out to find out more about these individuals. Anemia has been detected in all of the skulls.

Forbes has the report here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News on WordPress

LIDAR Expands Our Understanding of an Ancient Peruvian Site near Machu Picchu that is Larger and Older than Machu Picchu

November 13, 2019

Archaeologists have expanded our knowledge of an Inca site in the area of Machu Picchu that is older than that site. They enhanced our view of the site using LIDAR. The site is at 13,000 feet, 5000 feet higher than Machu Picchu. The site was known to archaeologists investigating on the ground, but LIDAR allowed researchers to see never before known features. LIDAR allowed researchers to see Inca terracing and circular structures that began in the pre-Inca era that the Inca expanded upon, and the site is larger than Machu Picchu.

Express UK has the story here with many photos and a video;

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Ancient Chimu Striking Elite Burial

September 14, 2019

Archaeologists at the site of Pampa la Cruz in Peru have uncovered an elite Chimu individual buried with clothes made of exotic bird feathers over his head and body. A poncho like tabard was made of red and yellow feathers, and a headdress made of blue, white, green, black, and yellow feathers. The individual was buried in a squatting position similar to one found earlier with the same exotic feathers.

Andina has the report here with many photos;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News

Mike Ruggeri’s Sican/Chimu Era Cultures

Update on Archaeologists Uncover Ancient Andean Massive Child Sacrifice

September 5, 2019

140 children and 200 Llamas were ritually sacrificed by the Chimu culture of the Ancient Andes, at the Huanchaquito-Las Llamas Site, dated to 1400 CE. Most of the children were between 5-14 years of age, and of both sexes. The site is a half mile from the huge Chimu site of Chan Chan. An earlier dig in 2011 uncovered an earlier mass child sacrifice of 42 children and 76 llamas. The dig continued at this site, and by 2016, the 140 child sacrifices were uncovered.

The children had red cinnabar on their faces, their chests were cut open to remove their hearts. A man and two women were sacrificed close by, by means of blunt force trauma. All were killed at a single event. The sacrificed were brought to the site from all over the Chimu empire. The cuts to the bodies indicate they were all killed by trained hands.

The sacrifice may have been an attempt to ward off the effects of El Nino.

Research on the victims will be ongoing at the site. There are other sacrifices of children and llamas in other areas. And this find may be just the tip of the iceberg according to the researchers.

National Geographic has the follow up report here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News

Mike Ruggeri’s Sican/Chimu Era Cultures

New Research on Inca Trophy Heads

September 2, 2019

New Research on Inca Trophy Heads

Chilean archaeologists have researched four severed skulls from the late Inca era (1476-1534) which were buried in isolation with trash and without their bodies, at the site of Iglesia Colorada, in northern Chile. The skulls were modified with orifices in the cranium vault and defleshed mandibles. They look to have been mounted as trophy skulls as a ritualistic display of power over local subjects in their empire. The Inca mined copper in the area.

The skulls were found in 2003. Three of the skulls were females and one child. Five other skulls were found at the site. These may represent new ideological tools of control. The site was on the periphery of the Inca empire. Perhaps there was a rebellion there. The Inca may have been targeting weaker members, women and children, to preserve their male labor pool.

The findings are reported in Latin American Antiquity.

Science Alert has the report here;

The Daily Mail has good photos and illustrations of the research;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Americas News on WordPress

1,800 BCE Mural Uncovered at the Site of Vichama in Peru (Caral Civilization Site)

August 25, 2019

Archaeologists have uncovered a mural depicting a toad wrapping its hands around a human face at the site of Vichama in Peru. Archaeologist Ruth Shady explains the toad is a symbol for rain, and the aura,l suggests it is a prayer for rain. The mural may announce the coming of rain. The mural dates to 1,800 BCE.

Last year, in the same structure, other wall carvings were found at the entry to a ceremonial hall. The bas relief mural depicts four human heads with their eyes-closed and two snakes passing between and around them. These two snakes have their heads pointing at the image of what DW describes as “a humanoid seed symbol that is digging into the soil. These also depict the asking for the coming of rain, since the snake carvings may representations of a rain bearing water deity.

Vichama is 68 miles from Lima. The site existed at 3000-1800 BCE. Excavations started there in 2007. Murals representing the high status of women at the siren have also been uncovered.

Vichama is a site connected to the Caral/Norte Chico civilization. The site of Caral dates back to 3,000 BCE

Ancient Origins has the richly detailed report here with photos;

Mike Ruggeri’s Oldest Andean Cultures

July 28, 2017

Unknown 5000 BCE South American Culture May Have Been Unearthed

Archaeologists at the Real Alto site in Ecuador found ceramic vessel shards dating to 4640-4460 BCE. This corresponds with the Valdivia period. The vessels are from the San Pedro complex, which differ in decoration and the application of the decorations. This may be from an unknown culture contemporaneous with Valdivia, which is on the Pacific coast of Ecuador. Further excavations will take place,

The research was published in the journal Antiquity.

Eurkalert has the report here with a photo;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Peru (5000 BC-600 BC)

Mike Ruggeri’s Norte Chico (Peru) World Magazine

July 7, 2019

Mochica Elite Female Unearthed at Lambayeque, Peru

The body was found at the site of Huaca Santa Rosa de Pucala in Lambayeque. The body dates to 900-1000 CE. The body was in an adobe walled chamber with a roof held up by carob beams, and it contained 204 pots, metal objects, decorated face neck jars, and a male companion. It is in the Mochica style despite being past the time of the Moche. This is a surprising feature.

Archaeology News network has the short report here with good photos;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News Magazine

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May 31, 2019

Three Ancient Andean Short Reports

Restored Ceramics Shed Light on the Wari Civilization of Peru

45 restored ceramics found at the Wari site of Ayachcho in Peru reveal the Wari civilization is linked to the Nazca and Huarpa cultures. The ceramics show coastal animals and marine products similar to the designs on Nazca ceramics. The Wari often destroyed their ceramics as part of Wari rituals. The ceramics also show influence from the little known culture of the Huarpa

Archaeology News Network has the report here;

Ancient Pachacamac Cemetery Uncovered in Peru

An ancient cemetery has been discovered at the site of Pachacamac in Peru. A cluster of burials in foetal positions mummified in plant materials, nets and textiles were uncovered in deep pits sunk  into the sand, with ceramics and other offerings, then covered in wood and rushwork roofs. The interred had fractures, bad backs and hips, TB, syphilis, serious bone breaks. The injuries had healed, so they were being cared for.

The later invading Incas carried out targeted attacks on the dead, removing their heads as an example of grave defilement.

Archaeology News Network has the report here.

Ancient Wari Beer Breweries Uncovered in Peru

Field Museum of Chicago archaeologists working at the Wari culture (350-1000 CE) site of Cerro Baul found a brewery and drinking vessels for the production and consumption of Chicha, a beer fermented from corn and pepper berries, that had to be drank swiftly before it went bad. Chicha was used at rituals to diplomatically unite communities in the Wari realm, and helped keep the peace.

They analyzed pieces of ceramic beer vessels, heated them to study the molecules, shooting a laser at a shard of a beer vessel to remove a tiny bit of material, and then heating that dust to the temperature of the surface of the sun to break down the molecules that make it up. This told them where there the clay came from and what the beer was made from. Pepper berries could survive droughts. The drinking vessels were tall and decorated to look like Wari gods and leaders.

When the Wari empire began to come apart, they set fire to their breweries and covered them with sand.

The Daily Mail has the report here with photos;

May 25, 2019

Cooking Pot with Llamas Head and Many Ingredients Uncovered at a Moche Site in Peru

Archaeologists working at the Moche site of Wasi Huachuma, dating to 600-850 CE, found a cooking pot under a house floor which contained portions of llamas face, guinea pig, maize, common beans, squash, potato, and chili pepper were found, along with crabs, flathead mullet, and the plant coca. The pot looks like a dedicatory offering which tie together all of the geographic and environmental regions accessed by the Moche. The entirety of Moche culinary knowledge is found in the pot.

The research is published in the Cambridge Archaeological Journal

Forbes has the report here;

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Mike Ruggeri’s Moche/Wari Era Peru

May 12, 2019

Ancient Metallurgist Buried with Bronze Tools Uncovered in Peru

An Archaeologist at a Wari site at Huarmey, Peru was examining a ceremonial square and fell into a hole which contained the tomb of a 1,200-year-old metallurgist wrapped in a textile covering. Further excavations found that the tomb also contained a dozen tools, most of them bronze; a saw, axe, knives, chisel. The bronze was a copper alloy with arsenic. That made the tools harder. They also uncovered an obsidian knife, rare in Wari culture, imported from afar.

The tools show a lot of wear indicating that the deceased man was a professional metallurgist. Slag found in the tomb was probably placed there to indicate his trade. The tomb was located at the bottom of a mountain, the top of which was a tomb excavated by the same team from Poland in 2012 that contained 64 individuals and 1200 rich artifacts dating to the 8th century.

