A 1,200-year-old ceramic painted with a Wari lord, recently discovered at the tomb of El Castillo de Huarmey in Peru First Unlooted Royal Tomb of Its Kind Unearthed in Peru Three queens were buried with golden treasures, human sacrifices. National Geographic Published June 27, 2013 It was a stunning discovery: the first unlooted imperial tomb of the Wari, the ancient civilization that built South America's earliest empire between 700 and 1000 A.D. Yet it wasn't happiness that Milosz Giersz felt when he first glimpsed gold in the dim recesses of the burial chamber in northern Peru. Giersz, an archaeologist at the University of Warsaw in Poland, realized at once that if word leaked out that his Polish-Peruvian team had discovered a 1,200-year-old "temple of the dead" filled with precious gold and silver artifacts, looters would descend on the site in droves. "I had a nightmare about the possibility," says Giersz. So Giersz and project co-director Roberto Pimentel Nita kept their discovery secret. Digging quietly for months in one of the burial chambers, the archaeologists collected more than a thousand artifacts, including sophisticated gold and silver jewelry, bronze axes, and gold tools, along with the bodies of three Wari queens and 60 other individuals, some of whom were probably human sacrifices. Archaeologists discovered a massive carved wooden mace (foreground) protruding from stone fill. “It was a tomb marker,” says University of Warsaw archaeologist Milosz Giersz, who heads the team. “We knew then that we had the main mausoleum.” Peru's Minister of Culture and other dignitaries will officially announce the discovery today at a press conference at the site. Krzysztof Makowski Hanula, an archaeologist at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru in Lima and the project's scientific adviser, said the newly unearthed temple of the dead "is like a pantheon, like a mausoleum of all the Wari nobility in the region." The Wari culture flourished from about 500 to 1,000 AD, ending roughly 400 years before the Inca culture began to expand. Overlooked Empire The Wari lords have long been overshadowed by the later Inca, whose achievements were extensively documented by their Spanish conquerors. But in the 8th and 9th centuries A.D., the Wari built an empire that spanned much of present-day Peru. Their Andean capital, Huari, became one of the world's great cities. At its zenith, Huari boasted a population conservatively estimated at about 40,000 people. Paris, by comparison, had just 25,000 residents at the time. Just how the Wari forged this empire, whether by conquest or persuasion, is a long-standing archaeological mystery. The sheer sophistication of Wari artwork has long attracted looters, who have ransacked the remains of imperial palaces and shrines. Unable to stop the destruction of vital archaeological information, researchers were left with many more questions than answers. The spectacular new finds at El Castillo de Huarmey, a four-hour drive north of Lima, will go a long way toward answering some of those questions. Although grave robbers have been digging at the 110-acre site off and on for decades, Giersz suspected that a mausoleum remained hidden deep underground. In January 2010, he and a small team scrutinized the area using aerial photography and geophysical imaging equipment. On a ridge between two large adobe-brick pyramids, they spotted the faint outline of what appeared to be a subterranean mausoleum. The research at El Castillo de Huarmey is supported by National Geographic's Global Exploration Fund and Expeditions Council. Tomb robbers had long dumped rubble on the ridge. Digging through the rubble last September, Giersz and his team uncovered an ancient ceremonial room with a stone throne. Below this lay a large mysterious chamber sealed with 30 tons of loose stone fill. Giersz decided to keep digging. Inside the fill was a huge carved wooden mace. "It was a tomb marker," says Giersz, "and we knew then that we had the main mausoleum." Buried Treasure As the archaeologists carefully removed the fill, they discovered rows of human bodies buried in a seated position and wrapped in poorly preserved textiles. Nearby, in three small side chambers, were the remains of three Wari queens and many of their prized possessions, including weaving tools made of gold. "So what were these first ladies doing at the imperial court? They were weaving cloth with gold instruments," says Makowski. Mourners had also interred many other treasures in the room: inlaid gold and silver ear-ornaments, silver bowls, bronze ritual axes, a rare alabaster drinking cup, knives, coca leaf containers, brilliantly painted ceramics from many parts of the Andean world, and other precious objects. Giersz and his colleagues had never seen anything like it before. "We are talking about the first unearthed royal imperial tomb," says Giersz. But for archaeologists, the greatest treasure will be the tomb's wealth of new information on the Wari Empire. The construction of an imperial mausoleum at El Castillo shows that Wari lords conquered and politically controlled this part of the northern coast, and likely played a key role in the downfall of the northern Moche kingdom. Intriguingly, one vessel from the mausoleum depicts coastal warriors battling axe-wielding Wari invaders. The Wari also waged a battle for the hearts and minds of their new vassals. In addition