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Archaeology of South America 


J. Eric Thompson 

Division of Historical Research, Carnegie Institution of Washington 

Formerly Assistant Curator of Central and South 
American Archaeology, Field Museum 

12 Plates, 18 Text Figures, 1 Map 

Leaflet 33 




The Anthropological Leaflets of Field Museum are designed to 
give brief, non-technical accounts of some of the more interesting 
beliefs, habits and customs of the races whose life is illustrated 
in the Museum's exhibits. 


1. The Chinese Gateway (supply exhausted) ... $ — 

2. Philippine Forge Group 10 

3. Japanese Collections 20 

4. New Guinea Masks 15 

6. The Thunder Ceremony of the Pawnee 20 

6. The Sacrifice to the Morning Star by the Skidi 

Pawnee 10 

7. Purification of the Sacred Bundles, a Ceremony of 

the Pawnee 10 

8. Annual Ceremony of the Pawnee Medicine Men . .10 

9. The Use of Sago in New Guinea 10 

10. Use of Human Skulls and Bones in Tibet ... .10 

11. The Japanese New Year's Festival, Games and 

Pastimes 15 

12. Japanese Costume 20 

13. Gods and Heroes of Japan 15 

14. Japanese Temples and Houses 15 

15. Use of Tobacco among North American Indians . .20 

16. Use of Tobacco in Mexico and South America . . .15 

17. Use of Tobacco in New Guinea and Neighboring 

Regions 10 

18. Tobacco and Its Use in Asia 25 

19. Introduction of Tobacco into Europe 25 

20. The Japanese Sword and Its Decoration 15 

21. Ivory in China 60 

22. Insect-Musicians and Cricket Champions of China . .40 

23. Ostrich Egg-shell Cups of Mesopotamia and the 

Ostrich in Ancient and Modern Times ... .30 

24. The Indian Tribes of the Chicago Region with 

Special Reference to the Illinois and the 
Potawatomi 25 

25. The Civilization of the Mayas (Third Edition) . . .60 

26. The Early History of Man (supply exhausted) . . — 

27. The Giraffe in History and Art 60 

28. The Field Museum -Oxford University Expedition 

to Kish, Mesopotamia, 1923-1929 50 

29. Tobacco and Its Use in Africa 25 

30. The Races of Mankind 25 

31. Prehistoric Man 25 

32. Primitive Hunters of Australia 30 

33. Archaeology of South America 75 





List of Illustrations 3 

I. Environment and Genesis of South Ameri- 
can Civilization 5 

II. Peru: History 18 

III. Peru: Religion and Customs ........ 41 

IV. Northwest Argentina and Northern Chile . . 72 
V. Ecuador 95 

VI. Colombia . . 114 

List of Cases in Hall 9 149 

Bibliography 150 

Index 153 



I. Nazca Pottery, South Coast of Peru. 

II. Early Chimu Pottery, North Coast of Peru. 

III. Late Chimu Pottery, North Coast of Peru. 

IV. Inca Ruins, Southern Highlands of Peru. 
V. Nazca Pottery, Peru. 

VI. Diaguite Pottery, Province of Tucuman, Argentina. 

VII. Pottery Vessels, Colombia. 

VIII. Chibcha Pottery, Chibcha Region, Central Colombia. 

IX. Pottery from Colombia. 

X. Gold Ornaments, Medellin, Colombia. 

XL Stone Work, North Coast of Colombia. 

XII. Textile from Peru. 



1. Inca Pottery 31 

2. Lacquered Wooden Vessel 55 

3. Peruvian Textiles 61 

4. Peruvian Metal Work 63 

5. Metal and Bone Work 65 

6. Peruvian Stone Work 67 

7. Inca Stone Work 69 

8. Peruvian Lacquer Work 70 

9. Diaguite Art, Argentina 81 

10. Decorated Gourds 85 

11. Andine Art 87 

12. Wood Work from Chile 89 

13. Carved Bone from Chile . 91 

14. Gourds and Other Implements 93 

15. Burial Customs 103 

16. Pottery Vessel from Colombia 139 

17. Pottery Spindle Whorls 141 

18. Colombian Pottery 145 

Archaeological Map of Western South America 4 



Field Museum of Natural History 

Chicago, 1936 

Leaflet Number 33 
Copyright 1936 by Field Museum of Natural History 



South America is a continent of marked physical 
contrasts. In the same latitude one can pass from arid 
coastal plains across the snow-clad peaks of the Andes 
into the tropical jungle of the low Amazon basin. Within 
a distance of three hundred miles one finds these over- 
whelming contrasts of sandy waste and impenetrable 
jungle teeming with life. Traveling from north to south 
the transition is less abrupt, but in the course of not far 
short of five thousand miles one passes from the steaming 
jungles of the north across the plateau land of Brazil 
and the woodlands and swamps of Paraguay over the 
treeless pampas of the Argentine and down into south 
Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, a region of sub-antarctic 
flora and fauna. South America, then, presents the 
extremes of heat and cold, of wastelands, forests, and 
plain within its shores. Somewhere within these extremes 
every type of vegetation can be found. 

The coastal plains of the Pacific and the valleys of 
the Andes hinterland produced one general type of 
civilization, the highest attained in South America. The 
humid jungle lands of the Amazon and Orinoco basins 
molded a different culture, lower than that of the Pacific 
coast, but with its distinctive contributions to progress. 
The southern Brazilian plateau and the woodlands of 
Paraguay and North Argentina were responsible for a 
distinct modification of the forest pattern, while in the 

6 Field Museum of Natural History 

north-central plateau of Brazil, the open plains of central 
Argentina and Patagonia and the plains and mountains 
of Tierra del Fuego and southern Chile little progress in 
civilization was made. 

The contrasts in civilization are as marked as those 
of physical geography. On the one hand, the Andes 
region nurtured one of the most advanced civilizations 
of the New World; on the other hand, Tierra del Fuego, 
a peripheral region, was the home of some of the most 
primitive tribes in the world. Peru witnessed a great 
development of arts and crafts in combination with a 
variety of highly organized communism blended with 
autocracy. In Tierra del Fuego the natives had practi- 
cally no social organization, no knowledge of agriculture, 
weaving or metals, used no pottery, and did not even 
know how to polish stone. 

Although the peak of South American civilization 
was reached in Peru, it would be wrong to consider the 
other cultural areas as having derived their civilization 
in entirety from this center of greatest development. 
Such features as the cultivation of manioc and the 
pineapple, the use of poisoned darts in blowguns, and 
the substitution of the hammock for mats or a bed proba- 
bly originated in the forest regions of the Amazon or 
Orinoco basins, while even southern Chile made its contri- 
bution to cultural progress by the use of the plank- 
built canoe. 

Such, then, in brief outline was the situation in South 
America at the time Columbus was setting forth on the 
first of his voyages. Some areas had progressed far along 
the path of civilization, others had lagged behind. Much 
of this progress was of recent date. Had South America 
been discovered some three thousand years earlier, a very 
different picture would have met the eyes of the first 
Europeans. The high lights would have been largely 
absent, and South America would have stood forth as a 
continent of fairly uniform culture. Perhaps agriculture 

South American Civilization 7 

would have been a little less widely distributed, cultivated 
plants possibly would have been fewer in number, but 
such elements as metal-working, national government, 
and highly organized religion would not yet have ap- 
peared on the scene. 

South America was probably first inhabited some 
fifteen or twenty thousand years ago. These first immi- 
grants apparently passed across from Asia by way of 
Bering Strait and Alaska, either in boats or across the 
ice. Almost certainly there was no concerted migration, 
but the immigrants must have passed across in small 
unrelated groups, possibly hundreds of years elapsing in 
some cases between the crossing of one group and the 
next. In the course of centuries these immigrants and 
their descendants drifted southwards, gradually filtering 
into South America. 

These first immigrants were on a very low cultural 
plane, probably resembling in this respect middle or late 
palaeolithic man in Europe. Wearing skins for warmth, 
they hunted game with spears propelled by spear-throwers, 
and lived either in caves and rock-shelters or in very 
primitive shelters erected in the open. For food they 
depended on game they could shoot or trap, fish and 
clams, seeds, berries, and roots. In these occupations 
they used chipped stone knives, spearheads and scrapers, 
and probably bone harpoon points. Many animals now 
extinct, such as the mastodon, giant sloth and certain 
species of buffalo, appear to have roamed the New World 
at this time. At least signs of human occupation have 
been found with such fauna under conditions which 
would seem definitely to preclude accidental association 
in every case and which would lead us to conclude that 
man and such animals were in all probability contempo- 
raneous. This does not necessarily imply a great an- 
tiquity for man in the New World, but suggests rather 
that these animals continued to exist under favorable 
circumstances for long after they were previously believed 

8 Field Museum of Natural History 

to have become extinct. On the other hand the estimate 
that man has existed in the New World only for about 
ten thousand years is probably too short. An occupation 
of fifteen or twenty thousand years is tentatively sug- 
gested, but such statements lack definite proof. 

The most primitive skulls so far reported from South 
America were first found in caves at Lagoa Santa in the 
south of the State of Minas Geraes, Brazil. Subsequent 
finds of skulls of the same general type show that the 
race was at one time widely distributed. These skulls 
belonged to a people with small heads, which were 
long but of exceptional height. Faces, which were 
marked by broad noses, were wide and short, and 
showed marked prognathism. These skulls resemble 
those of the Australian aborigines, suggesting not a 
migration across the Pacific but a common ancestral 
stock. It is probable that these Lagoa Santa people 
were among the first inhabitants of America, but there 
were other immigrants, probably of later arrival, who were 
also narrow-headed, but with much narrower noses. 
A third and numerically larger race was marked by very 
pronounced roundness of the head. From these three 
main stocks, so far as is at present known, all the present 
American Indians are descended, although the strains 
are generally very mixed, and may have been so in 
many cases before migration to the New World. The 
Lagoa Santa type has died out, but many modern tribes 
probably have a large percentage of this blood in their 
veins as shown by certain peculiar physical features. 

Possibly the later round-headed peoples brought with 
them from Asia later inventions such as basketry, the 
bow and arrow, polishing of stone and the domestic dog. 

The American Indians form a homogeneous group, 
distinctive from other racial groups of the world, but allied 
to the Mongoloid races, with which they form the great 
Mongoloid division of man. Somatological evidence 
points to the Chinese and American Indians as being part 

South American Civilization 9 

of this same Mongoloid group. This does not imply 
that the American Indian is descended from Chinese 
stock, but that both have a common ancestor. The 
most prominent physical features of the South American 
Indian and the Mongoloid race in general are the presence 
of very prominent high cheek-bones and straight black 
hair. In addition, the South American is generally of a 
copper color, rather broad-nosed and of medium stature, 
although the Patagonians form a remarkable exception, 
being one of the tallest races of the world. The South 
American Indian appears on the whole to have more 
muscular development in the legs than in the arms. 
Contrary to popular belief he is neither grave nor taciturn, 
although centuries of mistreatment have made many 
Indian tribes sullen in the presence of Europeans. 

Although the great majority of anthropologists favor 
the Bering Strait as the sole route by which America 
was populated, in recent years there has been a tendency 
to inquire more closely into the possibility of some of 
South America's early inhabitants having reached its 
shores from the Pacific. Many cultural elements of 
apparent great antiquity found scattered through South 
America are paralleled by similar elements in the islands 
of the Pacific. There are arguments both for and against 
this thesis, but this is not the place to take them up in 
detail; for the present it would be best to return an open 
verdict. We can be sure, however, that the claims that 
South American civilizations, such as those of Peru, were 
wholesale importations are absolutely fallacious. 

The agricultural products of South America, which, 
with one or two possible exceptions, were different from 
those of the Old World, clearly point to New World 
civilization having been mainly if not entirely of New 
World origin. Speculations deriving South American 
civilizations from lost continents of the Pacific, or even 
of the Atlantic, are based on fantastic distortions of 
cultural and geological evidence, and can be safely thrown 

10 Field Museum of Natural History 

into the discard. Such theories are originated by persons 
with little or no scientific training, and are voraciously 
swallowed by those who eternally seek the sensational 
and bizarre. 

Although civilization gradually evolved in the higher 
centers of South American culture, some backward peoples 
of remote areas climbed but few rungs up the ladder of 
progress. By examining one of the most primitive of the 
present-day peoples of South America one should get a 
fair picture of the level of general culture of South America 
at the end of the period that preceded agriculture. A 
little must be discounted for subsequent progress of the 
peripheral tribe, and possibly a little should be added on 
the grounds that degeneration may have taken place. 
The most backward tribes of South America are to be 
found in Tierra del Fuego. The following summary of 
the culture of the Yahgans, one of the Tierra del Fuego 
tribes now fast approaching extinction, is based on S. K. 
Lothrop's "The Indians of Tierra del Fuego." 

The Yahgans, contrary to the belief that the 
languages of primitive peoples are extremely simple, 
possessed a very rich vocabulary, no less than 32,000 
words having been recorded by students of the language. 
In contrast, Shakespeare used a total of 24,000 words in 
all his works. On the other hand the Yahgans only 
possessed numerals for 1, 2, 3, 5 (one hand), and 10 
(two hands). Despite the cold climate men and women 
of all ages frequently went completely naked. Clothing, 
when worn, consisted of sealskin capes worn over the 
shoulders, pubic coverings of skin worn by the women, 
sealskin moccasins, and, rarely, mittens or guanaco 
leggings. The hair was cut across the forehead, but other- 
wise was seldom touched, while facial and body hair was 
removed with a pair of mussel-shells. Bands of guanaco- 
hide, painted white, were worn as wristlets and anklets, 
while as additional ornaments beads, made from the leg- 
bones of ducks or from shells, were strung on braided sinew 

South American Civilization 11 

and worn as necklaces. Bodies were decorated with red 
paint obtained by burning earth, black paint made from 
charcoal, and white paint made from a certain clay. 

Dwellings were of the wigwam type, covered with 
leaves, grass, bark, or kelp in summer, but with the 
addition of sealskins in winter. Fire, which was conserved 
as long as possible, was made by using flint and pyrites. 
Basketr}' of the coiled type represented the most advanced 
craft, while bark buckets and sealskin bags were also 
made. The principal tools were a scraper made by setting 
a mussel-shell on a stone handle, a leaf-shaped knife made 
of chipped stone, a whale-bone tool for removing bark 
from trees, and a crude hammer-stone. Canoes were 
made of bark, and when in use a fire was always kept 
burning amidships. The task of paddling fell to the 
women, who used paddles with sharply pointed handles. 
Spears were usually made with serrated whale-bone heads, 
but there were many types, in addition to excellent har- 
poons. Bows and arrows were also used, the latter having 
well-shaped heads of bone. Other weapons of the chase 
or for fighting were slings, clubs, and bird snares. Fish 
were caught with nets, weirs, a noose on a line, or spears, 
while four-pronged wooden spears were used to catch 
crabs and sea-urchins. To open fish for cleaning, a hole 
was bitten in the fish's belly. 

Organized warfare was unknown, but feuds between 
two individuals sometimes developed into regular battles. 
There was no higher unit than the family. Marriage 
with first or second cousins was forbidden. Marriage ties 
were loose, and there was a tendency to exchange husbands 
and wives. Children, contrary to the general Indian 
custom, did not receive much attention, and abortion was, 
apparently, a common practice. Simple games existed, 
and very primitive masks were used in certain ceremonies. 
Adolescents of both sexes underwent initiation cere- 
monies, which included a strict fast, instruction in morals 

12 Field Museum of Natural History 

and industry, baths in the icy ocean, a sort of tattooing, 
and ceremonial dancing. 

Religion was extremely primitive. There was a su- 
preme being who controlled nature by sending or with- 
holding the food supply, dispensed justice, and caused 
death. Prayers were offered to this deity in times of sick- 
ness and grief, and at moments of thanksgiving. There 
were also innumerable spirits of the sea, rocks, trees, and 
others, as well as the ghosts of shamans, the medicine- 
men of the tribe. The dead were buried. If death, 
however, took place far from home, cremation was 
resorted to in order to prevent the bones falling into 
unfriendly hands. Mourners covered themselves with 
black paint, and danced wearing special head-bands 
adorned with goose feathers. These dances were repeated 
at intervals for several months after death. There was 
apparently a belief in survival beyond the grave, but the 
ideas held on this subject were vague. Legends existed 
of a flood and culture bearers. 

Such in brief is the outline of Yahgan culture as it 
existed until a few decades ago. The early cultures of 
South America of about 10,000 years ago probably were 
not very different. Allowance must be made for environ- 
ment, which is so clearly reflected in the cultures of 
Tierra del Fuego. It is unnecessary to state that a 
primitive tribe of the Amazon basin obviously used other 
material than whale-bone for spearheads, and did not 
dress in sealskin capes, but in general the patterns of the 
two cultures must have matched to a remarkable degree. 

The discovery of agriculture, which probably took place 
some five to eight thousand years ago, was instrumental 
in greatly accelerating the progress of the majority of 
American Indian tribes. This may first have taken place 
in the highlands of Middle America with the domestication 
of maize. In this region is to be found a wild grass known 
as Teocentli (Euchlaena mexicana), from which a number 
of botanists believe maize was developed. Once estab- 

South American Civilization 13 

lished as a domesticated plant, the spread of maize must 
have been rapid. It has been claimed that maize was 
first developed in arid areas with the aid of irrigation, 
but the writer knows of no authenticated example of very 
early irrigation in the Middle American region. Hill- 
sides were frequently terraced, but the primary purpose 
of this was clearly to conserve the soil against erosion. 
The coastal zone of Peru, an area of great aridity in many 
parts, was a center of irrigation in ancient times, but no 
one has seriously suggested that maize was first cultivated 
on the coastal plains of Peru. 

So many cultural traits, common to Central and South 
America, can be traced to a South American origin 
(p. 17) that the southern continent should not be neglected 
as the possible scene of the first cultivation of agricul- 
tural plants. Furthermore, Middle America, despite the 
fact that it is the home of maize, at present yields no 
evidence of cultures of great antiquity, for the earliest 
known cultures of Central America and Mexico have a 
sophistication which would point to many centuries of 
progress having preceded their development. Further- 
more, influences, apparently from South America, are 
visible in the earliest known cultures of Central America. 

It has been so generally assumed that maize, because 
of its economic importance and wide distribution, was the 
first plant cultivated by the inhabitants of the New World, 
that the possibility of some other plant having had that 
honor has been practically ignored. 

It is by no means impossible that some other plant, 
possibly manioc, was cultivated before maize. Manioc 
is a native of eastern South America, which is a region 
where no high culture was developed. However, manioc 
may have been the ladder by which early man in America 
climbed the first few rungs from nomadic savagery to an 
organized communal culture. The distribution of manioc 
is less wide than that of maize, but this is undoubtedly 

14 Field Museum of Natural History 

due to the fact that climatic factors barred its progress 
north of central Mexico or south of the Chaco region. 

That eastern South America was a center of agricul- 
ture for very many centuries is proved by the seedless 
pineapple, a native of this region, for a lengthy period of 
cultivation must have elapsed to reduce this fruit to a 
position where it is dependent on artificial propagation. 

Manioc may first have been cultivated for the poison 
it contains, which is still used in Brazil as a fish poison. 
The pulp from which the poison had been extracted may 
subsequently have been utilized as a food stuff, and from 
this stage it would have been a simple step to cultivation 
of the plant to insure an adequate supply of food and 
poison. Once manioc had been extensively spread in 
South and Central America, maize may have been brought 
under cultivation, and owing to its superior qualities 
replaced manioc as the staple food of large areas, and 
permitted a wider extension of agriculture. 

Actually there is no definite proof that manioc was 
cultivated before maize, but it is a distinct possibility, 
and should not be entirely overlooked in favor of the 
prevalent theory that maize was the first plant cultivated 
in the New World, and is the fons et origo of the New 
World civilization. 

The invention of agriculture gave a great impetus to 
progress. Prior to this event man had been forced to 
spend the greater part of his time, either directly or indi- 
rectly, in the search for food. The hunting of game and 
the collecting of shell-fish, roots, and berries consumed 
much of his time, and what remained was devoted to the 
preparation of hunting weapons and traps. Consequently 
he had little leisure for invention. After the development 
of agriculture much less time was required for assuring a 
food supply. Instead of a constant search for food, which 
often required him to travel great distances, he could 
assure himself a plentiful supply by a few months of hard 

South American Civilization 15 

work. With an assured food supply specialization was 
possible, and the farmer had a food surplus that he 
was prepared to barter for the non-agricultural products 
of others. With specialization and added leisure invention 
was speeded up. 

At about the same time as the introduction of agricul- 
ture, pottery was invented. This also marked an important 
advance in civilization. It appears probable that pottery 
developed through the custom of daubing baskets with 
clay to make them water-tight. In the southwestern part 
of the United States, stages from this point upwards have 
been traced in archaeological deposits, but this does not 
necessarily imply that pottery was first developed in this 
area, for these stages may represent a local development 
of pottery stimulated by the knowledge that other peoples 
manufactured it. 

The peoples of the earliest dateable cultures of South 
America possessed pottery, but doubtless earlier stages 
will some day be found in South America, in which pottery 
will be absent. Of course, the absence of pottery among 
a certain people does not necessarily indicate that pottery 
was unknown in the area, for, as we have seen, the Yahgans 
of Tierra del Fuego made no use of pottery in the nine- 
teenth century, whereas some two thousand years earlier 
pottery-making had reached a very high level in Peru. 

Cotton was probably first cultivated within a few 
centuries of the beginnings of agriculture in the New 
World. Weaving undoubtedly developed from basket- 
making. A host of new plants must have been brought 
under cultivation at about the same time, including such 
varied products as squashes, beans, fruit trees, and tobacco, 
while the grouping of population in permanent villages 
and settlements would have been one of the first results of 
the adoption of farming. 

There is a very marked uniformity among the high 
civilizations of the New World, and it is clear that they 
are closely connected. They share in common many 

16 Field Museum of Natural History 

agricultural plants, basically uniform religious concepts 
and similar manual techniques. It has been very generally 
assumed that South American cultures are almost entirely 
of Middle American origin, although with many local 
developments. Recently Lothrop and others have chal- 
lenged this view, which is largely based on the assumption 
that maize was the first plant cultivated, and therefore 
the foundation upon which New World civilizations 
were built. 

It is difficult to obtain evidence of the original centers 
from which cultural traits were diffused, but such as 
exists points rather to South America as the original 
center of dissemination. A number of pottery shapes 
found in South America have been generally considered 
to have been diffused from Middle America. But it is 
possible that they originated in South America since 
these shapes are found there in larger quantities. These 
shapes include cups with flaring bases, pot stands, 
vessels in the form of men lying on their backs with the 
hollowed stomachs forming the bowls, bowls with fish 
details in relief on their rims, and tetrapod bowls, the feet 
of which are frequently shaped as women's breasts. 
Several of these shapes are early in Central America, 
suggesting that they passed from South America at a 
relatively early period (p. 140). 

Traits, which, in all probability, passed from South 
America to Middle America at a later date, include such 
agricultural plants as manioc, the tomato, and the pine- 
apple (the last, very late), metal-working, wax-casting, 
wax-painting of pottery, the hammock, a religious ball 
game in which the ball could only be hit with the hips, 
knees, or head, the blow-gun, urn burial (possibly an 
early diffusion), the use of a datura to produce hallu- 
cinations, and the mixing of lime with tobacco (probably 
borrowed from the mixing of lime with coca leaves). 

Most of these traits are not widely distributed 
in Central America, but are very diffused in South America. 

South American Civilization 17 

Gold-working is known to have been practiced during the 
earliest horizon at present known in Peru, but was un- 
known to the Mayas during the height of their culture. 
Indeed, the southern origin of metal-working in Mexico 
is shown by many of the shapes and techniques. Simi- 
larly the ball game appears to have been a fairly late 
introduction into Middle America, yet in a less elaborate 
form it was known early enough in South America to have 
been carried into the West Indies by the Arawaks. The 
hammock, which was also carried into the West Indies 
by the Arawaks, was gradually extending into Central 
America at the time of the arrival of the Spaniards. The 
pineapple, too, passed into the West Indies, presumably, 
at the time of the Arawak invasions, but had only obtained 
a precarious footing in southern Central America when 
the Spaniards first landed. Child sacrifice, too, may well 
be of South American origin. 

On the other hand Middle America also passed certain 
cultural traits to South America. These include cacao 
and, in all probability, maize, tripod bowls, and the prac- 
tice of counting time over long periods. Late Ecuadorian 
pottery and pottery figurines and day of birth naming 
(p. 110) suggest a backwash from Middle America. 

In many cases it is impossible to indicate the original 
foci of diffusion of many traits, while many primitive 
features found in outlying parts of South America, such 
as Tierra del Fuego, are probably remnants of the cultures 
that preceded agriculture. Certain geometric designs occur 
almost throughout the New World, and probably are of 
great antiquity, but certain religious similarities (p. 128) 
may represent later diffusions. 

In the following chapters the most important civili- 
zations of ancient South America will be discussed, 
although with a brevity imposed by the necessity of com- 
pressing into a limited space the history of half a dozen 
centers of high culture. The greater part of the material 
was compiled from published sources. 


Peru witnessed the highest development of civilization 
on the South American continent. Along the coast and 
in the mountainous region behind, a bewildering succession 
of cultures mingled and succeeded one another. Climatic 
conditions on the Peruvian coast have been particularly 
favorable to the conservation of perishable material. It 
is a region of little rainfall, at times approximating desert 
conditions. A series of rivers carries the rain and melted 
snow from the Andes across this dry coastal zone to the 
sea. The ancient Peruvian settlements of the coast are 
to be found in these valleys under ideal conditions of con- 
servation. Irrigation converted these barren valleys into 
lands capable of carrying heavy crops of native produce, 
but the introduction in colonial times of sugar cane has 
altered conditions. Sugar cane requires a much larger 
quantity of water. Consequently, the supply of water 
for the whole valley was not sufficient, and large tracts of 
land have gone out of cultivation. In these outlying 
sections have been found large numbers of cemeteries, and 
their contents have permitted of a reconstruction of the 
history of the coastal region. 

The sequence of cultures can be traced backward from 
Inca times over long periods at two points on the Peruvian 
coast. The first of these comprises the Nazca and lea 
valleys on the southern-central coast; the second, the 
valleys of Santa, Viru, Moche, and Chicama on the 
northern-central coastal sector. The early civilization of 
the former is known as Early Nazca; that of the latter is 
called Early Chimu. 

There are certain indications that lead one to suppose 
that Early Nazca is more ancient than Early Chimu. 
Metallurgy and pyramidal construction were both more 
advanced in the Chimu area than in the Nazca area to 
the south. This suggests that the former was of later 
date, but there is a slight possibility that the explanation 


Peru: History 19 

of this northern superiority lies in the Chimu area having 
been closer to the original center from which these traits 
were diffused. This, however, is not very probable. 
There is no evidence that metallurgy was diffused from 
the north, for the working of metals probably was an 
invention that took place in Peru itself. Secondly, no 
traces of an early culture have so far been found to the 
immediate north of the limited Early Chimu region. 

Early Nazca culture is remarkable for the very fine 
pottery it produced. Well-made vessels of hard, thor- 
oughly baked clay were painted in as many as eleven 
different colors. These comprise two shades each of red, 
yellow, and brown in addition to gray, violet, flesh, black, 
and white. There are also intermediate shades. Each 
color was generally outlined in black, and as many as nine 
colors sometimes occur on a single vessel, although such 
a number is rare. The largest number on an exhibited 
vessel of the Field Museum collection is six (Case 29). 

The designs of the earliest period are somewhat archaic 
in feeling, but the restrained effect, quite apart from the 
wealth of color, is very pleasing. Geometric, naturalistic, 
and mythological designs are used. The naturalistic 
designs consist largely of birds, fishes, snakes, and food 
plants. The painters kept close to nature in portraying 
animal designs, but the food plants are often strongly 
conventionalized (Plates I and V). 

The geometric motifs include a step-fret, diamonds, 
and zigzags. Two peculiar mythological animals are fre- 
quently represented. One is a peculiar centipede monster, 
the other an amazing amalgamation of a fairly naturalistic 
feline head, a long caterpillar-like human body with 
human legs trailing horizontally below, and an upturned 
tail, frequently terminating in a human face. Variants of 
this deity are widely represented in Peruvian art. Ex- 
amples in the Chimu region show more realistic paintings 
of the jaguar elements of the deity, but with a tail depicted 

20 Field Museum of Natural History 

as a snake (Case 19, east side). This deity may be Vira- 
cocha, a sky and fertility god, probably of Andine origin. 

Representations of human heads are common on 
Early Nazca pottery. Sometimes they are shown dan- 
gling head downward from belts or clothing, or placed by 
themselves as the sole decoration of a vessel. Such 
designs point strongly to the practice of head-hunting. 
It is even possible that the custom of shrinking heads, as 
practiced by the Jivaros, was also known to the Nazcans, 
but of this there is no definite proof beyond the small 
heads to be seen on these vessels. 

Very beautiful textiles with intricate needle-work 
embroideries are also found in Early Nazca graves. The 
designs show a striking similarity to those on pottery, 
allowing for the different media. Tapestry-working was 
apparently unknown at this early period. Textiles from 
the earliest Nazca horizon are, unfortunately, very 
scarce. Furthermore, many examples in collections have 
no data on the associated finds, thus making their age 
uncertain except on stylistic grounds. 

Both llama wool and cotton were employed. As the 
llama does not inhabit the coastal plains, there must have 
been trade between the mountainous country of the Andes 
and the coast, but wool must have been imported and 
woven on the coast, as the designs are clearly Nazca in 
style. The quantity of wool employed would also suggest 
that the llama was already domesticated, since the quan- 
tity obtained from hunted game would not suffice to 
supply the home market and leave a surplus for export 
to the coast. 

The cotton, also employed for weaving, was grown on 
the hot coastal plains. Other agricultural plants already 
domesticated at this period probably comprised the great 
majority of cultivated plants found in Peru at the time 
of the Spanish conquest, but only maize, Lima beans, and 
the pods of the semi-domesticated guarango (Acacia 
punctata) have been found in graves of the earliest period. 

Peru: History 21 

Small pyramids were made of oval or round hand-made 
adobes, but pyramidal structures were of relatively little 
importance compared with the later structures of the cen- 
tral and northern coast. The hills and bluffs of the 
valleys were shaped into terraces faced with adobes, pre- 
sumably to prevent erosion and to extend the available 
area adaptable to agricultural use. 

In graves of this period are found pan-pipes of well- 
made pottery, slings for throwing stones, spear-throwers 
and darts, but no bows and arrows. Indeed, the bow and 
arrow were never commonly used in Peru. From graves 
of this same period we also learn that obsidian was used, 
baskets of wickerwork manufactured, and parrots kept. 
Heads were deformed, and clothing worn. Gold was 
worked on a small scale, but other metals appear to have 
been unknown. 

In other graves which may belong to this same Early 
Nazca period well-worked tubular beads of lapis lazuli, 
buttons of mother-of-pearl and other more elaborate 
articles have been found. 

This earliest Nazca culture appears on the scene with 
an art already well developed, varied agriculture, the 
beginnings of metallurgy, excellent textiles and pottery, 
and a well-developed commerce, as the presence of wool, 
obsidian, and, possibly, lapis lazuli in this period shows. 
It is clearly a well-established civilization with many cen- 
turies of development behind it. Yet no earlier stages 
have so far been discovered from which Early Nazca could 
have evolved. They must have existed, but so far, despite 
search in the vicinity, they have not been located. Peru 
is a large and archaeologically unknown country. Some 
day traces of the earlier stages will be found, but at present 
all that can be said is that the culture suddenly appears 
full blown. 