The History Blog has the story here with photos;

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Mike Ruggeri’s Moche/Wari Era Peru

May 11, 2019

Archaeologists Find Oldest Proof of Ayahuasca use in Bolivia

Archaeologists have found traces of the powerful hallucinogen ayahuasca in a pouch of three fox snouts sewn together dated at 1000 CE in a cave, at the Cuevo del Chileno project, in the Bolivian Andes.  The traces of the drug were made up of different medicinal plants mixed together to create ayahuasca. Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry — turned up trace amounts of bufotenine, DMT, harmine, cocaine and benzoylecgonine. Various combinations of these substances produce powerful, mind-altering hallucinations.

The pouch was found at 13,000 feet elevation and was an artifact of the Tiwanaku civilization (550-950 CE). The drug kit included a snuffing tube made from human hair braids, llama bone spatulas, a textile strip, and dried plant material. The plants in the bundle do not come from that region, so perhaps a traveling shaman or an expert trader  in these substances brought them to the region.

The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. has the report here with photos;

Mike Ruggeri’s Moche/Wari Era Peru

May 2, 2019

Update on the Oldest Mummies in the World in Peru

CNN has a report on the oldest mummies in the world, the Chinchorro mummies of Peru, which date back to 5000 BCE, 2000 years older than the Egyptian mummies. They hope for UNESCO status, and the building of a new wing of an area museum to display the mummies.

CNN has the report here;

And Wikipedia has a very detailed article on these mummies;

Mike Ruggeri’s Norte Chico (Peru) World Magazine

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Peru (5000 BC-600 BC)

April 16, 2019

Ritually Sacrificed and Adorned Guinea Pigs Uncovered at an Inca Site in Peru

100 ritually sacrificed guinea pigs dressed in jewelry and wrapped in tiny rugs have been found at the Inca site of Tambo Viejor in southern Peru. They are dated at 1600 CE. The remains were found next to a plaza and buried under buildings. This is the first find of adorned guinea pigs. They appear to have been killed by asphyxiation, probably buried alive.

Archaeology News Network has the report with photos here;

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April 11, 2019

Rich Trove of Tiwanaku Artifacts Uncovered in Lake Titicaca, Bolivia

Archaeologists in Bolivia have unearthed Tiwanaku culture artifacts from Lake Titicaca dating to the 8th-10th centuries.  Puma-shaped incense burners, gold, shell, and stone ornaments, and sacrificed juvenile llamas, stone miniatures, a ray-faced deity, pottery puma incense burners, a lapis lazuli puma figurine and other miniature stone animals, engraved sheets, a medallion, and an L-shaped piece marked with puma and condor silhouettes. Perforated gold leaves still attached to fragments of leather may have been used to make ear tassels and other regalia to dress young llamas killed in the ancient ceremonies.

Tiwanaku elites boated out to a reef and sacrificed the young llamas decorated for death, and made these offerings Tiwanaku culture spanned the 5th-12th centuries CE. The artifacts are of exceptional quality because of the way the underwater ecology preserved the artifacts.

The research is published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

The Guardian has the report here with photos;

More photos in the Daily Mail here;

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March 17, 2019

More On Three Rich Moche Tombs Uncovered in Peru

Archaeologists have uncovered three elite Moche tombs at the Huaca of El Pueblo de Ucupe in Peru. They date to 600 CE. In the first grave, there is one adult, probably female, and one child. Their burial bundles were covered with cinnabar which had ritual significance for the Moche. Grave goods include copper crowns, head/hairbands and breastplates and several ceramic objects. One of them depicts a snail, another a man sitting on a throne, the third an explicit erotic scene.

In the 2nd tomb, an adult male, garbed in copper plate with copper crowns and headbands and more than 50 pottery vessels  was buried next to a llama

In the 3rd tomb there is an adult male with a crown, two headbands, a plate dress, two earplugs, a nosepiece, two clubs, two banners and a funerary mask similar to the one found in the Lord of Ucupe’s tomb, and 150 pottery vessels.

The report is at the History Blog with photos of the find;

Mike Ruggeri’s Moche/Wari Era Peru

February 20, 2019

Very Large Inca Tomb Uncovered North of Lima.

Peruvian archaeologists have uncovered the tomb of an Inca noble at the Mata Indio site north of Lima dated to 1500 CE.

Five adults and four children look to have been sacrificed to accompany the noble. The children were placed beneath the stone floor on an axis. Spondylus shells were also used as burial offerings. Despite the fact that the tomb has been looted several times, the looters left behind a number of vases. The tomb is very large, 645 squre feet, the biggest uncovered in Lambayeque so far.

Ifiscience has the report here with photos.

And here is a YouTube video of the find;

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February 7, 2019

Moche Triple Chambered Burial Site Uncovered at the Ucupe Site in Peru

Peruvian archaeologists have uncovered the remains of four Moche elite at the site of Ucupe. The remains are dated to 600 CE. They were found in three ceremonial chambers. One burial was of a possible military leader buried with weapons and a crown. A second chamber contained a woman and child buried with copper ornaments and three ceramic urns. The third chamber burial was of an elderly man.

The Mirror has the report here with great photos;

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February 5, 2019

An Important Moche Ceremonial Site Uncovered in Peru

Peruvian archaeologists have unearthed a Moche ceremonial banquet hall at the Huaca Limón de Ucupe site in the Lambayeque region. They also found artifacts and human remains at the site. The structure is dated to the 4th century, and then it was suddenly abandoned in the same century

The banquet hall was used by the Moche for banquets held by the rulers. There are two rooms at the complex; the banquet room and a meeting room. The banquet room has two thrones, a large and smaller one. A staircase leads up to the banquet hall, which is on a platform. There are 100 nooks for plates and dishes. Murals of painted sea lions and fish decorate the room. There is a mural of fishermen on a painted boat catching fish. We have murals of these feasts, but this is the first time a feasting area like this has been uncovered.

The site sits upon the banks of the Zana River. Perhaps El Nino flooding ended its history.

National Geographic has the report with photos and a video;

Mike Ruggeri’s Moche/Wari Era Peru

December 13, 2018

Ancient Peruvian Culture Used Chameleon Urine as a Paint Binder

Researchers studying ancient Peruvian Paracas culture (600-100 BCE) pottery made at the site of Cahuachi have found that one of the binders used to hold the paint together contained urine from chameleons. And the chameleon urine was used over time. The urine was used as a binder on white and blue pottery. Some reptiles urine is semi solid. There are snake and salamander motifs on Paracas pottery.

There is a correlation between the older Chavin culture (900-200 BCE) and the later Paracas culture in terms of pigment use such as cinnabar being replaced by red ocher over time.
The 15 different colors used in Paracas ceramics show a shift in pigment use that can show trade and interaction in the area.

The researchers are still trying to figure out what the plant binder is made of. If they can pinpoint that, this will tell them more about trade and cultural connections. The Paracas were a desert dwelling people but still figured out to produce multi-covered designs on vessels and clothing.

National Geographic has the report here with many photos;

More photos here;

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Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Peru (5000 BC-600 BC)
(Scroll down to the Paracas)

December 10, 2018

Ancient Moche and Lambayeque Skeletons with Feet Missing Uncovered in Peru

32 skeletons dated at 300 AD from the Moche and Lambayeque Cultures in Peru have been uncovered, at the site of El Churro. Half of the skeletons were missing their feet. The feet were re-made into decorative lockets for the surviving family members. Many of the dead were children. They also uncovered 60 large urns, looms and instruments made from bones for making textiles, blankets containing alpacas, llamas, and guinea pigs, metal objects, and wooden spoons for feasting. 23 of the bones were from the Moche era and the rest from the Lambayeque culture. The practice of using human bones for jewelry was a regular practice in Ancient Peru.

The Daily Mail has the report here with good photos and a video;

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Mike Ruggeri’s Moche/Wari Era Peru

November 11, 2018

3000 BCE Elaborate Structures Uncovered in the Atacama Desert, Chile

Archaeologists have uncovered 3000 BCE stone complexes in the Atacama Desert, in Chile, the driest place on earth. They are named Tulan-52 and Tulan-54. These sites show that hunter-gatherers in the region developed complex ceremonial traditions at that very early time period. Tulan-54 is dated to 3000 BCE. Tulan-52 was from 1100 BCE-360 BCE.

Each had a stone complex with several rooms, fire hearths, and grinding instruments for preparing pigments, food and beverages, and for hallucinogens made from cebil and maize.
Nearby, they had a cemetery.

In two of the burials, they also found large gold artifacts: a gold-plated wooden vulture head with green malachite eyes and crest, and an elaborate golden plaque.

The stone complex housed several rooms, in which they found 10 hearths with pits, and 28 richly endowed infant pit-burials.

Just 50 meters away, a cemetery was built.

By 1100 BCE, they domesticated camelids for long distance transport, cultivated plants, used hallucinogens, created pottery, and gold metallurgy.

The Daily Mail has the story here with photos;

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November 8, 2018

Mysterious Wooden Idols Uncovered at the Chimu Site of Chan Chan in Peru

Peruvian archaeologists have uncovered 19 hand carved wooden idols with clay masks in wall recesses in an adobe corridor at the Chimu site of Chan Chan in Peru, They are dated at 1250 CE. Murals of waves and landscapes, and animal images are painted above them, including a cat or lunar animal. It probably served as an entryway into a plaza.