to military might, they fostered a cult of royal ancestor worship. The bodies of the entombed queens bore traces of insect pupae, revealing that attendants had taken them out of the funerary chamber and exposed them to the air. This strongly suggests that the Wari displayed the mummies of their queens on the throne of the ceremonial room, allowing the living to venerate the royal dead. (Related: "Mummy Bundles, Child Sacrifices Found on Pyramid.") Analysis of the mausoleum-and other chambers that may still be buried-is only beginning. Giersz predicts that his team has another eight to ten years of work there. But already the finds at El Castillo promise to cast the Wari civilization in a brilliant new light. "The Wari phenomenon can be compared to the empire of Alexander the Great," says Makowski. "It's a brief historical phenomenon, but with great consequence." Images of winged, supernatural beings adorn a pair of gold-and-silver ear ornaments that a high-ranking Wari woman wore to her grave in the imperial tomb at El Castillo de Huarmey. The archaeological team found the remains of 63 individuals, including three Wari queens.
(Author Kim MacQuarrie at the Inca ruins of Pisac in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru) FX Developing Limited Series About The Fall Of The Inca Empire Deadline Hollywood By NELLIE ANDREEVA April 2, 2013 FX is adding another project to its growing slate of event limited series. The cable network is developing Conquistadors, an adaptation of the Kim MacQuarrie book, The Last Day's Of The Incas. Written by producer Nicholas Osborne in his writing debut, Conquistadors tells the story of Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro, two Spanish Conquistadors who above all odds conquered the Incan empire of 10 million with just 168 men, and Manco Inca and Cura Occlo, two teenage Incan royal lovers, who led one of the greatest rebellions in history. Osborne is executive producing with Scott Rosenbaum, who serves as showrunner, and Underground Films’ Trevor Engelson. Limited series development has been a priority for FX since the cable network announced its entry into the space in October. FX just greenlighted its first limited series, an adaptation of Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1996 feature Fargo. Additionally, FX last week announced several other high-profile limited/miniseries projects in development as the genre is poised to become a cornerstone for FX’s sibling FXM (Fox Movie Channel): Grand Hotel from Sam Mendes, about a fictional terrorist plot in Paris; Sutton, from Alexander Payne and Michael De Luca, about the infamous bank robber; Mad Dogs, from The Shield‘s Shawn Ryan, based on the British black comedy/psychological thriller miniseries; and Mayflower, from producers Paul Giamatti and Gil Netter. They are being joined by They Marched Into Sunlight, a six-part limited series executive produced by Oscar winner Stephen Gaghan. (Series creator and executive producer, Nick Osborne) The Inca Empire The Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, built in the late 15th century in Peru
Machu Picchu Machu Picchu Inkari Research Institute discovers Inca mausoleum with large quantities of gold and silver. However, the Ministry of Culture has stalled the project. Rumbos Feb 8, 2013 (Translated by Kim MacQuarrie) Who would believe it? Millions of tourists and thousands of archaeologists have walked before the walls that hide perhaps the best kept secret of Peruvian archeology: the final resting place of the Inca Pachacutec. However, a twist of fate allowed the French engineer, David Crespy, stranded for three days in Aguas Calientes because of a landslide that prevented him from returning to Cusco, to have the time to examine Machu Picchu from the top down. On one of those walks, he came to a solid wall that, at its core, had a sort of opening. "This is a door," Crespy immediately thought, unaware that some funny or bright tourists, depending on how you view it, had written on the stone above the entrance the word "treasure" and had drawn an arrow pointing to it. Crespy contacted some Machu Picchu archaeologists, and they assured him that they would investigate the matter. Back in Europe, the French engineer persisted with his inquiry, but received no response from the authorities. Crespy even visited the Peruvian Embassy in France, and the consulate in Barcelona, where he lives, but received zero interest. It had already been a year, and he was just about ready to throw in the towel. It was then that he read in Le Figaro Magazine an article by Thierry Jamin, a French archaeologist obsessed with carrying out expeditions Paititi for 15 years in southeastern Peru, and had discovered 113 new sites in the process. A number of those are currently in the process of being rated as part of Peru’s cultural heritage. Crespy wrote Jamin an email telling him about his adventures and about his crazy idea that Machu Picchu could hold a treasure trove. A little skeptical because, like other researchers, Thierry thought everything had been studied at Machu Picchu to the point that every stone had a number, he visited the Inca citadel and had the same impression as his compatriot. Without wasting any time, the Inkari Institute of Cusco, of which Thierry is president, readied a project that would apply an electromagnetic resonance gun to the building identified at Machu Picchu by