The Life in the Americas • lacked nearly all animals suitable for domestication • metallurgy was less developed in the Americas • Writing limited in the Americas to Mesoamerica • most highly developed among the Maya • Early Andeans did not make use of writing • fewer and smaller classical civilizations in the Americas • lack of interaction with other major cultures
Migration to Mesoamerica • By 9500 B.C.E., humans reached the southernmost part of South America • As hunting became difficult, agriculture began (7500 B.C.E.) • Early agriculture: beans, squashes, chilis; later, maize became the staple (5000 B.C.E.) • Agricultural villages appeared after 3000 B.C.E.
The "rubber people” • Elaborate complexes built • The colossal human heads--possibly likenesses of rulers • Rulers' power shown in construction of huge pyramids • Trade in jade and obsidian • Decline of Olmecs: • systematically destroyed ceremonial centers by 400 B.C.E.
Mayan society • hierarchical • Kings, priests, and hereditary nobility at the top • Merchants were from the ruling class; they served also as ambassadors • Professional architects and artisans were important • Peasants and slaves were majority of population
Mayan Culture • Religious thought • PopolVuh (creation myth) • taught that gods created humans out of maize and water • Gods maintained agricultural cycles in exchange for honors and sacrifices • Bloodletting rituals honored gods for rains • The Maya calendar: both solar and ritual years interwoven • Maya writing: ideographic and syllabic • only four books survive
Andean Society • Main crops: beans, peanuts, sweet potatoes, cotton • Fishing supplemented • By 1800 B.C.E.: pottery, built temples and pyramids • Discovered gold, silver, and copper metallurgy • Chavín: A Pan-Andean Religious Movement • beliefs apparently drew on both desert region and rain forests • probably used hallucinogenic San Pedro cactus
Mayan City-States • frequent warfare; capture and sacrifice of prisoners • densely populated urban and ceremonial centers • ruled by “state shamans” who could mediate with divine • no city-state ever succeeded in creating a unified empire
Rapid Collapse • began in 840 • population dropped by at least 85 % • elements of Maya culture survived • Reasons for the collapse • extremely rapid population growth after 600 c.e. outstripped resources • political disunity and rivalry prevented a coordinated response to climatic catastrophe • warfare became more frequent
Moche World • Complex societies appear after 1000 B.C.E. • modern-day Peru and Bolivia • rule by warrior-priests • some lived on top of huge pyramids • rulers had elaborate burials • Human scrafice • superb craftsmanship of elite objects