Each idol is unique. Some carry a scepter

Live Science has the report here;

And Ancient Origins has more photos here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Sican/Chimu Era Peru

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August 22, 2018

Robots at Chavin de Huantar in Peru; New Discoveries

All terrain robots called the Chavin Rovers have been sent into narrow channels at the site of Chavin de Huantar in Peru. The robots have revealed burials of people who built the temple at the site. The dead are not of high standing and were probably sacrificed. They were buried face down under rocks. They will probably find more burials using the robots. 36 tunnels and passageways at the site connect with one another, but the labyrinth is not completely mapped yet.

Archaeology News Network has the report with photos and videos here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Peru (5000 BC-600 BC)

(Scroll down to Chavin de Huantar)

August 22, 2018

Excavations at a Ramada site in Peru

1,500 year old remains of 60 people and six trophy heads in 27 funerary pits dating to 550 CE have been uncovered in southern Peru, naturally mummified by the dry climate. They were part of the Ramada culture. Archaeologists have found beautiful and feathered textiles in their burials. At the new site, babies were were buried next to their mothers, perhaps buried at the same time.
The team believes that the trophy heads buried here are from the same community, and are the heads of warriors from the community who were killed in battle. This interpretation is still in dispute. The team that excavated this site will carry out DNA and isotope research on the remains to try and prove their assertions

The findings were presented at the SAA meeting in Washington DC in April and will be published.

Live Science has the report here with photos;

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August 20, 2018

3,800 Year Old Wall Reliefs Discovered in Peru

Peruvian archaeologists have discovered a 3,800 year old wall reliefs at the site of Vichama, which was part of the Norte Chico or Caral culture, which stretches back 5,000 years. The reliefs portray snakes and human heads.  A few years ago, archaeologists uncovered 3,800 year old figurines at the same site;

The figurines and the wall reliefs are probably an offshoot of the Caral culture, and they probably portray ancient Caral leaders, including a priestess. The walls are made of adobe. The reliefs show four human heads with their eyes closed, and two snakes wrapped around them. They appear to be humanoid seed symbols digging into the ground and they face  agricultural fields. The reliefs portray soil fertilization and the deity of water.

International Business Times has the story with photos here;

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July 8, 2018

New Research on Two Ancient Chilean Female Remains Yields Surprising Results

Mummies of two girls, aged 9 and 18 were discovered in Chile in 1976. They are dated to 1399-1475 CE. They were buried with rich grave goods. Their burial clothes were a deep red color. They were ritually sacrificed. The girls were transported all the way from Cusco, 745 miles away, with their goods. The trip would have taken several months. New research on the girls clothes, using chemical and microscopic testing, found that the red color was from cinnabar. Cinnabar is a toxic substance. Those who buried the girls could have sprinkled the cinnabar powder to deter looters. Inhaling the powder can cause mercury poison.The ritual sacrifice ceremony may have been performed to celebrate the area coming under Inca rule.

The research has been published in the journal Archaeometry.

Science Alert has the report here with photos;

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July 22, 2018

Ancient Inca Cairns Mystery Solved

There are rows of cairn-like pillars close to an Inca road network that stretched from Columbia to Chile. The mystery was their function. Archaeologists researched 16th century Quechua sources which pointed to calendrical, astronomical and religious purposes. Astronomers at the Atacama Array and the European Southern Observatory ran simulations of sunrises on different dates. And they found the Sun perfectly aligned with the markers. The Incas, then, broadcast their sacred power over large distances. They observed the autumn equinox at several cairn sites and found the sun rose exactly above them.

The Guardian has the report here;

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July 8, 2018

Inca Nobility Burial Site Found at the Site of Tucume

Archaeologists have uncovered a burial site at the Peruvian site of Tucume, which contains 26 pyramids. 24 mummies have been found clothed in finely woven robes. The burial is dated at 1500 CE, within the Ince time period. Ceramics, grains and fabrics were buried with them. 89 archaeologists are working on the find. It now appears the Inca arrived in the Tucume area in 1470 CE. The archaeologists expect to find ten more mummies at this burial site. The tomb appears to contain both men and women. The women are probably buried next to weaving remains and the men are buried next to oars, wooden paddles and shells. Some of the buried are holding spiked spondylus shells. Three or four of the mummies wrapped in fine clothing are probably Inca nobility.

There are intact ceramics that will tell us more about Inca pottery at the time.

The Daily Mail has the report here with their usual fine photos and a video;

Archaeology News Network also has a report here with more photos.

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June 28, 2018

Scientific Analysis of 2,000 Year Old Paracas Mummies in Southern Peru

Archaeologists uncovered 2,000 year old mummies at the site of Wari Kayan in southern Peru in 1925. Researchers are now studying the hair of 14 of the mummies with advanced technology to determine their diet. Using isotope analysis. They found that these coastal dwelling people ate a lot of seafood, corn, and drank corn beer. Their food consumption varied little in the months before their deaths.

The findings were published in the March issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

The report is at Live Science;

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June 12, 2018

The Success of Skull Surgery in Ancient Peru

Researchers have studied ancient Peruvian skulls of individuals who had undergone trepanation; drilling, cutting or scraping a hole in the skull for medical reasons;  59 skulls from 400 BCE to 200 BCE, 421 skulls from 1000 CE to 1400 CE and 160 from the Inca period, 1400 CE to 1500 CE were studied. Ancient Peruvian surgeons treated individuals for traumatic injuries to clean up skull fractures and fluid accumulation that causes pressure on the brain. Some skulls had no evidence of traumatic blows, so they may have been trying to relieve headaches and mental illness. If the bones around the hole showed no signs of healing, the patient died. Smooth bone shows the patient survived. The ancient Peruvian success rate for this procedure was 80% in time. In the American civil War, the success rate was at 50%. The ancient Peruvian success rate climbed from 40% in the earliest era to 80% in the Inca period. Many of the Inca period skulls showed multiple trepanations over time due to successive head blows.

Science News has the report here;

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March 27, 2018

Intact 1,000 Year Old Mummy Uncovered at Pachacamac, Peru

A team from Brussels have found a 1000 year old intact mummy at Pachacamac in Peru. The site itself has three monumental structures, including a sanctuary to local ancestors. The Incas transformed it into a water and healing temple. Since it is so well preserved, they can study the mummy using advanced medical imaging without unwrapping the body.

Eurekalert has the report here;

Scroll down on this page to see multiple articles on Pachacamac and photos;
Mike Ruggeri’s Moche/Wari Era Peru


May 22, 2018

Unusual Viru Culture Burials Uncovered in Northern Peru

Archaeologists working on the northern Peruvian coast have uncovered 50 burials from the Viru Culture (100-750 CE) in the town of Huanchaco. 30 of the 50 burials have additional body parts added to the remains. Additional arms and legs were added to the burials. Many of the burials show cut marks and blunt force trauma. Those with trauma are the ones to be buried with extra limbs. Perhaps the extra limbs were a sacrificial offering. The graves also contain ceramic vessels with human faces, whimsical animal details, jewelry, folded copper sheets inserted into the mouths of the deceased. A copper fishhook wrapped in gold foil was also uncovered.

National Geographic has the report here with photos;

May 18, 2018

Unique Funerary Site Discovered in Peru

Archaeologists working at the Peruvian Sechura Desert site of Huaca Amarilla for the past three years have uncovered 40 graves and the remains of 74 individuals, 72 of them were children, and 41 fetuses, dated at between 900-1400 CE.
Included in the finds, they found a still working toy whistle next to the body of a child, and a three year old child buried near a camelid. The bodies were buried with llamas, alpacas, dogs, doves, and  by small vases and other ceramic or wooden artifacts, sometimes adorned with shell or stone jewels. The site was occupied by the Lambayeque and Chimú cultures.

The 2017 El Nino was intense, and washed out roads to the site. The archaeologists had to reach the site by boat, since the harsh desert area is below sea level filled with salt flats, dune fields and washes. There are two stone structures dating to the Lambayeque period (800-1350 CE). The elite lived on one side, the other side was for production and storage,

DNA testing has begun and the team now has archaeobotanists, archaeozoologists, funerary anthropologists, ceramologists, geomorphologists and others working there. They will learn how life progressed in this harsh desert terrain for 1000 years.

CNRS France News has the report here with a lot of excellent photos;

Mike Ruggeri’s Sican/Chimu Era Peru

May 14, 2018

An Update on the Massive Child Sacrifice at the Chimu Site of Huanchaquito-Las Llamas in Peru

140 children and 200 llamas were ritually sacrificed in the Chimu empire of the Ancient Andes. The majority were between 8 to 12 years old and were buried facing west. The sacrifice took place at the site of Huanchaquito-Las Llamas, near the Chimu capital of Chan Chan, dated at 1400-1450. Red cinnabar was smeared on the faces of the children, and their chests were cut open to probably remove their hearts. Remains of two men and one woman were also found nearby, killed by blows to the head. They may have been dispatched right after the sacrifice. Evidence that this was a single event was found in the soil, including footprints. Previous to this, the largest known child sacrifice was at the Temple Mayor at Tenochtitlan where 42 children were sacrificed. Cut marks show the victims were dispatched by trained individuals.

This may have been an attempt to appease the gods to stop an El Nino catastrophic event that occurred at this historical time. There is evidence of severe flooding near the site. Preliminary DNA evidence shows the victims were brought from far flung places in the Chimu Empire.