Crespy, and presented the project to the Ministry of Culture on December 19, 2011. On March 22, 2012 the project was approved. The Inkari institute then coordinated with Fernando Astete, head of the Machu Picchu Archaeological Park, in order to establish the dates for carrying out the electromagnetic testing. Everything seemed to go well. But when work began on April 12, 2012, they were suddenly surrounded by a crowd of park employees who took photos, made sketches and notes, recorded conversations, filmed everything, and asked questions insistently. Their behavior certainly went against professional ethics and regulations and ignored the general provisions of research done under the Ministry of Culture itself. At the end of that day, Thierry was talking with Astete, pointing out that what had happened was not normal. This apparently did not set well with the head of the park, because the next day the Inkari Institute researchers were stopped, the park officials arguing that one of the serial numbers on their equipment was incorrect. They had to turn to authorities at the Ministry of Culture to let them enter again, so that they could complete their studies. Despite these obstacles, the results were amazing and beyond anything imagined. Using geo-radar that allowed them to have a 3D view and to analyze the ground to a depth of 20 meters (66 feet), they were able to discover the existence of a large burial chamber, with a considerable amount of gold and silver, and a whole underground structure that housed a dozen cavities which presumably corresponded to an equal number of graves, some of which were very small and may be those of children. They also discovered the existence behind the access door of a staircase lined with a gold plate, which leads precisely to the main chamber. "The time, dedication and the material used in this building tell us that it could only be for a very important person. There may be a curaca or a priest who is buried there, and this just may be the final resting place of an actual panaca , possibly the panaca of Pachacutec ," says Thierry Jamin. Indeed, archaeologist Luis Lumbreras maintains that Machu Picchu is a sanctuary and a fortress and was the mausoleum of the Inca Pachacutec. The chronicler Juan de Betanzos said that Pachacutec’s mummy was at Patallacta ("the edge"), and for Lumbreras “Patallacta” must have been the name he gave to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu as its name ("old mountain" ) does not make much sense. "Betanzos was a Spanish soldier who married Dona Angelina, of the dynasty of Pachacutec, so she would have given him that information," said Lumbreras. How to know if Pachacutec is buried under the building of the three portals? "Pachacutec was 90 years old at the time of his death, so the mummy must belong to someone very old. In addition, there are some symbols that may identify him, such as his belongings, a scepter, and his clothing, "argues Thierry. Regarding the characteristics of the wall that seals the mausoleum, Inkari executive secretary and archaeologist Daniel Merino said that "the first thing I noticed were the stones that blocked the entrance to the chamber and that these had been placed in an irregular manner, without any mortar. This means that because of some significant event in the region, they unexpectedly decided to cover it. " The idea that the Incas closed the access opening due to an emergency that perhaps was caused by the Conquest is shared by Thierry. "The Incas probably hid their treasure from Cuzco the Incas during the chaos of the fall of the empire. They might be, and it gives me goose bumps when I say this, treasures brought from Coricancha and other sacred temples, "says the French archaeologist. A few years ago, archaeologists were searching for the tomb of Pachacutec on Huayna Picchu , because they believed that everything had been studied within the citadel itself. They thought it was impossible to discover something of this importance within the main citadel. But actually, Machu Picchu studies have been limited to issues of conservation or geological faults and have not investigated the subsoil where there are many galleries and tunnels waiting for the attentive eyes of archaeologists. The first draft of the report was approved by the Ministry of Culture. The Inkari Institute then presented a second draft, which this time included excavating, if needed, in order to unravel this historic mystery. On November 5, 2012, however, Ana Maria Hoyle, in charge of the Directorate General of Cultural Heritage, refused to authorize the second project. For Thierry Jamin, the responsibility for this negative response is due to Fernando Astete. "To allow us to go ahead requires the “technical opinion” of those in charge of Machu Picchu, and as Fernando Astete knows the importance of the discovery and wants to take control of the project, he has not provided a fair technical opinion," the French researcher argues. Actually, Astete did not sign off on this "technical opinion" because he is not an archaeologist. Instead Piedad Champi, director of the Park, signed it. The technical opinion noted that the project is not within the guidelines of the Master Plan of Machu Picchu and said that "know little or nothing about conservation," and that the opening of the wall would generate "structural instability problems." It also suggested that the Inkari Institute