Starting with the already developed Early Nazca, 
Kroeber lists no less than eight styles and phases that 
occur in this area, the last being contemporaneous with 

22 Field Museum of Natural History 

the Spanish conquest. Most of these phases are shown in 
Case 29, arranged in chronological order. 

One can follow the evolution of Nazca art from the 
severity of the Early Nazca through the incipient early 
transitional period into the flamboyancy of Middle Nazca. 
This transition is well exemplified by the development of 
the monster motifs. These are not very commonly 
represented in Early Nazca, but in Middle Nazca a 
bewildering series of complex varieties develops. Some of 
the monsters are provided with innumerable tentacles, 
almost completely obscuring the original design; others 
carry a multiplication of human trophy heads. Degen- 
eration is also visible. Monsters are abbreviated until 
only the head remains. Nevertheless Nazca civilization 
was clearly more complex at this period than during Early 
Nazca. Metals were coming into commoner use; trade 
was increasing and new inventions were multiplying. 
Although flamboyancy and, at the close, degeneration 
set in, there are many new art motifs developed during 
the Transitional and Middle periods. 

There succeeds a Late Nazca period, during which art 
degeneration is even more marked. The monster heads 
would be unrecognizable if the prototypes were unknown. 
Nazca art is clearly played out. 

At this time clear traces of influences from the High- 
lands are discernible. These do not necessarily connote 
conquest, but certainly a cultural infiltration. Pottery is 
made in only three colors— red, white, and black. The 
designs are extremely simple, and many of the old Nazca 
shapes are replaced by Highland shapes. This Highland 
infiltration is observable all along the Peruvian coast. 

Subsequent to the Highland influences, others from 
the lea Valley are found in the Nazca Valley. These also 
show certain Highland strains. With the latest of these 
mingle Inca objects dating from the fifteenth and six- 
teenth centuries, and contemporaneous with the Spanish 

Peru: History 23 

For want of an exact chronology Early Nazca is gen- 
erally considered to be about two thousand years old. 
Fifteen hundred years does not seem an excessive length 
of time for no less than eight periods of development, 
although some of these periods overlap to a certain extent. 

The Early Chimu culture, which apparently flourished 
shortly after Early Nazca, occupied certain valleys of the 
northern half of the central coast. In some respects it 
differed radically from the Early Nazca. This difference 
is particularly noticeable in ceramic art. Early Chimu 
witnessed the development of a remarkable art of por- 
traiture in pottery. Closed jars with stirrup-shaped spouts 
and modeled in human and animal shapes are particularly 
typical of this culture. The ware is painted in red and 
white, or, very occasionally, in black. Some of the vessels 
in the shape of human heads are masterpieces of the art 
of plastic modeling (Plate II and Cases 19 and 20). 

Of this same period are some of the remarkable vessels 
in the shapes of agricultural produce. In Case 21 a series 
of these is displayed. Vessels showing representations of 
maize, peanuts, potatoes, sweet potatoes, achira roots, 
squashes, gourds, and Chachapoya almonds date from the 
Early Chimu period; the rest in black ware belong to the 
Late Chimu period. 

In some cases mythological or battle scenes are painted 
in red on a creamy white background. Scenes showing 
the catching on a hook of a peculiar fish with human 
attributes are particularly common. Battle scenes show 
the use of stone club-heads and copper axes, the hafts of 
which are frequently depicted as snakes (Case 19). 

A series of vessels in the same case show men suffering 
from various diseases. Yet other vessels carry scenes in 
low relief. These vessels with their simple colors, relying 
for effect mainly on modeling, supply a strange contrast 
to the Early Nazca vessels, which depended for their effect 
very largely on their free use of brilliant colors. It is hard 

24 Field Museum of Natural History 

to realize that these two arts, so widely divergent, could 
have flourished practically at the same time at a distance 
of little more than five hundred miles from each other. 
Indeed, for a considerable period they must have been 

In the Chimu area pyramidal construction was carried 
to a higher degree of perfection than in any other area of 
the New World outside of Middle America. Pyramids 
of the Early Chimu period are often of a considerable 
height, the so-called Pyramid of the Sun at Moche having 
a height of over 130 feet. Generally speaking the structures 
of this early period are rectangular blocks with steep sides, 
usually with narrow terraces on three or four sides. Often 
there is a ramp approach which either leads straight up to 
the summit or follows the sides of the pyramid so that it 
is necessary to coast three sides before reaching the 
summit. Sometimes there is a large burial terrace in 
front of the pyramid. 

The core of a Chimu pyramid was usually made of 
rectangular adobe bricks, averaging about one foot in 
length and some eight inches in breadth, but sometimes 
stone was employed, especially for foundations. Adobes 
were laid in a mud mortar. The structure was formed by 
constructing a series of adjacent parallel walls of this mate- 
rial not bonded together in any way. The groups of 
parallel walls were often set at right angles to one another. 
This at first appears to be a weak form of construction, 
but its very massiveness seems to have given it strength. 
Kroeber suggests that each contingent of a community 
was allotted its task of building a specified length of wall. 
A somewhat similar system of pyramidal construction was 
followed by the Mayas, although square blocks of boulders 
served as units instead of the walls of Chimu constructions, 
but in some Chimu pyramids short walls crisscrossed, 
forming rectangular columns, approaching closer to the 
Maya method of construction. 

Peru: History 25 

Walls of the upper zones of pyramids were often 
covered with frescoes. At the west end of Hall 9 are 
shown reproductions of a partially destroyed fresco from 
the "Pyramid of the Moon" at Moche. These were 
copied by Kroeber, and represent an old myth that relates 
how the domestic animals and household utensils once 
rose in revolt against the human race, destroying it. The 
myth is of peculiar interest for it has also been recorded 
from the Maya area. The outlines of the figures were 
first incised and then filled with black paint. The colors 
employed are red, pink, yellow, light blue, white, black, 
and brown. The last of these, however, may be the 
natural adobe. 

Fronto-occipital deformation of the skull was prac- 
ticed to a certain extent by the Early Chimu, but was by 
no means a general custom. The dead were buried in 
rectangular tombs in a number of positions, including the 
extended. Gold and copper, as well as an alloy of these 
two, were cast, and silver may have been used. Tin and 
bronze were not yet known. 

Influences from the Highlands are discernible in some 
of the vessels. A small proportion shows definite Chavin 
style, and a few show shapes reminiscent of the pottery 
of Recuay. Kroeber is of the opinion that Early Chimu 
did not form a unified state, but was formed by a number of 
local communities sharing in the same culture but 
probably often at war with one another. 

Early Chimu culture must have lasted a considerable 
time, to judge by the large quantities of pottery of this 
period as well as by the advanced pyramidal structures 
carried to a successful conclusion, but again there is no 
trace of anything that can definitely be shown to be earlier 
than it is in this region. There are, as noted above, 
certain signs of Chavin influences, but we have no actual 
proof that the Chavin culture is earlier in date than 
Early Chimu. 

26 Field Museum of Natural History 

During Middle Chimu, influences from the Highlands, 
somewhat similar to those found in Middle Nazca, but 
more complex, appear. New shapes replace those of the 
early period. Some, such as tripod bowls, may be derived 
from the Ecuadorian Highlands. The majority belong 
to a widespread Highland culture, of which Tiahuanaco 
is probably a local development. The blotting out of the 
old culture may mean only an irruption of culture from the 
Highlands, but it is more than probable that it represents 
a conquest of the coastal area by a Highland empire. 
The heterogeneous pottery introduced at this time would 
suggest that the rise of this empire of the Andes was a 
recent feature, since there had not been time to weld the 
components into a uniform style. The term "empire" 
is not used here necessarily in the sense of a great territory 
ruled over by an actual emperor, but rather as a group of 
peoples loosely federated by conquests or alliances. 

The relative scarcity of Middle Chimu products and 
the fact that a uniform art was not developed indicate 
that this period was one of short duration. The variety 
of styles it embraced may be realized by examining the 
contents of Case 21. 

Late Chimu, which succeeds the Middle period, shows 
in many respects a return to Early Chimu styles in pottery, 
but with a certain admixture of Highland traits, and even 
some that appear to have traveled up the coast from as 
far south as Nazca. This sudden reappearance of strong 
Early Chimu features suggests that Early Chimu was 
probably never blotted out entirely, but continued to 
flourish north of the original area. 

The most distinguishing feature of Late Chimu is the 
almost exclusive use of black pottery. There is a return 
to the old use of modeled pottery, but a falling off in 
portraiture (Case 22). The double spout, so typical of 
Nazca, is carried over from the Middle period, but the 
spouts are divergent, not parallel as in Nazca. The 
stirrup handle of the Early period reappears, now fre- 

Peru: History 27 

quently adorned by a tiny modeled monkey at its base. 
Double jars are also very common. These whistle when 
water is poured out or swished from one compartment to 
another. This is achieved by a small intake in the half 
that has no spout. Kroeber summarizes Late Chimu 
pottery in the following sentences: "Late-north Chimu 
is a composite of traits whose earlier occurrence can be 
traced somewhere else in almost all cases .... It has lost 
the old feeling for vigor of form, but treats its originally 
heterogeneous materials with uniform, shallow elegance." 
(Plate III.) 

The pyramids constructed in Late Chimu times were 
inferior in size to those of the Early period, but Late Chimu 
witnessed the construction of regular cities — a feature not 
met with in Early Chimu. Chanchan in the Moche 
Valley, which is the best-known ruins, was, apparently a 
civil city. It is some two kilometers long and over one 
kilometer broad. There are a large number of enormous 
courts surrounded by high walls. Some of these courts 
are bare; others are filled with a maze of smaller walled 
structures. It has been suggested that these served as 
residential buildings. A peculiar feature is the presence of 
certain rectangular depressions. These are very numerous 
in the city, varying considerably in size. An average 
measurement shows a length of 450 feet, a width of 195 
feet and a depth of 60 feet. It has been suggested that 
these served as reservoirs, but of this there is no definite 

Squier, who visited Chanchan some sixty years ago, 
considered that the walled courts might have served as 
city wards. In one court he counted thirty-nine sepa- 
rate buildings, altogether containing 111 rooms, and 
twenty-two small structures facing the central square, in 
the center of which is a single large structure. It is not 
impossible that these walled courts housed the members 
of a single clan or sib, and that the large central structure 

28 Field Museum of Natural History 

served as a clan meeting house or men's house. This, of 
course, is pure speculation. 

Structures were still made largely of adobe with occa- 
sional use of stone. Well-executed scenes in stucco-relief 
are occasionally found on the walls, and were, doubtless, 
once in common use. Geometric and life scenes are shown. 

Textiles of this period are very well executed. Many 
colors are employed, and the designs resemble to a certain 
extent those on the contemporaneous pottery. Metals 
were used in abundance. Bronze had by this time come 
into general use, in addition to gold and silver alloys. 

The area covered by the Late Chimu was far greater 
than the extent of Early Chimu. During the Late period 
the Chimu confederacy came under Inca domination. The 
Incas, under the ruler Pachacuti, began to conquer 
the coastal regions, and on their attacking Cajamarca the 
Chimu came into conflict with them. Notwithstanding 
the support of the Chimu, Cajamarca was subdued, upon 
which the Incas turned on the Chimus, apparently forcing 
them into subjection by the device of cutting off their 
water supply by seizing the higher ground at the foot of the 
Andes. The Chimu confederacy was forced to surrender, 
and thenceforward formed part of the Inca empire. It 
should be noted in passing that the term Inca should 
rightfully be reserved for the ruling caste of the Cuzco 
civilization, but it has crept into use to describe the whole 
people. In this guide popular usage is followed in describ- 
ing the people and the civilization as Incas and Inca 

The conquest of the Chimu area by the Incas during 
the Late Chimu period is borne out by archaeological finds, 
for Inca pottery is found in association with the Late 
period in various parts of the Chimu region, as well as in 
practically all the coastal cultures of the Late period. 

Lack of space does not permit of a description of the 
numerous local cultures that occupied the valleys between 

Peru: History 29 

the Chimu area of the north and the Nazca of the south, 
but a word should be said concerning the Early Ancon 

At Ancon and Supe, Max Uhle found remains of a very 
primitive culture, distinct from anything else so far 
reported from Peru. In shell heaps were found many 
sherds of heavy pottery of simple shapes. Decoration is 
usually by incision, but in one single case a sherd carries 
two colors. Primitive pottery figurines occur, and the 
presence of spindle whorls suggests the use of textiles. 
No metals have so far been found, but it must be remem- 
bered that the collections are not large. Probably metal 
was not known, for in the much more advanced Early 
Nazca metal is very scarce (p. 21). 

Whereas Early Ancon shows a preponderance of in- 
cised ware, this feature is rare in the later periods at 
Ancon, polychrome ware largely replacing it. This sug- 
gests that there was not a continuous development from 
one horizon to another. Field Museum possesses no 
examples of this Early Ancon culture, but examples of the 
later civilizations from this and the adjacent valley of 
Chancay may be seen in Case 23. 

Civilization appears to have developed quite as early 
in the highlands as in the coastal valleys, but little work 
has so far been carried out in the former area, and the 
succession of cultures is largely problematical. There 
seem, however, to have been two fairly definite strains. 
The first of these is known through work at Chavin and 
other centers in the northern Andes. The other, with an 
apparently local development at Tiahuanaco, occupies 
the southern and central Andes region and is known chiefly 
through intrusions on the coast. 

At Chavin have been found a number of stone monu- 
ments elaborately carved with intricate designs which 
in some cases somewhat resemble Nazca demon designs 
of the Middle period. A number of archaeologists have 

30 Field Museum of Natural History 

seen Maya similarities in some of the sculptures, but the 
writer has not been able to convince himself of their 
presence, feeling that all Chavin stone work is closer to 
Middle Nazca than to Maya. 

Chavin pottery is found in Early Chimu deposits. This 
association is not incompatible with the presence of 
Chavin stylistic features in Middle Nazca, since the former 
area is much closer geographically to Chavin, and probably 
of rather later date than Early Nazca. 

Little is known of the origin of the Tiahuanacoid 
culture. It appears on the coast in the middle of history, 
and is of undoubted Highland origin. Kroeber has sug- 
gested that it was a widespread culture, and that Tia- 
huanaco might be considered as a local manifestation, 
artistically superior to contemporary developments in 
other parts. 

Tradition speaks of a pre-Inca empire of the south, 
which would correspond well with Tiahuanacoid. This 
may have been the Chanca confederacy, the territory of 
which was supposed to have been around Andahuaylas, 
and which was, therefore, geographically in a position to 
influence the coast. It is precisely in the coastal areas 
closest to this territory that Highland influences are 
strongest during the Middle period, the more distant 
Chimu throwing off Highland influences with greater 

There is no clear mention in history of any confederacy 
centering around Chavin. If such existed, it doubtless 
antedated that of the Tiahuanacoid horizon. 

The third influx of Highland influence into the coastal 
region, and the one most clearly defined both archaeologi- 
cally and historically, is that of the Inca. Inca objects 
are sometimes found in association with glass beads and 
other objects of European origin, clearly showing that Inca 
culture was in full swing at the time of Pizarro's arrival. 


Fig. 1. Inca pottery. Vessels which in designs and shapes are typically Inca. 
Cuzco and neighboring regions of the Highlands of Peru (Case 30). 


32 Field Museum of Natural History 

Inca civilization in terms of ceramics appears on the 
scene already fully developed. Pottery shapes and designs 
are for the most part totally different from those of any 
other known Peruvian cultures. An examination of the 
Inca pottery in Cases 30 and 31 shows new types such as 
the aryballus, the flat-handled plate, and various types of 
handles, not represented in any of the earlier cultures 
(Fig. 1). A few shapes are reminiscent of the Tiahuana- 
coid period, in particular the straight-sided goblet. The 
red-brown backgrounds with designs, mainly geometric, 
applied in subdued colors show little affinity with any 
of the other known cultures. More intensive work in 
the Highlands will no doubt eventually solve the problem 
of the origin of the Inca civilization. That the civilization 
is of local origin is shown by the metal tools, the majority 
of which are of types already known from the earlier 
coastal areas. 

Legend, however, gives us a full account of the origin 
of the Incas which makes up in romance what it lacks in 
fact. According to this story, the early settlers migrated 
from a locality called the Tavern of the Dawn under the 
leadership of four brothers, who claimed to be children of 
the sun. The rank and file were divided into ten sections, 
probably clans, the members of which were probably 
related by geographical or family ties. Without haste the 
wanderers advanced in the direction of Cuzco, stopping 
en route to sow and harvest their crops. 

Manco, the chief of the four brothers, carried a golden 
staff. An oracle had announced that they were to settle 
at the spot where the staff should sink entirely into the 
ground. This, of course, meant a fertile valley, for only 
in such a place would sufficient soil be found. Manco 
also carried a falcon-like bird in a basket. This was the 
familiar spirit of the leader, and was considered sacred 
by his followers. It may have been a totemic emblem. 

One of the brothers, Cachi, was much feared by the 
remainder. He appears to have been an earthquake god, 

Peru: History 33 

for we are told that with each shot he hurled with his 
sling he pulled down a mountain and filled up a ravine. 
The other brothers decided to kill him. They told him 
to go back to the Tavern of the Dawn to fetch certain gold 
ornaments, including a gold llama, which they had left 
in a cave. 

Cachi returned to the Tavern of the Dawn. When he 
entered the cave, his companion rolled a great stone across 
the entrance. Cachi exerted all his strength, but although 
he made the mountain tremble he could not escape, and 
eventually died. This part of the legend would appear 
to be of great antiquity, for it duplicates a Maya legend 
recounted in the Popol Vuh. In that case the victim, 
Zipacna, who is also an earthquake god, is lured into a 
cave, the bait this time being not gold vessels but an 
edible crab, of a kind of which Zipacna was very fond. 
As soon as the giant was in the cave, his enemies toppled 
over a part of the mountain, which they had previously 
undermined. Zipacna, thus imprisoned in the cave, was 
converted into stone. 

Manco resolved to get rid of the other two brothers. 
One of them he induced to touch a sacred idol on the top 
of a mountain. As soon as the second brother touched 
the idol, he was converted into stone. The third brother 
had wings and was able to fly. Manco told him to fly to 
a certain pile of stones, which were considered sacred. 
As soon as the third brother alighted on the stones, he 
was immediately converted into another stone. 

A little later Manco hurled his golden staff as far as 
he could. It sank deep in the soil, and the people knew 
that this was to be their home. The place was Cuzco, 
which was to become the capital of the Inca Empire. 
Within a short space of time the Incas had subdued the 
other inhabitants of the Cuzco Valley, dividing the land 
among the ten clans. Although no date is given for the 
Inca migration to Cuzco, the order of Inca rulers is well 
known. These were twelve in number. If an average of 

34 Field Museum of Natural History 

twenty-five years is allowed for each reign, this would 
carry the arrival of Manco at Cuzco back to the first half 
of the fourteenth century (the last twelve rulers of England 
have reigned for 276 years). Nevertheless the story of 
Manco is so full of legend that it is uncertain if he was 
actually the first Inca or whether he was some legendary 
culture hero grafted on the Inca succession. Apart from 
the miracles associated with the march to Cuzco, he was 
said to have lived to the ripe age of 144. 

The second Inca was Sinchi Rocca, a son of Manco by 
his sister. During his rule no wars were fought. He was 
succeeded by a younger son, Lloqui Yupanqui, who also 
maintained peace during his reign. 

The fourth Inca was Mayta Ccapac, whose reign was 
also comparatively peaceful. In a series of local wars he 
secured final control of the Cuzco Valley, which up to this 
time had been occupied by two other small tribal groups. 
There is little doubt that up to the end of this reign the 
Inca people were very small fry. 

The next Inca was Ccapac Yupanqui, a younger son of 
Mayta Ccapac. History relates that his elder brother 
was passed over in the succession because he had an ugly 
face! Ccapac Yupanqui was the first Inca to extend the 
Inca dominions beyond the Cuzco Valley, but even he did 
not extend Inca rule more than fifteen or twenty miles from 
Cuzco. His successor, Rocca II, pushed the Inca frontiers 
a little farther afield and planned aqueducts to bring 
water to the Cuzco Valley, but we are told that he gave 
himself up to pleasures and banquets, preferring to live in 
idleness. He is credited with the division of the people of 
Cuzco into two geographical groups known as Upper 
Cuzcans and Lower Cuzcans. However, it seems more 
probable that this division was a survival from a time 
when some form of dual organization existed. Yahuar- 
Huaccac, the seventh Inca, had been kidnapped in his 
childhood. This happened when the boy was visiting 
relations of his mother, who belonged to a small neighbor- 

Peru: History 35 

ing tribe. One day while the men were working in their 
fields, members of the Ayamarca tribe stole the boy. His 
captors, the story relates, intended to put him to death, 
but tears of blood welled up into his eyes, and he was 
spared. His name means "tears of blood." Some time 
later he was rescued and returned to his father. 

During his reign the Inca power was greatly extended. 
In a series of campaigns many of the surrounding tribes 
were reduced, and their territories incorporated into the 
Inca realm. Others were driven into submission by the 
terrible examples made of some tribes that resisted. 
Among the tribes thus subjected were the Ayamarcas, who 
had captured the Inca when a boy. The policy of con- 
quest and annexation was pursued under the succeeding 
Inca, Viracocha. During this period the whole region 
between the Apurimac and Vilcamayu rivers was brought 
under Inca domination. Previously the conquests had 
been more in the nature of raids, the subjected peoples 
soon regaining their liberty, but under the Inca Vira- 
cocha the subjection was complete, and garrisons were 
left among the conquered tribes. 

The successes of the Incas brought on hostilities with 
the powerful Chanca confederacy. It has been suggested 
(p. 30) that the Chancas may have been the people re- 
sponsible for the introduction of Highland influences into 
the coastal regions during the Middle period. If this were 
indeed the case, Chanca influence had doubtlessly de- 
clined to a very marked extent. This decline is probably 
portrayed in the archaeological finds, for Highland in- 
fluences soon disappear in the Chimu area, and do not 
seem to have lasted long in the Nazca area. One must 
also bear in mind that the artistic impulses introduced 
from the Highlands may well have lasted long after the 
power of their introducers had been largely destroyed, 
and their coastal domination overthrown. At the time 
of the Inca-Chanca hostilities, the Chanca confederacy 

36 Field Museum of Natural History 

had probably sunk to about the level to which the Inca 
kingdom had risen. 

The early fighting was entirely in favor of the Chancas. 
Viracocha, who by this time was an old man, fled from 
Cuzco, taking refuge in the mountains. One of his sons, 
Cusi, rallied the Inca forces that remained, and at the 
very gates of Cuzco stood his ground. The Chancas 
actually penetrated into the suburbs of the city, but the 
Incas put up a strong resistance. Meanwhile the Inca 
vassals were watching the fight from the hillside, appar- 
ently sitting on the fence to see which side looked like 
winning. When they saw that the Incas were more than 
holding their own, they descended from the hills and at- 
tacked the enemy. These Peruvian Prussians were the 
Chancas' Waterloo. Soon they were in headlong flight 
with the Incas and their vassals in pursuit. The defeat 
of the Chancas assured the future of the Inca empire. 
The Chanca vassal states rapidly transferred their allegi- 
ance to the Incas, either voluntarily, or by conquest. 

Cusi, the son of the Inca and the hero of the Chanca 
campaign, was ever afterwards known as Pachacuti, the 
title of reformer having been given him for this triumph. 
Soon after this success he became ruling Inca. Urco, an 
illegitimate son of Viracocha and the favorite son of the 
old ruler, wished to seize the throne, but he was defeated 
by Cusi Pachacuti and killed. Apparently Viracocha was 
still alive at this time, but had so lost the respect of his 
people by his cowardice during the Chanca invasion, that 
his supersession was not challenged. 

During Cusi Pachacuti's long reign of fifty years Inca 
domination was extended over the whole Chanca con- 
federacy and along the coast from Nazca to the Chimu 
region in the north. The extension in the Highlands was 
more a matter of welding together a series of small tribes 
and confederacies, which were closely allied to the Incas 
in customs, language, and general religious concepts. In 
the coastal regions Inca expansion meant the absorption 

Peru: History 37 

into the empire of peoples with different customs, lan- 
guages, and religion. The people living in the hot coastal 
plains, for instance, did not pay particular attention to 
the sun, which was the center of Inca religion. However, 
the Incas had the wisdom to tolerate native cults, permit- 
ting the worship of local gods so long as the sun was given 
a position of pre-eminence in the pantheon. 

Cusi Pachacuti even organized an expedition that 
penetrated as far as Tucuman in northwest Argentina, 
but it is doubtful if this was a permanent conquest at 
this time. At least the Titicaca region was added to 
the empire. 

Aside from territorial expansion Cusi Pachacuti initi- 
ated many improvements of a more pacific nature. He 
increased the amount of land under cultivation by ter- 
racing the hills that flank the valley of Cuzco. These 
terraces averaged about two hundred yards in length and 
about twenty-five yards in width. Under his supervision 
the great temple of the sun was rebuilt and enriched with 
gold ornaments and furnishings. The bodies of the eight 
Incas who had preceded him were decked with gold orna- 
ments, and special festivals decreed in honor of each one. 

In the city itself many new edifices were erected and 
streets laid out. The calendar was also reformed. The 
year was divided into twelve or thirteen lunar months, 
which were brought into line with the solar year by ob- 
servations to determine when the sun was overhead in late 
spring and early autumn. This was achieved by setting 
up a series of posts in a circle. A throne was placed on 
top of the center post, and it was believed that the sun 
descended to sit on this throne when no shadow was cast. 
This occurred at Cuzco about February 5 and November 7 
of each year, the former being the autumn, the latter 
the spring. 

Cusi Pachacuti is of particular interest for archaeolo- 
gists, since he was America's first archaeologist, or at 

38 Field Museum of Natural History 

least the earliest known American to take an interest in 
antiquities. We are told that he made a trip to the 
Tavern of the Dawn, from which Manco was said to have 
issued forth on starting his march to Cuzco. There he 
made a thorough inspection, for, as Sarmiento says, "he 
was curious about the things of antiquity." He also called 
a general assembly of the oldest and wisest men of his 
dominions, bidding them examine with all possible care 
the histories and antiquities of the land. The findings of 
this commission were subsequently preserved for posterity 
by being painted in their proper sequence. 

The system of colonizing conquered territories with 
families from the vicinity of Cuzco was instituted during 
this reign. At the same time great transfers of the con- 
quered populations were inaugurated. Tribes from the 
mountainous regions were sent into the plains, and those 
from the plains into the mountains. Small groups were 
also separated from each conquered tribe and removed to 
remote areas of the empire. In this way concerted rebel- 
lions became extremely difficult. Communications be- 
tween different parts of the empire were also improved by 
means of well-built roads. 

Before his death, Cusi Pachacuti turned over his 
authority to one of his sons, Tupac Yupanqui. An elder 
brother, also called Tupac, had previously been chosen to 
inherit, but his father did not consider him to be possessed 
of sufficient statesmanship to rule the empire, although he 
was recognized as a skillful and brave general. Tupac 
Yupanqui was accordingly nominated heir, his elder 
brother loyally deferring to him. 

Tupac Yupanqui was also responsible for many of the 
triumphs of his father's reign, such as the subjugation of 
the Chimus. 

His greatest triumph was the addition of much of 
Ecuador to the empire. In later times, Quito was to 
become a second capital of the empire, holding a position 

Peru: History 39 

similar to that of Constantinople in the Roman empire. 
The coastal region of Ecuador west of Quito was also con- 
quered. This added the great emerald -producing area to 
the empire. It is also related that an expedition under 
Tupac Yupanqui sailed across the ocean to the Galapagos 
Islands. This is hardly credible. The islands are four 
hundred miles from the coast, and the Incas were never 
good sailors, navigating solely with clumsy balsas (p. 54). 
Furthermore, the islands have never been inhabited, and, 
had the Ecuadorians had knowledge of their existence, there 
would have been little object in making such a perilous trip. 
It is more probable that a sea voyage was made hugging 
the coast, or the objective may have been La Plata Island, 
where Inca remains have been found (p. 112). 

After his father's death, Tupac Yupanqui continued 
his campaigns. In one he added the north of Chile to the 
empire, but was unable to penetrate into the territory of 
the Araucanians beyond the River Maule. An attempt 
to conquer the Amazon Valley met with failure. The 
dank tropical forest region of the lowlands was something 
outside the ken of the Highland folk, and the heat and 
diseases of this region were fatal to the mountaineers. 
Parts of the eastern slopes of the Andes, however, were 
brought under Inca control, and became a source for 
tropical products, such as the pineapple, not obtainable 
in other parts of the empire. 

Tupac Yupanqui's successor was the last great 
Inca. He was named Huayna Ccapac because of his 
youthful appearance at the time of his succession. After 
a regal tour of the whole Inca realm from Chile to Quito, 
he conducted a successful campaign north of Quito, put- 
ting down a local rising. Probably the empire was never 
entirely at peace. As soon as one area was pacified, fight- 
ing started in another part. Thus while the campaign 
was being waged in northern Ecuador, the Chiriguanos, a 
Guarani tribe inhabiting the Bolivian and Argentine 
Chaco, made an incursion into the Inca empire at that 

40 Field Museum of Natural History 

point. Forces were sent from the Ecuadorian front. 
These, marching through the enormous intervening dis- 
trict, defeated the Chiriguano invaders, sending prisoners 
to the Inca to give him an idea of the appearance and 
manners of these strange people. However, they were 
unable to subdue the country owing to the difficult 
geographical conditions. Huayna Ccapac died in the year 
1525 in Quito. 

He had nominated as his successor one of his sons 
called Huascar. Another son, Atahualpa, was with him 
in Quito at the time of his death. Huascar was pro- 
claimed Inca at Cuzco, and Atahualpa sent an embassy 
to offer his submission and homage to the new ruler. 
Rightly or wrongly Huascar suspected that Atahualpa 
had no intention of accepting his half-brother as the ruler. 
He accused the members of the embassy of being spies 
and put most of them to death. In the campaign that 
followed Atahualpa was victorious, army after army of 
Huascar's forces being defeated. Eventually in a battle 
near Cuzco Huascar was ambushed and taken prisoner. 
With his downfall all resistance ceased, and Atahualpa 
was proclaimed Inca. 

Meanwhile Pizarro had landed on the coast of Peru, 
and Atahualpa.. who was residing at Cajamarca, was him- 
self taken prisoner by the Spaniards. Pizarro offered to 
mediate between the two brothers. This offer caused 
Huascar to lose his life, for Atahualpa promptly sent orders 
that his brother and all his relations should be slain. 

Pizarro, on hearing the news of Huascar's death, put 
Atahualpa to death, and the payments of the ransom of 
gold, which the Peruvians were making for his release, 
promptly ceased. The Inca empire, with its two leaders 
slain, collapsed like a house of cards. 


The ancient Peruvians believed in a creator god, who 
was also a supreme deity in the eyes of the better educated 
classes, if not in the opinion of the whole population. This 
god was known as Viracocha. According to a widespread 
legend he created the world and peopled it, but the world 
was at this time still without light. The people he had 
created were disobedient, and he wiped them out. Ac- 
cording to one version they were turned into stone, but 
another version says they were drowned in a flood. 

Later, with the aid of two or three assistants, he re- 
created men at Lake Titicaca, subsequently creating the 
sun, moon, and stars. These men he placed in different 
parts of the country, and when his work was done he 
disappeared into the sea accompanied by his assistants. 

He is also said to have filled the sea with fish and to 
have given each animal its attributes, blessing the eagle 
with great strength and endurance, cursing the skunk 
with the necessity of emitting its noxious fluid. At this 
time he wandered the earth in the guise of a poverty- 
stricken man. Many of the features of this creation are 
paralleled by the creation story in the Maya Popol Vuh, 
to which reference has already been made (p. 33), and 
there is reason to believe that the two accounts, geographi- 
cally so far apart, have the same origin. 