National Geographic has the report with many photos;

Mike Ruggeri’s Sican/Chimu Era Peru

April 15, 2018

New Nazca and Paracas Geoglyphs Discovered Using New Technology

Peruvian researchers have found 50 undiscovered geoglyphs in the Nazca area, and in Palpa province, using drone and satellite technology. Many known geoglyphs have also been mapped with the new technology in much greater detail. Some of the newly discovered geoglyphs were drawn by the Nazca culture between 200-700 CE. Others were carved by the earlier Paracas and Topara cultures at 500 BCE-200 CE. The Paracas glyphs are drawn on hillsides and often depict humans, most are warriors. So there is a geoglyph tradition preceding the Nazca by 1000 years in Peru.

Satellites can capture a foot wide object from 383 miles above the earth, equivalent to seeing a single human hair from 650 feet away. Low flying drones flying at 200 feet can see objects a half inch wide in great detail. The new research will continue into the future.

National Geographic has the news here with photos and a video;

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Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Peru (5000 BC-600 BC)

April 27, 2018

Archaeologists Find Possible Child Sacrifices at a Chimu Site in Peru

Archaeologists working at the Sican and Chimu site of Chotuna-Chornancap in Peru have found a dozen tombs suggesting human sacrifice in 17 graves dating back 600-700 years. There was one high status burial found, and it is not unusual to find individuals sacrificed to the noble at the time of the funeral or thereafter. Many of the buried are children. Six children were found in paired graves to the north, east, and west of the temple at the site, two were footless. They may have been sacrificed as guardians to the main tomb.. Other graves had adult men and women with bone damage that was like other sacrificed victims of the era. Fifty individuals were buried in the graves. Some of the children had their rib cages opened to possibly tear out the hearts of the victims.

Clay pottery a smiling man sculpture, and a vessel depicting a person chewing coca leaves, ceramics with maritime themes, coastal animals, and geometric shapes, reflecting the connection to the sea felt by the ancient culture, and fishing tools such as weights, hooks and needles have also been found have been found as grave offerings.

Live Science has the report here;

And the Daily Mail has its usual good photos and a video;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News on Tumblr

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean Cultures from the Paracas to the Inca Magazine

January 11, 2018

Moche Desert Meeting Place Uncovered in Peru

Peruvian archaeologists have uncovered a Moche site dated at 500 CE that may have been a meeting site for ancient desert leaders. The site was found at the Limon archaeological complex in Lambayeque.  Two rooms may have been used for political purposes. One appears to be a banquet hall with two thrones, which could have been for hosting feasts. The other room has a circular podium where announcements may have been made. There are murals of fish and sea lions. The site itself is depicted on Moche ceramics, and now the place depicted on the ceramics is found.
Construction appears to have halted abruptly in the sixth century. There was a super El Nino sometime between 536-594 with flooding, followed by extreme drought.

International Business Times has the report here with photos;

The Daily Mail has its usual great photos and a video of the site;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News on Tumblr

Mike Ruggeri’s Moche/Wari Era Peru


December 21, 2017

Major Wari-Inca Temple Find in Peru

Archaeologists in Peru, working at the Espiritu Pampa site in the Cusco region, have uncovered an astronomical observatory, massive stone walls, ceramics and other Wari and Inca artifacts at the site. The D-shaped temple found at the site looks Wari in design. A smaller structure inside the temple appears to be an observatory. Two spaces within contained animal teeth, Wari style ceramic bottles, a silver chest piece and a silver crown. Inca architecture lies next to the temple, housing Inca pins, needles and pottery. The pieces will be studied further.

Andina has the report here with many good photos of the finds;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News Magazine

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December 13, 2017

Giant Petroglyphs in Venezuela Researched

The UCL Institute of Archaeology is mapping some of the largest petroglyphs in the world in Amazonas, Venezuela. Some of the panels are 2,000 years old. They depict animals, humans, rituals, and mythical creatures like horned serpents. They are similar to rock art in Brazil, Columbia and further out. In one panel, there is a flautist surrounded by human figures, probably a renewal motif. They show the influence of traders from diverse and distant regions. The study forwards research on the Orinoco River, and its influence on the formation of ancient social networks. Some of the formats can be seen mirrored all the way to the Ancient Southwest much later in time, like the flautist and the horned serpent.

Eurekalert has the report here;

The Daily Mail had its usual collection of great photos in its report;

Mike Ruggeri’s The Ancient America’s Breaking News

December 1, 2017

Possible 6000 Year Old Pottery Found in Ecuador

Russian and Ecuadorian archaeologists have found pottery in Ecuador that is provisionally dated to be 6000 years old at the site of Real Alto. They also found human remains there. They belong to the San Pedro culture. Japanese researchers are now testing the dating hypothesis. More work will be done at the site to see how long this dating horizon existed. The Russian group is studying human adaptation on the Pacific rim from East Asia to South America. If the dates hold up, this is probably the oldest pottery in the Americas.

(My note; I include the Wikipedia page on the Valdivia Culture that has mention of the San Pedro site and the fact that this culture pre-dated the Valdivia culture.

Archaeology News Network has the report here with photos.

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November 17, 2017

Large Orca Geoglyph Re-Discovered in the Nazca/Palpa Region of Peru

A huge Orca geoglyph has been re-discovered in the Palpa area of Peru, related to the Nazca culture. It was first found in the 1960’s by German archaeologists, but during restoration and research, the records were inaccurate as to the location and dimensions of the geoglyph. It has been found again and re-mapped. The size of the geoglyph is 60 metres long and 25 metres wide. The whole area is now endangered by land traffickers. The Orca is a marine deity that shows up on ancient pottery and ceramics in Peru.

The Bradshaw Foundation has the report here with photos;

Newsweek adds more to the story adding that the Orca geoglyph was first located in 2013, not the 1960’s. The geoglyph is 200 feet long. There are 1,500 geoglyphs in the region dating from 200 BCE-600 CE. The glyph is dated to 200 BCE and may be related to earlier Paracas culture styles (800 BCE-200 BCE).

Newsweek report here:

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Mike Ruggeri’s Nazca Era Peru

November 12, 2017

Ancient Peru Shellfish Diplomacy

Archaeologist Kasia Szremski has excavated at the Salitre and Campo Libre sites in Peru. She found extravagant artifacts at the Salitre site: decorated pottery, a spondylus shell, ornamented silver. They held huge feasts of mollusks, pumpkins, beans and other items. She believes that the Salitre people, an outpost of the Chancay culture, traded shellfish for access to the Huanangue River. The Chaupiyunginos lived upstream, and could have cut off the water to Salitre and other Chancay villages that needed the water for crops. The feasting at Salitre took place at a time of widespread warfare, in the 15th century, as the area became balkanized after the collapse of the Wari empire. So the Salitre and Chaupiyunginos feasted and traded together to prevent conflict.

The great Tom Dillehay says the two cultures were “highly entangled”—they had a variety of economic, political, and social interactions with each interaction affecting the others. And shellfish for water diplomacy led to peace between them.

The report is here in Haika magazine;

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Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News Magazine

October 10, 2017

Ancient Sican (Lambayeque) Human Sacrifice Uncovered in Peru

Nine sacrificed men, between the ages of 25 and 30, have been found in a tomb alongside an ancient metallurgy workshop at the Huaca de la Cruz site in Lambayeque. They also uncovered an elite grave of a Sican leader. The burial would be circa 1200 CE. Ceramic vessels and ceremonial knives were also found at the site.

International Business Times has the short report with a huge photo display here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean World

October 10, 2017

Ancient Wooden Carvings Excavated at Chan Chan in Peru.

Four wooden carvings were found at the Chan Chan site, three of them are carvings of women. The male carving had its face covered in white clay as a mask. A scepter, metal vessels, textiles and shells were also found in the tomb like area. There was a body next to the carvings they have not yet studied. The carvings would have been placed there circa 1400 CE.

Peru Reports has the story with one photo here;

Andina has the report here with more photos;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean World

September 22, 2017

Was Cacao Cultivated by Amazonian People 1,500 years before the Maya?

In 2014, archaeologists uncovered a stone structure built in a spiral in Ecuador. The structure contains a tomb dated at 3500 BCE. Ceremonial vessels in the tomb were found to contain cacao starch. There is a second temple similar to the one found in 2014 in the Amazon region found in 2016. It also contains a similar tomb, excavated twice by archaeologists across the river in Peru. So far, no funds have been raised to undergo further excavations at this twin site. If Cacao is found there as well, it will upset the timelines for the cultivation of cacao, and may prove that the people of the Amazon cultivated cacao 1,500 years before the Maya of Mesoamerica.

El Pais has the report here (in Spanish) with a good photo of the spiral tomb.

Mike Ruggeri’s The Ancient America’s Breaking News

August 15, 2017

1000 BCE Circular Wall Uncovered in Peru

Archaeologists at Marcaville in the Cusco region have found a seven meter ring shaped wall built by the Marcaville Culture dated at 1000 BCE. It was used as a dwelling and ritual site. They also found another wall. Probably part of a workshop or warehouse. Potttery, figurines, obsidian points, stone and bone beads were in the structures. This culture was a precursor to the Inca Culture.