is searching for precious metals without taking into account their historical context. Daniel Merino refutes these findings and states that "we comply with the Master Plan and we would have liked for them to tell us why they think we do not. The project is well structured, with a good hypothesis, appropriate methodology and scientific criteria. We have a competent multidisciplinary team, with a good track record, but they treat us as if we were looters. These are subjective opinions. Piedad Champi’s conservation considerations have surprised us, because it can hardly be disputed the expertise of a world authority on the subject such as Victor Pimentel, who is on Inkari team. " As to the "structural instability," Inkari’s legal defense indicates that these are civil engineering opinions, a competency in which the archaeologist Champi does not possess. And they has a report by a civil engineer, Cesar del Carpio, who ensures that the opening of the wall will not alter the structure of the compound. Thierry Jamin says specifically that "georadar does not lie, is not our fault that the archaeologists of Machu Picchu, many with 20 or 30 years in the park, have overlooked this discovery." He adds: "We want a re-evaluation of the project by impartial archaeologists, independent of Fernando Astete’s team It does not seem to me either moral or profession to have us removed from the project.” In early December the Inkari Institute filed an appeal, which the Ministry must decide upon shortly. It would be a shame that what could be the most important archaeological find of the last decades, will get caught up in trifling obstacles only a short distance away from the historic grandeur of Machu Picchu.
Labyrinth Lies Within Mysterious Desert Drawing Dec 11, 2012 Discovery.com A large labyrinth lies in the midst of Peru's Nazca Lines, according to the most detailed study on the enigmatic desert etchings created between 2,100 and 1,300 years ago. Completely hidden in the flat and featureless landscape, the labyrinth was identified after a five-year investigation into the arid Peruvian coastal plain land, about 250 miles south of Lima, where the mysterious geoglyphs are located. Location of the Nazca Lines in Peru "As you walk it, only the path stretching ahead of you is visible at any given point," Clive Ruggles of the University of Leicester's School of Archaeology and Ancient History, said. Ruggles and colleague Nicholas Saunders of the University of Bristol's Department of Archaeology and Anthropology walked more than 900 miles of desert, tracing the lines and geometric figures carved between 100 B.C. and 700 A.D. by the Nazca people. They reported their findings in the December issue of the journal Antiquity. Also known for their obsession over trophy heads –- they boasted the largest collection of human heads in the Andes region of South America -- the Nazca flourished in Peru between the first century B.C. and the fifth century A.D. and slid into oblivion by the time the Inca Empire rose to dominate the Andes. The researchers studied the layers of superimposed designs, and the associated Nazca pottery, combining the experience gained by walking the lines with scientific data from satellite digital mapping. First discovered by Ruggles when he spent a few days on the Nazca desert back in 1984, the labyrinth lies in the midst of the study area. "Factors beyond my control brought the 1984 expedition to an abrupt halt. It was only 20 years later that I eventually had the opportunity to return to Nazca, relocate the figure and study it fully," Ruggles said. He added that the only way to become aware of the labyrinth is to walk its 2.7-mile length through a disorienting twisting path. Indeed, the labyrinth features 15 corners that would bring the walker away from and towards a large hill before turning into a spiral passageway. Walking the entire path would have probably taken about an hour. "I was almost certainly the first person to have recognized it for what it was," Ruggles said. The labyrinth's well-preserved edges suggest it was walked by a few people in single line. Unfortunately, there is no way to know the meaning of the structure and how it was used. "The labyrinth was probably constructed during the middle part of the 800-year-long Nasca period, around A.D. 500. Unlike some of the famous zoomorphic figures, its irregular form provides no reason to speculate that it might have been intended to be viewed from the air, but rather to be experienced from within. It was meant to be walked," Ruggles wrote on his website. According to the researchers, walking the lines has provided an important source of information to better understand the enigmatic desert drawings. Recognizable only from the air, the lines, geometric designs and images of animals and birds, some up to 900 feet long, have been a source of mystery since their discovery nearly a century ago. A collection of Nazca line designs Called anything from ancient calendars to landing strips for alien spaceships, the lines were also linked to water deities, suggesting that they marked sacred paths and places where people went to worship. After studying the integrity of many lines and figures within a 50-square-mile area, Ruggles and Saunders concluded that the meandering and well-worn trans-desert pathways were most likely created for functional purposes. On the contrary, the famous arrow-straight lines and geometric shapes appear to have had a spiritual and ritual purpose. "It may be, we suggest, that the real importance of some of these desert drawings was in their creation rather than any subsequent physical use," Ruggles said. The lines were created by removing dark surface stones and revealing the lighter colored ground below