This creator's full title is Con Tici Viracocha, but he 
had many other titles. Tello is of the belief that the 
creator god is represented in Peruvian art by the jaguar or 
puma, which also represents the Pleiades. He thinks that 
the ancient Peruvians also believed that this creator god 
had the power of transforming himself into other animals, 
and, arising in lakes or mountains, caused thunder and 
lightning, rains, or hail. 

It is probable that Pachacamac, supreme god of the 
Chimu and central coastal region, was merely a local 
variant of Viracocha. Legend relates that he introduced 


42 Field Museum of Natural History 

agriculture. According to this story Pachacamac was the 
son of the sun. The sun also had a child by a human 
woman. Pachacamac was jealous because this woman 
accorded more worship to her son than to him, whereas 
he was of greater importance and more powerful. In his 
rage he slew the infant. He sowed the dead child's teeth, 
and maize sprang up. The child's bones produced manioc 
and other roots, while from the flesh Pachacamac pro- 
duced a crop of fruits and vegetables such as the Pacay 
and the Peruvian cucumber (pepino). 

The statement that Pachacamac was a son of the sun 
is probably a result of Inca influence. This god, whose 
name means "soul of the universe," is identified by Mark- 
ham as the fish god, but it is probable that this was only 
one of his manifestations. Apparently, the name is 
Quechua, a language not originally spoken on the central 
and north coast, but it is possible that the name was 
translated into Quechua when this language, in later 
times, became the official language of the Inca empire. 

In addition to the creator god, who was at the same 
time a fertility god, worshipped under different names in 
different parts of ancient Peru, ancestor worship, probably 
of totemic derivation, was a very important element in 
Peruvian religion. Arriaga, whose publication on the 
extirpation of idolatry appeared a little less than a cen- 
tury after the arrival of the Spaniards, writes: "They are 
persuaded that each ayllu and group of the Indians has 
its founder and Pacarina, which they call their own, wor- 
ship and offer sacrifices. They call it the Pacarina Camac, 
which means creator, and each one says that it has its 
creator, some claiming such and such a hill, others such 
and such a spring. Others relate many fables and stories 
about their Pacarinas." 

The Pacarina was apparently the natural object or 
animal from which the ayllu or clan claimed descent. 
The members of each ayllu claimed to be related to each 
other by this common descent, and the clans were to a 

Peru: Religion and Customs 43 

large extent geographical. This, however, may have been 
a later development. The sun, apparently, was the 
Pacarina of the Inca ayllu. For this reason it was ac- 
corded great honor by all the subjects of the Incas, and 
on the extension of the empire to its final limits, sun wor- 
ship became the official religion, although other worship 
was tolerated. 

The great sun temple of Cuzco was called Coricancha 
or "The Place of Gold" from the enormous quantities of 
this material used in its ornamentation. There was a 
principal building to which were attached a number of 
smaller temples. The structure, which was built of 
huge stones fitted together with such care that no mortar 
was required, faced the east. On the west wall was 
a great sun disk of gold, so placed that the rays of the 
rising sun, shining through the east entrance, lit it up at 
the time of the equinoxes. The ceilings and walls were 
encrusted with gold decorations while a broad band of 
gold, let into the exterior walls, passed all around the 
temple. The adjacent temples were dedicated to the 
moon, the stars, thunder and lightning, and the rainbow. 

In connection with this official cult of sun worship 
there was a well-organized priesthood. At the head of 
the hierarchy was a high priest known as "the head which 
counsels." He was frequently a brother of the ruling Inca. 
He was vowed to a life of abstinence, vegetarianism, 
abstention from intoxicants, and almost perpetual con- 
templation. Under him were ten or twelve other high 
priests, corresponding in authority to the bishops of the 
Christian church. Each one had his diocese, and was in 
charge of all the junior priests within that area. 

A peculiar institution was that of the virgins of the 
sun, of whom there were said to have been no less than 
three thousand in Cuzco alone. There were also large 
numbers attached to the temples of the provinces. Most 
girls of noble birth entered the order, which was really 
an educational institution. During a residence of three 

44 Field Museum of Natural History 

years in seclusion they were taught by matrons to sew 
and weave and at the same time received a general 
education. In addition to attending to the sweeping of 
the temple of the sun, they were directly responsible 
for tending the sacred fire, which was always kept alight. 
Should this happen to go out, terrible calamities might 
be expected. 

At the end of three years, when the girls had reached 
a marriageable age, most of them left to wed members 
of the nobility, some being taken into the ruling Inca's 
household. A few chose to remain permanently in the 
school, rising eventually to be instructors. Those who 
chose to continue as virgins of the sun were dressed in a 
special white robe and wore a gold band in their hair. 
They wove and embroidered the fine textiles which were 
used in the temple services. 

In addition to the worship of the creator god and the 
sun, each person worshipped his totemic ancestor. These 
ancestors were frequently large stones or hilltops, and, 
although the special object of worship of their descendants, 
were also accorded reverence by members of other clans. 

Besides the regular priests, there were orders of 
diviners, who practiced their craft by counting heaps of 
maize, examining the hairy legs of the tarantula or some 
related spider, watching the flights of birds, or scrutinizing 
the intestines of llamas and other animals offered in 

Sacrifices consisted of llamas and related species, birds 
and plumage, dogs, gold and silver, textiles, coca, shells, 
maize, and other agricultural produce. Human sacrifice 
was very rare, if not quite unknown. Early Spanish 
chroniclers contradict each other on this point. Part of 
the confusion is probably due to the fact that the Quechua 
words for children and llama kids are the same, hence it 
was believed that when speaking of the sacrifice of llama 
kids, children were meant. However, as we shall see, the 

Peru: Religion and Customs 45 

sacrifice of children was practiced in one area which was 
incorporated into the Inca empire, and probably at a date 
subsequent to its incorporation. 

In addition to this regular worship associated with 
sacrifice, the Peruvians believed thoroughly in animism; 
that is, that every object, whether animate or inanimate, 
had an intelligent indwelling spirit. Accordingly, prayers 
were addressed to anything in nature. Offerings, for 
instance, were made to the corner posts of a house to 
protect the inmates, but apparently there was a conflicting 
belief, held largely by the more educated class, that there 
was a supreme deity, who was ultimately responsible for 
all the actions of nature. 

The Peruvians believed in an existence after death, 
but information on the next world is somewhat vague. 
Garcilasso de la Vega states that the wicked went to a 
place of punishment, whereas those who had led good 
lives on earth went to a next world, where only happiness 
was in store for them. This division savors very much of 
Christianity. It is more probable that there was a heaven 
for the nobility and an underworld, but not necessarily 
a place of punishment, to which the souls of com- 
moners went. 

In some parts of Peru dogs were believed to conduct 
the souls to the next world. Dogs were bred for this 
purpose and sacrificed on the death of a person. Mummi- 
fied dogs are occasionally found in tombs. The Aztecs 
had a similar belief, also sacrificing dogs to lead the 
deceased to the next world. 

Worldly possessions were buried with the dead, and 
it is owing to this practice that we have so much informa- 
tion on Peruvian art. 

Practically all the Peruvian collections in Field Mu- 
seum, with the possible exception of the Inca material, 
have been removed from graves. In Case 26 may be seen 
the contents of a typical grave of the Late period at Ancon. 

46 Field Museum of Natural History 

The mummy, wrapped in beautiful textiles and provided 
with a false head, sits surrounded by pottery vessels and 
gourds containing originally maize and beans. Two 
smaller mummy bundles contain the remains of children, 
possibly children of the mummy herself. The female 
sex of the mummy is indicated by the presence of two 
work-baskets containing implements for weaving. The 
spindles in one basket are provided with beautifully 
made whorls to give momentum to the spindle. Several 
of the bags, slung around the mummy so that they hang 
from the shoulder, contain leaves of the coca plant, from 
which the modern drug cocaine is made. Coca leaves 
were chewed in ancient as well as modern times all 
over the Andine region and as far north as Colombia as 
an antidote to fatigue. Frequently they were mixed 
with lime. 

Hair combs and a few simple ornaments of silver were 
also found in this burial and are shown with the other 
contents of the grave. 

The mummy bundles sometimes contain more than 
one body, but when this is the case the bundle is still 
provided with only one false head. The bodies of the 
dead were usually wrapped in leaves, and sometimes ears 
of maize, objects of metal or other personal objects were 
inserted in the bundle before it was tied up. The bodies 
themselves were usually arranged with the legs bent so 
that the knees were almost touching the chin, but some- 
times, and especially in the case of children, the bodies 
were laid full length. However, there is great variation 
in the methods used, depending on locality and period. 

X-ray photographs of Peruvian mummies are shown 
in the hall. These were made by Miss Anna R. Bolan, 
formerly of the Division of Roentgenology, Field Museum. 
A Memoir based on the examination of X-ray photo- 
graphs of Peruvian and Egyptian mummies has been 
published by Field Museum. 

Peru: Religion and Customs 47 

Whereas on the coast the mummies were usually placed 
in rectangular pits dug in the ground and roofed with 
tree trunks and straw mats, in the Highlands they were 
usually deposited in caves. 

Artificial mummification was sometimes practiced in 
ancient Peru, the viscera being removed from the body, 
and the corpses artificially desiccated. There are some 
grounds for thinking that resin was also occasionally used 
as a preservative, but in the case of the great majority of 
mummies, the preservation is due to the natural aridity 
of the coastal region and the salts impregnating the soil 
in which the tombs were made. Actually most mummy 
bundles contain mere skeletons, the flesh having com- 
pletely rotted away. Two well-preserved bodies stripped 
of their enveloping cloths are shown in Case 27. 

North of the Titicaca basin, in the region inhabited by 
the Collas, the dead were buried in large towers of very 
well-made masonry. Most of these towers are round, but 
a few are square or in the shape of an inverted truncated 
cone. A small entrance at the base allowed a man to 
squeeze through, while inside there were one or more 
chambers, in which the dead were deposited. 

Sons of the nobility were educated in special semi- 
naries, corresponding to the educational institution of the 
virgins of the sun. Here they were taught history, 
morals, religion, and their civic duties as future leaders of 
the people. They were obliged to study the laws of the 
country and to learn how to read the quipu cords. The 
instruction was in the hands of the wise men called 
Amautas. The children of the lower classes received no 
education apart from instruction in husbandry and 
household duties, which knowledge they acquired from their 
parents and their paternal uncles. This was a studied 
policy of the Incas, for they were fond of saying that 
higher education was not meant for the people, as the 
duty of governing was not for the lower classes, and 
education only made the latter arrogant and lazy. 

48 Field Museum of Natural History 

Young men married at the age of twenty-four, while a 
girl was considered marriageable at eighteen. Once a 
year all the marriageable youths and maidens were as- 
sembled and summarily married. Wives were chosen 
from the same clan, but the consent of the parents was 
required. If a young man had not found a suitable bride, 
one was arbitrarily chosen for him by the presiding official. 
The marriage ceremony was of the simplest, for joining 
the hands of bride and groom was all that was necessary. 
Each community was required to prepare huts for the 
newly wedded couples, and allot them their quota of 
agricultural land. In the case of members of the nobility, 
that is to say, of Inca blood, the Inca himself presided over 
the ceremony. Men of Inca blood were allowed more 
than one wife, but the commoners were kept to a rigid 

As all the weddings took place on the same day 
throughout the Inca realm and were followed by festivities 
among the relations and friends of the brides and grooms, 
there was, to quote Prescott, one universal bridal jubilee 
throughout the empire. This peculiar marriage custom 
well illustrates the paternalism of the feudal-communistic 
state evolved in Peru. 

Young men of the nobility went through an initiation 
ceremony at the conclusion of their instruction. This 
commenced with a six day fast, after which a foot race 
was run, sham battles were fought between one-half of 
the candidates and the other, and tests of their skill in 
hurling stones from a sling or in throwing spears were 
made. Subsequently they were beaten with sticks and 
forced to stand unflinching while an instructor whirled a 
club around their bodies, so that it almost touched their 
faces. A single cry while he was being beaten or the slight- 
est sign of flinching from the club branded the candidate 
as a coward. 

At the end of a month, those who had successfully 
passed the tests paid homage to the ruling Inca, who 

Peru: Religion and Customs 49 

pierced their ears in the presence of the nobility and higher 
priests. In the holes made in the lobes of the ears ear- 
plugs were inserted. The wearing of ear-plugs was the 
privilege of the Inca nobility, and from the large size of 
the plugs members of the Inca caste came to be called 
orejones or "big ears" by the Spaniards. All the members 
of this royal caste were exempt from tribute; in fact, they 
were supported out of general taxes in view of their royal 
blood and their administrative functions. With the excep- 
tion of certain posts in the provinces left i» the hands of 
the conquered peoples, all important posts were filled by 
members of the Inca caste. No one of humble birth was 
permitted to occupy any administrative position of 

The vast semi-communistic organization of the country 
was based on the ayllu or endogamous clan. Each clan 
owned its own land. The arable land was assigned each 
year to the heads of the families comprising the clan, 
while the pasture lands and wooded areas were used by all 
its members. In late Inca times the clan had become little 
more than a geographical group, known as Pachaca. To 
each clan were assigned one hundred families. Ten 
pachacas formed another division called huaranca, which 
was administered by a local chief. Four districts, each 
comprising a varying number of huarancas, formed the 
district administered by an Incan overseer. Finally, the 
whole Inca empire was divided into four quarters, each of 
which was ruled by an Incan viceroy, usually a brother or 
close relation of the ruling Inca. 

In addition to the land allotted to each family, sec- 
tions were set aside for the maintenance of the priesthood 
and the upkeep of the temples and also for the maintenance 
of the state organization. Of this last a part went to main- 
tain local officials, widows, and orphans, a part went into a 
general reserve against famine, and a part was sent to 
help support the army and the Inca caste at Cuzco. The 
system was that of the primitive community, resembling 

50 Field Museum of Natural History 

closely the system employed among the Aztecs and kin- 
dred peoples of Mexico. 

The whole community worked together in the cultiva- 
tion of the lands. First, the sections devoted to religious 
upkeep were worked, next, the lands assigned to the 
individual families, and, finally, the sections for the mainte- 
nance of the central government. The land was prepared 
with the aid of pointed wooden digging sticks supplied 
with a cross bar on which the weight of the foot rested. 
The men were responsible for this work, while the women 
were employed in pulverizing the clods. Apparently 
small groups aided one another in the preparation of the 
private lands. 

The flocks of llamas and related wool-bearing animals 
were state property. They were assigned to different 
communities in the colder regions. After shearing, all 
the wool was deposited in communal stores. Each family 
was supplied with its requirements, and the rest of the 
wool assigned to the state, some of it being reserved for 
religious uses or for the usage of the Inca caste and other 
senior officials, some of it being sent to other parts of 
the empire where llamas could not be raised. This last 
item was not a severe drain on the supplies, since in the 
districts too warm to permit of the raising of flocks of 
llamas, cotton was grown and used for everyday clothing. 

Female llamas were reserved entirely for breeding, but 
a certain proportion of the males was used for sacrificial 
purposes both in Cuzco and the provinces. 

Trade by barter between different parts of the empire 
did not exist in Inca times, but products of different regions 
were distributed from one end of the empire to another, 
the share of all produce set aside for the state being largely 
available for this purpose. In addition to the contribution 
of a part of all produce for state purposes, there was a 
system of conscription. All births and deaths were 
registered by the clan chiefs and transmitted through 
higher authorities all the way up the line to the federal 

Peru: Religion and Customs 51 

government in Cuzco. Thereby the whole male population 
was divided into ten age groups, varying from infants in 
arms to the very aged. These age groups were based on 
the physical capacities of the members of each group for 
certain labor. Thus, men over sixty— a considerable age 
among a semi-primitive people — were called "Old men 

Labor, such as road- or aqueduct-making, was obtained 
by requiring each district to supply its quota of men for 
a certain period, at the end of which a fresh quota arrived 
to take the place of the first. The number of men required 
from any one district was adjusted to the available man 
power in that district. This was known from the census 
returns kept by means of quipus and from the information 
supplied by local chiefs. As the vast majority of the 
population was engaged in agriculture, care was ap- 
parently taken to undertake these communal labors 
when agricultural needs were least. 

Workers in other industries, such as metallurgy, 
similarly worked for the state. All their production was 
taken over by the state and stored in warehouses or 
shipped to some distant part of the country, while the 
workers themselves received in return from the state their 
food supplies, fuel, and housing. The system worked 

This tremendous example of communism must not be 
looked upon as a highly successful experimental applica- 
tion of socialistic theories. It was not the experiment of 
a people who had tried capitalism, but a natural evolution 
of the communism of a small primitive community, which 
by expansion had become an empire. The Incas them- 
selves certainly had little sympathy with theories that 
all men are equal. As the brains of the communistic state 
they considered themselves to be far superior to the rank 
and file, and lived in a style befitting their station. Never- 
theless, everyone able to do so was made to work — the 

52 Field Museum of Natural History 

rank and file in manual labor, the Inca caste as brain- 

Special men were in charge of the quipus. Using them 
as mnemonic aids, they were apparently able to keep 
tallies of population, supplies, drafting of labor, llama 
herds, and probably a skeletal history. The abacus was 
also employed in counting. 

All the known quipus that exist at the present time 
have been found in graves. Nordenskiold has recently 
shown that these represent calculations of years and 
months together with calculations of lunar periods. He 
suggests with a good deal of probability that these quipus 
were owned by sorcerers or medicine-men, and were used 
for divinatory purposes. The years are calculated at 
365 days, and sometimes grouped in ten year periods, 
the Peruvian reckoning being based on the decimal system. 

Although only chronological quipus with a magical 
basis appear to have been buried in graves, others were 
used for other purposes. The typical quipu (Case 28) 
consists of a long cord from which hang a number of 
major cords, varying in number from one to more than a 
hundred. The major cords have an average length of 
about one foot. Minor cords were attached to these. The 
reckoning was made by means of knots. Each cord was 
divided into zones, the lowest representing the numbers 
one to nine; higher up the second digits, ten to ninety, 
were recorded by knots. Higher again was the space for 
the third digits, one hundred to nine hundred, and if 
necessary the spaces could be continued indefinitely in 
the decimal system. Each unit of a digit was expressed 
by a knot. Thus 257 was expressed by two knots at the 
top, a space, three knots, a space, and finally seven knots. 
There are other complications too involved to be discussed 
in this publication. 

Colors appear to have indicated the subject of a 
calculation. Early writers tell us that red cords dealt 
with war, black with the calendar, carmine with the 

Peru: Religion and Customs 53 

Inca, gray with provincial matters, and so forth. The 
minor cords apparently must have been used for sub- 
headings. Thus, if a cord gave the population of a prov- 
ince, town by town, the minor cords may have given the 
number of children or members of each age group in each 
town. There is no definite proof of this statement, but 
it is quite possible that the method was such as has been 

In their use of roads the Peruvians were more advanced 
than their contemporaries in Europe or the New World. 
Well-built roads were used in certain restricted parts of 
the Maya area, around the valley of Mexico and in Co- 
lombia, but they reached their highest level in Peru during 
the period of the Inca Empire. A series of roads linked 
the extremes of the empire to Cuzco. The construction of 
these in the mountainous areas involved a considerable 
amount of engineering ingenuity. Cieza (Markham trans- 
lation) makes the following comments on the High- 
land roads: 

"Some of them extended for over one thousand one 
hundred leagues, along such dizzy and frightful abysses 
that, looking down, the sight failed one. In some places, 
to secure the regular width, it was necessary to hew a path 
out of the living rock; all of which was done with fire and 
their picks. In other places the ascents were so steep and 
high that steps had to be cut from below to enable the 
ascent to be made, with wider spaces at intervals for 
resting places. In other parts there were great heaps of 
snow, which were more to be feared, and not at one spot 
only, but often recurring. Where the snows obstructed 
the way, and where there were forests of trees and loose 
clods of earth, the road was levelled and paved with stones 
when necessary." 

Suspension bridges were constructed for the traversing 
of broad rivers or gorges. The cables were made of osier 
or agave rope, and fastened to rocks, or, failing these, 

54 Field Museum of Natural History 

masonry piles. Over the cables were placed planks or 
hurdles, and supplementary cables served as hand-rails. 
These bridges were sometimes as much as two hundred 
feet long. With the natural sag and the oscillation such a 
crossing must have been a nerve-racking ordeal. 

For crossing rivers where the current was not strong, 
balsas, the Peruvian reed boats, were employed. These 
consist of bundles of reeds tied together to form a raft, 
roughly shaped as a boat, and provided with a sail. A 
chain of these balsas occasionally served as a 
floating bridge. 

Along the main roads small houses were built at inter- 
vals of about a mile and a half. At each house were two 
runners, selected for their speed. Their duty was to relay 
messages from one post to another. By this means mes- 
sages were sent from Quito to Cuzco, a distance of over 
one thousand miles in a direct line, in seven days. In 
addition to messages, they also relayed game, fish, and 
fresh fruits from the coast to Cuzco. The runners, who 
wore a special uniform, were known as chasquis, and in 
this connection it is interesting to note that the word 
survives at the present time in far-off Argentina to describe 
a messenger or a mail carrier on horseback. The word 
probably penetrated to the Argentine at the time 
northwest Argentina was incorporated into the Inca 

The roads also served for the movements of the army, 
and the transportation of supplies to the forces in time of 
war and for the interchange of products in time of peace 
as described above. 

On the coast, where sand took the place of mountains, 
gorges, and snow as the chief obstacles, the roads ran 
between walls, and trees were planted along the edges to 
provide shade. 

Perhaps the engineering skill of the Incas is better 
shown in the construction of the fortresses. Some of the 


- & 




a — 


at u 

6 op 

1 OS 

-o E 

— 3 
1 * 

& 5 








56 Field Museum of Natural History 

stones employed in the fort which domineered Cuzco 
were as much as thirty-eight feet long, eighteen feet broad, 
and some six feet thick. Acosta measured a stone of this 
size at Tiahuanaco, and states that at Cuzco some of the 
stones were even bigger. The stones were adjusted with- 
out the use of any mortar or cement, but with such ac- 
curacy that one of the early writers tells us that it was 
impossible to insert the blade of a knife in the join. 

The fortress consisted of three towers. One of these 
served as a residence for the Inca, and the other two 
housed the garrison, which was composed only of members 
of the nobility. The whole was defended by a great wall 
of immense thickness. On the most accessible side the 
wall was double. The space behind the walls was raised 
so that the garrison could use the walls as breastworks, 
hurling stones and other implements on the attackers. 

For close fighting the principal weapon was a mace, the 
head of which was made of stone or bronze in the shape of 
a six-pointed star. In the bronze examples one of the 
points is sometimes replaced by an ax blade (Fig. 4, g 
and h). Early Chimu pottery shows men fighting with 
shaf tless metal axes held in their hands. This strikes one as 
an extremely ineffective weapon, and since the fights appear 
to be largely of a ceremonial nature, it is possible that 
they were not so employed in real warfare. T-shaped 
axes of bronze were manufactured in the Late period, and 
it is possible that these also were employed in warfare 
(Fig. 4, a). 

For long range fighting the sling (Case 32) was the 
chief weapon. On the coast the spear was also used, and 
for its propulsion spear-throwers were employed. It is 
possible that the spear-thrower became to a large extent 
obsolete in the Late period. The bow and arrow were 
known, but practically never used. Scenes on a wooden 
bowl (Stanley Field Hall and Fig. 2) show a battle be- 
tween Peruvian soldiers armed with star-headed clubs 
and an enemy using bows and arrows. It is possible that 

Peru: Religion and Customs 57 

the enemy were the Chiriguanos or some other trans- 
Andine tribe, which used this weapon. Round or square 
shields, apparently of wood, were used in defense, in addi- 
tion to wooden helmets and padded cotton quilts. 

Everyday clothing varied in different parts of Peru at 
different periods, and, naturally, the rank of the wearer 
influenced dress. The great contrast in climate between 
the coastal lowlands and the highlands also meant con- 
siderable differences. 

A breech clout was universally worn by men. It con- 
sisted of a rectangular piece of cloth, frequently with 
designs worked into it, and sometimes with strings at- 
tached at one end for tying. A shirt was almost invariably 
worn by men. This consisted of a rectangular piece of 
cloth with a hole for the head. It was sewn down one 
side, and armholes were left. Frequently short sleeves 
were attached, but in the late Inca period sleeves seem to 
have gone out of use. The shirt was often very short, 
only reaching to the base of the chest, but sometimes they 
were made so as to reach to a little below the waist (Cases 
24 and 25). 

The shirt was often replaced by a rectangular piece 
of cloth that served as a mantle. Two ends were knotted 
over the chest or the mantle was passed over one shoulder 
only and tied under the other arm. Sometimes both of 
these garments were dispensed with, and a broad collar, 
that tied at the back of the neck, was worn. 

Head-dresses of every description were worn, but 
certain styles denoted certain ranks. The ruling Inca 
alone had the privilege of wearing a short red fringe on 
the forehead held in position by two bands. In addition 
to this, the Inca wore on ceremonial occasions a semi- 
circular miter of gold. The high priest wore a head- 
dress of macaw feathers decorated with gold ornaments. 

Pottery vessels from the Chimu area sometimes show 
nose ornaments. These are either circular or crescentic. 

58 Field Museum of Natural History 

Two excellent examples of the latter type may be seen 
on portrait jars displayed in Case 20. Ear-plugs are to 
be seen inserted in the ears of many of the figures in 
Cases 20-23; those in the last case, representing the 
Ancon-Chancay area, differ from the general type in that 
they are hollow. Ear-plugs were also made of silver or 
of wood or pottery decorated with mosaic designs. Some 
of the most beautiful ear-plugs achieve their effect by 
designs in intaglio (Fig. 5, e; Case 28), and the simplest 
are those to be seen on the false mummy heads from 
Ancon (Case 26). These consist of short stalks of reed 
bound round with sections of reed leaf and sometimes 
with a simple star-shaped design in the center made with 
leaf. As already remarked, the wearing of ear-plugs was 
a privilege of the Inca nobility, but it is possible that at 
an earlier period their use was not so restricted. 

Arm-bands, consisting of a single sheet of metal wound 
round the wrist and about three inches in length, were 
worn, in addition to metal finger rings. Necklaces 
of every type were worn by both sexes. Some of the most 
beautiful are made of shell, carved as small llamas or in 
human shape (Case 28). Unfortunately, nearly all the 
examples of gold ornaments have found their way into 
the melting pot or have been lost. 

Many examples of face-painting may be seen in the 
cases devoted to the Early Chimu and Ancon-Chancay 
cultures. Painting usually occurs on the hands, arms, 
legs, or face, and occasionally on the chest. Tattooing 
was also practiced, as examples on the desiccated bodies 
of mummies show. The designs employed in painting 
and tattooing range from simple lines to elaborate geo- 
metric patterns and highly conventionalized bird and 
fish figures. 

Sandals, made of rawhide, wool, or agave fiber, were 
worn. Usually they were attached by an ankle strap and 
a second strap passing across the foot just behind the 
roots of the toes, but sometimes the second strap passed 

Peru: Religion and Customs 59 

between the first and second toes and was attached to 
the ankle strap. 

Women of the Chimu area wore a long shirt, with 
sleeves, reaching to the knees, and held at the waist with a 
belt, but during the Inca period the usual garb for women 
in the Highlands consisted of a large mantle which was 
wound round the body from below the armpits so as to 
leave the arms free. It extended to the feet, and was 
held at the waist by a broad belt. Over this was fre- 
quently worn a second mantle, which covered the shoulders 
and reached below the knees (Cases 24 and 25). The 
edges of this were pinned together at the breast with pins 
of silver, gold, copper, bronze, or bone, called topos. 
Generally these consisted of a flat disk, occasionally with 
incised decoration, to which was attached a slender pin 
about four inches in length (Case 29). 

The hair, which was worn long, was held in position 
by a fillet that encircled the head, but women of rank 
wore a folded cloth on their heads. Superfluous hair 
was removed with metal pincers (Fig. 5, d and /). On 
festive occasions young girls decorated themselves by 
painting a line from the eyes to the temples. Women are 
rarely represented on Peruvian ceramics. Hence it is 
difficult to reconstruct the clothing of the pre-Inca women 
of the coastal cultures, of which no descriptions have been 
left by early Spanish writers. 

The task of weaving and spinning fell to women, 
although men occasionally wove. Each woman wove 
such simple wearing material as was required by her 
household, while the virgins of the sun and other specially 
appointed women, skilled in the craft, wove fabrics of the 
best quality for religious purposes and for the use of 
the Inca and the members of his order. The materials used 
were brown and white cotton on the coast, and llama, 
vicuna, and alpaca wool in the Andine areas. Actually 
there was a certain interchange of raw material between 

60 Field Museum of Natural History 

the two areas, and occasionally coarse fabrics were made 
of a fiber obtained from a plant of the aloe family. 

After cleaning and carding, the cotton or wool was 
spun onto delicate wooden spindles with decorated clay 
beads or bamboo bands threaded on them. In Cases 23 
and 32 may be seen oblong workbaskets containing 
boluses of unspun and balls of spun cotton as well as 
spindles of the types described. The beads or bands, 
apparently, did not serve as whorls, but were used to pre- 
vent the spun cotton from slipping off the spindle, which 
was largely used as a bobbin. 

Peruvian yarn of the finest quality reached a degree 
of perfection never seriously rivaled in the world's history. 
One textile expert, in reference to Peruvian yarns, has 
written: "So far as the spinners of what we call modern 
civilization are concerned the ideal has been realized, and 
belongs rather to the past than to the present or the 
immediate future. The perfect thread is not to seek; it 
has been made." Peruvian yarn was frequently of an 
incredible fineness unattained by modern spinners. 

The loom on which this yarn was woven consisted 
of two sticks. The warp threads were strung over strings 
of soft yarn parallel to the sticks to which they were 
attached. One stick was tied to a post or tree, while 
the warp was held taut by a band attached to the other 
stick, and passing around the small of the back of the 
weaver. Occasionally the loom was stretched between 
sticks held by four posts, and in the finest tapestry work 
the warp was attached directly to the end sticks. 

Peruvian textile art (Cases 24 and 25 and Fig. 3) 
reached its highest level in the production of tapestry, 
which may be classed as a darning of weft threads over 
and under the warp, the former being beaten down so as 
to cover completely the latter. Actually the term is now 
used almost exclusively to describe decorated weaves in 
which the individual designs are separately darned. 

Fig. 3. Peruvian textiles. One example of double-weave is shown (d), and two 
examples of tapestry (a and r). Peruvian textiles are displayed in Cases 24, 25, 
and 32, and also in Stanley Field Hall (Case 20). 


62 Field Museum of Natural History 

Sometimes the slits formed by the separate darning of 
areas of color were joined by interlocking weft; sometimes 
they were purposely left open ; sometimes they were closed 
by wrapping with black thread so as to outline each area 
of color. 

On other fabrics, the designs were embroidered or 
brocaded. In the latter case the design is formed by the 
insertion of additional weft while the textile is still in the 
process of weaving. Many of the coarser fabrics from 
central Peru are worked in the double cloth technique. 
Two sets of warp and two sets of weft are combined into 
a single fabric. The color of the fabric is changed by 
raising the lower sets of threads above the upper. The 
reverse sides of such textiles are naturally in opposite 
color (Case 28). Occasionally fine fabrics were woven in 
this technique, but it was generally reserved for the 
coarser fabrics of coca bags. 

Gauze fabrics, in which the open mesh is held in place 
by inserting weft threads between the holes formed by 
twisting pairs of warp threads, were commonly used in 
Peru. They are frequently decorated with embroidered 
designs, easily worked on the open weave after its com- 
pletion. Designs were also painted on uncolored cloth. 