Andina has the story here with great photos;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News Magazine

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July 4, 2017

New Study on Early Human Habitation at 12,500 Feet in Peru

Archaeologists in Peru have found that groups in Peru survived at 12,500 feet before the advent of agriculture despite lack of oxygen, frigid weather and exposure to elements. Excavations have uncovered 16 people and 80,000 artifacts going back 8,000 years. Evidence at several sites puts hunting and gathering groups at this altitude 9,000 years ago. The bones of the individuals at the site studied show the bones of the individuals having oxygen and carbon isotopes that match permanent high level occupation. Travel time to low elevation zones were too long for seasonal occupation. And the presence of women and children at the site makes seasonal migration unlikely. The tools found were made with high elevation material.

The research is in the Royal Society Open Science journal

Science Daily has the report here;

Mike Ruggeri’s The Ancient America’s Breaking News

June 14, 2017

New Research at the El Volcan Pyramid in Peru

Archaeologists are suggesting that a pyramid in coastal Peru was built to resemble a volcano, and may have hosted ceremonies based on astronomical events. It is now called El Volcan. It was discovered 50 years ago, but in depth investigations have just begun. The pyramid was built between 900-200 BCE. The volcanic cone was either created by erosion or it was deliberately built like this. The preponderance of evidence is that it was deliberate. The last occupation of the pyramid was at 1563 CE. There were total solar eclipses at 1521, 1538, 1539 and 1543 CE. These solar eclipses may have been celebrated at the volcano.
The report was posted in the journal Antiquity.

International Business Times has the story here with photos;

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June 9, 2017

Oldest Crafted Copper Object in South America Uncovered in Argentina

The oldest carefully crafted copper object ever made in South America has been uncovered in the La Quebrada region of Argentina. The mask is dated to 1000 BCE. It is a delicate copper mask. And the location in Argentina may show that copper technology had more than one place of origin. The mask was cold hammered and re-heated and then deposited as a grave good. The grave the mask was found in had 14 bodies of men, women and children. And then a single grave with a child buried with a bead and copper pendant. So metal working originated in small remote agricultural level communities.
The research is published in the journal Antiquity.

The International Business Times has the report with great photos;

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Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News Magazine

June 6, 2017

3,500-Year-Old Friezes Discovered At Huaca Garagay In Lima, Peru

Archaeologists have found 3,500-year-old high relief polychrome friezes —similar to those of Chavin de Huantar— at Huaca Garagay site in Lima. They appear to be older than the Chavin Culture. The Huaca had been abandoned for 30 years.

The report is short but the photos are great.

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May 25, 2017

13,000 BCE Inhabitants at Huaca Prieta, Peru Exhibit Advanced Society

Researchers at the Huaca Prieta site in coastal Peru have found that early inhabitants of the region, living at 15,000 years ago, were far more advanced than thought earlier. Mounds of artifacts have been removed from the site for more than a decade. These include food remains, stone tools, baskets and textiles. The early inhabitants also grew chilis, squash, avocado, and a large amount of a medicinal plant. Baskets made during this period show a variety of complex styles using elaborate dyes.
The latest excavations took six years at 32 excavation units, 32 test pits, 80 geological cores.

(My note, the early dates here fall within the Pre-Clovis time period).

Popular Archaeology has the report here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Peru (13,000 BC-600 BC)

April 26, 2017

New Khipu Discovery

A new discovery by Sabine Hyland of St. Andrews University in Scotland about Inca Khipus looked at two khipus kept by village elders and found that they have 14 different colors that allow for 95 unique cord patterns. They could represent syllables and words. The khipus have been kept in a wooden box by elders in the village of San Juan de Collata. Unlike most known khipus which are made of cotton, these two khipus are made from the hair and fiber of  vicuna, alpaca, guanaco, llama, deer, and the rodent vizcacha. A Spanish chronicler who claimed that khipus made from animal fiber “exhibited a diversity of vivid colors and could record historical narratives with the same ease as European books.” The problem with the new khipus is that they only date to the mid-18th century.This brings into question how closely related these khipus are to the ancient ones, and if these khipus are influenced by the Spanish alphabet and language. Researchers will now use computer technology to try to unravel more understanding of khipus.

National Geographic has the report here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean World

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October 14, 2016

Large Temple Complex Uncovered at the Cahuachi site in Peru

A large temple, now called the “South Temple, has been found at the site of Cahuachi in the Nazca Velley, Peru. A wall separates it from the great temple at the site. Its function is not understood yet. Five vases that are 2 metres tall and a metre and a half wide have been found there. Perhaps these were funerary urns for kings or priests, but vases are empty. Cahuachi was occupied for eight centuries, from 400 BC until 450 AD., after which time it was abandoned. Between 420-450, the Nazca Valley had two large floods and a large earthquake. The people of Cahuachi may have abandoned their deities after these events, thus closing and sealing the temple. Nazca lines were still being drawn after the Cahuachi collapse.

Archaeology News Network has the report with great photos;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean Cultures from the Paracas to the Inca Magazine

Mike Ruggeri’s Nazca Era Peru

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September 28, 2016

New Peruvian Geoglyphs Found

Circular geoglyphs have been found near the site of Quilcapampa in Peru dated
to 1050-1400 AD. They may be related to trade routes. The geoglyphs are both
lines and rings within rings. Rock piles and cairns accompany the glyphs.
Perhaps they pointed at trade routes or they mark the end of a journey. At
the time of Quilcapampa, trade between the coast and the highland was very
active. The research will be published in the Journal of Archaeological
Science, and work will continue there.
Ancient Origins has the report here with their usual array of good photos;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean World

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September 20, 2016

The Oldest Indigo-dyed Fabric Found in Peru

The oldest indigo-dyed fabric ever found has been uncovered in Peru, 6,200 years older than the oldest blu-dyed fabric found in Egypt. Study researcher Jeffrey Splitstoser, an archaeologist and textile expert at George Washington University, explained the finding that was excavated by Tom Dillehay and Duccio Bonavia between 2007 and 2008 from a prehistoric site called Huaca Prieta, on coastal Peru. (Jeffrey is on the Board of the great Pre-Columbian Society of Washington DC). The temple at the site was a mixture of ash, shells and sand, and continually renovated over the centuries. The fabric scraps were found in bundles lining the ramp that led to the top of the temple. They all date to 2000-4200 BCE. Splitsoser had a British chemist test the fabric for indigo, which was not apparent in the first tests. The new tests with advanced equipment confirmed indigo. The fabrics were torn on deposit, probably representing a “ritual killing” of the fabric, just as they did with pottery. The fabrics also contained off-white cotton and white thread from milkweed, and red and yellow ochre. The preparation of indigo day is a very complex process
The research is in the September 14 Science Advances.

Live Science has the report here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean World

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September 20, 2016

The Oldest Indigo-dyed Fabric Found in Peru

The oldest indigo-dyed fabric ever found has been uncovered in Peru, 6,200 years older than the oldest blu-dyed fabric found in Egypt. Study researcher Jeffrey Splitstoser, an archaeologist and textile expert at George Washington University, explained the finding that was excavated by Tom Dillehay and Duccio Bonavia between 2007 and 2008 from a prehistoric site called Huaca Prieta, on coastal Peru. (Jeffrey is on the Board of the great Pre-Columbian Society of Washington DC). The temple at the site was a mixture of ash, shells and sand, and continually renovated over the centuries. The fabric scraps were found in bundles lining the ramp that led to the top of the temple. They all date to 2000-4200 BCE. Splitsoser had a British chemist test the fabric for indigo, which was not apparent in the first tests. The new tests with advanced equipment confirmed indigo. The fabrics were torn on deposit, probably representing a “ritual killing” of the fabric, just as they did with pottery. The fabrics also contained off-white cotton and white thread from milkweed, and red and yellow ochre. The preparation of indigo day is a very complex process
The research is in the September 14 Science Advances.

Live Science has the report here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean World

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September 11, 2016

Important Tomb Find at the Chotuna-Chornancap Site in Peru

Seventeen graves of adults and children have been uncovered at the Chotuna-Chornancap in Peru. Some show possible evidence of ritual sacrifice. The remains were from the Chimu culture. Ceramic offerings were also found in the graves. The child burials were found without their feet. They may have been sacrificed to accompany the adults. At the Moche Lord of Sipan site, a grave was found of a footless warrior sacrificed to prevent him leaving a sentry position for the honored position. in 2011, archaeologists found the remains of 42 children and 76 llamas that showed signs of human sacrifice.

Ancient Origins has the report here with good photos and a video.

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean World

Mike Ruggeri’s Sican/Chimu Era Peru

May 6, 2016

New Geoglyph Found in Peru

Japanese researchers have found a new geoglyph between Nazca and Palpa in Peru. It shows an imaginary spotted animal with many legs and sticking out its tongue. The glyph was formed by pulling up stones to form the image. It may date to 500 BCE.

The Daily Mail has its usual excellent collection of photos and the report here. They also repeat the story I posted last week about the mysterious holes called pulquios which form a straight line stretching for miles.

