Ancient Civilizations of the New World

Ancient Civilizations of the New World

Ancient Civilizations of the New World

Ancient Civilizations of the New World


In this concise, yet sweeping look at the origins & development of ancient New World civilizations, Richard Adams provides a superb introductory overview of these unique & fascinating cultures. Incorporating the latest breakthroughs in the study of the cultures of Mesoamerica & the Andes, Adams examines the development of the Olmec, Maya, Aztec, & Inca peoples, among others, from simple agricultural societies to urban civilizations with complex transportation networks, distinct social hierarchies, rich artistic & religious traditions, & writing systems that have defied anthropological investigation until recently.


During the morning, we arrived at a broad causeway and continued our march towards Iztapalapa, and when we saw so many cities and villages built in the water and other great towns on dry land and that straight and level causeway going towards Mexico, we were amazed and said that it was like the enchantments they tell of in the legend of Amadis, on account of the great towers and cues [temples] and buildings rising from the water, and all built of masonry. And some of the soldiers even asked whether the things we saw were not a dream.

Bernal Diaz del Castillo, The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico, 1956

In many of the Inca's houses there were large halls some two hundred paces in length and fifty to sixty in breadth. The were unpartitioned and served as places of assembly for festivals and dances when the weather was too rainy to permit them to hold these in the open air. In the city of Cuzco I saw four of these halls, which were still standing when I was a boy . . . and the largest was that of the Cassana, which was capable of holding three thousand people.

Garcilaso de la Vega, Royal Commentaries of the Incas, 1966 . . .

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