The ancient Peruvians shared with Asia a knowledge 
of tie dyeing. In this process a skein of thread is tightly 
bound with string at certain intervals. When the skein is 
dropped into the dye, all the surface is colored by the 
mordant save where it is bound. On removing the string 
the undyed sections form the pattern of contrasting color 
(Case 24). The process is somewhat similar to that used 
in the preparation of East Indian batik, where the surface 
not to be dyed is painted with hot wax, which is removed 
after dyeing. This wax technique was used from northern 
Peru to southern Mexico in painting pottery, but not, 
apparently, for textiles. This is strange in view of the 
short step involved in a change from one material to 

Fig. 4. Peruvian metal work. Bronze and copper implements of shapes typical 
of the Inca period. They are from the southern Highlands of Peru (Case 32). 


64 Field Museum of Natural History 

Among the coastal peoples of Peru the commonest art 
motif was the fish in all degrees of conventionalization, but 
almost invariably depicted as though one were looking 
down on it from above and the body had been opened out 
below to show both eyes and both sides of the body. At 
times only the head, reduced to little more than a triangle 
with dots for the eyes, is shown. Birds and pumas were 
also very popular art motifs, whereas the human form, 
while not uncommon, is of much rarer occurrence. Geo- 
metric patterns, derived from these animal motifs and 
others, are also common, particularly during the Inca 
period. Examples of all these motifs are to be seen in 
Cases 24 and 25 and on Figure 3. 

In another field, that of metallurgy, Peru, including the 
territories incorporated into the empire at a late period, 
achieved a marked superiority over the rest of the New 
World. The beginnings of metal-working in Peru are 
found on the Early Nazca horizon, but at that time only 
gold appears to have been worked, and that only in very 
small quantities. During the Early Chimu period copper 
was used for tools, but casting in molds was seemingly 
unknown. As the centuries passed there was a marked 
increase in knowledge of metals, their smelting, and cast- 
ing, and the output of metal objects rose rapidly. 

The discovery of metal-working in the New World 
appears without much doubt to have taken place in the 
Andine region, possibly in northwest Bolivia. Here, too, 
the art of alloying tin with copper to produce bronze 
was almost certainly discovered, probably not long before 
the rise of Inca power. At the time of Pizarro's arrival 
bronze objects were very widely used. The tin appears to 
have been mined in Bolivia, and was added during the 
late Inca empire in percentages varying from three to six. 
At an earlier time the quantity of tin varied considerably. 
Actually the proportion added tended to be smaller in 
working implements than in ornaments. The reason for 
this was, apparently, that objects with a lower percentage 

Fig. 5. Metal and bone work, a d, and /, Silver and bronze objects from Peru, 
d and / being depilatory tweezers; e. An ear-plug from Peru; g j. Worked bone orna- 
ments or counters from Caldera, Chile. 


66 Field Museum of Natural History 

of tin are easier to cold-hammer. Examination of various 
bronze implements shows that the cutting edge has been 
hammered to a greater hardness than the remainder of the 
surface. Thus, in one instance the blade of a knife was 
found to be almost twice as hard as the haft (27 to 14) . 

Ore was smelted in small furnaces of pottery equipped 
with copper tubes which served as bellows, the artisan 
creating a draft by blowing down the tubes. For smelting 
gold and silver more elaborate furnaces were placed on 
hilltops, where the draft was supplied by the winds. 

Objects of bronze and copper include knives with 
hafts set at right angles, long chisels, axes of various types, 
tweezers for removing hair from the body, topo pins of 
the type described above, needles, hoe-blades, star- 
shaped club-heads, and combination star-clubs and 
hatchets (Case 32 and Fig. 4). These implements, cast 
in molds, were distributed practically all over the Inca 

Other metals or alloys included gold, silver, and an 
alloy of gold and copper. These were used for making 
ornaments or simple utensils, such as spoons (Fig. 5, a, c, 
Case 28) . Unfortunately the great booty of gold and silver 
obtained by the early Spaniards found its way into the 
melting pot, and as a consequence we are dependent very 
largely on the writings of the early conquerors for informa- 
tion on the great artistic skill displayed by the native 
jewelers. One eyewitness of the magnificence of the Inca 
court speaks of imitation fields of maize, in which the 
leaves were made entirely of silver, the ears of gold. The 
great treasure obtained by the Spaniards was largely due 
to the fact that an entirely new set of gold and silver orna- 
ments and utensils was made for each Inca, for those of his 
predecessor were not used after the owner's death. In- 
stead, they were shut up in the palace of the monarch, 
which was left untouched, except for the removal of ob- 
jects required in the funeral ceremonies. 

n i a 3 A- 5 <Q 7 8 <d 10 II 12 INCHES 
I - ■ ' ' ' I I I I I 1 

Fig. 6. Peruvian stone work. Examples of the excellent stone bowls made by 
the Incas. Cuzco and neighboring regions, Peru (Case 30). 


68 Field Museum of Natural History 

At the northern limits of the empire, at least, a knowl- 
edge of how to solder copper with silver had been reached, 
while objects in repousse" technique are found all over the 
Inca empire. Metallurgy very probably passed from Peru 
to Colombia, whence it was relayed to Central America 
only three or four centuries before the arrival of Cortez. 

Jade and turquois (Case 30) were also worked in small 
quantities, as well as granite, employed at an earlier 
period for making axes and club-heads, which at a later 
period were made in metal. 

Very pleasing are the Peruvian mosaics on a shell or 
wooden background. Carving in stone lagged behind 
most of the Peruvian arts. Of small objects perhaps the 
finest are the beautiful stone bowls, of which several are 
to be seen in Case 31 (Fig. 6), and the stone llamas shown 
in Case 30. These last are supposed to have been used in 
fertility rites to increase the flocks in the same way as the 
stone maize cobs (Case 32) were placed in the fields, it is 
believed, to ensure a bountiful harvest. Small models of 
temples were carved in stone, and the same material was 
used to form peculiar gambling boards (Fig. 7). 

Carved wooden objects called (for convenience) paddles, 
are not uncommon on the Peruvian coast (Case 21). 
In these paddles, the designs on the edges depict birds, 
pumas, and men in full relief. Wood was also decorated 
with lacquer work. The examples of this lacquer work in 
Field Museum (Stanley Field Hall, Case 6) all appear to 
date from the sixteenth century. While some of them 
clearly show by the intrusion of European elements that 
they are of post-conquest date, others show purely native 
designs, and may have been made prior to the coming of 
the Spaniards. Moreover, there is definite evidence that 
lacquering was practiced before the coming of the 
white man. 

In Figures 2 and 8 are shown drawings of the designs 
on two of these vessels. The original colors are red, yel- 

Fig. 7. Inca 8tone work, a, b, Models of Incan temples; c, d. Game boards. 
AH are from vicinity of Cuzco, Highlands of Peru (Case 30). 



Field Museum of Natural History 

low, black, green, and white. The wood, of the Legumi- 
nosae family, probably the genus Caesalpinia, appears to 
have been first covered with a light varnish. The surface 
to be painted was then lightly engraved with the required 
pattern, and the colors painted on the incised areas. On 
some of the vessels the color was painted straight on the 

Fig. 8. Peruvian lacquer work. One of a large collection of brilliantly lacquered 
wooden vessels displayed in Stanley Field Hall (Case 6). They were probably made 
very shortly after the Spanish conquest. 

vessels, particularly where large areas were to be covered 
with the same color, but the two techniques are frequently 
found on the same vessel. The scenes depicted represent 
battles, in one case between rival Peruvian forces, in the 
other between Peruvians and Indians of the regions east 
of the Andes, possibly the Chiriguanos, armed with bows 

Peru: Religion and Customs 71 

and arrows. The typical clubs, slings, hatchets, and shields 
of the Inca period are represented. One individual ap- 
pears to be standing on a building. If that is the case, the 
vessel must have been painted subsequent to the Spanish 
conquest as the doorway of the building has a true arch 
unknown in Peru before the arrival of the Spaniards. 

The pottery produced in ancient Peru has been dis- 
cussed in connection with the historical outline of Peru- 
vian civilization. The great dissimilarity between the 
products of the different areas can be quickly appreciated 
by a comparison of the types of pottery displayed in the 
various cases. It would be impossible to find greater con- 
trasts than those existing between Nazca, Chimu, and Inca 
(Plates I— III and Fig. 1). Nazca is characterized by a 
dazzling use of color, Chimu by its naturalistic modeling, 
and Inca by its use of subdued patterns, largely geometric, 
painted on vessels of ingenious shapes. 

Perhaps these varied forms of art give us an insight 
into the heterogeneous peoples that once occupied Peru, 
and at the same time permit us to grasp the magnitude of 
the problem that faced the Incas of welding them into a 
coherent whole. 

Inca civilization with its peculiar blending of state 
socialism and autocracy presents a unique subject for 
study. Furthermore, the high levels of art achieved by 
the component parts of the empire and the great engineer- 
ing ability of the Incas are but two features that add to 
the interest of the problem. The comparative isolation of 
the ancient Peruvians, also, shows us ways in which the 
human mind, uninfluenced by outside contacts, solves the 
same problems in different ways. 


The area of northwest Argentina, comprising the 
mountainous regions of the modern states of Tucuman, 
Catamarca, La Rioja, Santiago del Estero, Salta, and San 
Juan, formed a cultural area, to which the name Diaguite 
is given. In older publications this civilization is called 
Calchaqui from a small tribe of this name, which came to 
the fore by its tenacious resistance to the Spaniards. 
Actually the Calchaquis were merely a subdivision of the 

Although no vocabularies have survived, place names 
indicate that the Diaguite language, called Caca, was not 
related to the Quechua or Aymara tongues of Peru. Never- 
theless, after the incorporation of the Diaguite territory 
into the Inca Empire the Quechua language of the con- 
querors was widely spoken. This may have been due to 
the Inca custom of planting Quechua colonies in newly 
conquered territory. 

Diaguite culture has a strong resemblance to that of 
Peru, although the degree of civilization attained by the 
former was not so high. This similarity was partly due to 
the fact that both cultures had their roots in the same early 
agricultural horizon, which was widely spread over the 
Andine region, and partly due to the conquest of the coun- 
try in the middle Inca period. 

The Diaguites lived in villages usually placed in inac- 
cessible positions, such as hilltops. The ruins consist of 
walls of well-laid stone having an average thickness of 
about two feet and, as a rule, a height not exceeding three 
feet. No mortar was employed, but mud was occasionally 
used in its place, although the stones were so carefully 
laid that in many cases they are still standing despite the 
lack of binding material. In many cases the walls are 
not pierced for doorways. 


Northwest Argentina and Northern Chile 73 

One can conjecture that the low stone walls were 
additional to ordinary walls constructed immediately in- 
side them of white algarrobo posts, while the roof, perhaps 
independent of the rest of the structure, was supported by 
corner posts. In other words, the buildings were probably 
of poles with a thatched roof, and the low stone walls 
were additional protection against cold. If this type of 
structure was in use, the doorway would have been placed 
in the pole walls, and one would have stepped down from 
the stone wall into the room. Occasionally the stone walls 
are carried up to a height of more than six feet and pro- 
vided with a doorway and stone lintel. Remains of roof 
beams suggest that the thatched roof was supported by 
the stone walls, while some of the stone enclosures are of 
such a size that they could not have been satisfactorily 
roofed. These may have served as communal men's 
houses or for religious functions. 

Very occasionally walls were made of adobe bricks. 
Structures were usually rectangular, but oval houses were 
not unknown. The villages themselves vary in size from 
a few houses to centers of considerable population, but 
there is little evidence of any attempt to lay out the houses 
to a definite plan. In many parts the buildings are so 
close together that it has been suggested that the tops of 
the stone walls were used as pavements. 

The Diaguites were primarily agriculturalists, although 
hunting also supplied a good share of the food. The hill- 
sides were sometimes terraced to prevent erosion, but this 
was far from being a general custom. Several varieties 
of maize and beans were cultivated in addition to such 
important plants as potatoes and squashes. Presumably 
most plants cultivated in the Peruvian Andes were also 
known to the Diaguites. 

The appearance of certain stars was awaited before 
sowing commenced, while the sprouting of the crops was 
marked by an organized hunt. The first guanaco or agouti 
caught was sacrificed, and the blood sprinkled on the 

74 Field Museum of Natural History 

growing crops. Elaborate feasts were held to insure the 
fertility of the soil and a bountiful harvest. These feasts 
were organized by the leading men of the community, 
and were the occasion of orgies of drunkenness, probably 
of a ceremonial nature. Sometimes the orgies ended in 
battles, in which weapons of war were often employed. 
These fights, too, were probably part of the fertility 
rites, since we are told that it was considered a disgrace 
to refuse to participate, while wounds obtained in these 
frays were esteemed as marks of honor. 

During the ceremonies, the head of a deer, transfixed 
with arrows, was offered to the sun. The head was sub- 
sequently given to another sorcerer, who by its accept- 
ance bound himself to give the next feast. At the approach 
of harvest time, the first fruits were suspended from trees 
in sacrifice. 

The white algarrobo tree, in addition to its use as a 
source for house posts, yielded a fruit much esteemed by 
the Diaguites. When the fruit was ripe, there was a 
general exodus of the whole community to the woods 
to gather the crop. This was the occasion of more 
feasting and drunkenness, probably also of a ceremonial 
nature. A fermented liquor was made from the fruit 
of this tree. 

Llamas were bred for their wool and as beasts of 
burden, but they are said to have been of a smaller size 
than those of the Peruvian Andes. Ducks and hens 
(probably guans, Penelope obscura) were raised for their 
feathers and as a food supply, and there is a possibility 
that numbers of wild hogs were also kept in captivity. 
One early writer speaks of the rhea or American ostrich 
as having been domesticated by the Diaguites. This bird 
is easily reared in captivity, but it is doubtful if it was 
domesticated in our sense of the word. The feathers 
served as ornaments, the eggs in all probability as food, 
since they are frequently used in Argentina at the present 
time in omelets, and the lining of the stomach, again to 

Northwest Argentina and Northern Chile 75 

judge by modern custom, was employed for medical 

In hunting and warfare the principal weapon was the 
bow and arrow, and in this connection a bracer of copper 
or silver was worn on the left fore-arm. Arrows were 
carried in large quivers, and we are told that bows and 
arrows were never out of reach of their owners. The 
points of the arrows were of exceedingly well-chipped 
stone, either with or without tangs, but invariably pro- 
vided with short wings (Case 36). More roughly worked 
stone spearheads are to be seen in the same case, while 
on the opposite side are well-made points of llama or 
guanaco bone. It is difficult to say if these were used as 
arrow- or spear-points owing to their intermediate size, 
but it is more probable that they were used as 

The bolas was also used in hunting game. This 
peculiar weapon, as used in ancient Peru, consisted of 
two balls of stone or copper united by a thong or plaited 
rawhide some four feet or more in length. The hunter, 
grasping it by one ball, whirled it round his head and 
then threw it at the feet of the game he wished to capture. 
The cord, on hitting the animal's legs, wound itself round 
them on account of the weights at each end. In this way 
the animal's legs were bound so that it could not escape. 
The balls were wrapped in hide which was attached to 
the plaited rawhide. Among the modern gauchos of 
Argentina the bolas is formed by three stone balls instead 
of the two typical of ancient Peru, but it is not known 
if the Diaguite bolas was of two or three balls. 

A long robe of llama wool was worn. This reached 
to the knees, and was held at the waist by a belt. Topo 
pins of silver, gold or bronze were used to pin the 
edges of the robe together. Several examples of these can 
be seen in Case 36. During festivals feather head-dresses 
were donned, while the hair, which was left long, was 
knotted on top of the head. Chiefs wore fillets of copper 

76 Field Museum of Natural History 

or silver or, sometimes, wool, and painted their fore- 
heads black and the rest of the face red. 

Other ornaments included necklaces of shell, turquois, 
sodalite, and numerous less valuable stones, amulets, 
frequently, in human or animal shapes, stone masks, 
possibly worn on the breast, and bronze or copper breast- 
plates. Examples of all of these are to be seen in Case 
36. It has been conjectured that the large copper or 
bronze ornaments, such as those shown in this case, were 
worn as breast-plates, but of this there is no actual 
evidence. The types do not occur elsewhere in the Andine 

Armlets of red wool were worn on the upper arm, 
and superfluous hair was removed with copper tweezers, 
similar to those of Peru (Fig. 5, d and /). Thick-soled 
sandals were worn on the feet. There is no information 
on women's costumes except the statement that girls 
during maidenhood wore brightly colored clothing, but, 
after their first intercourse with men, changed to somber- 
hued garments. 

Of the daily life of the people little is known. Children 
underwent a ceremony of having their hair cut similar 
to that described on page 100. We are also told that boys 
were circumcised and that girls went through some sort 
of puberty ceremony. When a man was very ill, 
his relatives and friends assembled at his house and 
indulged in a carousal kept up day and night without 
ceasing. Ceremonial drunkenness appears to have played 
a very important part in Diaguite magico-religious pro- 
cedure. The approach of death was warded off by planting 
a circle of arrows around the sick man. 

The Diaguites, like most primitive peoples, believed 
that death was due to sorcery except when a man died 
a violent death. Food and drink were placed around the 
corpse, and certain herbs were burnt as a kind of incense. 
The mourners danced around the corpse, offering it food 
and drink, which they subsequently ate and drank them- 

Northwest Argentina and Northern Chile 77 

selves. The corpse was dressed up, and the clothing and 
principal possessions of the deceased were displayed. The 
ceremonies continued for eight days, at the end of which 
period the corpse was buried in his clothing, together with 
food and some of his possessions, and his house burnt. 
In the Londres section of the Diaguite area the eyes of 
the dead were left open so that they could see their way 
to the next world. Professional mourners, who pro- 
claimed the virtues of the deceased, were also employed 
in this region, and possibly all over the Diaguite area. 

For a year following the deceased's death the mourners 
wore black. At the end of that period the ceremonies 
were repeated. The dead we are told were converted 
into stars. A brother of the deceased married his widow. 

Information on Diaguite religion is also scanty. The 
sun is said to have been the chief deity, but this may 
well have been the result of the Inca conquest of the 
country, since all subjected peoples were forced to ac- 
knowledge the sun as the chief god. The gods of thunder 
and lightning were also of very great importance, probably 
because of their close connection with the rains so neces- 
sary for the crops in the semi-arid country largely in- 
habited by the Diaguites. Trees were bedecked with 
feathers and addressed in prayer. Although there is no 
information to this effect, it is more than probable that 
the Calchaqui, like the Peruvians of the Highlands, 
endowed most natural objects, such as rocks, lakes, rivers, 
or mountains, with supernatural powers. Sorcerers and 
priests lived in secret places where they were in close 
touch with the divine beings. 

A series of painted urns of considerable size may be 
seen in Case 39 (Fig. 15, c). These were exclusively used 
for the burial of children, and are found in large ceme- 
teries containing no adult burials. In most cases the 
conventionalized faces show lines from the eyes which 
clearly indicate weeping. Snakes, which are symbols of 
lightning or rain over a great deal of the New World, 

78 Field Museum of Natural History 

are also frequently depicted on these urns. Joyce, in a 
very interesting paper, "The Weeping God," has made out 
a very strong case for accepting these burials as those of 
children sacrificed to the thunder god to insure a bounti- 
ful supply of rain, the tears symbolizing the rain conferred 
by the thunder deity. It is possible that the children 
were made to weep before sacrifice, as in Mexico, to 
induce the thunder god also to weep; in other words to 
send down rain. 

Among the modern inhabitants of the Diaguite region 
there are traces of pre-Christian beliefs, but those have 
clearly been influenced by Peruvian ideas; indeed, the 
native population now speaks the Quechua language of 
the Incas, owing largely to its employment by the Span- 
iards as a lingua franca. 

Eight days after a death the widower or widow is 
taken to the nearest stream, where he or she is thoroughly 
washed, together with all personal possessions. The hair 
of the bereaved spouse is also combed and arranged for 
the first time since the death. The dog belonging to the 
deceased is likewise taken to the river, where, after a full 
meal, it is strangled and buried near the water. 

Among the same modern inhabitants there are three 
important deities, all apparently of Peruvian origin, al- 
though their worship may have been incorporated into 
Diaguite religion before the arrival of the whites. These 
are Pachamama, Llastay and Chiqui. 

Pachamama is, as her Quechuan name indicates, the 
earth mother. She is believed to dwell in the mountains, 
and to be the special protectress of all crops and animals. 
Offerings of food, coca leaves, and the lime to mix with 
them are made to her by being buried in the fields so 
that she may give a bountiful harvest, or are made on 
the hillsides when the men gather for a hunt. 

Llastay, in contrast to Pachamama, the Lady of the 
mountains, is Lord of the plains and valleys. He is pro- 
tector of the birds and a hunting deity. 

Northwest Argentina and Northern Chile 79 

Chiqui, also a Peruvian deity, is the bringer of all 
types of misfortune, such as earthquakes, droughts, or 
hurricanes. Offerings are also made to avert the evils 
he brings in his wake. 

The rain-making ceremonies as used by the modern 
Indians are in all probability directly inherited from the 
ancient Diaguites. The people assemble beneath an al- 
garrobo tree, and choose the best hunters, who are sent 
out on a two-day expedition to catch all the small game 
that they can. On their return men and women assemble. 
The game, such as guanacos, hares, and foxes, is sacrificed 
with great ceremony, the heads with necks attached being 
cut off. The bodies of the animals are roasted together 
with the bodies of the armadillos, from which the heads 
are not removed. The heads are divided among the 
participants, who, holding them by the necks, dance 
round and cause them to jump and swing about. In the 
center of the dancing circle is placed a jar containing the 
fermented juice of the white algarrobo fruit. Later each 
dancer places on his or her head a jar also containing 
the fermented algarrobo juice. As the people dance they 
shout, "The sun is burning." In certain districts they 
also dance round an algarrobo tree, and conclude the 
ceremony with a foot race, in which men and women race 
to be the first to reach a prize placed in the branches 
of an algarrobo tree. The ceremonial importance of the 
algarrobo trees, both the black and white varieties, is 
a relic of the pre-Spanish culture. 

The Diaguites showed a fair skill in pottery-making 
and ornamentation. The variety of shapes produced is 
certainly very great, but not enough is known of the 
sequences of types to place them in chronological order. 
Of considerable interest are the bowls with the head and 
shoulders of a man in relief at one end, indicating that 
the bowl itself is meant to represent his body (Fig. 9, a). 
This specialized form occurs sporadically over a wide 
area. A very fine example from Colombia is shown on 

80 Field Museum of Natural History 

Figure 16, while the type has been found as far north as 
Guatemala. It is also of frequent occurrence in the 
Marajo culture of eastern Brazil. It is not improbable 
that the idea diffused from the Argentine, perhaps spread- 
ing to the Tupi-Guarani Indians and being carried by 
them to the Amazon region. This, however, is pure 

The best pottery produced, so far as paste and firing 
are concerned, comprised a class of vessels decorated with 
designs in vivid red, black, and white. The walls are 
very thin, the paste is of good quality, the firing excellent, 
and the colors are much firmer than those on vessels of 
other wares. A number of these vessels (Plate VI; Case 
37) are in the form of deep well-shaped bowls with small 
upturned birds' heads in relief, while at the opposite end 
low projections undoubtedly represent the tails. In form 
these vessels can be grouped with the human type de- 
scribed above. The vessels of black ware, often with 
designs formed by cross-hatching incisions, are also very 
well made and fired, but the class of ware used for the 
large urns, their lids, and certain bowls is inferior, the 
firing is not thorough, and the colors are frequently 
fugitive. Exceptions, such as the fine vessel shown on 
Figure 9, a, do, however, occur. 

The designs on the funerary urns and related vessels 
of this Santa Maria ware are both geometric and natural- 
istic. The patterns are frets, zigzags, crosses, and step 
designs. The naturalistic designs include snakes, ostriches, 
and frogs. 

One group of vessels, known as Draconian ware, is 
decorated with designs representing a dragon-like monster, 
or with motifs taken from single elements of this monster. 
The designs are totally distinct from those found on 
Santa Maria vessels, but the two styles were contempo- 
raneous. Many of the black vessels with incised decora- 
tion undoubtedly owe their inspiration to the Draconian 
style (Case 35). 

Fig. 9. Diaguite art, Argentina, a-c. Pottery of the Santa Maria type; d -/, 
Metal work in shapes found only in this region. A disk, a bell, and a "scepter" are shown. 
a, Amaicha, Tucuman; 6-d, Tafi, Tucuman; e and /, San Isidro, Salta (Cases 35-37). 


82 Field Museum of Natural History 

The tripod bowl, so common from Central America 
to Ecuador, and also occurring in northern Peru, is 
unknown in the Diaguite region. On the other hand, 
there are a number of distinctive local shapes, such as the 
"cream jugs" in black ware with broken-down Draconian 
designs, the Santa Maria type urns and their covers, and 
the vessels shaped as armadillos. 

Many years ago Argentine archaeologists called atten- 
tion to the strong resemblance in art and architecture 
between the Diaguite and the Pueblo cultures. The 
Diaguite and Pueblo III cultures were roughly contempo- 
raneous, but the distance between the southwest United 
States and northwest Argentina is so great that direct 
cultural contact must be ruled out. The resemblances 
may be fortuitous or may be the result of survivals of 
traits once widespread in the New World. The latter 
explanation probably is partially correct, since some of 
the geometric designs, such as fret, zigzag, and step, used 
in the ceramic art of both areas are undoubtedly of very 
great antiquity in the New World. 

Very typical of Diaguite culture are the large numbers 
of small pottery heads found in excavations. These have 
usually been broken off pottery vessels, but some are 
parts of pottery figures, which possibly served as idols. 

Inca influence in the Diaguite region is shown by 
typical Inca vessels (Case 36) and others which are clearly 
local imitations of Inca vessels. The blending of Peruvian 
and Diaguite is well illustrated by the pottery vessel 
shown on Figure 9, c. Here the shape is clearly a modi- 
fication of the barrel-shaped canteen found very fre- 
quently at lea on the Peruvian coast, and contemporary 
with the early Inca influences. The Diaguite potter has 
rounded the square ends, but retained the looped handles 
on the top. In place of the typical geometric patterns, 
she has depicted a realistic rhea running at full speed 
with one wing raised as a rudder in just the way the 
rhea raises it in flight. 

Northwest Argentina and Northern Chile 83 

Field Museum also possesses a stone llama found at 
Molinos in the Argentine province of Salta, but similar 
to those from the Highlands of Peru (Case 34). 

Inca pottery is found in the same graves as vessels 
of the local Santa Maria type (Figs. 9, a, b, and 15, c; 
Case 37), proving thereby that the two styles were con- 
temporaneous, and since Draconian pottery is known to 
be of the same date as Santa Maria ware, there is no 
evidence at present of a lengthy ceramic development. 

In the Diaguite area baskets were made in coiled 
technique, which is more widely distributed in South 
America than is generally supposed. One basket in Case 
36 was covered with red ochre, while two others show 
faint signs of painted designs. Unfortunately baskets are 
rare, for perishable objects, such as baskets, gourds, or 
clothing, seldom survive climatic conditions in the Dia- 
guite area. 

Objects of metal other than copper or bronze are 
scarce in all archaeological collections from the Diaguite 
region. In Case 36 may be seen a silver strip which in 
all probability served as a fillet. Two holes punched 
close to both ends probably served as eyes for the cord 
that laced the fillet at the back of the head. There are 
also several topos, to which attention has already been 
called. One of these has a European design of a heart 
pierced by an arrow, and doubtlessly dates from the 
colonial period. In passing it might be noted that the 
Diaguite culture continued to flourish after the Spanish 
invasion. In Field Museum collections, but not on ex- 
hibit, are necklaces of blue glass beads and other objects 
of European manufacture found in Diaguite graves. Gold 
objects are exceedingly scarce in representative collections 
from this area. The two pieces shown in Case 36 were 
probably imported from Peru. 

In variety of copper and bronze objects the Diaguite 
region excels any other part of the Inca Empire with the 
possible exception of Ecuador. This would suggest that 

84 Field Museum of Natural History 

the industry was well established before the country was 
subjugated by the Incas, although metal-working in the 
Andine region undoubtedly originated in only one center. 
It would appear that after its primary diffusion to the 
Diaguite region, connection with Peru and Bolivia was 
lost for a considerable period, and local copper and, per- 
haps, bronze shapes were developed in the Diaguite region, 
but did not diffuse northward. 

Of considerable artistic merit are the designs on 
gourds from the Diaguite area. Examples of these designs, 
which are reminiscent of those found on pottery vessels 
of the Santa Maria type are shown in Figure 10. 

Peculiar to the Diaguite region are the large bronze 
bells shown in Case 36 (Fig. 9, e), although wooden 
imitations were fabricated in Chile. The scepter and the 
fine breastplate with jaguars in relief also represent types 
not found elsewhere in the Andine region. The knuckle 
duster is found only in this region and northern Chile. 
It is also possible that the socketed bronze ax was of 
Argentine origin, since it is found in most abundance in 
the Diaguite region. This represents an invention of 
prime importance. In the same case are shown two very 
large disks cast in bronze or copper. It is not known 
what purpose these served, for they may have served as 
gongs or merely have been cast in that shape for trans- 
portation, subsequently to be melted and recast in other 
shapes. Nothing similar has ever been reported from the 
Andine region. Pottery molds for casting have been 
found in the Diaguite region. 

Field Museum also possesses two bronze or copper 
pestles from the Diaguite area. Hitherto no metal pestles 
have been reported from the Andine region. This is 
strange, for practically every stone tool was copied in 
metal by the Peruvians. One pestle closely resembles the 
stone prototype, while the second, lacking the tapering 
away from the base, may belong to a period when the 
shape was no longer influenced by stone Destles. Possibly 

Northwest Argentina and Northern Chile 


these pieces date from the colonial period and may be 
due to European influence. 

The Diaguite metal objects in Field Museum have 
never been analyzed. It is, therefore, impossible to say 
whether the objects are of bronze or copper. It is known, 

Fig. 10. Decorated gourds. Designs in poker work technique on gourds from the 
Diaguite region of northwest Argentina. The shape of the gourd is restored. 

however, that the Calchaqui used objects both of copper 
and bronze, the latter probably representing a later 
period. The percentage of tin used in Diaguite bronzes 
runs considerably higher than in Peruvian bronzes and 
shows more variation. 

86 Field Museum of Natural History 

Metal objects, the shapes of which are also found in 
other parts of the Inca Empire, include axes of several 
types, crescentic knife blades, chisels, hoes, star-shaped 
club-heads, combination star-clubs and hatchets, tweezers 
for removing hair, breastplate mirrors, needles, small 
bells, and vessels. 

Two well-made stone mortars are shown in Figure 11 
(Case 36). These may have been used for grinding alga- 
rrobo seeds, for maize was ground on flat narrow stones, 
roughly prepared and with no decoration. The mastery 
of the Diaguites over stone is well illustrated by the 
impressionistic faces carved on the breast ornaments shown 
on Figure 11. 

Large numbers of burials have been found in addition 
to the cemeteries containing children's remains de- 
posited in urns. Occasionally adults were buried in 
urns, but more usually they were buried in circular graves 
lined with stone and sometimes roofed over with a crude 
false vault. Sometimes a single individual was buried in a 
grave; at other times nine or more persons were interred 
in the same burial. The diameter of the graves varies 
considerably, from five to seven feet being, perhaps, the 

With the dead, as already noted, were buried their 
possessions. These, in some cases, indicate the sex or 
profession of the deceased. Thus, the rattle shown in 
Case 36 was probably buried with a sorcerer, while the 
numerous decorated spindle whorls shown in the same 
case presumably came from women's graves. Some 
graves contain pottery of Inca types, confirming the 
historical evidence of the subjugation of the Diaguite 
country by the armies of the Inca (Case 36). Unfor- 
tunately the extensive Diaguite collections in Field 
Museum are not documented or segregated by graves, 
and even the proveniences are in some cases open to 

Fig. 11. Andine art. All except g, which is a atone die from Colombia (Case 17), 
are products of the Diaguite art of northwest Argentina. They are of stone, except c, 
which is a wooden spoon, a, b, and / are from Tafi, Tucuman; c and d are from 
Amaicha, Tucuman; e is from Santa Maria, Catamarca (Case 36). 


