Peru

Previous research has largely drawn on texts created by Spanish colonizers.

New Research

Machu Picchu Is Older Than Previously Thought, Radiocarbon Dating Suggests

New research indicates that the Inca settlement was in continuous use from at least 1420 to 1530

This pre-Inca chest ornament dates to between roughly 800 B.C. and 1 A.D. In 1986, the City of Cusco selected the disc's design as its official symbol and coat of arms.

A Golden Symbol of National Identity Returns to Peru

The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian has sent an ancient, pre-Inca breastplate back home

The Algodón River flows through a forest of the Amazon Basin in the remote northeastern corner of Peru. Scientists collected and analyzed a series of ten roughly 3-foot-long soil cores from three sites, each located at least a half-mile away from river courses and floodplains.

Future of Conservation

In a Remote Amazon Region, Study Shows Indigenous Peoples Have Practiced Forest Conservation for Millennia

Smithsonian researcher Dolores Piperno says native people have always played an important role in sustainability

Retouched composite image of the mural and its surroundings

Cool Finds

3,200-Year-Old Mural of Knife-Wielding Spider God Found in Peru

Local farmers accidentally destroyed 60 percent of the shrine complex that houses the ancient Cupisnique painting

Chinchero is an agrarian town about 45-minutes outside of Cusco known for its striking landscape of snow-capped mountains and lagoons connected by a system of wetlands, as well as its Inca ruins and famous Sunday market.

The Uphill Battle to Stop Peru From Building a New Airport Near Machu Picchu

Opinions are divided in the agrarian town of Chinchero, where the airport is slated to open in 2025

A new book  Incredible Archaeology: Inspiring Places From Our Human Past, out this month from Smithsonian Books, explores some of the world's most spectacular ancient wonders.

Twelve Ancient and Enduring Places Around the World

From Smithsonian Books, towering temples, dramatic works of art and early settlements that have stood the test of time

The llamas were preserved through natural mummification, leaving their colorful decorations intact.

Sacrificed Llamas Found in Peru Were Likely a Gift From the Inca

The elaborately decorated animals were probably buried alive alongside similarly adorned guinea pigs

“[It] was about to disappear because it’s situated on quite a steep slope that’s prone to the effects of natural erosion,” Peru's Ministry of Culture explains.

Cool Finds

2,000-Year-Old Nazca Line Featuring Lounging Cat Found in Peru

The enormous glyph is one of hundreds of ancient etchings scattered across the arid region

An empty Machu Picchu pictured on June 15, 2020. Travel restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic have decimated Peru's tourism industry.

Covid-19

Machu Picchu Reopens for a Single Stranded Tourist

Jesse Katayama, 26, waited seven months for his chance to see the mountainous 15th-century Inca settlement

Bronze-tailed Comet (Polyonymus caroli) perched on a cactus in Peru.

New Research

Hummingbirds in the Andes Go to Chilly Extremes for a Good Night’s Sleep

The longer a bird spent in a state of torpor, the less body mass it lost overnight

The Moai sculptures on Rapa Nui are at risk of collapsing into the ocean as coastal erosion continues.

New Tool Tracks Climate Change's Impact on World Heritage Sites

The online portal showcases the craggy cliffs surrounding Edinburgh Castle, Easter Island's famed sculptures and other cultural heritage hotspots

The Pachacamac Idol, a 1200-year-old wooden carving that held spiritual significance to the Inca

This Inca Idol Survived the Spanish Conquest. 500 Years Later, Archaeologists Are Unveiling Its History

A new analysis suggests the Pachacamac Idol, once thought destroyed, is probably older—and less bloody—than once believed

This carving is the first Nazca Line to be identified by artificial intelligence.

Cool Finds

Archaeologists Identify 143 New Nazca Lines

The trove of newly documented geoglyphs includes a humanoid figure identified by artificial intelligence

New Research

Research Suggests Machu Picchu Was Purposely Built on Top of Intersecting Fault Lines

It's believed the fissures produced chunks of cracked rock that aided in the construction of the city's tightly fitted stone walls

Exterior of the church of Kuñotambo after
conservation.

Pioneering Conservation Project Saves Earthquake-Damaged Peruvian Church

The work was part of a larger initiative to retrofit earthen buildings that are vulnerable to seismic activity

This geoglyph, previously identified as a hummingbird, actually depicts a hermit, a subgroup of hummingbird known to live in the forested regions of northern and eastern Peru

Scientists Identify Exotic Birds Depicted in Peru’s Mysterious Nazca Lines

The researchers argue that the non-native birds’ presence must be closely related to the etchings’ overall purpose

Trending Today

Archaeologists, Tour Operators, Locals Raise Alarm Over International Airport at Machu Picchu

They are petitioning the government to reconsider the project, which is planned to be completed by 2023

New Research

Beer Fueled Diplomacy in This Ancient Empire

Analysis shows a brewery at a Wari outpost in the mountains of southern Peru strengthened bonds with friends and neighbors

What Llama-Poop-Eating Mites Tell Us About the Rise and Fall of the Inca Empire

Lake-dwelling mite populations boomed at the height of the Andean civilization but dropped following the arrival of Spanish conquistadors

The Cahokia Mounds along the Mississippi River in Illinois is the site of the largest pre-Colombian Native American city built in the United States.

How the Remnants of Human Poop Could Help Archaeologists Study Ancient Populations

Undigested molecules persist in soil for hundreds or even thousands of years, acting as biomarkers that show the ebbs and flows of bygone civilizations