The Chachapoya

In a remote corner of northeastern Peru —embraced by the Marañón river to the west and the north and the Huallaga river to the east— the ancient Chachapoya once held sway over a vast territory, today scattered with the distinctive remains of their trademark cliff tombs and hamlets of circular structures. Feared warriors and famed shamans, the Chachapoya flourished from around AD 800 until their violent conquest by the Incas in the 1470s. Today, looters and vandals are engaging archaeologists in a desperate race to save the remains of this great, but little known civilization. Despite over a century of exploration and more recent archaeological and archival research, our understanding of the region’s prehistory remains fragmentary.

The evidence suggests that at times the ancient Chachapoya interacted with cultures living to the east, west and north of the Marañón, while at other times they flourished in relative isolation. Although the Chachapoya played a part in the greater Andean cultural sphere, their art and architecture convey a bold and independent spirit that sets them apart from their neighbors. “Classic” Chachapoya civilization —with its hallmark circular constructions and masonry friezes— appears to have coalesced around AD 800 and continued into Inca times, ca. 1470-1532.

More info: An Overview of Chachapoya Archaeology and History ( Adriana von Hagen) (pdf document)

Kuelap's monumental wall (Adriana von Hagen)

More Information:
The Chachapoya Religion Language
Economy Residential Architecture Funerary Architecture
Art Style Kuelap