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean World

May 3, 2016

14th Century Amazon Inland Sites Discovered

Archaeologists are discovering that Pre-Columbian settlements in the Amazon of Brazil exist in areas not near rivers. 110 settlements in an inland region of the Amazon have been researched for 10 years. Water storage depressions and ponds enclosed by berms of clay and middens have been found at these sites. There was a 14th century inland expansion as water management and agriculture developed in the Amazon, accompanied by population growth. River banks are flooded during the 6 month rainy season, so the inland areas were farmed during the wet season.
The organization compiling this research has a website here;

PhysOrg has the story here;

Mike Ruggeri’s The Ancient America’s Breaking News

April 27, 2016

Mysterious Band of Holes in Peru Research

A band of holes stretching north to south across the Pisco Valley in Peru are now being researched by archaelogists. They believe they may have been used by the Incas to collect taxes. The rock lined holes would have been used to keep food cold and dry, and to keep track of where food tributes came from. The food would then be allocated to the people of the Inca state. Using drones, they have created a map of the band of holes, some 6000 of them. Each hole would measure specific amounts of tribute owed by each farmer or family. The holes appear to be constructed alongside of a road that went to a huge Inca center. So far, no remains of crops or khipus have been found in the holes. The holes may pre-date the Incas and may have been used to store guano as a fertilizer.

The Daily Mail has the report with its usual excellent photos and videos;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean World

April 24, 2016

Important 2500 BCE Woman’s Grave Found in Peru

Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of a woman in Peru buried at 2,500 BCE. With her remains were eight flutes made of animal bones, a pot with vegetable fragments and seeds, a mollusk necklace and pendant, and four brooches with bird and monkey motifs. She was found at the Caral civilization site of Aspero. The remains show motifs from both coastal and jungle animals. Her burial indicates gender equality was present in this society. Aspero has two large monumental buildings that are among the oldest in the Americas.

Ancient Origins has the report here with good photos and videos;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Peru (5000 BC-600 BC)

April 16, 2016

Mysterious Nazca Structures Explained

Nazca holes or puquios have been analyzed by satellite imagery. Researchers now believe they are part of a hydraulic system to retrieve water from underground aquifers. They funneled wind into canals below to move water. They are close to the city of Nazca. The puquios allowed for intensive agriculture in this very arid part of the world. They channeled wind into the corkscrew holes into underground canals filled with aquifer water. The wind moved the water into channels for irrigation. The puquios would date from 200 BCE-500 CE.

The Daily Mail has its usual excellent photos and a silent video here of these structures;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean World

January 26, 2016

Unusual Lambayeque Culture Female Sacrifices Uncovered

Archaeologists have found the bodies of six women ritually killed at 800 CE in the Pucala District of Peru in a secret compound of the Huaca Santa Rosa temple. The women were buried with a llama and ceramics. They were placed facing the Andes. They would have been killed in ceremonies that involved ritual costumes and drinking the victim’s blood. They were part of the Lambayeque (Sican) Culture (750-1375 CE). The women appear go have been taken as slaves or captured from other Pre-Inca Cultures.

The Daily Mail has their usual excellent photo collection of the site and a video as well;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean World

January 23, 2016

Ancient Weaver Remains Found in Lima

Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of a presumed weaver in the Huaca El Paraiso in Lima. The remains and weaving materials the remains were found with date to 1500 BCE. Textile instruments and products not from the coast indicate wider trading. Clay figurines similar to those found at Caral were also found.

Peru This Week has the report;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean World

January 5, 2016

Inca Khipus Translation Breakthrough

Researchers have found a storage house for agricultural products 100 miles south of Lima at the Inca site of Incahuasi. They kept records on peanuts, chilis, beans, corn etc. there. Khipus were found under the produce, preserved in the dry desert climate. The Khipus are made of cotton or wool strings with knots, and they are dyed different colors. With this new discovery, which is the first time Khipus have been found with produce like this, it may allow the researchers to identify colors and knots related to each product, thus begin to translate khipus. The site was a place where llama caravans with farm produce would have been going through. The food was probably for Inca armies invading southward. More could be found at the site, but money for further research has run out there.

The NY Times has the report here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean World

November 27, 2015

Ancient Ichma Culture tombs found in Lima, Peru

Four ancient bodies have been excavated in a Lima, Peru neighborhood. They were wrapped in textiles and facing the sea. They were buried in separate tombs. They belonged to the Ichma culture which dates to
1000 -1440 CE. Some of the skeletons still have hair. They were buried with ceramic pots and weaving tools. There are 350 ancient ceremonial complexes in Lima. Sixteen were built by the Ichma culture. The four bodies were found at the site of Huaca Pucllana. Archaeologists are expecting to find more tombs at the site.

The Daily Mail has the story here with their usual excellent photos and videos.

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Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News Magazine

November 13, 2015

Ancient Inca Child Mummy Has DNA Sequenced

Forensic geneticists have sequenced the DNA of a frozen seven year old Inca boy mummy. He was found to have originated far to the north in the Peruvian Andes and belonged to a genetic sub-group of  unidentified Paleo-Indians. He was sacrificed 500 years ago in the Inca capacocha ritual, where perfectly unblemished children were offered to the gods by drugging them and letting them freeze in the high mountains. He was found in 1985. He was wrapped in textiles and buried with six statuettes. It is believed his group dates to 12,300 BCE. The genetic lineage of the child is almost extinct today, but his line would have been more frequent in Inca times.

The Daily Mail has the story here with their usual excellent photos and a short video from NatGeo showing another Inca child mummy, a girl, being studied. The preservation is remarkable.

Science Magazine adds that “they will map the complete nuclear genome of the Aconcagua boy and to sequence the DNA of all the microbes preserved in the mummy’s gut, including his microbiome and any infectious germs he might have been carrying. That could help scientists understand how microorganisms—both the ones that hurt us and the ones that help us—have evolved over time. Wilson hopes similar studies can be done on other capacocha mummies.”

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Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News Magazine

November 1, 2015

Human and Feline Trophy Heads Uncovered in Peru

Twelve human trophy heads and one feline trophy head have been found in a cemetery in Peru. The area is dated to 600-1100 CE. The heads were skinned and drilled with holes for cords. The feline head had its eyes stuffed with red textiles. Feline trophy heads are seen on pottery, but this now proves that the representations are real. Both Nazca and Wari style trophy heads were found, based on skull perforation styles. The heads were probably attached to headdresses or worn as masks in ritual performances. Isotopic analysis is now taking place.
For more information on the project;

Peru This Week has the report here with a video;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News Magazine

October 29, 2015

Inca Mountain Sanctuary Used for Child Sacrifice Uncovered

An Inca mountain sanctuary used to sacrifice children to the gods has been discovered in the Vilcamba mountains near Cusco. They also found a cave system used as a necropolis to bury the sacrificed. The site dates to 1471-1493 CE. At this time in Inca history, children were sacrificed in times of drought and natural disaster, in hopes the gods would bring relief. Children were also sacrificed upon the death of a king. The ceremony was called Capacocha. Unblemished children were selected, married, returned to their local communities, before being sacrificed to the Llullaillaco Volcano. The team has found 50 structures. The site was found using satellite imagery and local stories. Rectangular buildings called kanchas, surrounded by other buildings have been found there. The site may be part of the legendary Kingdom of Vilcabamba, the last Inca nation.

The Daily Mail has the story with their usual excellent photos of the find. They are the best in the business for archaeology news photos;

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Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News Magazine

October 24, 2015

Mummies Uncovered at the Chimu site of Chan Chan

Peruvian archaeologists have found 32 mummies at and near the site of Chan Chan. Jewelry, textiles and other artifacts were buried with the mummies. The Chimu culture built the city of Chan Chan between 900-1500 CE. All the mummies were adults, and the majority were women. The newly found artifacts date to 1400 CE. The females were probably sacrificed to accompany authorities buried in a main chamber. The artifacts will be rigorously tested to find out more. At the same time, archaeologists found a female mummy covered in textiles in a basket woven of dried stalks. Cotton and corn were placed next to her. She may be from the Lima Culture dating to 900-1470 CE. Excavations will now begin in this area.

Ancient Origins has the story with photos here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Sican/Chimu Era Peru

September 24, 2015

Earliest Decapitation in the Americas Found in Brazil

Archaeologists have uncovered the earliest evidence of ritual decapitation in the Americas at a 9,000 year old site in Brazil. Decapitation of enemies is a common practice in the ancient Americas. The oldest ritual beheading in South America until this discovery was 3,000 years ago in Peru. And the oldest in North America was in Florida, 6,000-8,000 years ago. The Brazilian site is called Lapa do Santo in a tropical region of Brazil. This is the same site where the oldest evidence of rock art in South America was found, dating to 9,400 years ago. Humans occupied this site from 12,000 years ago. The ritual decapitation was discovered in 2007, and is only now being published in the peer reviewed journal PLOS ONE. The person decapitated had his hands amputated and laid palm side down on the face of the skull. The left hand was pointed upward covering one side of the face, and the left hand pointed downward covering the other side of the face. Analysis of the bones indicates the person was from the group that lived there, so the decapitation may have been a ritual burial rite.

Live Science has the report here;

And they have posted a separate page of photographs from the site;

September 16, 2015

Elaborate 700 BCE Tomb Uncovered at Pacopamapa, Peru

Archaeologists have unearthed a tomb at Pacopampa, Peru dated to 700 BCE. It is a double burial of high ranking priests from the Pacopampa Culture. They were placed looking north and south. A necklace of 25 gold beads and a black ceramic bottle designed in a serpent/jaguar motif were placed in the tomb. Red, green, brown, black, and white pigments were placed in front of one skull. They exhibited cranial deformation, indicating their elite status. This may be the site of a much larger complex, and the team will continue digging and doing more research on the priests.

