Nasca Culture

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Nasca Culture

The Nasca Culture Civilization in the Desert


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Early Intermediate Period farming communities which flourished in the valleys of Peru's southern coast c.ad 200–700. The most characteristic artefacts are the distinctive ceramics decorated in polychrome style in continuation of the local Paracas style. Up to sixteen colours were used, fixed during firing. Favoured motifs include the stylized biomorphs, such as the cat demon, and bodiless heads. On stylistic grounds nine main phases to the Nasca ceramic industry have been defined. In the early phases most communities lived in small villages adjacent to arable land. Later, many of these villages were abandoned as the population moved to nucleated centres, some of them defended.

Throughout, the dead were interred in extensive cemeteries, typically as cloth‐wrapped mummies deposited in circular chambers approached from the surface by a shaft. The site of Cahuachi, Peru, was a ceremonial centre which also seems to have been used in all phases. Nasca Culture communities also made fine woven textiles, although their greatest artistic achievement is represented by the Nasca lines.

Subjects: Archaeology.

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