Now let’s switch gears and explore the Ancient Americas. We will kick off this series with Lost Kingdoms of South America. South American history has been dominated by the Incas and the Spanish, so this series explores lesser-known civilizations. Dr. Jago Cooper explores the ancient civilizations of South America. This series is called Lost Kingdoms of South America. This first episode explores the “People of the Clouds.” They lived in Northern Peru in the Andes Mountains. This isolation has hidden their history from the world. Their artifacts are the most stunning and least understood in the world.
Cooper begins in Lima to see what the Spanish wrote about People of the Clouds. They were people who only appointed chiefs during wartime. This is not enough for Cooper and he talks to an expert. She discusses how isolated the people were. They buried their dead up high. Only five percent of the People of the Clouds sites have been excavated. This seems to keep the People of the Clouds a mystery.
Cooper heads into the mountains and starts exploring the People of the Clouds. The People of the Clouds used the river as their highways. The rivers flowed into the Amazonian Basin. Rather than take days on foot, they would use the river and travel only a few hours. Their high communities were connected with the outside world. The Amazonian Peoples traded with the People of the Clouds. The People of the Clouds thrived. This seems to shoot down the myth that they were isolated people. The People of the Clouds were a group that used their resources to their advantage.
He then looks at artifacts left behind by the People of the Clouds. Cooper then talks about the llama’s importance. They were used for travel and meat. He talks about the other artifacts that were found. There were also shells found and they were used for musical instruments. Ideas were also traded along the routes. The People of the Clouds controlled the trade routes through the mountains and over the rivers. They controlled the flow of goods and ideas. They incorporated those ideas into their culture. They were also skilled weavers.
Cooper then explores why the People of the Clouds settled in the mountains. The People of the Clouds were highly connected to the outside world and living in the mountains would contradict that. German archeologists believe that they settled in the mountains because they wanted to farm too. The Andes Mountains provide different microclimates at different elevations. The People of the Clouds could farm a variety of food.
Some of the people lived in a two-story building. This surprises Cooper to see. He never would have thought that people built two-story buildings in the past. Cooper then goes father up the mountain to explore the People of the Clouds burials. He rides into the mountains on a horse called El Loco. It is tough terrain. The terrain has protected these sites for years from looters. Cooper then climbs up to see a cliff tomb. It is a city of the dead. Even with modern climbing equipment, the climb is a challenge for Cooper. The People of the Clouds buried their dead without modern equipment. How they got up the mountain with their dead is a mystery.
The bones of the people poking out of the landscape. Cooper goes into a cave to see an intact tomb. To find out more about the People of the Clouds continue to watch the episode.
It is a fascinating look at a different South American culture. I know in history classes students learn primarily about the Incas and the Spanish conquest. However, if you wanted to present another South American tribe to your class then you can present an episode of Lost Kingdoms of South America. Highly recommended for a high school classroom.
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