Ancient Origins has the story here with a set of very good photos of the finds;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Peru (5000 BC-600 BC)


July 25, 2015

Groundbreaking Report on Ancient Amazon Civilizations That Reached Millions in Population

An international team of researchers have been investigating ancient human habitation in the Amazon. They have found that the Amazon was once inhabitated by millions of people. Eight million to fifty million may have lived there by 1492. They found that 83 native species were cultivated there. Evidence of sprawling towns that streetched for miles have been uncovered. The researchers have found extensive land management systems, towns that housed 10,000 people each, with miles of extensive agriculture around them. Giant earthworks have been uncovered, along with graveyards, canals and causeways. The activity was widespread by 3000 BCE. All throught these regions, evidence of a man made soil mix called terra preta allowed for fertile crop production. They cultivated maize, squash, Brazil nuts, palm trees and fruit. Hundreds of archaeological sites have already been found.

The Daily Mail has an extensive report here with their usual excellent series of photos and videos;

And the research was published by the Royal Society in the UK, which has the complete research report here;

I want to thank Charles Mann who gave me the heads up on this complete report.

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News Magazine

July 8, 2015

24 New Nazca Geoglyphs Found

A Japanese team has found 24 new Nazca lines after investigating the northern slopes of the urban area of Nazca. Earlier in 2013, they had found 17 geoglyphs depicting llamas. They have discovered five new examples near the same area, and 19 more on the slopes of a nearby mountain. They date to 400-200 BCE. They are heavily eroded, but they used a 3-D scanner to find the pattern. The team has notified the Peruvian Culture Ministry to try and preserve other geoglyphs that may be in the same area threatened by building and farming.

The story is reported here in the Asahi Shinbum News;

And Archaeology News has a photo and a shorter report here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News Magazine

June 30, 2015

14 Pre-Inca Tombs Found Dating From 2000 BCE 1400 CE.

Peruvian archaeologists have found 14 Pre-Inca tombs and a Moche temple dating to 2000 BCE in Lambayeque. The remains are from various periods and cultures. Most are Sican and the rest are Moche and Chimu. A gold piece for removing hair was found with a representation of the god Naylamp. Pottery, copper ornaments, silver and gilded copper birds, and other decorative objects were found in the tombs.

Peru This Week has the report here with a photo;

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Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News Magazine


June 24, 2015

Unique Find of Ancient Metal Vessels in Chachapoyas, Peru

Two ancient metal vessels have been found in Chachapoyas in Peru. This is the first time metal artifacts have been found in this area. They could have been offerings, and will be put on display at the Museum of Chachapoyas.
According to the archaeological team, “the representations on the vessels are of two characters (male and female) carrying headdresses, are dressed in clothes with staggered and geometric designs. In every scene the two characters are joined hands, the bodies are arranged head-profile and feet. There is also a decoration points and notches in low relief that cover the environment the characters.”

Peru This Week has a report with a photo here;

And El Comercio has a more extensive report here;

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Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News Magazine

June 10, 2015

Three Caral Era Figurines Found in Peru

Three terracotta figurines depicting leaders and a priestess from the Caral civilization have been found in Peru. They date 20 1800 BCE. They were found in a basket of reeds tied with cotton. They were arranged for ,ooking at each other. Two female heads were also found wrapped in tissue, and covered with colored feathers, possibly macaw feathers.

The International Business Times has the most striking photos of these statuettes:

Mike Ruggeri’s Norte Chico (Peru) World Magazine

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June 5, 2015

Two Chavin Gargoyles Found in Chaupimarca, Pasco

Two stone Chavin era gargoyles have been found on a buried town wall in Pasco, Peru. It could show that the Chavin culture began in this area. Farmers told the researchers about the buried walls near the town. The Chavin era was 1200-200 BCE.

Peru This Week has the short report here with a good photo;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News Magazine

May 25, 2015

Advanced Trepanation Found in 1000 CE Lake Titicaca Skulls

A team of researchers working at the Copacabana Peninsula on Lake Titicaca are studying skeletons from 1000-1250 CE in the area, at the site of Ch’isi. Nine adults were found in an above ground burial chamber, and all had survived skeletal trauma. Four had blunt or sharp trauma to the face and head, seven had bodily injuries. One adult was probably beaten with a hand held mace. A female had blunt force trauma to her head, face and arms. She shows signs of trepanation or cranial surgery. Trapanation is used to relieve pressure from blood build up. The female was operated on by drilling small holes around the injury and removing bones in the middle. She survived for many years thereafter. All nine survived their injuries. The skeletons show the violent nature of life in this region at the time and the advanced state of medical knowledge. Two groups in the area were at war with one another and with the Incas as well.
Read more about the human remains from the Copacabana Peninsula in the following articles: S. Juengst and S. Chávez, “Three trepanned skulls from the Copacabana peninsula in the Titicaca Basin, Bolivia (800 BC – 1000 AD),” in the International Journal of Paleopathology. S. Juengst, S. Chávez, D. Hutchinson, and K. Mohr Chávez, “Trauma in the Titicaca Basin, Bolivia (AD 1000-1450),” in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology.

Forbes has the report here with many good photos;

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Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News Magazine


May 23, 2015

Above Ground Pre-Inca Tomb Found

A stone Pre-Inca burial site has been found near Chimbote, Peru. This is the first Pre-Inca above ground tomb it is believed. There is a portico with three compartments inside.

PeruThisWeek has the short report with a photo;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Americas News on Tumblr


May 19, 2015

New Early Moche Temple and Other Discoveries in Peru

A Peruvian team is excavating at Moche sites in the Mata Indio zone in Peru. They have found a temple with 30 drawings. The team is looking to find smaller temples connecting the borders between the valley and the desert. Pre-Moche artifacts found there go as far back as 1500 BCE. A Moche era temple, dated at 200-300 CE, painted white and yellow with paintings has been uncovered. The site covers 6,700 acres

Latino Fox News has the report here;

And in a follow up story, Peru this week reports that the temple dates back to earliest Moche times. Two smaller mounds have been found with evidence of various occupations. Evidence of roads used to cross the desert have been uncovered. A good photo of the temple excavation included.

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Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News Magazine

May 19, 2015

Ancient Bolivian Gruesome Skull Finds

Researchers at the 200-800 CE site of Wata Wata in Bolivia have found three skulls of people who had been beaten, beheaded and deflated. One was male and two females. They all had cranial deformation and all the skulls showed chops, cuts, scrapes and fractures on their skulls at time of death. The female was scalped and had her eyes gouged out. The male was bludgeoned and eyes gouged out. The 2nd female also suffered a similar fate. Eye removal was a common form of torture in the Ancient Andes. The deaths may have symbolized a new regime had taken power.
(my note; cranial deformation was usually reserved for higher born individuals).
The research was published in Latin American Antiquity.
(This research by Becker and Alconini, “Head extraction, interregional exchange, and political strategies of control at the site of Wata Wata, Kallawaya Territory, Bolivia, during the transition between the Late Formative and Tiwanaku Periods (A.D. 200-800),” published in the journal Latin American Antiquity, was funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.)

Forbes has the report here;

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Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News Magazine

May 13, 2015

53 Ancient Burials Uncovered in Peru

Fifty three burials belonging to the Ychsma Culture have been uncovered at Huaca Mateo Salado in Peru. A ceremonial staircase has also been found decorated in ocher. They were placed in circular holes. Vertical rods kept the burials upright. Some heads were covered with bags with simulated eyes and mouths of seed, shells and plates. Offerings in the graves were vessels, textiles, agricultural implements. Work will continue on unexcavated pyramids, roads and walls.

Andina has the report here (in Spanish) with a good slide show;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News Magazine

May 4, 2015

New Research on the Nazca Lines

Researchers from Yamagata University in Japan believe that the Nazca lines were made by two different groups taking pilgramage routes to an ancient temple. The lines were drawn between 200 BCE-600 CE. The Yamagata team has uncovered 100 geoglyphs and broken ceramics at the intersection of two lines. The lines led to the vast pre-Inca temple complex at Cahuachi. Images of animals were found along a route starting from the Ingenio River. They continue on a path to Cahuachi. Images of trophy heads and supernatural beings were concentrated in the Nazca Valley and went towards Cahuachi. A third group was found on the Nazca Plateau. Even after Cahuachi collapsed, trapezoids and straight lines continued to be made and used.
The research was presented at this year’s Society of American Archaeology Conference in San Francisco.

Live Science has the report here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Andean News Magazine
(click on titles or photos to open articles)

April 11, 2015

Hundreds of Peruvian Mummies Found at the Site of Tenahaha

Dozens of tombs with up to 40 mummies dated to 800 CE each have been found in Peru. The site will be called Tenahaha. The tombs were placed on hills overlooking the living. The corpses range in age from fetuses to older adults. Some of the mummies were intentionally broken apart and scattered between the tombs. This may have been a community binding ritual for the dead. Between 800-1000 CE was a time of upheaval and conflict in Peru. But at Tenahaha, the pottery was not warlike, as was found in other areas, but showed people smiling. Perhaps Tenahaha was neutral ground for feasting and burying the dead. An international team has been involved in the excavations at the site.

