South American History

The cranium of an adult male, likely 25 to 30 years old, shows healed trauma affecting the upper jaw. The injury was probably caused by a punch from another individual in a fight.

Human Remains From the Chilean Desert Reveal Its First Farmers Fought to the Death

Three thousand years ago desert dwellers fatally stabbed and bashed each other, possibly due to diminishing resources

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

All members of the community interviewed for this story say the indigenous groups of the region have always known about the murals and recognize them as part of their cultural heritage.

When Claims of 'Discoveries' in the Amazon Ring False

When news broke worldwide of an incredible find in Colombia, local experts and guides say their knowledge was misrepresented

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 516 Arouca surpasses the previous record holder—Switzerland’s 1,621-foot Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge—by about 70 feet.

World's Longest Pedestrian Suspension Bridge Opens in Portugal

The 1,693-foot overpass hangs 570 feet above a roaring river and wobbles as people walk across it

Decades before Teotihuacán's conquest of Tikal in 378 A.D., the two cities may have enjoyed a friendly relationship.

Cool Finds

Were These Ancient Mesoamerican Cities Friends Before They Became Foes?

Ruins found in the Maya metropolis of Tikal appear to be an outpost of the distant Teotihuacán

The imported parrots and scarlet macaws were mummified between 1100 and 1450 A.D.

Cool Finds

Mummified Parrots Found in Chile Suggest Vast Pre-Hispanic Trade Network

People in South America likely kept the birds as exotic pets whose feathers were prized for their use in headdresses and hats

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

Archaic Age people—like the ones who made these blades—arrived in the Caribbean around 6,000 years ago.

What Ancient DNA Reveals About the First People to Populate the Caribbean

New study suggests a group of migrants almost totally replaced the islands' original population

Arranged in symbolically significant ways with no clear hierarchy, the villages’ circular layouts may reflect their Indigenous inhabitants’ conceptions of the cosmos.

Cool Finds

These Amazonian Villages Were Laid Out Like Clock Faces

Scientists used LiDAR to investigate the ruins of 14th- to 18th-century Indigenous communities in Brazil

Ancient artists created the works between 12,600 and 11,800 years ago.

Cool Finds

Tens of Thousands of 12,000-Year-Old Rock Paintings Found in Colombia

The images—heralded by researchers as "the Sistine Chapel of the ancients"—depict animals, humans and geometric patterns

The Maya built the Corriental reservoir filtration system as early as 2,185 years ago.

Cool Finds

Researchers Uncover 2,000-Year-Old Maya Water Filtration System

The city of Tikal purified one of its reservoirs with technology comparable to modern systems

“[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

Curators removed the tsantsa, or shrunken heads, from display in July.

Oxford Museum Permanently Removes Controversial Display of Shrunken Heads

Citing the exhibit's reinforcement of "racist and stereotypical thinking," the Pitt Rivers Museum moved a total of 120 human remains into storage

Sediments recovered from the Great Blue Hole, off the coast of Belize, hint at extremely severe storms during the late Classic period in Maya history.

Severe Cyclones May Have Played a Role in the Maya Collapse

Sediment cores from the Great Blue Hole reveal that a series of extreme storms hit the region after 900 A.D.

The Federal University of Minas Gerais’ Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden houses 260,000 artifacts ranging from fossils to folk art.

Second Brazilian Museum Fire in Two Years Sparks Calls for Reform

Authorities are assessing the damage caused by a June 15 blaze at the Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden in Belo Horizonte

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

One of the infants was around 18 months old at time of death, while the second was between 6 and 9 months old.

Cool Finds

Archaeologists Unearth Remains of Infants Wearing 'Helmets' Made From the Skulls of Other Children

Members of Ecuador's Guangala culture may have outfitted the infants in skulls as a protective measure

The 8-year-old girl lived in the Andes around 1470

500-Year-Old Inca Mummy Repatriated to Bolivia

Dubbed Ñusta, or 'Princess,' the mummy represents the first archaeologically significant set of remains to be repatriated to the Andean country