Yale University's and Peru's flags flying in front of the Casa Concha Museum in Cusco, Peru Nov 12, 2012 Yale Daily News Earlier today, Yale quietly returned the third and final batch of thousands of Machu Picchu artifacts to Peru, marking an end to the years-long dispute between Peru and Yale that led to a lawsuit four years ago. The touchdown of today’s 127-box shipment was the final of three deliveries, which was financed by Yale. The University shipped the first fraction of the artifacts in March 2011 and the second last December. Yale and Peru resolved the lawsuit in November 2010, when the University agreed to return the pottery shards and other artifacts that Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham III recovered during trips to Machu Picchu between 1911 and 1916. Tensions grew over the ownership of the artifacts and culminated in December 2008 when Peru sued Yale over the relics. The dispute lasted years, garnering national media attention and responses from the Yale community. Though the Peruvian government threatened to sue University President Richard Levin personally in 2008, Peruvian Ambassador to the United States Harold Forsyth presented Levin with the “Orden del Sol,” or the “Great Cross” grade of the Order “The Sun of Peru” last September. Many of the artifacts are currently on display at the Casa Concha Museum in Cusco, Peru.
A 7,000-year-old mummy from the Chinchorro culture, along the border of Chile and Peru, whose skin, hair and clothing still remain (photos: National Geographic) Changing Climate May Have Led To Earliest Mummies NPR August 15, 2012 A couple of thousand years before the Egyptians preserved some of their dead, a much simpler society made the first known mummies. The Chinchorros, the first mummy makers, lived about 7,000 years ago in South America, on the coast near the border between modern-day Peru and Chile. The desert area where they lived was so dry, dead people turned into mummies naturally. The Chinchorro culture straddled the coastline along what is now the border of Chile and Peru "Once you die, you stay around," says Chilean ecologist Pablo Marquet, who studies the Chinchorros and the area where they lived. "You don't disappear because of the decomposition that happens in many other environments." At some point, the Chinchorros stopped leaving it to nature, and began mummifying their dead. They started dressing them up with wigs, clay and paint. But why? A few years ago, Marquet joined archaeologists and paleoanthropologists to answer that central question. What they did know was that the early Chinchorros were hunter-gatherers. They did bury their dead, but in shallow graves only about a foot or two from the surface. It took only a little erosion for these dead people to be revealed. Rather than preserving flesh, the Chinchorro people used a paste of manganese-infused ash to sculpt "bodies" on top of defleshed skeletons, whose internal organs had been replaced with earth. " most other populations, the dead disappear and become recycled back into the system," Marquet says, "but here they stay around." The living also encountered the dead when they dug new graves. Diseases and arsenic poisoning from drinking water were rampant, adding up to a lot of corpses on the landscape. In fact, Marquet and his team calculated that the average person would encounter these natural mummies at least hundreds of times in a lifetime. "The question was why they started to mummify their dead, and I think the key insight came from the observation of their environment," Marquet says. He says he thinks seeing all these mummies inspired the Chinchorros' death rituals. His team also looked at data about the climate thousands of years ago. "We started seeing the data, and everything was like aligning perfectly," he says. "We couldn't believe it." According to the data, it appears the Chinchorros started preserving and decorating corpses during a time their climate was wetter. There would be more water and more seafood around to support a bigger population. Artifacts from that era confirm that the population surged around this time. "If you have more individuals in a population and they start interacting, it is more likely that new ideas will emerge, and once new ideas emerge they will spread faster," Marquet says. The grave of two adult and two infant Chinchorro mummies, possibly part of the same family. Archaeologists believe that the Chinchorros may have mummified their dead as a way of coping with the persistence of their ancestors' bodies in the arid Atacama Desert. The idea is that the more hospitable environment gave people more free time. They no longer needed all their time for hunting and gathering. They had time to care for their dead and to pass on their embalming techniques to others. The findings appear in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. These mummies haven't revealed all their secrets yet. Researchers are still trying to explain why infants and fetuses were among the South American mummies; other cultures reserved this treatment for their elite.