88 Field Museum of Natural History 

The Diaguite civilization has been largely neglected 
by North American archaeologists; nevertheless, it was 
much more than a weak reflection of Inca culture. Its 
art shows a remarkable virility, while metallurgy and stone 
tools (Figs. 9, d-f, and 11, e) show an industrial adapta- 
bility not unworthy of a high place in the roll of aboriginal 
American cultures. 

The area behind the modern port of Antofogasta, 
comprising the northern part of the Desert of Atacama in 
Chile, the puna of Atacama astride the Andes, and the 
puna of Jujuy across the Argentine frontier, formed the 
territory of a people called the Atacamans. The word 
"puna" is of local origin, and serves to designate barren 
sandy and rock-strewn uplands frequent in this area. 

The Atacaman territory is singularly unfitted for the 
development of civilization; nevertheless, the Atacamans 
attained a fairly high cultural level due to the influx of 
civilization from Peru and Argentina. The aridity of the 
whole country has aided the conservation of objects which 
have not survived in the damper Diaguite territory, and 
as the two cultures were on a somewhat similar plane, 
although in some respects the Diaguite is superior, one 
can deduce that the objects of bone or wood conserved in 
Atacaman cemeteries must largely resemble those that 
were in use in the Diaguite territory. 

There is no early account of the Atacamans that yields 
any information, and the modern descendants, who are 
few in number, have lost practically all of their old 
culture. The archaeological finds, however, show that 
the Atacamans practiced agriculture, raised herds of 
llamas, the wool of which they wove into clothing, chewed 
coca with lime, the former imported from the Peruvian 
or Bolivian Andes, traded actively with Peru, and prob- 
ably with the Diaguite country, importing metal tools and 
ornaments, and achieved a high artistic level in carving 
wood and bone. 

Fig. 12. Wood work from Chile. Beautifully carved wooden utensils from 
Calama. Atacaman culture (Case 38). 


90 Field Museum of Natural History 

The finest examples of wood-carving are the small trays 
with relief figures serving as handles (Fig. 12, a-c). Some 
of the human figures show Peruvian influences, while 
others appear to represent purely native types. In one 
case the design has been enhanced by the inlaying of 
turquois studs. The Atacamans also produced finely 
carved wooden spatulae used for removing lime from 
small gourds to mix with coca leaves (Case 38). 

Graves in the Atacaman area frequently contain short, 
angularly bent hooks of wood, to which ropes of llama 
wool are frequently attached. These apparently served 
as cinch rings for llamas. The rope that held the load in 
position was attached to the ends, passed over the load 
and under the llama's belly, and pulled tight by being 
slipped under the center of the wood piece and cinched 
with a downward movement (Fig. 14, /). 

Wooden bells, made in imitation of those of metal used 
by the Diaguites, were used by the Atacamans. Those 
in Field Museum are not provided with clappers, but in 
the Oslo Museum there is a similar bell with nine clappers 
consisting of small sticks that project slightly below the 
bottom of the bell. The Atacamans also used small 
copper bells, probably imported from the Diaguite region. 

For hunting and warfare, the Atacamans used arrows 
with foreshafts of hard wood. The reed shafts are some- 
times decorated with narrow bands painted yellow, red, 
and black. The foreshaft is attached to the shaft by 
insertion into a hole bored in the latter. The whole is 
strengthened by thread wound tightly round the outside. 
A pair of feathers is usually attached to the butt. Arrows 
were carried in quivers made of hide. Disk-shaped stone 
clubs with a wooden haft passing through the center were 
also used. Field Museum is also in possession of a copper- 
socketed ax from Calama, which might have been used in 
war. The bolas and sling do not appear to have been used 
by the Atacamans. 

Fig. 13. Carved bone from Chile. Bone spatulae, which were probably used 
for removing lime from gourds to mix with coca leaves. They were found at Caldera 
(Case 38). 


92 Field Museum of Natural History 

Fine baskets in the coiled technique were also made. 
In some cases these are painted with geometric designs. 

The finest material, however, in Field Museum 
collections from Chile is said to have been excavated at 
Caldera, a small port on the coast. This is outside the 
supposed limits of the Atacaman culture. It is possible 
that the collection was made elsewhere, or, more probably, 
that Caldera was the site of a colony and garrison planted 
there during the Inca Empire. It was the Inca policy to 
plant such settlements in newly conquered territory, the 
colonists being taken from some other part of the Inca 
Empire. It is therefore possible that Caldera was settled 
by colonies of Peruvians and Atacamans. 

The collection is very rich in objects of copper or 
bronze, whereas metal implements are relatively rare in 
the truly Atacaman sites. The metal objects include a 
number of crescentic knives (p. 86), mirror breast- 
plates, tweezers, many chisels, some smallish copper bells 
of a southern type, and a socketed ax complete with 
wooden haft. 

The bone topos and spatulae are of the same type as 
those found in the Calama district of the Atacaman area, 
but are decorated with exquisite beauty. Figures of men 
and jaguars are delicately carved in a naturalistic manner 
(Fig. 13). Of bone also are a large number of thin slabs 
of oval, oblong, and figure 8 shapes. These are decorated 
with groups of small incised circles arranged like the pips 
of dominoes, save that the total at one end always equals 
the total at the other. The combined totals for each 
counter reach the following figures: 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 18. 
It is possible that these were used as counters in some 
game or even for some way of counting (Fig. 5, g-j). 

The aboriginal population inhabiting the Chilean coast 
was on a low cultural level. Known as Uros, they were 
mainly engaged in fishing and hunting. They differed 
from the Atacamans of Calama in using beautifully 
worked stone arrow-points, whereas at Calama the arrow- 

Fig. 14. Gourds and other implements, a-c. Gourds decorated with designs in 
poker work; d, Comb of splits; e, Fish harpoon of bone; /, Cinch hook for llama pack 
All except «, which is from Caldera, and is probably of Uro manufacture, are from 
Calama and are of Atacaman manufacture (Case 38). 


94 Field Museum of Natural History 

points are of wood. For fishing they used short bone 
harpoons with two short barbs of copper or a certain hard 
thorn, placed side by side. These barbs were bound to 
the bone shaft by thin twine. The points of the harpoons 
were made by sharpening the end of the bone shaft (Fig. 
14, e). Similar harpoons were used on the northern coast 
of Chile, in the Iquique and Arica districts, but there 
wooden shafts, painted red and with stone arrowheads 
inserted, are also found. 

In Case 37 are to be seen a number of exquisitely 
made stone arrowheads from Caldera, and one can pre- 
sume these were of Uro manufacture, possibly traded with 
the colonists of Caldera. 

In addition to the numerous copper or bronze artifacts 
found at Caldera and probably imported from Peru, are 
two objects clearly of Peruvian origin. One of these 
is a small llama excellently constructed from small 
hammered sheets of gold, the other a small figurine of 
smoked black-ware pottery. The design is typical of 
Peruvian coastal culture of the Inca period, while the 
llama is of a type probably manufactured in the Highlands. 

There is little indigenous in Chilean culture, most of 
it clearly having been imported from Peru and north- 
western Argentina, particularly the latter region. It is 
not improbable that the original inhabitants of the puna 
district of Jujuy in the northwestern corner of Argentina 
developed side by side with a pre-Diaguite culture, and 
that this primitive culture spread over the neighboring 
Atacaman desert. There are marked differences between 
the two peoples on the one hand and the ancient Peruvians 
on the other. The Diaguites and Atacamans, for example, 
made constant use of the bow and arrow, while this weapon 
was very rare in ancient Peru. They also appear to have 
employed bone to a greater extent than the Peruvians. 


The cultures of the ancient peoples of Ecuador, like 
those of Peru, can be divided into two principal groups, 
corresponding to the highlands of the Andes and the 
coastal plains. The latter are of considerably greater 
breadth than those of Peru, and, owing to a much higher 
rainfall, are more fertile. Instead of the sandy wastes of 
the Peruvian coast, the northern half of the coastal plains 
of Ecuador is covered with tropical rain forest and teems 
with animal and insect life. As one travels south, the 
climate becomes increasingly drier until in the extreme 
south the conditions are similar to those of the northern 
Peruvian coast. 

Behind this tierra caliente (hot territory) tower the 
twin ranges of the Andes, penning between their walls 
well-watered plains and valleys of marked fertility. 
Owing to the altitude, the flora is subtropical. Thus the 
cultures of the two areas have, perforce, been molded by 
their contrasting environments. Between lies an area 
where the two contrasts merge. 

The Highland area, which will be considered first, was 
inhabited at the time of the arrival of the Spaniards by six 
important peoples. These, from north to south, were 
Pastos, Caras, Latacungas, Puruhas, Canaris, and Paltas. 
Culturally all these peoples were closely related and had 
been welded into a political whole, with the exception of 
the Pastos. The Pastos, whose territory roughly corre- 
sponded to the modern province of Carchi in northern 
Ecuador and the adjacent region of Colombia as far north 
as Pasto, were reputed to be culturally below the level of 
their southern neighbors. They were considered to be 
poor fighters, not over-intelligent or cleanly in their 
habits, and scarcely worth the trouble of conquering. 
Part of their territory was subdued by the Caras, and a 
few years before the arrival of the Spaniards the whole 
country was subdued by the Incas. 


96 Field Museum of Natural History 

The Paltas in the extreme south were culturally related 
to their northern neighbors, but there is some grounds for 
believing that they may have been linguistically related to 
the Jivaros of the forest region east of the Andes. Indeed, 
the Palta territory stretched as far as the Amazonian forest. 

The Andine peoples, with the exception of the Pastos, 
already noted, were brought under the suzerainty of the 
ruler of the Caras, who, according to tradition, came from 
overseas, landing on the Ecuadorian coast north of Manta. 
After staying some time in the Esmeraldas district, they 
advanced inland and established themselves at Quito, 
amalgamating with the conquered Quitus. 

Subsequently the Caras formed a federation with 
their southern neighbors, the Puruhas, who lived in the 
vicinity of Riobamba. This was achieved by the marriage 
of the daughter of the sonless ruler of the Caras to the 
son of the Puraha paramount chief. On the death of the 
Cara ruler, or Scyri as he was called, the chieftainship of 
the two peoples was merged in the son-in-law. This 
union took place early in the fourteenth century of our 
era. Subsequently the Caiiari and Palta territories were 
added to the growing empire by a series of alliances, prob- 
ably based on fear of Inca expansion. 

The imperialistic expansions of the Incas and -Caras 
reveal a marked contrast. The Incas conquered and beat 
into submission the peoples they added to their empire, 
and consolidated their rule by exchanges of population, 
rigid control, a uniform code of laws, and a state religion 
superimposed on those of the conquered peoples. The 
Caras, on the other hand, extended their empire by 
alliances, forming a loose federation, the component 
peoples of which were free to live as they had always lived, 
retaining their native rulers and paying only a nominal 
tribute to the Scyri in Quito. 

Cara rule was also extended to the coast, and at the 
time of the first Inca invasions (circa a.d. 1450) their 
empire confederacy probably covered practically all of 

Ecuador 97 

inland Ecuador with the exception of the region east of the 
Andes and the territory of the Pastos. In the former 
region the same conditions that had halted the eastern 
expansion of the Incas also obtained, preventing the 
effective penetration of the highlanders. 

The Cara confederacy, however, was short lived. The 
great Inca conqueror Tupac Yupanqui (p. 39) invaded 
and quickly conquered the Palta territory about A.D. 
1450. Negotiations between the Inca and the Scyri, an 
individual of the name of Hualcopo, broke down, where- 
upon the latter, abandoning the Canari territory, retreated 
northwards to the Puruha country. There he was more 
certain of support from the inhabitants, and at the same 
time he could count on shorter lines of communication 
and a superior system of defence works. 

After an interval of two years spent in consolidating 
the newly conquered territory, Tupac Yupanqui again 
advanced against the Caras, and succeeded in occupying 
the Puruha territory. Shortly afterwards he returned 
to Cuzco to report to his father and receive a triumphal 
welcome. His stay in Cuzco was cut short by news, 
brought by the famous couriers (p. 54), of a revolt by the 

At the fiercely fought battle of Tumipampa the 
Peruvians were triumphant, thanks to reinforcements 
thrown into the fray at the critical moment. The Cara 
and Canari resistance was at an end, and Quito soon fell 
into Tupac Yupanqui's hands. 

Next year Tupac Yupanqui returned to Tumipampa, 
where his heir, the future Inca, Huayna Ccapac, was born. 
Thence he directed his armies to the coast. After con- 
quering the Tumbez and Manta districts, he embarked 
his army on balsas for certain islands which Sarmiento 
believed, probably erroneously, to be the Galapagos (p. 39). 

At a later date the daughter of the last Scyri, who had 
been installed by the Peruvians as regent of Quito, was 
married to Huayna Ccapac, thus definitely uniting the 

98 Field Museum of Natural History 

two empires. Nevertheless, Huayna Ccapac himself 
was forced to campaign in Ecuador, for the Caras rose in 
revolt. After subduing the Caras, he reduced the Pastos 
to submission, but only after a serious defeat had been 
inflicted on his advance guard. 

In view of the short period of Inca domination, the 
quantities of Inca pottery and artifacts found in the 
Ecuadorian Highlands is immense. Such finds serve to 
confirm how thoroughly the Incas knitted together the 
conquered provinces by exchanges of population and 
goods. The greater part of these finds of Inca types 
presumably represent importation, but local copies exist, 
either made by colonists or by the natives in imitation of 
those imported. The fact that greater quantities of Inca 
artifacts are found in Ecuador than in northwestern 
Argentina or northern Chile points to the greater import- 
ance of the former region. Aside from the greater wealth 
of Ecuador, the Inca Huayna Ccapac was born in Ecuador 
and his wife was of Caran blood. Indeed Quito may be 
said to have stood in the same relationship to Cuzco as 
Constantinople did to Rome a millennium earlier. 

Generally speaking, the culture of the Highland 
peoples of Ecuador was homogeneous and did not differ 
essentially from that of the Peruvian Andes. 

Houses varied considerably in different areas. In the 
north both the Pastos and Caras built round houses, those 
of the former being of mud with thatched roofs. The 
houses of the Canaris were oblong with mud-plastered 
walls, while those of the Puruhas were built of stone and 
roofed with thatch. The Paltas lived in mud houses. 

All the tribes were agricultural, growing maize, beans, 
potatoes, quinoa, oca (Oxalis tuber osa), achira (Canna 
edulis), lucuma (Lucuma obovata), pacai (Inga feuillei), 
peanuts, pomegranate, cotton, coca, and, in the warmer 
valleys, tobacco, and chili pepper. Of these the most 
important were potatoes, quinoa, maize, and beans. 
Flocks of llamas and vicunas were also kept for their wool. 

Ecuador 99 

Among the Caras only chiefs and persons of importance 
were allowed to eat their flesh, which was largely reserved 
for sacrificial purposes. Guinea pigs were probably 
raised by all the Andine peoples. 

Among the Canaris the women are said to have done 
the agricultural work, the usual digging implement being 
a wooden spade with a notched handle. The Puruhas 
raised large quantities of agave, which they utilized in 
making a coarse cloth. The Pastos were said to have 
possessed the custom of eating their own body lice and, 
furthermore, to have supplied the Inca rulers with the same 
insect as tribute. 

Clothing varied a great deal from tribe to tribe. The 
garments worn by the Pastos were frequently made of 
bark-cloth or grasses. Usually the men wore in addition 
to a loin cloth, a long cloak which was wrapped round 
the waist and upper part of the body; one end was 
employed to envelop the head. The women wore a long 
sack-like garment, which reached from the breast to the 
knees. The Cara dress resembled the cloak of the Pastos, 
being wound twice round the body. The Latacungas, 
who had been profoundly influenced by the Inca conquest, 
dressed in a manner similar to that of the Quechuas. 
The Canaris wore a poncho-like shirt of cotton, llama wool, 
or agave, which reached practically to the knees. Cara 
nobles wore a head-dress with two rows of feathers, while 
that of the warrior group was adorned with a single row. 
Gold crowns have been found in archaeological excava- 
tions from Peru to Colombia, and even in Mexico. The 
basis is a wide band of gold worn round the crown of the 
head (Case 14). Those from Ecuador frequently show a 
head in repousse 1 on the front and several strips of gold 
which project upwards from the crown and presumably 
represent feathers. 

The Canaris wore their long hair tied in a knot. This 
was, in the case of chiefs, held by a wooden loop orna- 
mented with numerous colored plaits. The common 

100 Field Museum of Natural History 

people made these ornaments from calabashes. Head 
deformation was practiced among the Paltas. 

Little is known about birth ceremonies or childhood 
among the peoples of the Highlands, except that among the 
Puruhas boys were named when they were five or six years 
old. This was the occasion of a peculiar ceremony wide- 
spread from Colombia to Argentina. The child was taken 
round from house to house visiting relatives and friends of 
the parents. Each individual visited cut a lock of hair 
from the child's head, until, at the end of the round of 
visits, no hair was left on his head. The participants in 
the ceremony gave the child small presents. 

A man's name was considered to be a part of his entity, 
and in some parts it was not pronounced for fear of magic 
being worked against the owner through the name. Indeed, 
it was believed that were a woman to pronounce her 
husband's name, all the household utensils would break. 

Commoners among the Highland tribes were monog- 
amous, but chiefs usually possessed more than one wife. 
Among the Puruhas an interesting method of wooing 
obtained. At nightfall the young man approached the 
house of the parents of the girl whom he wished to marry, 
taking with him a supply of wood, thatch, and chicha 
drink. These were tokens that he was able to build a 
house and provide for a wife. Should the parents not be 
opposed to the marriage, they sent the girl out of doors 
to the young man. It was part of the ritual that the 
girl should leave the house weeping and reproaching her 
parents for thrusting her out of their home. Were the 
suitor considered unworthy of the girl, he was driven 
away from the house with blows. Among the Caras, men 
were free to separate from their wives and remarry, and 
the same custom probably held good for all the Highland 

Burial customs varied markedly from tribe to tribe. 
The Cara dead were buried in small oven-like chambers 
situated in mounds. The body was laid on the ground 

Ecuador 101 

together with the personal possessions of the deceased, 
food, and chicha drink, the size of the mound erected 
over the chamber varying with the importance of the 
deceased. A month after the internment certain mourn- 
ing ceremonies were performed at the place of burial, and 
these were repeated a year after death. 

The important Cara chiefs, however, were buried in 
a pyramidal structure containing one room, the double 
entrance of which faced east. This was only opened to 
admit another body. The corpses, which were said to 
have been embalmed with resin, were seated in a circle. 
Above each one was a niche in the wall containing a little 
statue of stone, metal, or pottery, which represented the 
deceased. In these statues were placed small stones of 
various sizes and colors, which indicated the age of the 
deceased and the number of years he had occupied the 
position of paramount chief. 

In certain parts of Ecuador the deceased, accompanied 
by his widow and relatives, was carried to his final resting 
place in a litter. The procession advanced slowly, the 
mourners chanting lamentations and keeping time with 
a peculiar dance, in which a few paces were taken in a 
forward direction and then some backwards. 

The rank and file were usually buried in a sitting 
posture. One end of a long bamboo-like stalk was placed 
in the dead man's mouth, the other end protruding from 
the earth above the grave. Down this tube, chicha was 
poured into the dead man's mouth. In the Chapi district 
of the Cara territory wakes were held, in the course of 
which large quantities of chicha were drunk. Fires were 
lit along the route followed to the grave, while the mourn- 
ers returned from the burial by a different route. The 
house of the deceased was abandoned after the furniture 
had been removed through a breech made in the wall. 
The object of these practices was clearly to baffle the 
spirit of the dead man and prevent him from following 
and molesting the living. 

102 Field Museum of Natural History 

A somewhat similar custom obtained among the Puru- 
has, for the corpse was removed from the house, sub- 
sequently abandoned, by a breech in the wall, but the 
deceased was sometimes buried under the house. Canari 
chiefs below the highest rank were buried seated in a 
litter, and frequently a favorite wife was slain and buried 
with the deceased to minister to his wants in the next 
world. Women wore black paint as a sign of mourning, 
and toured the places most frequented by the deceased 
during his lifetime, calling to him and reciting his deeds. 
The mourning was brought to an end by ceremonially 
bathing in a certain river. The Cafiaris believed that the 
dead abode on the shores of a certain lake. 

Over a great part of the Highlands of Ecuador burials 
are found in chambers at the bottom of circular shafts, 
from six to fifteen feet deep. Sometimes a number of 
small chambers lead off the same shaft (Fig. 15, a). It has 
been conjectured that the skeleton, in a squatting position 
or on its back, placed in the chamber at the bottom of the 
shaft, is that of the chief, while the occupants of the other 
chambers, sometimes placed at different heights, are the 
wives or attendants of the chief. 

Burials in large pottery urns are found in the Angel 
district on the borders of the Pastos, as well as in parts of 
the Cara region and on the coast. Occasionally, too, 
skeletons are found in coffins made of stone slabs, a custom 
also found in the Cauca Valley of Colombia and sporadi- 
cally as far north as British Honduras. 

Little is known about the beliefs of the Ecuadorian 
peoples with regard to the creation. Some Cafiaris 
believed that they were descended from a giant serpent 
which dwelt in a lake, while others considered their an- 
cestor to be a certain mountain. 

A curious legend was current in Canari territory, 
according to which there was a flood from which only 
two young men escaped by taking refuge on the summit 
of a mountain. Here they built themselves a small hut. 

Fig. 15. Burial customs, a, Multiple burial shaft found near El Angel, Ecuador 
(after Verneau and Rivet); b, Diaguite burial vault, northwest Argentina (after Am- 
brosetti); c, Diaguite burial urn of the type used for holding the remains of children 
(Case 39). 


104 Field Museum of Natural History 

Each day they would sally forth in search of food. One 
day on their return they were surprised to find their hut 
stocked with an abundance of food and chicha. The same 
occurred for several days. Finally the young men, curious 
to find out who was bringing these supplies, made a hole 
in a darkened corner of the hut, in which one of them hid 
himself. Shortly afterwards two macaws entering the hut 
transformed themselves into young women. The young 
man came out of his hiding place, but the girls, transform- 
ing themselves back into macaws, flew away. Three days 
later the macaws returned and, on changing themselves 
into girls, were seized by the young men, who married 
them. From these four, the legend relates, are descended 
the Caiiaris. 

The worship of the sun and the moon was of paramount 
importance in Ecuador at the time of the arrival of the 
Spaniards, but it is not known to what extent the supreme 
position of solar worship was due to Inca influence. It is 
more than probable that a strong sun cult existed in the 
Highlands of Ecuador prior to the arrival of the Peruvians, 
since sun worship was of great importance in the Andine 
regions of Colombia, whither Peruvian influences never 

At Quito there existed an elaborate temple dedicated 
to the worship of the sun. This was a square structure 
built of well-cut stone with a door facing the east. Inside 
there was an image of the sun wrought in gold, to which 
offerings of resins, fruits, and llamas were made. Outside 
there were two columns for the observation of the equi- 
noxes, or, possibly, to indicate when the sun was at the 
zenith. In addition there were twelve other columns, the 
shadows of which are said to have marked the passage of 
the lunar months. 

Second only in importance to the temple of the sun was 
that of the moon. This was a round structure with round 
windows. Inside was a silver image of the moon placed 
on a blue cloth, bespangled with silver stars, representing 

Ecuador 105 

the sky. A feast was held in honor of the moon on the 
first day of each lunar month. This worship resembles 
that of the Incas very closely, as already noted. 

The Cafiaris, like other Andine peoples, also wor- 
shipped the sky, trees, rocks, and rivers, the last particu- 
larly at the junctions of streams. Among the Puruhas 
the rainbow was considered of great ill-omen. Actually 
the Puruhas considered themselves to be the descendants 
of children resulting from the union of two mountains 
near Riobamba. To these mountains were sacrificed 
virgin daughters of chiefs as well as llamas. 

Thunderbolts were thought to be sent as punishments 
for sin, and should one fall on a house the inmates were 
forced to atone for their sins by a long fast, during which 
they were forbidden to eat salt or chili pepper. 

The Canaris, like many Andine peoples, sacrificed 
children to obtain good crops. Each year before the 
harvest one hundred children were sacrificed at the 
entrance to a cave on the summit of Curitaqui Mountain. 
Verneau and Rivet report that the modern Indians believe 
that this cave is the dwelling place of an individual called 
Mamahuaca, who carries a golden ear of corn in her hand, 
and, in return for the sacrifice of a first-born child, will 
give abundant harvests. The custom of sacrificing 
children to obtain good crops obtained from Argentina to 

Throughout this region the potato crop was of very 
great importance. In order that the crop might not be 
lost, the Puruha men never entered the fields in which the 
potatoes were flowering without first beating their feet 
with nettles. Another ceremony was held when the ears 
of maize were beginning to form. A man, dressed as a 
warrior and armed with spear, traveled from one hilltop 
to another with gestures of defiance to an imaginary 
enemy. On his return he informed his neighbors that 
danger no longer threatened. Thereupon a drinking 
orgy was held, in which every kind of excess prevailed. 

106 Field Museum of Natural History 

On the whole the Highland peoples seem to have been 
of a warlike disposition, particularly the Caras. These 
built imposing fortresses to defend the valleys leading 
into their territory. These fortifications resembled some- 
what pyramidal structures for they were square in shape 
and consisted of two tiers. In the center was a building 
in which the arms and supplies of the garrison were 
kept. The Caras used spears and spear-throwers, slings, 
heavy wooden swords, and, in all probability, stone-headed 
clubs. The weapons of the other Highland tribes must 
have been of the same nature. The Canaris possessed 
large war drums made out of a single log with handles at 
both ends for suspension. These drums or gongs were as 
much as seven feet long, and must have resembled the 
gongs of hollowed tree trunks still used in parts of the 
Amazon Valley. 

In art the natives of the Ecuadorian Highlands were 
far behind their Peruvian neighbors. Stone sculpture is 
rather rare throughout this region, and where it occurs 
is executed in a crude style. Many of the copper and 
bronze implements are of the same shapes as those used 
by the Peruvians, but there are a certain number of local 
styles. Frequently Ecuadorian breastplates are decorated 
with embossed heads, and generally speaking there is 
more decoration of metal objects. 

The pottery of the Highlands of Ecuador is far below 
the better work of the Highlands of Peru, polychrome 
pottery, with the exception of the dull colors of negative 
painted vessels, being rare. The Ecuadorian archaeolo- 
gist, Doctor Jijon y Caamano, has evolved a chronological 
scheme for the pottery of the Province of Chimborazo, 
which at the time of the Spanish conquest was occupied 
by the Puruhas. This sequence is based partly on stratig- 
raphy, partly on stylistic evidence. The earliest period 
is distinguished by tripod bowls and cups with expanding 
feet, the decoration of which is confined to simple incised 
patterns. The tall jars decorated in negative painting 

Ecuador 107 

and the plain bowls with three long legs (Case 18) appear 
to be contemporaneous with his Elen-Pata period, which, 
in turn, would seem to antedate the Inca conquest by a 
very short period. The style is reminiscent of the cursive 
pottery of Middle Chimu (p. 26), and in the use of the 
double reversed spiral is linked with Late pottery from 
all over Peru. A frequent feature of the true Elen-Pata 
period, which seems to have coincided with the rise of the 
Puruhas, is the presence of small heads on the edges of 
bowls. These are in relief, facing inwards towards the 
bowl, which appears to represent the body of a man 
resting on his back. This motif is very common in 
Diaguite pottery (p. 79). It is also found in Colombia, 
where the heads are generally more conventionalized, and 
occurs sporadically in Central America, eastern South 
America, as in the Marajo region, and in the West Indies. 
It is a trait which has obviously been diffused from a 
common center, probably in the Andes. A very natural- 
istic example is given in Figure 16. 

The Tuncahuan period, which is earlier in date than 
Elen-Pata, is linked more to Colombia, showing, like the 
earliest periods, no Peruvian influences. The most 
common product is a bowl on a high stand, a shape that 
extends into Central America. Some writers have found 
Maya and other Central American influences in the 
Ecuadorian Highlands, but it would seem more probable 
that the current in early times had been mainly in the 
opposite direction, Central American ceramics having been 
influenced from South America (p. 16). 

Accounts of the history and customs of the peoples of 
the coast are much less detailed than those of the peoples 
of the Highlands. Such knowledge as we possess of the 
coastal peoples can be found in the works of Saville, on 
which this short account is very largely based. 

That part of the coast which stretches from a little 
south of the equator as far as Guayaquil was inhabited 
by a large number of different tribes speaking different 

108 Field Museum of Natural History 

languages, but possessing a common culture which was 
essentially the same throughout the territory, although 
with many important local differences. The culture can 
be termed that of Manabi, since it occupies all of that 
province except the section north of the equator, but it 
also includes the section of the Province of Guyas from 
Guayaquil northwards. 

The north of Manabi and the coastal sections of 
Esmeraldas are little known archaeologically. Here 
existed both high and low cultures, the former comparable 
to that of Manabi, the latter represented by non-agricul- 
tural peoples, and others possessing agriculture, but on a 
low cultural plane similar to that of the modern Cayapas 
of northern Ecuador. 

In the Manabi area the natives, for the most part, 
lived in houses made of wood and thatched with straw. 
On the summits of the hills between Puerto Viejo and 
Manta in the center of the Manabi area are found the 
remains of many buildings. The rooms can be traced by 
the remains of the low walls, which are often made of 
double lines of stone slabs, the space between being 
filled with rougher stones and earth. Presumably wooden 
poles were set in these low walls to support straw roofs, 
or possibly the walls may have been of adobe, since 
Saville reports one room with walls of earth. One build- 
ing which he measured close to Manta was 190 feet long, 
some thirty-eight feet wide, and had side walls four and 
a half feet thick. Some of these buildings have as many 
as seven rooms. House refuse, such as broken corn- 
grinders, potsherds, spindle whorls and hammer stones, 
suggest that these buildings were mainly used as dwellings, 
although many of them contained sculptured stone seats 
(p. 112), slabs, and figures in the round. The sides of hills 
are in some places terraced to support these buildings. 

On the other hand the natives of Passua, who lived 
close to the equator, are reported to have lived in hollow 

Ecuador 109 

trees. They were on a very low cultural level, not prac- 
ticing agriculture but living by fishing and hunting. 

The plants cultivated by the coastal peoples differed 
little from those of the coast of northern Peru or those of 
Colombia. Maize, beans, and manioc were the three 
principal crops. Cotton, henequen, peanuts, sweet pota- 
toes, and chili pepper were also of considerable importance, 
and the fruit trees included the guanabano, aguacate, 
guayaba, pomegranate, and zapote. It is possible that the 
curassow was domesticated, and the guinea pig was almost 
certainly bred in captivity. 

A type of balsa (p. 54) and dugout canoes were used 
for fishing. This balsa, known as jangada, was a raft 
made of an odd number of poles of balsa wood arranged 
with the longest in the middle and the others shorter, so 
that, placed with the stern ends in line, they formed at 
the bow a kind of spear with the point formed by the 
longest in the center. These poles were bound together 
with henequen ropes. Sails were attached to a mast on a 
wooden platform amidships, and paddles were also em- 
ployed. The largest were said to have been capable of 
carrying fifty men. A peculiar feature of these craft 
was that steering was done by means of a centerboard, 
no rudder being employed. 

