The carved serpent head found at the base of Vista Alegre’s temple structure. The carved serpent head most likely was one of a pair that would have been placed at the base of the balustrades flanking the main set of stairs leading to the top of the main temple structure. Team members found the serpent head in 2002 during the first visit to the site.(Credit: Image courtesy of Proyecto Costa Escondida Maritime Maya 2011 Expedition, NOAA-OER)

The Hidden World of the Maritime Maya

Ancient port site was used periodically between 800 B.C. and 1521 A.D. Explorers sit atop the ancient Maya pyramid at Vista Alegre. The pyramid stands 35-feet tall and may have been used by Maya lookouts to monitor approaching and departing canoes. (Credit: Image courtesy of Proyecto Costa Escondida Maritime Maya 2011 Expedition, NOAA-OER.) NOAA-sponsored explorers […]

Peru: Tomb believed to be older than “Señor de Sipan” found in northern Peru

A team of archaeologists, led by Walter Alva, have discovered the wooden tomb of another member of the Mochica culture’s elite – older than the “Señor de Sipan” (Lord of Sipan).

These findings belong to the Moche civilization, which ruled the northern coast of Peru from the time of Christ to 800 AD, centuries prior to the Incas.

Earliest-known Evidence of Peanut, Cotton and Squash Farming Found

Anthropologists working on the slopes of the Andes in northern Peru have discovered the earliest-known evidence of peanut, cotton and squash farming dating back 5,000 to 9,000 years. Their findings provide long-sought-after evidence that some of the early development of agriculture in the New World took place at farming settlements in the Andes.

Polynesians beat Columbus to the Americas

Prehistoric Polynesians beat Europeans to the Americas, according to a new analysis of chicken bones.

The work provides the first firm evidence that ancient Polynesians voyaged as far as South America, and also strongly suggests that they were responsible for the introduction of chickens to the continent – a question that has been hotly debated for more than 30 years.

Earliest Known American Settlers Harvested Seaweed

People living in the earliest known settlement in the Americas harvested seaweed and other marine plants from a coastline more than 50 miles (80 kilometers) away, new research shows. Scientists discovered several species of seaweed and marine algae dating back more than 14,000 years at the Monte Verde archaeological site in south-central Chile.

Nasca Decapitation Vessel

Recently Excavated Headless Skeleton Expands Understanding Of Ancient Andean Rituals

Images of disembodied heads are widespread in the art of Nasca, a culture based on the southern coast of Peru from AD 1 to AD 750. But despite this evidence and large numbers of trophy heads in the region’s archaeological record, only eight headless bodies have been recovered with evidence of decapitation, explains Christina A. Conlee (Texas State University). Conlee’s analysis of a newly excavated headless body from the site of La Tiza provides important new data on decapitation and its relationship to ancient ideas of death and regeneration.

Rare skeleton, jewels found in Bolivia pyramid

Archeologists have uncovered the 1,300-year-old skeleton of a ruler or priest of the ancient Tiwanaku civilization together with precious jewels inside a much-looted pyramid in western Bolivia.

In Peru, scientists discover the oldest solar observatory in the Americas

As archaeologists evaluate whether an ancient temple in Buena Vista, Peru, functioned as a calendar, a different research team is preserving the remains of an unusually elaborate astronomical complex just north, in Chankillo. This solar observatory is considered the oldest in the Americas, dating back to the 4th century B.C., and it offers unique physical evidence that a sun cult inhabited Peru at least 1,500 years before the Incas.

Ancient “Lost City” Discovered in Peru, Official Claims

Ruins recently discovered in southern Peru could be the ancient “lost city” of Paititi, according to claims that are drawing serious but cautious response from experts. The presumptive lost city, described in written records as a stone settlement adorned with gold statues, has long been a grail for explorers—as well as a lure for local tourism businesses.

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