The Andes


8000 BC

Chinchorro mummies

5000 BC - 2000 BC

COASTAL region: extremely dry

Oldest prepared mummies in the world along dry coast of northern Chile and Southern Peru

Black style: stripped, disemboweled, skinned, reassembled, painted black, oval mask
Red style: red paint(clay?), open mouth


5000 BC - 3000 BC

Camelid domestication

4500 BC

From PUNA (High Grassland)region.
---12000 - 1500 ft

Llamas are larger and used for meat, wool, transport,dung, blood (sacrifice), bones

Alpaca are smaller; meat and very high quality wool


3000 BC

Central Coastal

Agricultural subsistance

2000 BC

HIGHLAND VALLEYS: 9000-12000 ft.

Land often terraced for cold-resistant crops (ie, potatoes and tubers)

Beans, Chile, Maize, Quinoa

2000 BC - 1000 BC


200 BC - 1000 AD

North Coastal


200 BC - 600 AD

South Coastal


400 - 1000

South Highland


500 - 900

North Highland


1200 - 1532

Largest empire in the Americas

The Inca: semi-devine ruler and descendant of sun-god Inti

No written script; kept KHIPU, knot records

State-owned maize fields dedicated to gods

Ritual sacrifice (child sacrifice in Capacocha ceremony) to appease pantheon

Inca expansion begins


Extended from Ecuador to Chile
~"Tawantinsuyu"= land of the 4 Quarters
----Chinchansuyu, Cuntinsuyu, Antinsuyu, Collasuyu

CENTER OF EMPIRE: the "Coricancho" site in Cuscu, the Capital city.

Tightly controlled its conquered people in travel,religion,etc.
Forcibly relocated populations.

Mit'a: owed labor to state
Maize: key tribute item

Pizarro's Attack


Francisco Pizarro: murdered and plundered Inka Empire for riches

General events

Maize/Squash Domestication

4000 BC

-Guilá Naquitz Cave, Oaxaca, Mexico

Ceramic Figurines

2300 BC

-development of ceramic figurines: acrobats, twin motifs

Sedentary Villages

2000 BC

-committed to agriculture

Earliest Ballcourt

1600 BC

~Paso de la Amada

Prismatic Obsidian Blades

1500 BC - 1500 AD

-developed c. 1500 BC, persisted for 3000 yrs.
--blades, mirrors

"Horizon" Style

1150 BC

~Olmec "mother culture"?
~shared ritual practices
----bloodletting, the Ballgame
~long-distance trade of precious objects
----greenstone axes
~widespread symbolic motifs
---were-jaguar, cleft-head (corn head?)

Maize in Diet

1000 BC

-Highly significant part of diet by 1 K BC


Archaic Period

5000 BC - 2000 BC

~H&G societies
~Transition to farming
----triad (maize,beans,squash)domesticated

Formative Period

2000 BC - 300 AD

-Tribal agricultural villages
-ends w/ chiefdoms and states
-development of social inequality

Classic Period

300 AD - 900 AD

-state-level societies
-Maya city-states and Tenotihuacan

Post-Classic Period

900 AD - 1520 AD

-collapse of Maya political entity
-rise of Aztec Empire
-ends with Spanish Conquest (1521 AD)

The Gulf Olmecs

"Olmeca"= Nahuattl for "people of the rubber country"
-Olmec culture first recognized by Mathew Stirling, 1943

El Manti

1600 BC - 1200 BC

~A ritual offering site near springs; NO RESIDENCY
--infant,child burial or sacrifice
~colossal head; faces are distinctive portraits
--mutilated and purposefully buried (respect or scorn?)

San Lorenzo

1200 BC - 900 BC

~1st capital; top of settlement hierarchy with subordinate settlements surrounding
~pop ~14,000
~stone drain system
~language probably Mixa Zuatain(*?)
~Associative works by leader orginization: stones from 60 km away,paths,bridges,docks,etc.

Cascajal block

1100 BC - 900 BC

-oldest writing (undeciphered)

Tres Zapotes

900 BC - 500 BC

~Monument A; giant head discovered 1862 by Jose Malgar
--purposely buried by Olmecs
--originate in Tuxtla mountains
~not entirely abandoned by 400 BC

The Teotihuacanos

Teotihuacan- "The place where divinity came into being"


100 BC - 650 AD

~Pop.: ~125,000
~Architectural style: Talud(slope)/Tabelero(flat, painted slab)
~one of the first big cities

Teotihuacan Pop. BOOM

100 AD - 150 AD

~Urban population grows from 80K-90K
~80-90% of Basin depopulated
-Coincides with eruption of Popocateptl, 1st c.?

Teo's Layout

300 AD

~Central Ave. with pyramids alongside
~canalized rivers
~+2300 apartments,60-100 people in each
----dead buried in apartments
----thick concrete walls
~ethnic and class differentiation
~religious and social factions

Teo's Religion

300 AD

~Moon Pyramid(oldest): Burial 1: 10 male sacrifices had bound hands and feet, beheaded. No deposit pattern. Burial 2: man, 2 puma, eagle, owl, snakes, etc. buried alive(?)
~Sun Pyramid (middle, largest)
~Feathered Serpent Pyramid (youngest, smallest): ~200 individuals grouped by sex, bound, highly decorated

Teo's Government

300 AD

~No glorified rulers b/c no stone portraits, or ruler burials (unlike Olmecs and Maya)
~Powerful leaders existed b/c military might, monuments, trade
~Religion central to government and society

Displacement of Maya Kings

January 16, 378 AD

-Found on Stela 31 at Tikal

The Aztecs

Aztec= European name given to group led by Mexica tribe

City States (altlpet)

1200 AD - 1400 AD

Allies: Texcoco and Tlacopan
----formed Triple Alliance with Tenochitlan
Unconquerable: Tarascans and Tlaxcala


1300 - 1521

The Mexica tribe (originating from the Aztlan area) migrated into the Basin and settled in Tenotchitlan in the 1300s.

Spanish Conquest

1519 AD - 1521 AD

Aztec Empire defeated by Hernan Cortez.
~La Malinche:"Mother of Mexican History". Served as translator, Cortez's mistress.
----negotiates treaty with the Tlaxcaltecans (not honored)
~Smallpox beats Spaniards to Tenochtitlan

"New Spain"


Tenochtitlan renamed; Mexico City built over it
~Almost all Nahuas converted to Catholicism within a few decades

Florentine Codex compilation

1540 - 1585

12 books compiled in Nahuatl by Spanish friar Bernadino de Sahagun.
-lists social roles, morals, conquests, history, religion of local Aztecs