In the Manabi region men and women wore mantles 
and poncho-like shirts made of cotton, although llama 
wool, imported from the Highlands, was also sometimes 
employed. In some parts only a loin cloth was worn, 
while the natives of Passua, to whom reference has already 
been made, wore only loin cloths of bark-cloth. 

Ornaments of various types were worn by the peoples 
of Manabi culture. These included armlets and leg-bands 
of gold, silver, or shell, ear-plugs, and nose-plugs. The 
cotton garments were presumably woven on looms similar 
to those used in Peru (p. 60). The natives of the island 
of Puna made needles from the thorns of a certain kind 
of thistle that grew on their island. The Caraquis, who 

110 Field Museum of Natural History 

presumably lived near the modern city of Caraquez, and 
other peoples of this region deformed their heads, and 
further accentuated the resulting broadness of the head by 
leaving the hair at the sides of the head long and standing 
out, while the crown of the head was shaved. 

The natives of the Manabi area, except those in the 
extreme south, had a painted or possibly tattooed mark on 
their faces, extending from the base of the ear to the chin. 

The natives of the island of Puna, who were great 
fighters, made use of slings, spears propelled by spear- 
throwers, and bronze star-clubs and axes. The bronze 
clubs were very probably introduced from Peru. All 
along the coastal foothills of the Manabi area obsidian 
arrowheads and knives are found in large quantities, the 
native term for obsidian being the poetical "silver of 
the dead." Stone weapons of war are rarely found in the 
coastal regions, suggesting that the principal weapons were 
slings and spears pointed with hard wood or bone. 

Of the social life of the Indians of the coastal region 
very little is known. It is reported that children were 
named after the day on which they were born. This 
information, besides indicating the existence of a well- 
developed calender, also supplies a remarkable parallel 
to the custom in Mexico and Central America. Around 
Puerto Viejo relations and friends preceded the groom in 
access to the bride. 

Chiefs were buried in burial shafts of considerable 
depth, resembling wells. The interment was accompanied 
by singing, dancing, and the drinking of chicha. Food 
and the arms and ornaments of the deceased were placed 
in the shaft, and canes filled with chicha were placed on 
top. Sometimes one of the wives of the deceased was 
buried alive in the tomb to accompany her master to the 
next world. The same custom of burying a wife in her 
husband's tomb obtained on the island of Puna, and here 
the female mourners shaved the hair from their heads. 

Ecuador 111 

In some parts of the coast an attempt was made to 
embalm the corpses of chiefs with the aid of a resin dis- 
tilled from the bark of a certain tree, which also supplied 
an incense used in religious ceremonies. 

The burial practices of the coastal peoples clearly show 
that they believed in an existence after death, but apart 
from this very little is known about their religious beliefs. 
The most important temple was situated in Manta, about 
in the center of the Manabi coast. We are told that the 
doorway faced the east and was covered with a cotton 
curtain. Inside were two images like black goats. There 
were also figures of serpents and large fish, the latter per- 
taining to the special cult of the fishermen. The Indians 
of Manta worshipped a great emerald, which was known as 
Umina. Hither came Indians from all parts to make 
offerings, particularly of small emeralds, to the great 
emerald. It was believed that the great emerald had 
powers of healing. 

Children, women, and prisoners of war were sacrificed 
in different parts of the coast, and their bodies, filled with 
ashes, were suspended in the temples or such places as 
served for feasts or dances. One early writer speaks of 
small shrunken heads in the temples, suggesting that the 
head-shrinking custom, made famous by the Jivaros of 
eastern Ecuador, was also in vogue on the coast. On the 
island of Puna prisoners were also sacrificed, and their 
bodies opened up. 

Many sculptured stone slabs, which undoubtedly pos- 
sess a religious significance, have been found by Saville. 
The level of art is very much higher than anything found 
in the Highlands. Female figures and a monster with a 
lizard-like body and tentacles like those of the octopus 
form the subject matter in almost all cases. The latter 
type is somewhat reminiscent of one aspect of the monster 
in Transitional Early Nazca (p. 22). Human figures in 
the round, however, are of a somewhat crude nature. 

112 Field Museum of Natural History 

Perhaps the most interesting feature of coastal art is 
the stone seats, of which two examples may be seen in the 
center of Hall 9. The rounded seat without back usually 
stands on the crouching body of a large puma or a human 
body. The eastern stone seat in Hall 9 is unique in that 
the chair is supported by a perfectly plain pedestal. These 
seats are found in a quite small area, and their purpose is 
unknown. Many of them have been retrieved from house 
sites, suggesting that their use was not necessarily religious. 

The pottery of the Manabi area is, like that of the 
Highlands, of little artistic value. The negative paint- 
ing technique does not appear to have been employed. 
The pottery spindle whorls, on the other hand, show 
marked skill on the part of their makers. One type with 
bird designs recalls Peruvian coastal motifs, while an- 
other group seems to have affinities rather with Colombia. 
Pottery figurines are commonly found as well as pottery 
figurine whistles (Case 18). 

Nearly twenty miles off the coast of Manabi lies the 
island of La Plata, where in former days existed a shrine 
to which pilgrimages were made from many parts of the 
coast. Part of the material collected by a Field Museum 
expedition on this island nearly forty years ago may be 
seen in Case 17. Of striking interest are the well-made 
pottery figurines, most of which were recovered in a frag- 
mentary condition from refuse heaps on the island. 
These figurines show many details of dress such as ear- 
plugs, lunar nose ornaments, close-fitting caps, and iguano 
head-dresses; they also show that artificial head defor- 
mation was practiced. According to Saville the pottery 
figurines appear to resemble those found in the northern 
coastal area of Ecuador rather than those of the area 
opposite the island. They were probably left by pilgrims 
visiting the holy island. 

A peculiar feature of the island is the occurrence of 
many rectangular and disk-shaped engraved stones. These 
are made of a volcanic tuff and in many cases are engraved 

Ecuador 113 

on one face with designs which usually consist of a Saint 
Andrew's cross and a series of small circles, either inside 
or outside of the lines of the cross. In addition, oblong 
stones are found decorated with circles. These are per- 
forated longitudinally as though to be worn as beads. 
The purpose which these engraved stones served is not 
known, although it has been conjectured that they might 
have served as counters in some game. 

A grave was also found on the island, which contained 
some gold and silver figures (Case 17). The pottery that 
accompanied this burial clearly indicated that it dated 
from the Inca period, some of the vessels actually being 
of Inca manufacture, while others were local copies of 
Inca shapes. With this burial was found a huge stone ax, 
which could have served no utilitarian purpose (Case 17). 

The cultures of Ecuador are of intense interest to 
the archaeologist, for they show a mingling of influences 
that unite them on the one hand to Colombia, on the other 
hand to Peru. Probably the Colombian connections for 
the most part antedate Peruvian influences, both of the 
Early Andine and the Late Inca periods. Nevertheless 
the greater part of Ecuador is still, archaeologically 
speaking, an unknown land. 


Less is known about the archaeology of Colombia than 
that of any center of high aboriginal culture in the New 
World. Very little scientific archaeology has been at- 
tempted in this part of South America despite the mass of 
material that is known to be awaiting the excavator's 
spade. For enormous areas of Colombia there exist 
neither the accounts of eyewitnesses nor archaeological 

At the present time six main centers of culture are 
recognized. The best known of these is that of the Tairona, 
occupying the Santa Marta District of the Department of 
Magdalena. The discovery of this culture was made by 
J. Alden Mason in 1922 at the head of the Marshall Field 
Archaeological Expedition of Field Museum to Colombia. 

The remaining cultural centers are found in the moun- 
tainous regions bordering the Cauca and Magdalena 
valleys. In what is now the Department of Antioquia 
flourished the Tamahis, who had attained a fairly high 
level of culture. South of them were the Quimbayas, who 
occupied the region around Cartago in the Department of 
Valle and adjacent areas of the departments of Caldas 
and western Tolima. This area bounds the Cauca Valley. 
Around the head-waters of the Cauca River were settled 
the Coconuco, about whom very little is known. 

The uplands bordering the parallel valley of the Mag- 
dalena River were the center of the remaining two cultures. 
The Chibchas, of whom more is known from historical 
sources than of any other people of ancient Colombia, 
occupied the plateau country of the eastern branch of the 
Cordillera, with their principal center close to the modern 
city of Bogota. Their territory formed an ellipse, the 
northernmost extension of which reached to the center of 
the Department of Santander. Except for the Magdalena 
Valley and the central Cordillera, the Chibcha linguistic 
group stretched northwestwards as far as where the 


Colombia 115 

Panama Canal now links the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. 
Actually this northwest linguistic extension of the Chib- 
chas was not politically associated with the eastern group. 

Finally, near the headwaters of the Magdalena River 
are found the remarkable ruins of San Agustin with their 
peculiar stone carvings unlike anything else so far reported 
from Colombia. It is possible that the ancient inhabitants 
of San Agustin were immigrants from the Highlands of 
Ecuador. There are some grounds for believing that a 
broad strip of territory, stretching from Ecuador up the 
Magdalena Valley and dividing the Chibchas from the 
Quimbayas, was occupied by the same linguistic group. 
The territory of the Coconucos falls within this linguistic 
area. San Agustin lies just outside its known limits, but 
it is quite possible that the original builders of the ruins 
were of this same linguistic stock, to which the name Bar- 
bacoa has been given. Both the Quimbayas and Taironas 
were of separate linguistic stocks. The affiliations of the 
Tamahi tongue are unknown. 

It would appear that the Chibcha linguistic stock once 
occupied the whole territory between Bogota and Panama. 
There are indications that the Barbacoan tribes of the 
Magdalena Valley drove out the Chibchas, for the Chib- 
chas considered two hills in Barbacoan territory especially 
sacred, and made secret pilgrimages there, avoiding the 
hostile inhabitants. This strongly suggests that Chibcha 
territory once included these hills, and that subsequently 
the land had been captured from them by tribes of the 
Barbacoan linguistic stock. 

The Chibcha territory, largely confined to the plateau 
country of an average height of 7,000 feet above sea level, 
was divided into five provinces, of which the two southern- 
most were of greatest importance. These were Tunja in 
the center of Chibcha territory, ruled by an individual 
bearing the title of Zaqui ; and Bogota (corrupted from 
Bacata) in the south under the suzerainty of a ruler called 
the Zipa. Bogota, rising from an insignificant tributary 

116 Field Museum of Natural History 

province, appears to have been well on the way to con- 
solidating all Chibcha territory under its rulership, but 
Tunja was the obstacle in the path to the Bogotan hege- 
mony of the Chibcha people. Nevertheless, this process 
was far from completed. The rulers of the five provinces 
appear from the early Spanish accounts to have been abso- 
lute monarchs, in this respect resembling more the Incas 
of Peru than the Aztec chief rulers. They were said to 
have had all civil and military matters in their hands, but 
one doubts if their power was so unrestricted. 

Anyone approaching the Zipa was forced to lower his 
head and were the individual of low rank, he was obliged 
to turn his back on his ruler. It is even related that when 
the Zipa wished to expectorate, a person of rank knelt 
before him, and, with averted face, held out a cloth, for 
the ruler's saliva must not touch the ground. It was con- 
sidered an honor to be selected to hold the cloth. This 
custom may have had its origin in the common belief that 
sorcery could be practiced on a person by anyone possess- 
ing a sample of his hair, nail-parings, or saliva. Thus this 
ceremony may have been performed to show the Zipa's 
confidence in the loyalty and integrity of the individual 

No messenger or chief might appear before the Zipa 
without a gift, the costliness of which varied with the 
importance of the business to be transacted. When he 
traveled abroad, the Zipa was carried in a wooden litter 
ornamented with gold plates, and Indians went in front 
of him removing stones and lumps of earth and placing 
cloths and flowers on the path. The right to use a litter 
was confined to a few individuals designated by the Zipa. 

Chibchan chieftains lived in houses which were merely 
elaborations of the simple straw-roofed huts with pole 
walls, of the common people. The palaces of chieftains 
were placed in compounds formed of bamboo fences some 
ten or twelve feet in height. At each corner of the com- 
pound and at various intervals along the walls were set 

Colombia 117 

high posts used in human sacrifice (p. 132). The floors of 
the rooms were covered with feather-grass. The ability 
to plaster and cover walls with a lime wash or stucco would 
not appear to have been achieved by the Chibchas. One 
of the Zipa's residences had a verandah some fifteen feet 
wide running along the inner walls of the compound. This 
was shaded by a thick and coarse waterproof cloth. The 
walls of the rooms were decorated with reeds held in place 
with vari-colored threads, while other huts served as store- 
houses for arms and agricultural produce. 

A chief of importance possessed many wives, but there 
was a chief wife whose power in domestic matters was para- 
mount. She had the privilege of fixing the period her 
husband must mourn following her death. During this 
period, which could not exceed five years, the chief was 
required to remain continent. It is related that when a 
chief's wife fell ill and appeared unlikely to recover, the 
chief did all he could by presents and arguments to per- 
suade her to cut short this period of mourning. One 
Spanish chronicler reports that the wives of a chief might 
whip him for some fault, but that the number of blows 
was limited to six, however serious the crime might 
have been. 

A chief was succeeded by his sister's eldest son, but, 
if the early accounts are to be trusted, the deceased's sons 
inherited his personal property, including his wives. The 
sole exception to this succession in the female line was 
the chief of Iraca, who was elected. Each Zipa, before 
the death of his uncle, was the ruler of the district of Chia, 
and on succeeding to the rulership of Bogota, his sister's 
son in turn became ruler of Chia. 

Prior to assuming the post of ruler, the candidate was 
forced to undergo a lengthy novitiate. He was shut up in 
a temple from which he was allowed to sally forth only at 
night. This confinement lasted from five to seven years 
according to the importance of the post he was to assume. 
He was continent during the whole of this period, abstain- 

118 Field Museum of Natural History 

ing from meat, salt, and chili pepper, and at fixed intervals 
he underwent severe scourgings. 

During this period of initiation the future ruler received 
instructions in his future work and morals from two 
dominies. At the conclusion of the initiation period, the 
candidate's ears and nose were pierced for the insertion 
of gold ornaments (Case 14), and an offering of gold 
figurines was made to the gods. The ceremonies concluded 
with a great banquet, the guests arriving with presents of 
cotton cloaks, gold ornaments, arms, and other objects. 

Actually all persons underwent confinement on reach- 
ing puberty, although those of the rank and file were only 
shut up fifteen days. Similar initiation ceremonies are 
widespread over South America. 

Festivities in connection with the inductions of vassal 
chiefs of Bogota lasted two weeks. On the last day a chief 
was decked in his most valuable gold, emerald, and other 
ornaments. He was dressed in the priest cloth and a staff 
was placed in his hands. The ceremony concluded with a 
general race to the nearest stream into which gold objects 
were thrown as an offering to certain deities. 

It was also necessary for the vassal chief to present 
himself with every manner of rich gift before the Zipa to 
receive confirmation in his office. In the event of a chief 
possessing no nephew, he was succeeded by a younger 

Certain warriors, known as guechas, formed a privi- 
leged class in Bogota. They were recruited from the 
strongest and bravest individuals in the land, dexterity in 
warfare being also a prime requirement. They were sent 
to the western frontier to defend the country from the 
incursions of the Panches, a Barbacoa-speaking tribe, who 
were a perpetual thorn in the side of the Zipa, since they 
were constantly invading his territory in search of prisoners 
to eat. 

Frequently a guecha was picked as chief of a district 
where the previous ruling family had become extinct. 

Colombia 119 

The guechas possessed the privilege of wearing their hair 
short and wearing short golden rods in their lips and ears, 
the number of these being governed by the number of the 
enemies slain in battle by the wearer. 

The common people were agriculturalists, raising 
large crops on the fertile Chibcha plateau land. Maize, 
sweet potatoes, sweet manioc, peppers, cotton, beans, 
squashes, and tomatoes were among the plants cultivated 
on a large scale. A peculiar root, Tropaeolum tuberosum, 
a plant related to the nasturtium, served as the basis for 
a kind of bread, the taste of which was said to resemble 
that of turnip. Quinoa, a small-seeded plant much culti- 
vated by the ancient Peruvians, was grown on a large 
scale, but has now fallen into disuse. 

Tobacco was grown for smoking, and coca for the leaves 
which were roasted and chewed with lime, as in the Peru- 
vian Andes. Many fruits were cultivated, such as the 
alligator pear, pineapple, cactus, guava, various anonas, 
and the pacai (p. 98). 

Such a wide range of plants was possible since the 
climate varied from the coldness of the plateau country 
to the tropical heat of the lower slopes of the Cordillera. 
There were no elaborate agricultural implements, a wooden 
digging-stick serving most purposes. Among the Indians 
of the Santa Marta coast it was the custom for men to help 
each other in agricultural work, the man whose land was 
being worked supplying liberal quantities of chicha and 
giving a dance in the evening on the conclusion of the work. 
In this same area a fermented drink was made from 
masticated yucca as is the custom to this day in many 
parts of the Amazon Valley. 

In the Santa Marta region the Taironas kept small 
dogs of a breed that did not bark, similar to those found 
by the Spaniards in the West Indies and Central America. 
In other areas dogs were bred for eating purposes. On 
the borders of the Chibcha country there existed several 
tribes, the members of which raised ants for eating. The 

120 Field Museum of Natural History 

ants, which were of three or four kinds, both large and 
small, were raised, and probably bred, in specially con- 
structed enclosures. They were ground on special stones 
and, mixed with maize or fruit, were made into dough 
and cakes. This dish was the main sustenance of this 

In the Santa Marta region, bee-keeping was an impor- 
tant industry, perhaps having been introduced from Central 
America, where apiculture was widespread. One of the 
Spanish soldiers reported more than 80,000 hives in one 
valley, although this number is undoubtedly an exag- 
geration. The man stated that each house had ten or 
more hives in it. The bees were of a very small breed, 
but the honey was extremely sweet. 

Apart from dogs and insects, it is very probable 
that the guinea pig was bred in Colombia as in Peru. 
At least it was extremely abundant. Oviedo speaks of the 
Indians bringing as many as a thousand to the Spaniards 
in one day. Such quantities strongly suggest that the 
domesticated cavy had reached Colombia from Ecuador 
or Peru. Rabbits, too, were extremely abundant. 

The Chibchas prepared large quantities of salt, part of 
which was bartered to neighboring tribes. Salt water 
was evaporated in large pottery urns until the vase was 
filled with salt. These vessels were then broken to remove 
the contents, which, after evaporation, had solidified into 
rock-like cakes. 

An industry of considerable importance was the mining 
of emeralds. The finest emeralds were found in the terri- 
tory of the Muzos, a tribe which was hostile to the Chib- 
chas. However, there were emerald fields in the territory 
of Somindoco, a minor Chibcha district, whence the Chib- 
chas obtained their supplies. The natives of Somindoco 
permitted no one but themselves to dig them out. Indeed, 
it was believed that were a stranger to occupy himself 
in this work, he would die within a moon. The workers 
took certain herbs which, apparently, caused a vision, 

Colombia 121 

since by taking them it was possible to divine where good 
"pay lode" might be found. 

When a marl emerald-bearing vein was struck, it was 
excavated by means of sharp-pointed sticks of a hard 
wood. Deep ditches were dug so that the water washed 
away the marl, and for this reason mining operations 
were confined to the rainy season. The emeralds were 
exchanged for cotton mantles, gold, and other products. 
The gold used by the Chibchas was obtained from neigh- 
boring tribes by barter. 

The birth of a child among the Chibchas was attended 
with little ceremony, the mother usually retiring to some 
spot near a stream, where she washed the child imme- 
diately after its birth. The birth of twins was considered 
a sign that the mother had committed adultery, and the 
second born was put to death. The Muzos, to the west 
of the Chibchas, placed their children in rush cradles 
which were stood upside down against a wall, as it was 
believed that this treatment would give them strong, round 
heads. Actually, head-deformation was practiced in other 
parts of Colombia. In the Colima district the heads of 
newly born children were placed between two boards, one 
over the forehead, the other at the back of the head; 
pressure caused the necessary flattening. The Panches 
and Quimbayas are also reported by early writers to have 
deformed the heads of their children. The Chibchas also, 
to judge from their figurines, must have practiced head- 
deformations, although there appears to be no literary 
record of this. 

At the weaning of a child, a peculiar rite was practiced 
to ascertain if the child would have a happy or unhappy 
life. A little cotton, steeped in the mother's milk, was 
rolled up in rushes, and thrown into the river. Immedi- 
ately six good swimmers swam after it as fast as they 
could. Should they not succeed in reaching the bundle 
before it keeled over, it was believed that the child would 
be unlucky and would have an unhappy life. Were the 

122 Field Museum of Natural History 

contrary to happen, everyone was very pleased, since this 
augured happiness for the infant. In the latter case, a 
feast was held at the house of the parents. Each guest 
approached the child, who was seated on a cloak, and 
with stone or bamboo knife cut off a lock of its hair. 
When all the hair had been removed from its head, 
the whole party adjourned to the river, where the hair 
was cast into the water and the child washed (p. 100). 

Girls, on reaching puberty, were made to sit six days 
in a corner enveloped in a cloth which covered their heads. 
At the conclusion of the six days they were taken between 
two files of men to the river, where they were washed. 
The ceremony concluded with the drinking of large quan- 
tities of chicha (fermented maize). Boys were similarly 
enclosed at puberty as described above. 

Among the Indians of the Santa Marta coast a newly 
born child was named from the first bird or animal heard 
after its birth. 

Among the Guan branch of the Chibchas the future of 
children was forecast in a peculiar manner. Apparently 
they believed in the old adage, In vino Veritas, for they 
purposely made the children drunk at a ceremony held 
when they were eleven or twelve years old. Bows and 
arrows and agricultural implements were placed close at 
hand. Should the boy, while under the influence of 
liquor, pick these up, it was believed that he would become 
a good hunter and a good farmer. Similarly, stones for 
grinding maize and spindles were placed in the room 
where a girl was being put to the proof; should she 
grasp these, her future as a good housewife was assured. 

In the same way slaves were tested by being made to 
drink. Should one make for the door while under the 
influence of alcohol, it was considered that he would be 
a poor slave, since he would always be trying to escape. 
In this same area children were punished by rubbing 
pepper in their eyes, while in the Velez district the punish- 

Colombia 123 

ment was a little less severe, since the eyes were washed 
with water in which chili had been steeped. 

From an early age children were made to help in farm 
work, working in the fields and carrying loads of produce. 

Marriage presumably took place at an early age. 
There is no definite information on the effects of relation- 
ship on marriage. Among the subjects of the Zipa, a man 
was forbidden to marry a girl who was, to quote the vague 
phrase, as near as the second degree of consanguinity. 
There is no evidence of any system of cross-cousin mar- 
riage or exogamy among the more highly cultured peoples 
of Colombia, although the Panches practiced a form of 
exogamy, since the wife could not be of the same sib as 
the husband. Actually there is no evidence of a sib 
organization among the Chibchas or other cultured Colom- 
bian peoples. Prior to marriage the consent of the girl's 
parents or guardian (maternal uncle?) was sought, a 
present being offered them. If the present and the youth's 
capacity for work met with the approval of the parents of 
the girl, a feast was held to celebrate the union. The 
bride supplied twenty vases of chicha to be consumed 
during the festivities, but there appears to have been no 
actual ceremony. According to one seventeenth century 
writer (Piedrahita) the husband had the right of returning 
the bride to her parents within a few days should she prove 
unfit for her duties. 

In certain districts the suitor sent a cloak to the girl's 
parents or guardian. If it were not returned by them, 
the young man sent another cloak and a load of maize 
and in addition half a deer, if the recipient belonged to 
the class entitled to eat venison. At dawn next day the 
young man seated himself outside the door of the hut 
where the girl slept, making just sufficient noise to let 
the inmates know that he was there. Thereupon the 
girl's father called out to know who was outside, adding 
that he had no creditors to bother him, nor was he expect- 
ing visitors. The young man did not reply. After a while 

124 Field Museum of Natural History 

the girl came out of the hut with a large jar of chicha. 
After taking a drink, she handed it to him, and he, in turn, 
drank as much of it as he could. This constituted the 
marriage ceremony (cf. p. 100). In the area lying between 
Darien and Cartagena the young man presented the girl 
with a woven hammock of cotton, and she gave him two 
in return. 

Chiefs and other persons of importance had more than 
one wife, the number of concubines varying with the indi- 
vidual's ability to maintain them. Among the Auro- 
huacos of the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta the husband 
and wife occupied separate huts. The wife would place 
her husband's food on a stone halfway between the two 
huts, while the husband came to fetch it after she had 
returned. Intercourse did not take place at night, for it 
was believed that a child conceived in darkness would 
be born blind. Under no circumstances would the man 
go into the wife's hut or vice versa, and only while at 
their agricultural work in the fields did they cease to avoid 
each other. 

Among the Chibchas it was customary on the accession 
of a chief for certain priests to seek out a hidden spot in 
which to construct a grave to receive the body of the chief 
on his death. No one knew of the locality, not even the 
chief himself. The spot was chosen so that after the burial 
some stream could be diverted to flow over the grave, and 
so prevent its desecration by robbers. 

The intestines were removed from the body of a dead 
chief and the body treated with a resinous substance. 
The people mourned his passing, recounting his adventures, 
glories, and goodness. Red cloaks were donned and bodies 
painted red with annatto, and sometimes even the hair of 
the mourners was thus treated. Much chicha was drunk, 
the quantity varying with the importance of the deceased. 
At the end of a certain period, which again varied with the 
importance of the dead chief, the body, clad in rich clothing 
and adorned with jewelry, was secretly buried by the 

Colombia 125 

priests, who had made the grave. Close to the body were 
placed jars of chicha and food. The whole was covered 
with earth in which three or four of the favorite concubines 
of the dead chief were buried alive. Above, in another 
layer of earth, were buried certain of his slaves. Before 
being buried alive, the women and slaves were given large 
quantities of tobacco and leaves of the crazy plant mixed 
with chicha. This crazy plant (Datura sanguinea), known 
to the Indians as tyhyquy, had the effect of making the 
person who ate it drunk or temporarily mad. Cases were 
reported where Indian women, seized by the Spaniards, 
retaliated by placing leaves of the bush in the food of 
their captors. 

In the Bogota region the corpses of important chiefs 
were seated on golden stools. The body of a dead Zipa 
was placed in a hollow tree-trunk covered, inside and out, 
with gold plates. The whole was subsequently thrown 
into a large lake, probably Lake Guatabita. In another 
district of the Chibcha country, after the intestines had 
been removed, the corpses of persons of rank were desic- 
cated on a barbecue over a low fire. Subsequently, the 
stomach was filled with gold and emeralds, and the corpse, 
wound in rich cotton cloths, was seated on a kind of high 
bed situated in a corner of one of their shrines. Occasion- 
ally the bones of chiefs were placed in gold urns. 

Early in the seventeenth century a cave containing 
more than 150 mummified bodies was uncovered. The 
corpses were seated in a circle, in the center of which was 
a mummy, presumably that of some chief, with strings 
of beads around the neck and wrists and a turban-like 
head-dress. The bodies of commoners were usually 
interred. In the Tairona area, secondary burial in urns 
seems to have been the common practice. 

Among the Aurohuacos it was considered no disgrace 
to commit suicide. A sick person with little hope of 
recovery seated himself on a stone, and, placing a noose 
round his neck, tied the ends to his feet so that on stretch- 

126 Field Museum of Natural History 

ing out his legs the noose contracted and he strangled 
himself. Should the sick person lack the strength to 
strangle himself, he was buried alive. It was believed 
that persons who died in this way, and possibly all the 
dead, went to live with the sun, accompanying him on 
his journey across the sky. 

The Chibchas believed that the spirits of the dead 
journeyed to an underworld by roads of black and yellow 
earth, after first crossing a broad river in boats con- 
structed of spiders' webs. Lest these should become 
scarce, the Chibchas never killed spiders. This belief 
suggests that the souls of the departed were non-material. 
In the underworld the dead continued to live as they 
had lived in this world, the chiefs still reigning as chiefs, 
the agricultural workers continuing as farmers. 

Mourning continued for six days following burial. 
Large quantities of chicha were consumed and coca 
chewed while the good actions of the deceased were 
recited. Similar ceremonies were held at fixed intervals 
for several years. Among the Aurohuacos a widower 
was forced to abstain from chewing coca for twenty days 
following his wife's death. During this period he was not 
even allowed to touch the gourd in which the lime mixed 
with the coca leaves was kept. Among the Catios of 
Antioquia the oldest slave inherited the property of the 
deceased and married his widow, but among most peoples 
the deceased's sister's son inherited. 

The Chibchas believed in a creator known as Chimini- 
gagua, but paid little attention to him, no doubt believing, 
like many other primitive peoples, that the creator was 
too far removed from the everyday affairs of the world 
to interfere in their daily life. The Chibchas likewise 
shared with many other peoples of the New World such 
as the Aztecs, Mayas, and Peruvians a belief that the world 
was first in darkness. This darkness was dissipated 
when the creator sent over the earth some large black 
birds which breathed light through their beaks. Later 

Colombia 127 

the sun and the moon were created, the latter being the 
sun's wife. 

The inhabitants of Tunja believed that when the 
world was still in darkness there existed the chief of 
Iraca and his nephew, the chief of Ramiriqui. They 
made men of yellow clay and women of hollow-stemmed 
reeds; then, since the world was still dark, the Iraca chief 
ordered his nephew to ascend into the sky and convert 
himself into the sun. Later the Iraca chief himself 
became the moon. 

According to another legend the world was populated 
in a different manner. A woman called Bachue appeared 
out of a lake, bringing with her a three year old boy. 
Later, when the child had reached manhood, the world 
was populated by the descendants of this couple, Bachue 
bearing four or six children at a time. After many years, 
during which they instructed their children in good 
government, Bachue and her husband returned to the lake 
from which they had emerged, and, entering it, were con- 
verted into snakes. 

The sun was the center of an important cult, and to 
him people were sacrificed, since the human flesh was said 
to be his sustenance. This association of the sun with 
human flesh is strongly reminiscent of ancient Mexico. 
Pedro Simon, the chief authority on the ethnology of the 
Chibchas, states in one place that the sun was not wor- 
shipped in temples, but elsewhere he cites several towns 
where such structures existed. 

A deity of prime importance was the culture hero, 
Bochica, known also as Xue (my Lord) or Nemterequetaba. 
This individual was believed to have been sent by the 
creator god to Colombia. He was distinguished by a long 
beard and hair worn long to the waist. He traveled bare- 
footed, but wore a cloak, the ends of which were knotted 
over one shoulder. He wore crosses on his head and arms, 
and carried a staff in his hand. He wandered through 
the country, teaching the people how to spin and weave 

128 Field Museum of Natural History 

cotton. A celibate himself, he taught a high code of 
morality. He was believed to have been endowed with 
powers over the weather, causing, if he desired, rain or 
drought, heat or frost, and even sickness. 

The legend of Bochica is so similar to that of the Mexi- 
can Quetzalcoatl that there is little doubt that the two 
stories have a common origin. In view of the many 
cultural traits in Central America of South American 
origin, it is not impossible that the legend of the bearded 
culture hero originated in South America, passing thence 
to the Mayas and Mexicans. Bochica was probably the 
most important deity of the Chibchas, and the special 
patron of the warriors. Only gold was offered him in 

The rainbow, as among the Mayas, was the deity of 
childbirth, and those suffering from fevers invoked him. 
The rainbow's appearance was believed to bring death. 

The deity of drink, who was called Nencatacoa, was 
believed to join in carousals, singing and dancing with the 
participants. He was also the protector of the weavers 
and embroiderers of cloth. He was represented sometimes 
as a fox, sometimes as a bear-like animal. Again we see a 
resemblance with Mexico, since the Aztec god Macuil- 
Xochipilli was the god of amusement and dancing and 
also the patron of weavers, painters, and artists in general. 
It would be strange if an apparently fortuitous association 
of festivity with textile art should have developed inde- 
pendently in two advanced cultures. 