Humans (Homo sapiens) ventured out of Africa Some 65,000 years ago. They finally arrived in South America some 14,000 years ago Earliest Americans Arrived in Waves, DNA Study Finds July 11, 2012 NYT North and South America were first populated by three waves of migrants from Siberia rather than just a single migration, say researchers who have studied the whole genomes of Native Americans in South America and Canada. Some scientists assert that the Americas were peopled in one large migration from Siberia that happened about 15,000 years ago, but the new genetic research shows that this central episode was followed by at least two smaller migrations from Siberia, one by people who became the ancestors of today’s Eskimos and Aleutians and another by people speaking Na-Dene, whose descendants are confined to North America. The research was published online on Wednesday in the journal Nature. The finding vindicates a proposal first made on linguistic grounds by Joseph Greenberg, the great classifier of the world’s languages. He asserted in 1987 that most languages spoken in North and South America were derived from the single mother tongue of the first settlers from Siberia, which he called Amerind. Two later waves, he surmised, brought speakers of Eskimo-Aleut and of Na-Dene, the language family spoken by the Apache and Navajo. Joseph Greenberg's Linguistic Map of the Americas Seems to Have Been Confirmed by Recent Genetic Research But many linguists who specialize in American languages derided Dr. Greenberg’s proposal, saying they saw no evidence for any single ancestral language like Amerind. “American linguists made up their minds 25 years ago that they wouldn’t support Greenberg, and they haven’t changed their mind one whit,” said Merritt Ruhlen, a colleague of Dr. Greenberg, who died in 2001. The new DNA study is based on gene chips that sample the entire genome and presents a fuller picture than earlier studies, which were based on small regions of the genome like the Y chromosome or mitochondrial DNA. Several of the mitochondrial DNA studies had pointed to a single migration. A team led by David Reich of Harvard Medical School and Dr. Andres Ruiz-Linares of University College London reported that there was a main migration that populated the entire Americas. They cannot date the migration from their genomic data but accept the estimate by others that the migration occurred around 15,000 years ago. This was in the window of time that occurred after the melting of great glaciers that blocked passage from Siberia to Alaska, and before the rising waters at the end of the last ice age submerged Beringia, the land bridge between them. They also find evidence for two further waves of migration, one among Na-Dene speakers and the other among Eskimo-Aleut, again as Dr. Greenberg predicted. But whereas Dr. Greenberg’s proposal suggested that three discrete groups of people were packed into the Americas, the new genome study finds that the second and third waves mixed in with the first. Eskimos inherit about half of their DNA from the people of the first migration and half from a second migration. The Chipewyans of Canada, who speak a Na-Dene language, have 90 percent of their genes from the first migration and some 10 percent from a third. It is not clear why the Chipewyans and others speak a Na-Dene language if most of their DNA is from Amerind speakers. Dr. Ruiz-Linares said a minority language could often dominate others in the case of conquest; an example of this is the ubiquity of Spanish in Latin America. If the genetics of the early migrations to the Americas can be defined well enough, it should in principle be possible to match them with their source populations in Asia. Dr. Greenberg had argued on linguistic grounds that the Na-Dene language family was derived from Ket, spoken by the Ket people in the Yenisei valley of Siberia. But Dr. Reich said there was not yet enough genomic data from Asia or the Americas to make these links. His samples of Na-Dene and Ket DNA did not match, but the few Ket samples he had may have become mixed with DNA from people of other ethnicities, so the test, in his view, was inconclusive. The team’s samples of Native American genomes were drawn mostly from South America, with a handful from Canada. Samples from tribes in the United States could not be used because the existing ones had been collected for medical reasons and the donors had not given consent for population genetics studies, Dr. Ruiz-Linares said. Native Americans in the United States have been reluctant to participate in inquiries into their origins. The Genographic Project of the National Geographic Society wrote recently to all federally recognized tribes in the United States asking for samples, but only two agreed to give them, said Spencer Wells, the project director. Another View Of Human Migration From Africa to South America Interracial marriage — or admixture, as