Questions tagged [precolumbian-era]

For questions pertaining to the Americas during the time period before the discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus in c. A. D. 1492. The era comprises the initial settlement of the Americas and the subsequent development of peoples, settlements and civilisation in the Americas.

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How did Incas chroniclers learn to draw?

I came across the magnificent work of an Inca chronicler named Waman Puma de Ayala -- or Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala -- and I wondered: how did he learn to draw his codex? Resources for viewing his ...
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3 votes
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What events led to the Aztecs and Mayans adopting cocoa beans as a currency?

I read how the Aztec Empire and the Mayans used cocoa beans as a currency but bartered before hand. I know records for these civilizations are rare, but do we have any record of certain historical ...
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2 votes
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How can I authenticate this presumably ancient Narino/Carchi pedestal bowl?

So I'm attempting to verify that this bowl is authentic Pre-Columbian Narino but I have no idea how to. I thought the hard part was getting it cheap at an estate auction but it turns out this is the ...
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1 vote
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How did a new Inka recover from being cut off from his inheritance?

When a reigning Inka ("Inka" is the quechua spelling, matter of preference) died, his successor was disinherited and all properties, servants and lands were split among the Inka's other offspring. The ...
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1 answer
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What were the main centres of population in South America in 1500 AD?

I'm especially interested in the areas outside the Andes, but a general overview of known sites of urbanisation in the continent in that era would be great. Edit for clarification: Various articles ...
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1 answer
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Is there a population density map of pre-Columbian South America?

I have found such maps for North America, e.g. this one: But never for the southern continent. The goal is a broad overview. How many Lokono were there, compared to the Mapuche (and the Cree for that ...
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12 votes
3 answers
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What did indigenous North Americans trade amongst themselves before Europeans arrived?

Once the colonial era began around 1500 or 1600, Europeans and Native Americans started trading. As far as I'm aware, the principal trade was beaver pelts in exchange for iron axes. But I'm ...
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24 votes
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Did pre-Columbian Americans know the spherical shape of the Earth?

The Maya are known for their astronomy and mathematics, most notably their famous calculation of the length of a year. I was surprised to learn that they supported a flat Earth model, though to be ...
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16 votes
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Apart from the Inuit, and candlefish on the northwest coast, did pre-Columbian America have lamps or candles?

Lamps have been around in the Old World since the Palaeolithic (one was found in the Lascaux cave). Candles are thought to have originated in the Bronze Age, but were certainly used by ancient Greeks, ...
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-2 votes
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Why are doomsday predictions for 2012 seen as incompatible with historical Maya mythology/religion?

Interpretations of the Maya calendar that the world might end on date 13.0.0.0.0, Dec 21 2012, were often roundly dismissed as having no historical basis and being inconsistent with Maya beliefs. See ...
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Religion in present-day Colombia before Spanish colonial influence

I am trying to find out some details about the indigenous religions in present-day Colombia and Latin America before the Spanish introduced Catholicism. I have tried searching, but the indigenous ...
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1 answer
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How do we know that the Tiwanaku Empire actually existed as an empire

The wikipedia article as well as scientific papers like Janusek 2002 and Ortloff and Kolata 1993 treat the historical existence of the Tiwanaku empire as a fact without offering any evidence ...
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14 votes
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Why did Pre-Columbian Americans not build city walls?

The question At the time of the European invasions after 1492, the most technologically advanced cultures in the Americas had progressed to about the same stage as the Bronze Age in the old world. ...
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9 votes
2 answers
440 views

How did pre-Columbian Americans shear their alpacas?

What tool did they use to separate wool from the animals?
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2 votes
0 answers
286 views

History of the American Southwest [closed]

I'm planning a road trip through the Southwest U.S., stopping at a lot of national parks and historical sites (click for details): I'd like to listen to audio books while driving, about the history ...
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6 answers
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How densely populated were the Americas prior to European colonization?

I had a conversation with an individual recently about how unusual it was that there were so few individuals who appeared to be Native American in North America today. (I say appear since no doubt ...
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Native American Technology [closed]

I want to know about Native American history. I am young, so I have not learned a awful lot about them. I want to know what kind of things they used for technology, and for what. So my question is: ...
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