Other gods mentioned by the early writers include 
one who was keeper of the roads, of which there were 
many in various parts of Colombia. He was also reported 
to have acted as guardian of the boundaries of the fields. 
Perhaps because information largely reached the Spaniards 
from persons of rank, there is no information on agricul- 
tural deities other than that Bachue (p. 127) was 
protectress of vegetables. Bochica also appears to have 

Colombia 129 

been an agricultural god in view of his power over the rain 
and temperature. 

Each town had thatched huts which served as temples. 
The floors were covered with rushes, while round the walls 
were placed barbecues on which were seated idols of vari- 
ous sizes. These idols, which were made of wood, copper, 
gold, cotton, thread, and wax or pottery, were arranged 
in pairs — male and female — on the barbecues. Some- 
times they were dressed in cotton cloaks and adorned 
with hair. 

When the great temple of Iraca was erected, slaves 
were buried alive under the four corner posts. The 
walls were decorated with patterns worked in rushes. 
Roads, seven or eight paces wide and some sixty yards 
long, connected the houses of the leading chiefs with the 
temple. These roads, which were provided with gutters 
at each side, were carefully leveled. 

On entering a temple, the worshipper walked very 
quietly with downcast eyes and frequently stopped to 
bow. Offerings of food, cloth, gold, emeralds, and incense 
were given to the priests, who placed them on mats resting 
on the barbecues, or in hollow pottery idols, which were 
subsequently buried in the ground. 

Among the Aurohuacos, feasts ending in drunken 
carousals were held at different temples in turn at new 
moon, or immediately afterwards. The most important 
of these was held alternate years at the time of the January 
new moon. 

The Chibchas held important religious feasts early in 
March and June, possibly at new moon, although the 
chronicler does not state this. All the household rubbish 
was burnt and the resultant ashes, together with those 
accumulated in the hearth, were dumped in the open 
country clear of the village. At the same time the boys 
were made to wash themselves before dawn. Then they 
were beaten and sent forth with a netted carrying bag. 

130 Field Museum of Natural History 

A few days later each returned with a present for the man 
who had beaten him. Perhaps this individual was his 
maternal uncle. 

There was a regular priesthood among the Chibchas, 
the ranks being recruited from the sons of the sisters of 
the priests. Eligible youths were taken at about the time 
of puberty to a training college, where an old man 
taught them the rites and ceremonies, history, medical 
learning, and the computation of time. The youths were 
subjected to vigorous fasts, for most of the time they 
were not permitted to eat by day anything but a little 
maize without salt or pepper. This training lasted twelve 
years, at the end of which period the candidate's ears 
and nose-septum were pierced and gold ornaments inserted 
(Case 14, Hall 9, and Case 1 in Stanley Field Hall). , The 
initiate was then taken to the river where he washed him- 
self and donned new clothing. Thence he journeyed to 
the house of the chief, who presented him with a calabash 
in which to keep coca leaves (probably lime mixed with 
the coca leaves), and some finely worked cotton cloaks, 
and at the same time permission was given the young 
man to practice as a priest. Priests lived in houses close 
to the temples, leaving them only for religious functions 
and to practice as medicine-men. The community was 
responsible for feeding and clothing the priests, but an 
adequate supply of food did not present a serious problem, 
since all priests were required to eat sparingly when they 
were not actually fasting. They practiced penance by 
flagellation, and were forbidden to marry. A priest found 
guilty of breaking the rule of celibacy was deprived of his 
post. However, priests were allowed the full use of coca, 
which they chewed mixed with lime obtained from grind- 
ing small shells. Coca was even burnt before the idols as 
a kind of incense. 

In years of drought the priests fasted vigorously for 
several days before climbing a sacred hill. There they 
burnt an incense called moque and rags covered with 

Colombia 131 

turpentine, and, taking the ashes, scattered them in 
the wind. This ceremony was believed to cause rain- 
bringing clouds to form. 

Men and women in trouble consulted the local priest, 
who, shutting himself up in his hut, chewed tobacco. On 
emerging from his vision, he announced the length of the 
fast imposed on the person. This fast was very severe. 
The individual was not allowed to eat meat, fish, pepper, 
or salt, nor to wash himself during its course. Continence 
was also enforced. At the end of the fast the individual 
returned to the priest with a present. The latter undressed 
twenty paces in front of the temple, and receiving the pres- 
ent, threw it into the water, placed it in a cave, or buried 
it. Next morning he announced the answer of the god, 
and received in exchange a present of two cotton cloaks 
and a little gold. There were no grades of priesthood, all 
being of the same rank, although some achieved more 
fame than others. 

Human sacrifice was practiced, but apparently not 
extensively, except in the case of children, who were 
regularly sacrificed to the sun. For this purpose some of 
them were reared from a very early age in a special college. 
This college was situated on the slopes of the Cordillera 
leading down to the San Juan plains, about eighty miles 
south of Bogota, and outside Chibcha territory. Mer- 
chants purchased these boys to re-sell to Chibcha chiefs 
at a high price, each chief possessing one, or, possibly, 
two or three. They served as singers in the temples and 
acted as interpreters of the sun. They were considered 
so holy that their feet were not allowed to touch the earth, 
nor was any one allowed to eat from their plates. 

On reaching puberty they were sacrificed ; their hearts 
and entrails were removed, and their heads cut off. This 
sacrifice was said to have been made in honor of the sun, 
but if one of these boys had had relations with a woman, 
he was not considered a worthy sacrificial offering, and 
was returned to civil life. 

132 " Field Museum of Natural History 

In times of war the Chibchas endeavored to capture 
children from the enemy. Some of these were immediately 
sacrificed, their throats being cut and their blood sprinkled 
on the ground and the corner posts of the temple. The 
bodies were carried to some hilltop as food for the sun. 
Others were sacrificed before going to war or when rain 
was needed, since drought was believed to have been 
caused by the sun. For the rain sacrifice one of the 
children was taken to the east side of a hilltop at daybreak. 
There he was laid out on a rich cloth and his throat was 
cut amid the shouts of the populace. The blood was 
rubbed on certain rocks which caught the first rays of the 
morning sun, doubtlessly with the idea that the sun would 
drink it. Frequently the body was left on the hilltop, 
the priests revisiting the spot after a few days. If the 
flesh had disappeared, it was believed that the sun had 
accepted and devoured the offering, and would grant the 
desire of the people. 

In the course of the Spanish conquest the Chibchas 
on one occasion threw children down to the Spaniards 
from a high rock. This was probably done because the 
Spaniards were at first considered to be children of the sun. 

The chiefs had their own manner of human sacrifice. 
They placed the victims in a sort of crow's nest on top 
of a tall corner post of the fence round the house. Then 
with spears and arrows they shot at him from the ground. 
The blood was collected and the body lowered to the 
ground. Then with dances a procession wended its way 
along a broad road to a near-by hilltop. There the priests 
smeared the blood on stones, which the early morning rays 
of the sun would reach, and buried the body. 

In addition to these sacrifices of human beings, offerings 
of food, gold, emeralds, and clothing were made to the gods. 
It is stated by one writer that parrots, which had been 
taught to talk, were sacrificed in large numbers. 

There existed in Chibchan territory a number of 
sacred groves, in the soil of which the people secretly 

Colombia 133 

buried offerings. No one would so much as cut a branch 
off a tree in one of these groves, and it is said that a person 
would die rather than steal offerings that had been buried 
within their confines. 

Medicine-men and divines existed in large numbers 
among the Colombians. Divinations were made as a 
result of visions obtained from chewing the narcotic 
Datura sanguinea. In the case of a robbery the medicine- 
man drew ten lines radiating from the scene of the robbery, 
each line corresponding to one finger of the medicine-man's 
hands. Then, taking a small quantity of Datura, the 
medicine-man carefully watched to see which of his ten 
fingers first trembled. The corresponding line indicated 
the whereabouts of the robber. In order to know if an 
undertaking would be successful two herbal infusions were 
drunk. The joints of the body were classified as lucky and 
unlucky, and the divination was based on which joints 
first twitched. Medicine-men carried with them small 
calabashes containing the powdered leaves of a certain 
herb called yop or yopa. In making a divination the 
medicine-man snuffed this powder up his nostrils. This 
resulted in a mucous secretion which was allowed to dribble 
down from the nose to the mouth. If it should be in a 
straight line the answer was favorable; but were the 
flow twisted, the divination was unfavorable. The Colimas 
divined by the calls of birds and by the twitching of eyelids. 

The Chibchas were not apparently a very warlike 
people, since they made no attempt to recapture the fertile 
valleys of the Magdalena of which they had been dis- 
possessed. Among themselves, however, they fought 
incessantly. The people of Tunja, and in all probability 
all the Chibchas, invoked the sun for a month before going 
to war, explaining and justifying their reasons for fighting. 
This was also a Panche custom. The Tunja Chibchas used 
spear-throwers and lances about six feet long, but the 
Panches, a warlike people, used bows and arrows, slings, 
and two-edged swords. These last possibly were made 

134 Field Museum of Natural History 

of wood with sharpened flints set in along both sides. 
They also carried hollow hide shields in which weapons 
were kept when not in use. The Bogotans are reported 
by Oviedo to have used poisoned darts, but this statement 
is probably inaccurate. On the other hand the Colimas 
were armed with bows and poisoned arrows. Father 
Simon credits the Bogotans with darts of palm-wood with 
the points hardened by fire, bows and poisonless arrows, 
slings, wooden swords, and short cane darts with very hard 
wooden foreshafts. These were probably propelled by 
means of spear-throwers. 

War was declared throughout this region by sending 
messengers to the enemy with a declaration to that effect. 
These messengers were entertained by the enemy until 
the conclusion of peace. Messengers were also sent by the 
enemy accepting the challenge, and before setting forth 
to war children were sacrificed to the sun. The day for 
battle was arranged between the combatants, surprise 
attacks being considered unethical. The armies usually 
fought in squadrons, the chief being carried into battle 
on a litter, and the desiccated corpses of dead chieftains 
were also carried into the fray. The battle opened with 
the army advancing to the music of trumpets (probably 
of conch-shell) and wooden flutes. Both the Chibchas 
and Panches made pits in the ground in which were placed 
sharp-pointed stakes. One wonders if this was a develop- 
ment of warfare brought about by the introduction of the 
horse by the Spanish conquistadors. 

Among certain tribes of the Magdalena Valley, includ- 
ing possibly the Colimas, a poison of the nature of tetanus 
was used. The points were, and still are to this day, 
dipped into a liquid formed by the decaying flesh of 
animals, such as snakes, toads, and spiders. Poison was 
also used in the Cartagena regions in warfare. 

Little is known of the methods of hunting among 
the peoples of Colombia. Blow-guns are reported from 
the Santa Marta region as well as from the region of the 

Colombia 135 

Choco Indians of the Pacific coast. In the former case 
they were used only for hunting birds for their plumage, 
since the Santa Marta people are reported as never 
eating meat. 

The Chibchas, living in the cold uplands, needed 
clothing. Men and women wore cotton cloths wrapped 
around the body with a cloth over the shoulders. The 
men wore this tied together above the shoulder; the 
women joined the ends of the shoulder cloak with a pin 
in the same way as the Peruvians and Diaguites used the 
topo. Several gold pins probably used for this purpose 
may be seen in Case 14. Examples of earrings, ear-plugs, 
nose-plugs, and breast ornaments in gold and gold alloys 
may be seen in this case, in Hall 31, and in Case 1 
in Stanley Field Hall. Some of the finest gold work is to 
be seen in the William Wrigley Collection from the Nechi 
Valley, northern Antioquia. Of particularly fine work- 
manship are the three pairs of earrings from this region. 
The ear-plugs used in ancient Colombia were usually 
circular or crescentic, the horns of the crescent touching 
the septum of the nose, but various other shapes were also 
used (Plate X). Judging by the collections from the 
Nechi Valley, women of rank in that region wore golden 
breast-covers. In the Santa Marta region, Dr. J. A. 
Mason uncovered some very beautiful stone pectorals 
(Case 14), some of which are of astonishing breadth. From 
this area are the stone batons, several of which are intri- 
cately carved, as well as the stone monolithic axes. 
Culturally the Taironas of Santa Marta appear to be 
closely connected with northern Venezuela. The Santa 
Marta people, Oviedo writes, wore necklaces of human 
teeth and placed human skulls on posts in front of their 

In the lowlands naturally less clothing was worn. 
Among the Colimas the clothing of men and women 
was confined to a cord tied round the waist. Should this 
break the individual was filled with shame and con- 

136 Field Museum of Natural History 

fusion, sitting down and covering the private parts until 
the cord could be mended. Among this same people 
there were public prostitutes who lived in houses a short 
distance outside the towns. In contrast to the other 
Colima women, they wore elaborate cloths reaching 
below the knees and were decked in a profusion of jewelry. 
Unlike most prostitutes of Middle America, they did not 
follow this career in order to amass a dowry, for we are 
told that they never married. 

In the Santa Marta region men of rank wore cloths 
round the shoulders. These were decorated in woven 
designs and had jewels of carnelian, emerald, and jasper 
sewn on to them. The men in this area had penis covers 
made of cane tubes or shell, tied to the waist with a string. 
Farther west, in the area between the Darien and Mag- 
dalena rivers, these tubes were made of gold, while 
in the areas contiguous to Venezuela a gourd was used. 
According to an early seventeenth century report the 
Goajiros, of the peninsula of that name, used ponchos of 
cotton reaching to the knees. This poncho garment, 
however, may have been introduced after the conquest. 

Shell necklaces, manufactured in the Santa Marta 
region, were exported to the interior of Colombia in large 
quantities, while the natives of Uraba were renowned for 
the finely woven hammocks of cotton they produced. There 
was a large trade in these also to neighboring peoples. 
Trade in gold, emeralds, and salt has already received 
mention. The Quimbayas are generally supposed to have 
been the finest workers in gold in ancient Colombia, but 
there is as yet no real evidence that this is so. 

The ancient Colombians worked native gold, which 
frequently contains an unusually high percentage of silver 
and copper. Usually they alloyed gold with copper, 
presumably to obtain a harder metal, but they managed 
to retain the gold color by a secret process in which the 
sap of a certain plant was said to have been rubbed on the 
surface of the object. Subsequently, the ornament was 

Colombia 137 

treated with fire. It is possible that the acid of the plant 
acted like hydrochloric acid. The percentage of copper in 
these alloys, which were called tumbago, varied from 
one-third to one-half. The proportion of copper was in- 
tentionally fixed in all probability, although this is difficult 
to prove at the present time since most objects of tumbago 
from Colombia lack information on provenience and 
date of manufacture. 

The vast majority of tumbago objects are ornaments 
made either to be worn or to serve as offerings to the gods. 
A few obvious tools have been reported. These consist 
of chisels, awls, and hoes. Tests on some of these show 
that they have been hardened by cold-hammering, and in 
hardness equal the bronze tools of Peru and Bolivia. It is 
strange that so few metal tools were used in ancient 

Ornaments of pure copper are relatively scarce in 
Colombia, while no bronze has as yet been reported by 
analysis. The apparent absence of bronze ornaments 
or tools is in all probability due to the rarity of tin in that 

Most of the small metal ornaments were made in molds, 
presumably of pottery. Apparently the required design 
was first modeled in wax or resin. The figure was then 
covered with a thin layer of finely powdered charcoal 
and enclosed in a casing of clay with a funnel leading 
to it from the surface. The mold was then heated so that 
the wax melted and ran out through the funnel, leaving 
a space of the required shape. This was filled with molten 
metal. When this had cooled the clay mold was broken, 
or opened, if made in two close-fitting sections, and the 
metal figure removed. Frequently the cast objects are 
hollow, a core of manganese and sand having been used. 

Gold designs in repousse" were commonly used in large 
ornaments, thin plates of gold being laid on stone dies of 
the required design (Fig. 11, g) and beaten so that the 
design showed in very low relief. Examples of this type of 

138 Field Museum of Natural History 

work may be seen on the breastplates in Stanley Field 
Hall (Case 1) as well as in the disk-shaped ornaments in 
Case 14 of Hall 9. 

The Chibchas were inferior workers in gold, and such 
gold as they used was largely imported from neighboring 
tribes. Typical of this region are roughly rectangular 
plates of tumbago, to which tumbago wire was soldered 
in such a way as to produce a human figure. In some 
cases the head was cast separately in a mold and then 
soldered to the plaque. The art of metal-working 
in Colombia undoubtedly was learned from the Ecuador- 
ians, who in turn had acquired their knowledge from Peru. 

Colombian pottery varies in quality from one area to 
another to a marked degree. In general, polychrome 
pottery is rare. In the large collections in Field Museum 
the proportion runs to only about 6 per cent. This is 
very low, considering that the bulk of the material is 
unselected. The finest effects were produced by what 
is apparently a batik, or wax process (Case 15 and Plate 
VII). The bird-shaped vessel (65097) was painted with 
a coating of wax on such parts as are now white. The 
vessel was then dipped in red. After the pot was dry the 
wax was melted off, and the area formerly covered by it 
was painted white. Then the pot was once more painted 
with wax except for such areas as are now black. These 
were left uncoated with wax, and, accordingly, were the 
only parts to take a coat when the vessel was dipped in 
black paint. When the vessel was again dry, the wax 
coating was melted off, and the original white and red 
colors were then uncovered, and the vessel appeared as it 
now is except that in places the black has worn off, 
showing the original red or white beneath. 

Practically all the polychrome and many of the 
duochrome vessels in Field Museum collections from 
Colombia have been painted in this technique. In the 
majority of cases the locality of these vessels of wax 
technique is not given, but where it is, they are said to have 


Fig. 16. Pottery vessel from Colombia. Vessels shaped as human beings lying 
on their backs are sparsely distributed from Argentina to Central America (Case 16). 


140 Field Museum of Natural History 

been found in the Cauca Valley. This style of batik work, 
called negative painting, is found from Ecuador to 
Mexico, the frequency gradually decreasing as one 
travels northward. From this one may infer that the 
process reached Colombia from the south. In some cases 
the shapes are decidedly Peruvian, notably in the use 
of the double-spout linked by a looped handle, the double 
whistling jar and the use of bird vessels. 

Among the finest wares from Colombia, occur unpainted 
vessels deeply carved with geometric patterns (Case 16). 
Two of these vessels are said to have been found in the 
Department of Antioquia, the original location of the 
rest being unknown. Joyce figures a similar vessel in the 
British Museum as coming from Tolima. 

Bowls with high expanding annular bases are common ; 
perhaps the shape was derived from the Highlands of 
Ecuador, where it also occurs in abundance. Some large 
pot-stands decorated in polychrome negative painting 
are to be seen in Case 15 (Plate VII). The locality of 
one is given as Anserma, Cauca. This would place it in 
Quimbayan territory. 

Tripod vessels are extremely rare in Colombia (only 
one in Field Museum collections). This is a small 
censer with a black slip. Tetrapod vessels with mammi- 
form legs occasionally occur on both polychrome and 
incised ware (Plate IX). The mammiform tetrapod 
support is diagnostic of early culture in Central America, 
but nothing is known of its position in Colombia. Cultural 
relations between northern South America and Central 
America point to cultural flows having been from south 
to north rather than from Central America into Colombia 
at a relatively late date. However, in Colombia the 
mammiform tetrapod support is associated with shapes 
such as the double spout with connecting ribbon, double 
whistling jars, and bird effigy vessels, which appear on the 
northern coast of Peru in the Middle Chimu period. If 
these features represent cultural contacts and are not 

* *«a<i ^a^ < <u<££ £*J 

o i 

L_. I . I i — I 

Fig. 17. Pottery spindle whorls. Delicately carved spindle whorls from Colombia 
(Case 16). 


142 Field Museum of Natural History 

merely fortuitous, Early Nazca, Early Chimu, and Early 
Chavin must antedate anything yet found in Central 

Well-finished stone celts may be seen in Case 14. 
Typical of the Santa Marta district are monolithic axes, 
blades and hafts being carved from the same stone. These 
could have had little utilitarian value, and must have 
served as emblems of rank or been in some religious 
ceremony. From this same region come delicate shell 
carvings representing crocodiles (Case 14). As already 
noted the Taironas of Santa Marta were famed for their 
skill in working shell, and their shell beads were traded 
as far as the Chibcha country, but their culture is in many 
ways more typical of Venezuela than the Andine regions 
of Colombia. 

Although the Colombians, generally speaking, did not 
carve stone except for tools, there was a remarkable excep- 
tion to this custom in the neighborhood of San Agustin 
near the source of the Magdalena and the Naranjo rivers 
in the Department of Huila. The sites, which are situated 
on the eastern flank of the central Cordillera, are some 
five thousand feet above sea level. Here have been found 
very large numbers of squat stone statues of an average 
height of about five feet marked by abnormally large 
heads and vestigial legs. Some of these sculptures bear a 
remarkable resemblance to certain representations of a 
jaguar deity from the north of Peru, both in stone and 
pottery, the former attributable to the Chavin culture, 
the latter to the Early Chimu period. Both in the San 
Agustin region and in the north of Peru these jaguar heads 
are shown with immense canines, flat noses, and deep 
grooves curving round each side of the noses and mouths. 
In the San Agustin region, as on the north Peruvian coast, 
snakes are occasionally found associated with this deity. 

In the Early Chimu period this tusked individual is 
clearly a god of agriculture. Out of ten vessels from this 
area in Field Museum collections, showing a figure 

Colombia 143 

associated with maize or other agricultural plants, nine 
represent this tusked deity. The same deity is represented 
in Ecuadorian gold art, and in all probability there is a 
continuous distribution of the cult from northern Peru to 
southern Colombia. Presumably the movement was from 
south to north. 

The San Agustin people made small stone shrines about 
six feet high and twelve feet long roofed with slabs of 
ferruginous limestone. In these were lodged some of the 
stone statues while others of a more columnar type served 
as pillars at the front corners. From this same area is also 
reported a slab-vaulted burial chamber in a mound. This 
contained three empty stone coffins and pottery. 

The San Agustin pottery in some respects, notably in 
the frequent use of an expanding base, serves as a link 
between central Colombia and the Highlands of Ecuador. 
Fragments of tripod bowls closely resembling those of the 
Highlands of Ecuador are also found at San Agustin. 

The time has not come to attempt seriously to fix the 
relations between Colombia and her neighbors, since so 
little is known of the archaeology of Colombia itself. 
Nevertheless, there are certain tentative conclusions of a 
general nature which one can make. 

Cultural contacts with the south are apparent. Such 
features as the chewing of coca with lime, the cultivation 
of the potato, quinoa, and arracacha, negative painting, 
the ceremonial shaving of children's hair, the alloying of 
gold with copper, the cult of the tusked deity, and child 
sacrifice point very clearly to affiliations with Ecuador and 
Peru. Most, if not all, of these features would seem to have 
passed from south to north. Rivet, however, believes 
that the working of gold originated in eastern South 
America and was carried thence into Colombia, spreading 
southward to Peru. Gold, as already pointed out (p. 21) 
was apparently worked in Peru before copper. In view 
of the higher and probably earlier civilization of Peru, 
it would seem plausible that gold originated in that area. 

144 Field Museum of Natural History 

There are, however, other traits in Colombia which un- 
doubtedly originated in the Amazon Valley and adjacent 
regions, spreading to Colombia from the east and south- 
east. Among these might be cited plants, such as manioc 
and the pineapple, and the hammock, the penis gourd, 
poison for projectiles, the blow-gun, and suspended hollow 
log drums. 

Relations with Central America appear to have been 
fairly close, at a somewhat late date. Metal-working, 
various agricultural plants, the hammock, negative 
painting, tobacco and lime chewing, and the use of datura 
in divination seem to have been passed on by Colombia to 
the cultures of Middle America. It should be noted that 
Rivet is of the opinion that metallurgy reached Mexico 
from northern Peru by sea. He bases his theory mainly 
on the absence of bronze- and silver-working in Colombia. 
Against this theory it should be noted that the Colombians 
probably did not employ bronze because of the scarcity 
of tin in their country. The principle of alloying was 
known to the Colombians, and on being passed on to a 
country where tin was abundant, would sooner or later be 
applied to the production of bronze; secondly, the 
Peruvians were not particularly good sailors; and, lastly, 
the Colombian-inspired gold work of Panama and Costa 
Rica was traded into Central America, examples having 
been found in the sacred cenote of sacrifice at Chichen 
Itza, Yucatan. 

The cultural importance of Colombia has undoubtedly 
been under-rated. One of the chief reasons for relegating 
the ancient cultures of Colombia to an inferior position 
is that they did not employ stone structurally. Is this 
not a case of judging by archaeological standards? The 
stone temple remains; the jacal structure has disappeared. 
Nevertheless, anyone who has slept in a Maya stone 
building during the rainy season must have realized its 
disadvantage in comparison with a wooden structure with 
thatched roof. The former is extremely damp and 


Fig. 18. Colombian pottery. A beautiful polychrome vessel of Chibcha work- 
manship. Found at Chia, in the Department of Cundinamarca (Case 16). 


146 Field Museum of Natural History 

unhealthy; the latter, open to wind and sun, quickly dries. 
In choosing the thatched temple, the Colombians did not 
build for posterity; they built for their own comfort. 

Had no advanced culture existed in Colombia as a link 
between North and South America, the cultures of Peru 
and Central America would have been measurably poorer. 
This applies particularly to Central America. It is true 
that the Colombians were far behind the Peruvians in 
political organization, for there was only an incipient em- 
pire centered at Bogota. However, its expansion appears 
to have been retarded, not by the incapacity of the 
Bogotans for organized government, but by their inability 
to conquer their neighbors, the Chibchans of Tunja to the 
north and the Colimas and Panches on their flanks. 

The archaeologically important field of Venezuela is 
still almost unknown, and there are no archaeological 
collections from that country in Field Museum. Exca- 
vations in recent years would suggest that western 
Venezuela has culturally much in common with the 
Tairona area of Santa Marta, Colombia. Eastern Vene- 
zuela appears to be culturally connected with the Amazon 
Valley and the region lying north of the river, while both 
regions have been the inspiration of West Indian cultures. 

A small collection from the mouth of the Amazon, 
particularly from Marajo Island, is displayed in Case 33, 
but since this culture is more closely related to the living 
cultures of the Amazon and Orinoco basins than to the 
ancient cultures of the Andine regions, it will be described 
in a future guide to the ethnological collections of South 

Culturally South America presents an unbalanced 
aspect. A thin section on the west stretching from 
Panama to northern Chile and northern Argentina was 
inhabited by peoples who had attained a relatively high 
cultural level, whereas the eastern two-thirds of the 
continent, including all of Brazil, Paraguay, the Guianas, 
Venezuela, most of Argentina and Chile, and the eastern 

Colombia 147 

parts of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia were on a 
considerably lower cultural plane. The former area is the 
region of maize-potato-quinoa culture; the latter the 
region of manioc cultivation. 

Many writers have attempted to divide the western 
area of high culture into various subdivisions, correspond- 
ing roughly to the present political divisions, but the whole 
region is indivisible. A comparison of Chibcha culture 
with Diaguite culture reveals marked differences, but in 
the intervening area the missing stages can usually be 
traced. Such traits as the tusked jaguar god, found 
from Peru to Colombia, the distribution of agricultural 
plants, metallurgy, figurines of pottery, magico-religious 
beliefs, such as the head-shaving ceremony (p. 100), 
burial customs, weapons, child sacrifice, art designs, and 
coca and lime chewing, are common to the whole area. 
It is true, of course, that some cultural sub-areas show 
marked extraneous influences, such as the Central Ameri- 
can and eastern South American influences which existed 
in central and northern Colombia, or the Chaco and 
eastern influences, as exemplified by the use of the smoking 
pipe and the bow-string guard, which existed in the 
Diaguite region. These extraneous influences, however, 
are not sufficient to distort the common cultural pattern. 

The eastern two-thirds of South America, largely a 
region of hot humid lowlands in contrast to the mountains 
and semi-arid coastal plains which formed the home of the 
high cultures of the western region, made definite con- 
tributions to the advancement of New World culture. 
Manioc, the pineapple, fish poisoning, the hammock, the 
blow-gun, arrow poisoning, and seamless skirts are traits 
which undoubtedly originated in eastern South America, 
but in most cases the distribution of a specific cultural 
object, the pan pipe for example, is so wide that one can 
make no deduction as to where it was invented. Con- 
sequently, one tends to credit the center of high civilization 
with inventions which may have been made elsewhere. 

148 Field Museum of Natural History 

Nevertheless, there can be little doubt that wherever the 
beginnings of culture may first have developed in South 
America, the total progress was greatest in the Andine 
regions and on the coastal plains to the west. 

The development of culture in South America is not 
purely a subject for an abstract study of peoples alien to 
us in race and culture. Modern civilization has uncon- 
sciously adopted many of the elements of the material 
cultures of these ancient peoples. In food alone the 
peoples of South America have varied our diet by con- 
tributing the potato, tomato, pineapple, manioc, sweet 
potato, and peanuts. They have also bequeathed to us 
rubber; while in the realm of art ancient Peru has given 
the world textile products of workmanship and beauty 
never attained elsewhere in the history of the world. 

In the fields of sociology and economics the history of 
Peru gives us an insight into the function of an autocracy 
grafted on communism, and an opportunity of studying 
the successes and failures of that novel system. Such a 
study may prove of great value in preparing for the planned 
economy, which civilization will have to consider thought- 
fully in the near future as a possible answer to the 
problems raised by the age of machinery. 



1-13.— Ethnology. 

14. — Colombia: Gold ornaments and stone work. 

15. — Colombia: Polychrome pottery. 

16. — Colombia: Pottery vessels, stamps and spindle whorls. 

17. — Colombia (west side). 

La Plata Island (east side). 

18. — Ecuador. 

19-20.— Peru: Early Chimu pottery. 

21. — Peru: Middle Chimu (west side). 

Agriculture and metal-working of the Chimu (east side). 

22.— Peru: Late Chimu. 

23. — Peru: Pachacamac (west side). 
Ancon and Chancay (east side). 

24-25.— Peru: Textiles. 

26. — Peru: Burials at Ancon. 

27. — Peru: "Mummies" from Ancon. 

28.— Peru: Canete. 

29. — Peru: Nazca. 
30-31. — Peru: Inca pottery and stone work. 

32. — Peru: Metals and textiles. 

33. — South America and West Indies. 
34-35. — Argentina: Pottery. 

36. — Argentina: Metals and stone work. 

37.— Argentina: Pottery. 

38.— Chile. 

39. — Argentina: Funerary urns. 



Cieza de Leon 
The Chronicle of Peru. Translated by C. R. Markham. London, 
1864 and 1883. 

Joyce, T. A. 

South American Archaeology. New York and London, 1912. 
The Weeping God. Essays and Studies Presented to William 
Ridgeway. Cambridge, 1913, pp. 365-374. 

Linne, S. 

The Technique of South American Ceramics. Goteborg Kungl. 
Vetenskaps och Vitterhets-Samhalles Handlingar. Ser. IV, vol. 
XXIX, Goteborg, 1925. 
Darien in the Past. Ibid., Ser. V, vol. I, Goteborg, 1929. 

Nordenskiold, E. and others 

Comparative Ethnographical Studies. I-IX, Goteborg, 1919-31. 
Oviedo y Valdes, G. F. 

Historia general y natural de las Indias. Madrid, 1851-55. 

Ambrosetti, J. B. 

La antigua ciudad de Quilmes. Bol. Inst. Geog. Argent., XVIII, 

Buenos Aires, 1897, pp. 33-70. 
Notas de arqueologia calchaqui. Bol. Inst. Geog. Argent., 

XVII-XX, Buenos Aires, 1896-99. 
El bronce en la region calchaqui. Anal. Mus. Nac. Buenos Aires, 
XI, 1904, pp. 163-314. 