geneticists call it — may have distorted earlier efforts to trace ancestry because subjects assumed to be American may have had European or other DNA admixed in their genomes. Dr. Reich and his colleagues have developed a method to define the racial origin of each segment of DNA and have found that on average 8.5 percent of Native American DNA belongs to other races. They then screened these admixed sections out of their analysis. Archaeologists who study Native American history are glad to have the genetic data but also have reservations, given that several of the geneticists’ conclusions have changed over time. “This is a really important step forward but not the last word,” said David Meltzer of Southern Methodist University, noting that many migrations may not yet have shown up in the genetic samples. Michael H. Crawford, an anthropologist at the University of Kansas, said the paucity of samples from North America and from coastal regions made it hard to claim a complete picture of early migrations has been attained. “Sometimes the statisticians make wonderful interpretations, but you have to be very guarded,” he said. The geneticists’ finding of a single main migration of people who presumably spoke a single language at the time confirms Dr. Greenberg’s central idea that most American languages are descended from a single root, even though the genetic data cannot confirm the specific language relationships he described. “Many linguists put down Greenberg as rubbish and don’t believe his publications,” Dr. Ruiz-Linares said. But he considers his study a substantial vindication of Dr. Greenberg. “It’s striking that we have this correspondence between the genetics and the linguistics,” he said. A Map of South America's Language Families. All South American languages are thought to have been derived from a single proto-language originally from Siberia.
New Amazon Highway 'Would Put Peru's Last Lost Tribes At Risk' Eco-campaigners clash with developers over plan to build 125-mile road through rainforest June 30, 2012 The Observer Members of the uncontacted Mashco-Piro tribe photographed through a telescope late last year A fierce row has broken out over a controversial plan to drive a road through pristine Amazon rainforest, imperilling the future of some of the world's last uncontacted tribes. The 125-mile (200km) road would pass through the Alto Purús national park in Peru, connecting a remote area to the outside world but opening up the most biologically and culturally important area of the upper Amazon to logging, mining and drug trafficking. Opponents of the plan fear it will threaten the existence of uncontacted tribes such as the Mashco-Piro. The first detailed photographs of members of the tribe made headlines around the world earlier this year after they were spotted on a riverbank. The majority indigenous population of the region appears to be largely united in its opposition to the road, which would run parallel to the Brazilian border, connecting the towns of Puerto Esperanza and Iñapari. Conservationists warn it would cause irreparable harm to the environment and the area's people. But the road has the support of many mixed-race settlers – or mestizos – who make up roughly one fifth of the region's population. With the Alto Purús currently accessible only by plane, they believe that the road would improve their quality of life, bringing lower prices for fuel and food and creating profitable development opportunities. The campaign to build the road has been led by an Italian missionary, Miguel Piovesan, who claims that indigenous people are being kept isolated and denied the chances for development available to the rest of the population. He first proposed the road in 2004, around the time the Peruvian government announced that the Alto Purús was to become the country's largest national park. The dotted red line represents the projected jungle highway Piovesan's plan's met with little initial enthusiasm, but his long and determined campaign, using his own radio station and parish website, has been so successful that the country's Congress is now due to debate a bill to allow construction to start. Piovesan has been scathing about his opponents, particularly international organisations such as Survival International and the WWF, which he accuses of profiting from keeping the tribes in isolation. "These international organisations gain money because they present themselves as the saviours of the Indians, this is what it's all about. So if the Indians evolve, they lose their business," he said on a recent radio show. Last week he told the Observer that the reality was that the indigenous people were being kept in a condition of "captivity and slavery incompatible with the true ecology". But Piovesan's opponents suspect that he is more interested in gaining access to potential converts for his church. Reports from Peru say that he has denied the existence of