Chan Chan was the largest city of the pre-Columbian era in South America. It was the seat of the ancient Chimú civilization before it fell to the Incas. It is now an archaeological site near Trujillo on northern Peru's desert coast.
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Archaeological Sites in South America
Chavín de Huántar takes its name from the culture that developed between 1500 and 300 B.C. in this high valley of the Peruvian Andes. Chavin is one of the earliest and best known pre-Columbian sites and represents an important expression of the construction techniques of its time.
Choquequirao is an Incan archaeological site, similar in structure and architecture to Machu Picchu, tucked into the Vilcabamba mountains in the Cusco region of southern Peru. It is located on a glaciated peak overlooking the Apurimac River canyon.
Ciudad Perdida is an ancient Tayrona indigenous town and archaeological site carved into the mountainside in Colombia's Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta isolated mountain range. It is believed to have been founded about 800 CE, some 650 years earlier than Machu Picchu.
Cueva de las Manos, Río Pinturas, contains an assemblage of cave art, executed between 13,000 and 9,500 years ago. The people responsible for the paintings may have been the ancestors of the historic hunter-gatherer communities of Patagonia found by European settlers in the 19th century.
Easter Island lies at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian Triangle in Oceania. It is most famous for its nearly 1,000 surviving monumental statues, called moai, created by the early Rapa Nui people. Rapa Nui National Park is a protected Chilean wildlife area located within Easter Island.
The Fuerte de Samaipata archaeological site consists of two parts: the hill believed to have been the ceremonial center of the old town and the administrative and residential district. The huge sculptured rock, dominating the town below, has no parallel anywhere in the Americas.
Embedded within a dramatic landscape between the Andes and the Amazon Basin, the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is among the greatest artistic, architectural and land use achievements anywhere, as well as the most significant tangible legacy of the Inca civilization.
Ollantaytambo is a town and archaeological site located at the northern edge of the Sacred Valley. It was a military, religious and agricultural center. At the time of the Spanish conquest of Peru, it was a stronghold for the Inca resistance and is the only Inca town that is still inhabited.
The Main Andean Road links the peaks of the Andes to the coast, running through rain forests, alleys and deserts in South America. Qhapaq Ñan is an extensive Inca communication, trade and defense network of roads, traversing one of the world’s most extreme geographical terrains.