Live Science has the report here, with photos;

March 23, 2015

Pre-Inca Baby Mummy Found in Lima

A pre-Inca baby mummy was found on the outskirts of Lima along with dozens of other mummified remains when experts combed the hills preparatory to building a new road. It is on the edge of the largest Inca cemetery ever found. 2000 mummies have been uncovered there so far, along with ceramics, textiles, silver, copper and gold

The Daily Mail has the report here with their usual very great photos of the find;

February 24, 2015

Ancient De-Fleshing of Human Corpses in Ancient Bolivia.

Archaeologists have found an ancient mortuary in Bolivia at the site of Khonkho Wankane, where corpses were defleshed and cleaned to carry in pieces. The bodies were boiled in pots of quicklime. The human remains were found in a circular building where there were 1000 teeth and small bones sheathed in white plaster. Ceramics and tools made from llama bones were also in white plaster. Blocks of quicklime were found for the use of defleshing the bones. Body parts were found in this substance, and carvings on a pillar show a human with defleshed ribs. The site was in use for 400 years. Since small bones remain there, the big bones were probably carried away. In this area, the dead were often disinterred for rituals and consultation. The people that stopped at the site were itinerant llama drivers who took the dead on the road with them.
The research is published in the journal Antiquity.

USA Today has the report here with a photo;

February 23, 2015

Two Remarkable Wooden Sculptures Found in Ancient Chimu Tomb

Archaeologists have found two wooden sculptures in a Chimu tomb in Peru. They are of male musicians. They once wore copper masks. The flutes they carry are identical to the 16 bamboo flutes that were also found in the tomb, along with woven cloth and pottery. One pottery vessel depicted the Chimu goddess of the moon, weavers and the sea. the tomb may have belonged to noble musicians and weavers. The wooden sculptures may represent a last musical ceremony actually held for the departed in the tomb. has the report here with a photo of the wooden sculptures;

February 14, 2015

The Diet of 2000 Year Old Individuals in Peru Has Been Uncovered.

University of Arizona researchers are using bioarchaeology and biogeochemistry to study the diets of 14 individuals dating back almost 2,000 years. They are studying mummies from the Paracas Necropolis of Wari Kayan. Using hair samples, they found what these individuals ate near the time of their deaths. They ate primarily marine products, maize and beans. The mummies were discovered in 1927 in seated positions, wrapped in bundles of textiles. The researchers plan to do more isotopic analysis of other mummies to build their understanding. has the report here;

And the full technical research report is online for free at the Journal of Archaeological Science,

February 5, 2015

Possible 3000 Year Old Writing at the Peruvian Site of Checta

El Comercio Peru reports that there is strong evidence of writing at 2200 BCE at the site of Checta, a petroglyph site
3 hours from Lima. 500 petroglyphs at the site show images and motifs from four cultural periods. The second phase from 2200-1000 BCE could be writing. The same motifs appear over a wide area for 1000 years. The designs appear to be ideographs like ancient Sumerican writing. The site is endangered by new roads leading to a mine and hew housing. Pruvian officials have not been resposive to taking steps to preserve the site.

The Bradshaw Foundation has the report here;

And with a film and photos of the glyphs here;

January 22, 2015

Ancient Bone Surgery at Kuelap Fortress, Peru

A team of researchers studied two skeletons dated at 800-1535 CE at the site of Kuelap in Peru. Both had holes drilled in their legs. The placement and depth of the holes suggest this was done to relieve pressure from infection or injury, releasing built up fluids.
The research is published in the International Journal of Paleopathology

Peru This Week has the report here;

January 12, 2015

The Oldest Human Skeleton Ever Unearthed in South America

An 11,230-12,401 year old adult male skeleton has been unearthed at Los Vilos in Chile. This is probably the oldest human skeleton ever unearthed in South America. This individual’s diet consisted of seafood, mainly fish and sea lions. He had serious gum infections and small wounds, and died at the relatively early age of 45. He suffered a common ear infection of seafarers. The place where he was found adds to the proof that the earliest Americans came by way of the sea. The archaeologists at the site have collected thousands of human bones. Bones of five other individuals within walking distance of each other have been found. The 11,230-12,401 year old skeleton was found in a mound, buried in a fetal position. And surprisingly, the five other individuals were buried in a different millennium, a thousand years later, in the same place. Donald Jackson, the lead archaeologist, submitted the bones for radio-carbon dating to three different labs in the US. He decided to publish the most conservative date of the three labs at 11,230 years.
(My Note; A little further down the Chilean coast, at Monte Verde, is the site of the first definite Pre-Clovis settlement. Much further north, at Paisley Cave, in Oregon, is the second positively dated Pre-Clovis site. By that, I mean human made tools dated at Pre-Clovis times, fibers, housing posts, human footprints, fishing implements, human coprolites, seaweed chewed on by humans, all dated at Pre-Clovis time periods, peer tested stratigraphy dating. Add to that the very old human remains found on the Channel Islands off the coast of California, and the evidence for a Pre-Clovis entry into the New World along the Pacific Coast by way of canoe traffic is now proven. The only way for humans to have reached coastal Oregon and coastal Chile in Pre-Clovis times was by way of canoe from Asia, hugging the coast from Siberia to the American Pacific Coast).

Que Pasa has the story (in Spanish) here;

And Donald Johnson’s research on the site and the ancient individual is posted at as a re-print of his post in a peer reviewed journal here;

December 10, 2014

Significant Wari Temple Excavated in Peru

An international team of archaeologists in Peru have uncovered an ancient Wari temple with a D-shaped temple and Wari influenced ceramics and textiles in southern Peru. The dig is uncovering material spanning 200 BCE-1000 CE. The Wari culture covered the south-central Andes from the highlands to the coast, with administrative centers, terraced agriculture and a huge network of roads. Excavations at the site will continue into 2015.

Popular Archaeology has the report here with good photos and a video;

November 12, 2014

Child and Llama Sacrifice Uncovered at a Chimu Site in Peru

42 children and 76 llamas sacrificed by the Chimu Culture in Peru at 1400 CE have been uncovered by archeologist John Verano. The Chimu site is near the sea, so the children may have been sacrificed as a gift to the sea. The llamas may have been seen as guardians in the underworld.

Fox News has the story here;

November 5, 2014

Largest Pre-Columbian Site in Colombia Uncovered

Archaeologists have found a Pre-Columbian village in Colombia dating to 900 BCE-1500 CE. It is the biggest site ever found in Colombia. This discovery changes the idea that Pre-Columbian groups living aroud the area of Bogota were nomadic. Many of the artifacts found are of museum quality. 

Colombia Reports has the story here with many good photos;

October 25, 2014

13 Angle Inca Stone Found at the Site of Inkawasi de Huaytará in Peru

Peru’s Ministry of Culture has annouced the finding of an Inca carved stone with 13 angles. The stone is in two interconnected fountains that run straight and then zigzag to slow down water flow into the river. The previous most angled stone was a 12 angled one in Cusco that was part of the palace of Inca ruler Inca Roca.

Fertur Travel blog has the most detailed photos of the two stones here;

October 25, 2014

Pre-Columbian Genes Found at Rapa Nui

Danish genetic researchers have analyzed the genomes of 27 Rapa Nui individuals and found genes related to Native Americans before any European admixture. The Native American admixture dated to 1280-1495 CE. The same geneticists had examined two skulls of the “Botocudos” of Brazil and found their ancestry was Polynesian, with no detectable Native American traits.  The latest findings indicate that Native Americans sailed to Rapa Nui or Polynesians sailed to America and back. The odds are with Polynesian sailings due to ocean currents and winds.
The study is published in the peer reviewed; Cell Press journal, Current Biology.

Popular Archaeology and Science Daily have the news here;

October 24, 2014

A 10,800 BCE campsite found in the Peruvian Andes

A National Geographic financed team has published a report in the peer reviewed journal Science that evidence of human activity in the high Peruvian Andes has been found in an oasis like region in this high desert area. An ancient campsite was found and two obsidian quarry sites, as well as stone tools and arrowheads. Radiocarbon dating places this site at 10,800 BCE. Vicunas and Llamas were the hunting draw for these folks, who came to this camp seasonally. Oxygen levels at this site are only 60% normal strength. This reveals that these people did not need long time periods to adjust to these altitudes, and that humans spread across South American rapidly. Ice Age glaciers disappeared in this basin at 13,000 BCE.

National Geographic has the report here with photos;

And the Boston Globe has more details here;

September 3, 2014

Drug Paraphernalia Found at a Tiwanaku Site in Bolivia

Researchers have found sophisticated drug paraphernalia at a Tiwanaku site called Cueva del Chileno in Bolivia dated at 500 CE. Snuffing tablets, a wooden snuffing tube, colorful headbands and more were found at the site. The snuffing tablets were used to spread out the psychotropic drugs, and the tubes were used to inhale them. Monoliths from the region show individuals holding chicha drinking cups in one hand and a snuffing tablet in the other. The drugs were used by shaman to mediate between the living and the dead. Shaman wore animal costumes depicting pumas and condors. Animal and human sacrifice was carried out at the site. An elite group held control over the substances, while the public was allowed access during healing ceremonies and public events. has the story here with slides;