The Ancient Kingdoms of Peru

The Ancient Kingdoms of Peru

by Nigel Davies


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This essential book draws on the evidence of recent excavations of Peruvian sites in a remarkable survey of the civilizations which preceded the Incas.

As recently as 1987, robbers discovered by far the most spectacular vestiges of the Moche people, who ruled much of Peru for the first six centuries of the Christian era. This find—a royal burial chamber shoulder-deep in gold and silver ornaments and carvings studded with jewels—has provided many powerful insights into their way of life, as Nigel Davies shows.

Patterns representing a condor, a killer whale and even an 80-meter monkey, visible only from the air, are etched into a bare expanse of desert at Nazca. Davies analyzes and assesses the latest scholarly theories surrounding one of the world's great enigmas. He then turns to the key power centers of the 'middle period' in Huari and Tiahuanaco, the great coastal civilization of Chimor (the first for which we have written accounts), and its eventual defeat by the Incas around 1470 AD. Alongside the often biased conquistador chronicles, archaeology can now illuminate the Inca imperial cult, their methods of agriculture, road-building, town-planning and settlement.

In this lively and compelling overview, Davies makes accessible the latest research on all these ancient kingdoms of Peru.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780140233810
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/28/1998
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

Table of Contents


1. The Birth of Civilization
2. Moche
3. Nazca: Unsolved Enigmas
4. The Middle Kingdoms
5. The Great Chimor
6. The Rise of the Incas
7. The Sacred City
8. The Boundless Realm
9. The Conquest

Select Bibliography


1. Primitive Dwelling, Approximately 3000 BC
2. Stone Warriors from Cerro Sechin
3. Details of Principal Facade of Chavin Temple
4. El Lanzon
5. A Stone Feline from Chavin with Cylindric Jar on Its Back
6. Moche Dancers Playing Pan-pipes
7. Moche Ruler with Musicians
8. Moche Ritual Dancers
9. Anthropomorphic Crab
10. Moche Warrior with Prisoner
11. Dismemberment of Captives
12. Moche Bird Warrior
13. Consumption of Ritual Blood by Priest
14. Nazca Lines: Plant
15. Nazca Lines: Bird
16. Paracas Painted Vessels
17. Images on Nazca Painted Pots
18. Frieze of Weeping Sun God
19. Figures which Flank the Tiahuanaco Sun God
20. Tiahuanaco Drinking Vessel
21. Huari Drinking Vessel also Illustrating Weeping Deity Similar to those of Tiahuanaco
22. The Sican Lord Mounted on Serpent
23. Portion of Chan Chan Palace Frieze
24. Chimu Painted Earspool
25. Chimu Blackware Vessels
26. Chimu Double-spout Vessel
27. The Ruler's Chief Accountant, Holding Quipu (illustration by Huaman Poma)
28. Pachacutec Inca (illustration by Huaman Poma)
29. Topa Inca in His Storehouse in Collao (illustration by Huaman Poma)
30. Inca Goblet or Quero from Ollantaytambo
31. Atahualpa with Spanish Guard (illustration by Huaman Poma)


1. Principal Chavin and Pre-Chavin Sites
2. The Moche Era
3. Principal Sites of the Middle Horizon
4. The Realm of Chimor
5. The Inca Empire in 1532
6. Cuzco at the Time of the Conquest


1. Ritual chamber, Galgada
2. Main temple, Chavin de Huantar
3. Panoramic view of main temple
4. Moche pottery figurine vessel
5. Moche pottery bird-shaped vessel
6. Moche pottery portrait vessel
7. Moche pottery house vessel
8. Moche pottery stirrup-spout vessel
9. Nazca bridge-spouted pot
10. Nazca painted bowl with turkey vulture motif
11. Nazca objects, hammered gold, perhaps representing humming-bird-moths
12. Paracas pottery mask
13. Large embroidered Paracas mantle
14. Tiahuanaco: stairs to the Kalasaya temple, beyond which stands the monolith
15. The monolith: a richly attired figure holding a beaker and a short scepter
16. Poncho, late coastal Tiahuanaco
17. Huari mirror
18. Huari double-spout bottle representing a skull
19. Chimu ceramic bottle
20. Chimu tapestry poncho
21. Chimu disc in hammered silver
22. Chancay mantle with bird motifs
23. Inca poncho
24. Inca silver figurine
25. Inca fortress at Sacsahuaman
26. The twelve-sided stone
27. The church of Santo Domingo in Cuzco built on the mortarless stones of the Coricancha
28. Statue of Francisco Pizarro in his birthplace, Trujillo de Extremadura, Spain

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The Ancient Kingdoms of Peru 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
aethercowboy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you're anything like me, you probably have a soft spot in your heart for Mesoamerican and Pre-Columbian history. Of course, if you're anything like me, I recommend you stop being like me, 'cause I'm trying to be unique, you know, like everybody else.Now, normally, I have history. This is because I find tales of warfare and kings and queens fighting over tracts of land while churches give them advice or excommunicate them. Yawn. The thing about Mesoamerican and Pre-Columbian cultures, as well as with other ancient cultures, is that so little is known about them such that when they are presented as a culture, a major element of their "history" is their mythology. And that's what interests me.Nigel Davies, an archaeologist, studied the great ruins of Peru, which once housed the great Incan empire. He compiled his information and published it as a book.This book comes as a highly recommended source to learn more about the Incas, if that sort of thing is your cup of tea. If you are a big history buff, but prefer it because it's all about wars and kings and queens and tracts of land and churches and advice and excommunications, then this may not be your cup of tea. If you prefer coffee, well, you should really switch before you start to develop serious health problems.