Antiquites de la region andine de la republique argentine. Paris, 
1908. Estudios arqueol6gicos riojanos. Anal. Mus. Nac. Hist. 
Nat., XXXV, Buenos Aires, 1927-32, pp. 1-308. 

Boman, E. and Greslebin, H. 

Alfareria de estilo draconiano de la region diaguita. Buenos Aires, 

Lafone Quevedo, S. A. 

Tipos de alfareria en la region diaguito-calchaqui. Rev. Mus. 
La Plata, XV, La Plata, 1908, pp. 295-396. 

Metraux, A. 

Contribution a l'ethnographie et a l'archeologie de la Province 
de Mendoza. Rev. Inst. Etnol. Univ. Nac. Tucuman, I, 
Tucuman, 1929, pp. 5-74. 

Outes, F. F. 

Alfarerias del noroeste argentine Anal. Mus. La Plata, I (N.S.), 
La Plata, 1907, pp. 5-52. 


Bibliography 151 

Outes, F. F. and Bruch, C. 

Los aborfgenes de la Republica Argentina. Buenos Aires, 1910. 

Quiroga, A. 
Antiguedades calchaqufes — la colecion Zavaleta. Bol. Inst. Geog. 
Argent., XVII, Buenos Aires, 1896, pp. 177-210. 

Vignati, M. A. 

Los craneos trofeo de las sepulturas indigenas de la Quebrada de 
Humahuaca (Jujuy). Archiv. Mus. Etnog., I, Buenos Aires, 

Boman, E. 

See above. • 

Crequi Montfort, G. de 
Fouilles dans la n6cropole prehispanique de Calama. Les anciens 
atacamas. XIV Int. Cong. Amer., Stuttgart, 1904, pp. 551-556. 

Latcham, R. E. 

Los changos de la costa de Chile. Santiago de Chile, 1910. 

Montell, G. 
An Archaeological Collection from the Rio Loa Valley, Atacama. 
Oslo Etnografiske Museums, V, Oslo, 1926, pp. 1-46. 

Oyarzun, A. 
Contribution al estudio de la influencia de la civilization peruana 
sobre los aborigenes de Chile. Bol. Mus. Nac, II, Santiago 
de Chile, 1910, pp. 3-37. 

Nicolas, F. C. 
Aborigines of the Province of Santa Marta, Colombia. Amer. 
Anthr., (N.S.), III, 1901, pp. 606-649. 

Mason, J. A. 
Archaeology of Santa Marta, Colombia. The Tairona Culture. 
Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Anthr. Ser., XX, Nos. 1 and 2, Chicago, 

Preuss, K. T. 

Monumentale vorgeschichtliche Kunst. Gottingen, 1929. 

Restrepo, V. 
Los chibchas antes de la conquista espanola. Bogota, 1895. 

Simon, P. 

Noticias historiales de las conquistas de tierra firme. Bogota, 

Dorsey, G. A. 
Archaeological Investigations on the Island of La Plata. Field 
Mus. Nat. Hist., Anthr. Ser., II, No. 5, Chicago, 1901. 

152 Field Museum of Natural History 

Jijon y Caamano, J. 

Puruha. Contribution al conocimiento de los aborigenes de la 
Provincia del Chimborozo, Ecuador. Reprinted from B61. 
Acad. Nac. Hist., Quito, 1927. 

Saville, M. H. 

Antiquities of Manabi, Ecuador. A Preliminary Report. New 
York, 1907-10. 

Uhle, M. 

Various papers. B61. Acad. Nac. Hist., Quito. 
Verneau, R. and Rivet, P. 

Ethnographie ancienne de l'Equateur. Paris, 1912. 

Baessler, A. 

Peruanische Mumien. Berlin, 1906. 
Altperuanische Metalgerate. Berlin, 1906. 

Bingham, H. 

Machu Picchu, a Citadel of the Incas. New Haven, 1930. 
Garcilasso de la Vega 

Royal Commentaries of the Yncas. Translated by C. Markham. 
London, 1869. 

Kroeber, A. L. 

Archaeological Explorations in Peru. Field Mus. Nat. Hist., 

Anthr. Mem., II, Nos. 1 and 2, Chicago, 1926-30. 
Cultural Relations between North and South America. XXIII Int. 
Cong. Amer., New York, 1928, pp. 5-22. 

Kroeber, A. L. and Strong, W. D. 

Various papers on Peruvian coastal collections made by M. Uhle. 
Univ. Cal. Publ. in Amer. Arch, and Ethnol., XXI, San 
Francisco, 1924-27. 

Markham, C. 

The Incas of Peru. London, 1910. 
Means, P. A. 

Ancient Civilizations of the Andes. New York, 1930. 
Montell, G. 

Dress and Ornaments in Ancient Peru. Goteborg, 1929. 
Sarmiento de Gamboa, P. 

History of the Incas. Translated by C. Markham. London, 1907. 
Tello, J. C. 

Wira Kocha. Inca, I, Lima, 1923, pp. 93-319. 

Andean Civilization: Some Problems of Peruvian Archaeology. 
XXIII Int. Cong. Amer., New York, 1928, pp. 259-290. 

Uhle, M. 

Pachacamac. Philadelphia, 1903. 


Abacus, 53 

Abortion, Fuegians, 11 

Achira roots, 23 

Adobe, bricks, 21, 24, 28, 73, 108 

Agave, rope for suspension 
bridges, 53; used for making 
cloth, 99 

Age, grades, 101; groups in Peru, 

Agouti, 73 

Agricultural, land allotted, 48; 
designs in pottery, 23 

Agriculture, 6, 12, 13, 20, 25, 42, 
49; Atacaman, 88; Chimu, god 
of, 142; Colombia, 119; Dia- 
guite, 73; discovery of, 12; Ec- 
uador, 98, 109; god of, 42, 128, 
142; see Cotton, Maize, Manioc 

Alaska, 7 

Alcohol, see Intoxication 

Algarrobo tree, 74, 79 

Alligator pear, 119 

Alloy, 28, 64; copper and gold, 
25, 136; see Bronze 

Aloe fiber used, 60 

Alpaca, 59 

Amazon Valley, 39 

Amulets, 76 

Ancestor worship, 42 

Ancon, culture of, 29 

Andahuaylas, 30 

Andes, 5, 28, 39 

Andine peoples, 96; region, cul- 
tural focus, 148 

Animal gods, 128 

Animals, in designs, 68; now ex- 
tinct, 7; see Birds, Fish, Jaguar, 

Animism in Peru, 45, 77 

Annatto, red coloring, 124 

Anona fruit, 119 

Antiquity of man in America, 8 

Antofogasta, 88 

Ants, edible, 119 

Apiculture, 120 

Apurimac River, 35 

Araucanians, 39 

Arawaks, 17 

Architecture; see Adobe, Mortar, 
Mud, Pyramids, Stone 

Argentina, 5, 72-94 

Armadillos, pots shaped as, 82 

Arrows, 75; see Bows and Arrows 

Art, 106; see Animal designs, 
Color painting, Pigments, Pot- 

Ashes, ceremonially scattered , 

Atacama, Desert of, 88 

Atacamans, 88 

Aurohuacos of Colombia, 125 

Ax, of bronze, 56, 84, 92; of stone, 
113, 135, 142 

Ayamarca tribe, 35 

Ayllu clan, 42 

Aymara languages, 72 

Aztecs, 45, 50, 126 

Ball game, religious, 16, 17 

Balsas, reed boats, 39, 54, 109 

Bamboo, for fences, 116; knife, 

Barbacoan tribes, Colombia, 115 

Barbecues, 129 

Bark, cloth, 109; for incense, 111; 
for utensils, 1 1 

Barter, 50, 121; see Salt 

Basketry, 8, 92; Diaguite, 83 

Batik, 62, 138 

Beads, 21; of glass, 30, 83 

Beans, 15, 20, 73, 98, 109; buried 
with dead, 46 

Bees domesticated, 120 

Bellows, 66 

Bells, 86, 90, 92; of bronze, 84 

Bering Strait, 7, 9 

Birds, art designs, 64; domesti- 
cated, 74; hunted for plumage, 
135; protector of, 78 

Birth, 121; ceremonies, 100; pro- 
tector of, 78; registered in Peru, 
50; see Naming 

Blow-guns, 6, 16, 134, 144 

Bogota, 114 

Bolas, 90; hunting implement, 75 

Bolivia, metals found in, 64 

Bone, 94; objects of, 74, 88, 90, 92 

Bowls, 66, 79, 140; see Tripod 

Bows and arrows, 8, 11, 21, 75, 
90, 133; ceremonial, 122; in 
Peru, 56 

Brazil, 5 

Breastplates, 106, 135; see Metals 

Bridges, 53 

British Honduras, 102 



Field Museum of Natural History 

Bronze, 25, 28, 64, 83, 92; axes, 
56; not in Colombia, 137 

Burials, 21, 24, 77, 86, 100, 110, 
111, 124; in Peru, 25; of posses- 
sions, 45; see Mummies, Urns 

Buttons, mother-of-pearl, 21 

Caca language, 72 

Cacao, 17 

Cajamarca, 28 

Calabashes, 100, 133; see Gourds 

Calchaqui tribe, 72 

Caldera, Chile, 92 

Calendar, 52, 110; of Incas, 37, 

104; see Lunar reckoning, 

Moon, Time 
Canaris, tribe of Ecuador, 95 
Cannibalism, 118 
Canoes, 6; dugout, 109; of bark, 

11; see Balsa 
Caraquis tribe, 109 
Caras, tribe of Ecuador, 95 
Carousals, see Intoxication 
Cassava, 144, 109; see Manioc 
Castes of Peru, 49 
Catamarca, 72 

Cauca Valley, 140; Colombia, 114 
Caves, burial, 47; dwellings, 5 
Celibacy, 130; see Initiation, 

Celts, 142 ; see Stone, Weapons 
Cemeteries, 88; see Burial, Death, 

Census with quipus, 51 
Central America, 16, 33, 102, 105, 

107, 110, 116, 128, 140, 144; 

see British Honduras, Mayas, 

Ceramics, see Pottery 
Chaco region, 14 
Chanchan in Moche Valley, 27 
Chasquis, official runners, 54, 97 
Chavin, 29; style of, 25 
Chewing, 143; see Coca, Lime, 

Chibchas, 114, 126, 135 
Chicama Valley, 18 
Chicha, fermented maize, 122 
Chiefs, 117 

Childbirth, 128; see Birth 
Children, 110; Colombia, 120- 

123; sacrificed, 76, 105, 111, 

132, 143; sacrificed to sun, 131, 

134; see Initiation 
Chile, 72-94 
Chili pepper, 98, 109 

Chimu, area, 24; culture, 23, 25- 

Chinese, 8 

Chiqui, Peruvian deity, 79 
Chiriguanos, 70; invaders, 40; 

trans-Andine tribe, 57 
Chronology, Nazca, 23 
Civilization, origins of, 5 
Clans, 27, 42, 48, 49, 123 
Clay, 127; see Pigments 
Climate, of Colombia, 119; of 

Ecuador, 95; of Peru, 18 
Clothing, 7, 10, 57, 75, 135; 

of Ecuador, 99, 109, 112, 135; 

of Pastos, 99 ; see Hide, Textiles, 

Weaving, Wool 
Clubs, 56, 66, 68, 86, 90, 110 
Coca, 16, 46, 78, 88, 90, 126, 130, 

Coconuco tribe, Colombia, 114 
Collas, inhabitants near Titicaca, 

Collecting wild produce, 14 
Colombia, 46, 79, 107, 114-148 
Colors, on pots, 80; on quipu, 52; 

textiles, 28; see Pigments 
Combs for hair, 46 
Communal houses for men, 73 
Communism, in Peru, 51; and 

autocracy, 148 
Conch-shell trumpets, 134 
Continence, 117, 131;of chiefs,117 
Copper, 25, 64, 75, 76, 83, 92, 

137; axes, 23 
Corpse, 102; see Death, Funerals, 

Cotton, 20, 50, 109, 119; first 

cultivated, 15 
Counters for games, 113 
Counting, see Quipus, Abacus 
Cousin marriage, 11 
Cousins, 123 
Cradles, 121 
Crazy plant, 125 
Creators, see Gods, Legends, 

Cucumber of Peru, pepino, 42 
Cultural patterns, 5 
Culture centers of Colombia, 114; 

see Diffusion 
Curassow, 109 
Cuzco, 28, 32, 37, 49 

Dance at funeral, 101, 119 

Dancing, god of, 128 

Datura sanguinea, 125, 133, 144 



Death, 76, 86; registered in Peru, 
50; survival after, 45; see 
Burial, Graves, Religion 

Deer, 74 

Deformation of heads, 21, 25, 
112, 121 

Depilation, see Tweezers 

Designs, Draconian, 82; incised 
on pots, 19, 29, 80 

Diaguite tribe, 72-76 

Diffusion of culture, 1-17, 19, 68, 
80, 82, 84, 113, 140, 143, 144, 147 

Digging-sticks, 50 

Divination, 44, 121, 133 

Dogs, domesticated, 8; ceremoni- 
ally killed, 45, 78; food, 119; 
sacrificed, 44 

Domestication, of insects, 120; of 
plants, 12, 13; see Agriculture, 
Dogs, Guinea pigs, Rhea 

Doorways, 72 

Droughts, 79, 132 

Drums, 106 

Ducks, 74 

Dwellings, see Caves, Houses, 

Dyeing by tie process, 62 

Dyes, see Colors, Pigments, Pot- 
tery, Textiles, Weaving 

Ear-plugs, 49, 58, 109, 135 

Ears pierced, 49 

Earth Mother, 78 

Earthquakes, 79; god of, 32 

Ecuador, 40, 83, 95-113; High- 
lands of, 26 

Education, 117, 118; in Peru, 47; 
see Initiation, Priests 

Eggs, 74 

Embalming, 111; see Mummies 

Embroidery, 20, 62 

Emeralds, 118; in embalming, 
125; mining of, 120; object of 
worship, 111 

Endogamy, see Marriage 

Engineering, 53, 54 

Equinoxes, 43 

Erosion, 21, 73; see Irrigation 

Eschatology, 45, 126 

European influence, 30; see Span- 

Exogamy, 123 

Face, painted, 76; see Pigments 
Family, as ruling caste, 118; own 
land, 49 

Famine, 49 

Fasting, 48, 130, 131 

Feasts, 118, 129; Diaguite, 73 

Feathers, 77, 99; for arrows, 90; 

for personal ornament, 74 
Fertility, god of, 42; rites, 74 
Feudal communities of Peru, 48 
Figurines, pottery, 29, 82, 94, 

Fire, sacred, 44 
Fish, designs, 64; god, 42; poison 

for, 14; temple images, 111; 

fisherman's cult, 111 
Fishing, 7, 11,23, 94 
Flowers ceremonially used, 116 
Folklore, see Legends, Mythol- 
Food, 7 ; see Agriculture, Animals, 

Beans, Fruits, Hunting, Maize, 

Foot races, 79 
Foxes 79 
Fruits, 74, 109, 119; of Ecuador, 

Funeral rites, 76; see Burial, 

Death, Graves 

Galapagos Islands, 39, 97 

Gambling boards, 68 

Games, 16; of Fuegians, 11 

Garcilasso de la Vega, 45 

Gauchos of Argentina, 75 

Ghosts, 101; see Burial, Death, 

Glass beads, 83 

Goats as temple images, 111 

Gods, 77, 126, 136; Diaguite, 78; 
guardians, 128 

Gold, 21, 25, 28, 43, 58, 83, 94, 
99, 113, 116, 136, 143; used in 
embalming, 125; in Field Mu- 
seum, 135; ornaments of, 37, 66; 
sacrificed, 118, 128, 132; stools 
of, 125; urns of, 125; working, 
17, 137 

Gongs, 84, 106 

Gourds, 83, 84; penis cover, 144 

Granite, 68 

Graves, 45, 86, 113, 124; see 

Groves, sacred, 132 

Grinders for corn, 108 

Grinding, of maize, 86; stones, 

Guanaco, 73; hide as clothing, 10 

Guarango, Acacua punctata, 20 


Field Museum of Natural History 

Guatemala, 80 
Guava, 119 
Guayaquil, 107 
Guiana, 146 
Guinea pigs, 99, 109, 120 

Hairdressing, 46, 59, 99, 110; 

social distinction, 119 
Hallucinations produced by da- 
tura, 16 
Hammock, 16, 17, 124, 136, 144, 

Hares, 79 

Harpoon, 94; points for, 7 
Harvests, 74, 105 
Head-dresses, 75, 112 
Head shaved, 110, 122, 144 
Heads, shrunken, 111; see Jivaro 

Hearts cut out, 131 
Henequen, 109 
Hens, 74 
Hide, quivers of, 90; raw, 75; 

shields, 134 
Hoes, 86 
Hogs, wild, 74 
Hooks of wood, 90 
Horses, 134 
Houses, 11, 72, 116, 117, 129; in 

Ecuador, 98, 108; see Adobe 
Huayna Ccapac, 40 
Human sacrifice, 111, 127, 129, 

131, 132; rarity of, 44; see 

Children, Sacrifice 
Human teeth, necklaces of, 135 
Hunting, 14, 75; Atacamans, 90; 

ceremonial, 79; deity, 78; Dia- 

guite, 73 
Hurricanes, 79 

lea Valley, 18, 22 

Inca, 18, 28; rulers, 34; social 

organization of, 49; see Peru 
Incense, 111, 129, 130 
Incised designs, 29 
Incised patterns on pots, 106 
Inheritance, 117, 126 
Initiation, 48, 76, 117, 130; of 

Fuegians, 11 
Intaglio designs, 58 
Intoxicants avoided by priests, 

Intoxication, 74, 105, 119, 129; 

ceremonial, 76, 122 
Irrigation, 37; in Peru, 13, 18 

Jade, 68 

Jaguar, deity, 142; in designs, 84, 

92; on pots, 19 
Jars, 79; whistling pattern of, 27 
Jewelry, 66; see Emeralds, Gold, 

Jivaro Indians, shrunken heads 

of, 20, 111 

Kelp in house-building 

Knives, crescentic form, 92; see 

Knuckle duster, 84 

Labor, relays of, 51 
Lacquering, 68 

Lagoa Santa, skulls found at, 8 
Languages, Chibcha, 114; see 

Barbacoan, Caca, Quechua 
Lapis lazuli, 21 
La Plata Island, 39, 112 
La Rioja, 72 

Latacungas tribe of Ecuador, 95 
Legends, of creation, 41, 126, 

127; of Ecuador, 102; of origin 

of Incas, 32 
Lice, 99 

Lightning god, 41 
Lime, 78, 88, 119, 130; mixed 

with coca, 46; mixed with 

tobacco, 16; see Coca, Tobacco 
Litter for carrying chiefs, 116, 134 
Lizard in sculpture, 111 
Llamas, 50, 59, 74, 88, 98; 

sacrificed, 44; wool, 20 
Looms, 109; see Weaving 
Lunar time reckoning, 52, 104 

Macaws, 104 

Magdalena River, 114, 115 

Magic, 76; see Divination, 
Priests, Religion, Sorcery 

Maize, 12, 73, 98, 109, 119, 143; 
legendary origin of, 42 

Manabi Province, 108 

Manabi region, 109 

Manco, legendary Inca hero, 34 

Manganese, 137 

Manioc, 6, 13, 42, 144, 147; leg- 
endary origin of, 42 

Marajo, 107; culture, in Brazil, 
80; island, 146 

Marriage, 100, 110, 117, 123; 
among Fuegians, 11; in Peru, 
44, 48 

Masks, 76; used by Fuegians, 11 



Maule River, 39 

Mayas, 17, 24, 30, 33, 41, 107, 126 
Medicine-men, 133 
Messengers, 54, 134 
Metallurgy, 51, 64, 88; of Peru, 18 
Metals, 6, 7, 16, 28, 58, 65-68, 

106, 137, 144; tools, 32; see 

Bronze, Copper, Gold, Silver, 

Mexico, 17, 50, 99, 127, 128; see 

Migrations from Asia, 7; see 

Minas Geraes, skulls of, 8 
Mining emeralds, 120, 121 
Mirrors, 86, 92 
Moccasins, 10 

Moche, pyramid, 24; valley, 18 
Molds, 66, 137 
Molinos in Argentina, 83 
Mongoloid races, 8 
Monkey design on pots, 27 
Monogamy, 48, 100 
Monolithic axes, 142; see Axes 
Moon, 104, 127, 129; temple of, 

43; see Lunar reckoning 
Moque, an incense, 130 
Mortar, 72; of mud, 24; of stone, 

Mosaics, 68 
Mourning, 77, 101, 110, 117, 124, 

Mud, in building, 72; plaster for 

walls 98 
Mummies, 46, 58, 124-125; of 

dogs, 45 
Music, see Drums, Gongs, Trum- 
pets, War, Whistles 
Muzos tribe in Colombia, 120, 121 
Mythological designs on pots, 19 
Mythology and pottery, 23 

Naming, 100, 110 

Narcotics, 133; see Coca, Datura, 

Intoxication, Tobacco 
Navigation, see Balsa, Canoes, 

Nazca, pottery, 19, 21; valley, 18 
Necklaces, 76; of human teeth, 

135; of shell, 136 
Needles, 66; of thorns, 109 
Negative painting, 138; see Wax 
Nettles, 105 
Nobility of Peru, 47; see Priests, 

Social classes 
Nose ornaments, 57, 109, 130, 135 

Obsidian, 21, 110 

Oca, 98 

Ochre, red, 83 

Octopus in sculpture, 111 

Omens, 44; see Divination 

Origin of South American cul- 
tures, 16 

Orinoco, 5, 6, 146 

Ornament, personal, 10; see Ears, 
Feathers, Noses, Personal orna- 
ment, Pigments 

Pacay, fruit, 42, 119 

Pachacamac, 41 

Pachacuti (Cusi), 36; Inca ruler, 

Paddles, 109 

Paintings on wood, 70; see Pig- 
ments, Pottery 
Paltas tribe of Ecuador, 95 
Panama Canal, 115 
Pan-pipes, 21 
Paraguay, 5, 146 
Parallels of culture, 143; see 

Parrots, as pets, 21; sacrificed, 

Pastos tribe of Ecuador, 95 
Peanuts, 23, 98, 109 
Pectorals of gold, 135 
Penis covers, 136, 144 
Pepino, Peruvian cucumber, 42 
Pepper in eyes, 122 
Peppers, 119; see Chili pepper 
Personal ornament, 58, 76, 135; 

feathers used, 74, 109; see 

Feathers, Gold, Silver 
Peru, 5, 6, 13, 18-71 
Pestles, 84 

Physique of early immigrants, 8 
Pigments, 138; for the body, 11; 

in architecture, 25; mourning, 

12; on pottery, 19,22 
Pilgrims, 112 
Pineapple, 6, 14, 16, 17. 39, 119, 

144, 147 
Pizarro, 30, 40, 64 
Plants cultivated, 7 
Plugs for ears, 49 
Poison, darts, 6, 144; for fish, 14, 

147; in war, 134 
Polychrome pottery, 29, 106, 138; 

see Pigments 
Polynesian contacts with South 

America, 9 
Pomegranate, 98, 109 


Field Museum of Natural History 

Ponchos of cotton, 136 

Possessions, burial of, 81; see 
Burial, Death, Graves 

Potatoes, 23, 73, 98, 105, 148; see 
Sweet potatoes 

Pottery, 6, 16, 79; Colombian, 
138, 143; Diaguite, 79; invent- 
ed, 15; Ecuador, 106, 112, 113; 
Peru, 19, 23, 26, 29, 30, 32, 57, 
71, 83, 113, 140; wax technique 
used in making, 62, 138; see 

Prescott, 48 

Priesthood, Chibcha, 130; and 
sun worship, 43 

Priests, 77 

Prostitution, 136 

Puberty, ceremony, 76, 122; 
rites, 131; see Initiation 

Pueblo cultures, 82 

Puerto Viejo, 110 

Puma, 64; stone seat, 112 

Puna, desert area, 88; island, 110 

Puruhas, tribe of Ecuador, 95 

Pyramids, 24, 27, 101; measure- 
ment of, 27 

Quechua, 42, 78 
Quetzalcoatl, 128 
Quimbayas, 114, 121 
Quinoa, 98, 119 
Quipus, 47, 51 
Quito, 38, 40, 96, 104 
Quivers, 75, 90 

Rabbits, 120 

Races on foot, 48, 79 

Rain, 129; ceremonies, 77, 79 

Rainbow, deity, 128; temple of, 

Rank and clothing, 136; see 

Clothing, Personal ornament 
Rattles, 86 

Recuay style of pottery, 25 
Religion, 76; Ecuador, 104; of 

Fuegians of Peru, 41-71 
Repousse work, 137 
Resin for embalming, 111 
Rhea, 74, 82 

Roads, 38, 53, 129; gods of, 128 
Robbery, divination for, 133 
Roofs, 73 
Rubber, 148 

Sacrifice, of animals, 44, 45, 74; 
emeralds, 111; of guanaco and 

agouti, 73; human, 111, 127, 
129, 131; of virgins, 105; see 

Sails, 109 

Salt bartered, 120 

Salta, 72 

Sandals, 58, 76 

San Juan, 72 

Santa Maria pottery, 80 

Santa Valley, 18 

Santiago del Estero, 72 

Sarmiento, statement of, 38 

Sculpture in stone, 142 

Sex taboo, 131; see Taboos, 
Priests, Initiation 

Shamans of Fuegians, 12 

Shaving the head, 110, 122, 144 

Shell, 68, 76, 142; beads, 142; 
heaps, 29; tools, 11 

Shields, 134 

Sibs, 27, 123 

Silver, 28, 46, 83, 113 

Sins punished, 105 

Skulls on house posts, 135 

Sky, 105; see Moon, Stars, Sun 

Slaves, 122; buried, 125 

Sling, 21, 33, 48, 56, 90, 110, 133 

Smelting of ores, 66 

Smoking, see Tobacco 

Snakes, in designs on pots, 23 ; as 
symbols of rain, 77; as temple 
images, 111 

Social classes, of Peru, 47; dis- 
tinctions, 116; see Chiefs, Edu- 
cation, Priests 

Sodalite, 76 

Soldering, 138 

Sorcery, 116; death due to, 76 

Spade of wood, 99 

Spaniards, 40, 66, 71, 78, 83, 95, 
106, 117, 120, 132, 134; see 

Spatulae of bone, 92 

Spears, 11, 110; see Weapons 

Spear-thrower, 7, 21, 110, 133 

Spiders, sacred, 126 

Spindles, ceremonial, 122 

Spindle whorls, 29, 108, 112 

Spinning, 59 

Spout, double form in pots, 26 

Squashes, 15, 73, 119 

Squier visited Chanchan, 27 

Stars, 73, 104 

Stone, arrow-points of, 75, 92; 
bowls, 68; building, 28, 56; 
buildings, Diaguite, 72; clubs, 



23; coffins, 143; dies, 137; for 
forts, 56; implements, 8, 86; 
mace, 56; ornaments, 19, 76, 
135; sculpture, 106; seat, 112; 
temple of, 43, 143; towers of, 47 

Stools, gold, 125 

Stucco, 117; relief, 28 

Styles of Nazca pottery, 21 

Succession, 40, 117 

Suicide, 125 

Sun, 104, 125, 126, 127, 132, 134; 
offering to, 74; pyramid at 
Moche, 24; temple at Cuzco, 
43; worship of, 37, 43, 77 

Supe, 29 

Sweet potatoes, 23, 109, 119 

Swords, two-edged, 133 

Taboos, 126, 131; see Initiation, 

Priests, Religion, Sex relations 
Taironas, culture of, in Colombia, 

114, 119 
Tamahi tribe, Colombia, 114 
Tarantula in divination, 44 
Tattooing, 58, 110; of Fuegians, 

Tears, see Rain, Thunder god 
Temples, 111; dedication of, 143; 

models of, 68 
Teocentli, wild grass, see Maize 
Terraces, 73, 108; for burial, 24; 

see Irrigation 
Textiles, 28, 44, 59; mummy 

wrappings, 46; weaving, 20 
Thatch, 73, 98, 108, 129 
Thistles for needles, 109 
Thunder, bolts as punishment, 

105; god, 41, 78; temple of, 43 
Tiahuanaco, 26, 30 
Tierra del Fuego, 5, 6, 10, 17 
Time reckoning, 52; see Calendar, 

Tin, 25, 64, 85, 137 
Titicaca, 37, 41 
Tobacco, 15, 119, 131 
Tomatoes, 16, 119, 148 
Tools of Fuegians, 1 1 
Topography, 5; of Ecuador, 95 
Totemic ancestor, 44; see Ances- 
tor, Clan 
Towers of masonry, 47 
Transformation of god into 

animals, 41 
Transport, 54, 116, 124 
Trays of wood, 90 

Trees, burial in, 125; decorated, 

77; hollow, as homes, 109 
Tripod bowls, 26, 82, 106 
Trumpets, 134 

Tucuman, 72; in Argentina, 37 
Tuncahuan period, 107 
Tupi-Guarani Indians, 80 
Turquois, 68, 76 
Tusked god, 147; see Jaguar 
Tweezers, 76, 86, 92 
Twine, 94 
Twins, 121 

Uhle, Max, 29 

Urns, burial, 16, 86, 102, 125; of 

gold, 125; for salt, 120 
Uros, coast-dwellers, Chile, 92 

Vegetarianism of priests, 43 

Vegetation, types of, 5 

Venezuela, 146 

Venison, 123 

Vicuna, 59, 98 

Vilcamayu River, 35 

Villages, see Adobe, Architecture, 

Houses, Mortar, Mud, Stones 
Viracocha, Inca leader, 35; sky 

god, 20 
Virgins, sacrificed, 105; of sun 

temples, 43 
Viru valley, 18 
Visions, 131 ; see Hallucinations 

Walls, 73; of earth, 108 
Warfare, 11, 75, 133; see Weapons 
Warriors a privileged class, 118 
Washing ceremony, 122, 129; see 

Initiation, Puberty 
Wax, painting, 138; technique 

for painting pots, 62 
Weaning rite, 121 
Weapons, 56, 70, 71, 86, 110, 134; 

see Bows, Clubs, Knives, Slugs, 

Spears, Swords 
Weather, magical control of, 128 
Weaving, 59, 60; origin of, 15 
Weddings, see Marriage 
West Indies, 17 
Whipping, 117, 118; ceremonial, 

Whistles, 112 
Whistling jars, 27, 140 
Whorls for spindles, 29 
Widows, 49, 126; purified, 78 
Wigwam of Fuegians, 11 
Wines, 117 


Field Museum of Natural History 

Women, clothing of, 76, 109, 135, 
in Peru, 59 

Wood, carving, 90; in house 
building, 108; objects, 68; ves- 
sels, 70 

Wool, 74-75, 109; -bearing ani- 
mals, 50; see Alpaca, Guanaco, 
Llamas, Vicuna 

X-ray photographs of Peruvian 
mummies, 46 

Xue, culture hero, 127 

Yahgans, 10 

Yarns for weaving, 60 

Yucca for intoxicating drink, 119 

Zapote, fruit, 109 
Zaqui, ruler of Tunja, 115 
Zigzags, 82 ; designs on pots, 80 
Zipa, a Colombian chief, 115 
Zipacna, an earthquake god, 33 

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Leaflet 33 

Plate II 


Typical example of the early modeled pottery, executed in red and 

white. North coast of Peru 

(Case 19) 


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Leaflet 33 

Plate X 


Nasal ornaments and lip-plugs from Rio Nechi, Medellin, Colombia 

(Case 1, Stanley Field Hall) 

Leaflet 33 

Plate XI 



Ceremonial stone implements of the Tairona culture, found in the Santa Marta 

region of the north coast of Colombia 

(Case 14)