The Americas: 40,000 BC - 700 AD South America (Chavin, Nazca/Moche) Jane Woodward, Cali Reilly, Cassie Cula and Katie Dillon



  • Nazca was made up of local chiefdoms which is a form of political hierarchy
  • As in many other civilizations, men were sought to be superior over women
  • Men played the role in farming, religious leaders or warriors in the society
  • Men depicted in art sported painted faces and carried swords as a sign of strength in their community
  • Women featured in art would carried burdens, children or be seen cooking
  • They always wore their hair very long down their backs and wore dress like garments. Like the men, they also would paint parts of their bodies to represent their social status’


  • Leaders were primarily men - warriors, shamens and religious leaders
  • shamens lead religious ceremonies and practices for civilians
  • one practice that is depicted through wall art and remains of the nazca people was skull deformation. skull deformation determined political ranking and social class.


  • Leaders and rulers recieved messages and information from other neighboring states
  • Depended on wild plants for their source of food and goods, planted (squashes, gourds, beans, avocados and maize)
  • Depended most on maize for their crop
  • Agriculture encouraged population growth and enlargement communities


  • Nazca's culture flourished for many centuries on the coast of Peru.
  • People settled in the Nazca and surrounding valleys, arriving with principle religious and urban sites being Cahuachi and Ventilla.
  • Their culture is noticed for their distinctive art, agriculture and textiles.
  • The most commonly known piece of art work is the geoglyphs made on the desert grounds known as the "Nazca lines". some of these lines are very simple and spaced apart and others are very intricately traced over several miles of land. These cans till be viewed best from an aerial point of view.
  • The people of nazca worshiped mythical gods and creatures
  • their language was known but is most likely extinct


  • Moche established a powerful and elite system of specialized craft production
  • they enhanced new technologies in metallurgy, pottery and textile production
  • Moche instituted payments for workers (labor tribute payments).

Decline of Nazca:

Nazca dissolved around 700 CE. This decline is commonly said to be caused by earlier natural disasters. This includes drought, flooding from El Nino in late Decembers and drastic weather. These were overwhelming factors, along with their surrounding neighbors and heavier population.


The Chavin culture is most commonly known as a significant aspect of Peru´s history. So much information is primary gatherered from sights of burial grounds, there is no evidence of cultural writing or recorded history.


  • Chavin had clear distinction between an elite class, people who lived in stone houses, ordinary people and adobe dwellings
  • classes became more complex when farming started growing and became more popular while the population increased
  • Chavin dominated a densely populated region that included large areas of the Peruvian coastal plain and the Andean Foothills


  • A local and powerful chief or king dominated politics in the chavin region
  • There was no chavin empire
  • practical political advice was provided by shamens and healers in religious lives, courts and laws


  • Exchanges between individuals, groups and empires
  • Chavin became a pilgramage site and training center for initiates from distant centers


  • The Chavin culture shows the first recognizable widespread of artistic style in the Andes
  • Made extensive use of contour rivalry
  • Widespread religious cult that traveled on the back of a trading network, this provided cultural integration to much of the Andes


  • Chavin agriculture depended on maize cultivation and trade with other areas
  • As chavin grew, trade linked coastal economy with producers of many goods and items
  • Specialization of production and increased trade was promoted by moving goods to one ecological zone to another
  • Chavin people designed a complex irrigation system that ran throughout the temples and other public buildin
Decline of Chavin

The flourishing state began to decline in 300 BC. Many historians have concluded that the Chavin decline was due to changes within the working communities, region slowing down, violent conflicts, and overly-domesticated land. Trade and income of goods began to slow down which decreased profit and surplus items. As the Chavin population increased, disorder broke out in the land. After many years the Chavin culture began to deteriorate. Archeologists have found that sites where ceremonies and religious practices were deserted by 500 BC.

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