the uncontacted tribes. The main indigenous organisation in Puerto Esperanza, Feconapu, has demanded that the Vatican remove the priest, accusing him of insulting and humiliating the native population. One indigenous leader, Julio Cusurichi, warned that building the road would amount to "ethnocide" of the uncontacted tribes. According to the last census, in 2007, there are only about 3,500 people living in the region, including eight known tribes and an unknown number of uncontacted Indians living in the Madre de Díos territorial reserve. The 6.7m-acre national park is also home to wildlife including jaguar, scarlet macaw and giant river otter. A Map of Some of Peru's Estimated 15 Uncontacted Ethnic Groups The Upper Amazon Conservancy, which works with the indigenous population, has been one of the most vocal critics of the road. Its director, Chris Fagan, accused the road's supporters of short-sighted greed and said the majority of the population were vehemently opposed. "They depend on the forest and rivers for daily sustenance. They see the highway as just the latest example of mestizo greed and exploitation – of rubber, their religion, animal skins, mahogany, and now a highway accessing their homelands," he said. "It will ruin one of the wildest and culturally important places on Earth. Will reason or greed prevail?" Rebecca Spooner, Survival International's Peru campaigner, said building the road would devastate entire peoples: "These uncontacted tribes live either side of the Peru-Brazil border. Building this road through their forest tramples over their rights, imposing so-called 'development' upon them. Congress has the opportunity to step in before it's too late. This road should not be approved." The issue of access to areas inhabited by uncontacted tribes came to the fore in January when the Observer exposed the plight of the Jarawa tribe of the Andaman Islands, whose women and girls were being persuaded to dance semi-naked for tourists in return for gifts of food. Last month India's government finally took action to end the abuse, introducing a law to create a 5km buffer zone around the Jarawa's reserve and making breaches of the law punishable with up to seven years in jail. But in a sign that Delhi has a fight on its hands to protect the tribe, the Andaman administration responded by instructing its police force to think very carefully before taking any action against settlers living around the buffer zone.
The execution of the Inca emperor, Atahualpa, by the Spanish conquistadors in 1533 (Note: In 1533 Francisco Pizarro captured and executed the Inca emperor at the time, Atahualpa. However, after Atahualpa's death, three more Inca emperors ruled from the Incas' rebel capital of Vilcabamba: Sayri Tupac, Titu Cusi, and Tupac Amaru. The Spaniards executed the final Inca emperor, Tupac Amaru, in Cuzco in 1572--almost forty years after Pizarro's arrival--Kim MacQuarrie). Ecuador may have found last Inca emperor’s tomb Agence France-Presse February 29, 2012 It has been sought for centuries but remained a mystery, still out of reach. Now an expert has pinpointed a site that could be Atahualpa’s resting place: the last Inca emperor’s tomb.... “This is an absolutely important find for the history of Ecuador’s archeology and for the (Andean) region,” said Patrimony Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa, speaking of the ruins found by Ecuadoran historian Tamara Estupinan. The Inca empire, in the 1400s and early 1500s, spanned much of South America’s Andean region, over 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers), from modern-day Bolivia and Peru to Argentina, Chile, Ecuador and Colombia. It included dozens of ethnic groups with different languages, cities, temples, farming terraces and fortresses. Atahualpa was the last of his dynasty. During the Spanish conquest he was taken captive in what is now Cajamarca, Peru. He had been pressed to convert to Christianity and then the Spanish executed him by strangulation, then after his death in 1533, the empire began to fall apart. This year Ecuador’s state Cultural Patrimony Institute will start work on a promising archeological site, and Estupinan will be front and center to raise the curtain on a massive complex sprawling over a ridge at 1,020 meters. It was back in June 2010 that Estupinan, now a researcher with the French Institute for Andean Studies (IFEA), found what she describes as an “Inca archeological site” high on the Andes’ eastern flank amid plunging canyons. Nearby are a small local farm and a facility for raising fighting cocks. But in the area called Sigchos, about 45 miles south of Quito, up on a hill dotted with brush, there is more — much more: she found a complex of walls, aqueducts and stonework that lie inside the Machay rural retreat. Machay means burial in the Quechua language. Map of Malqui-Machay Ruins in Ecuador “This is a late imperial design Inca monument that leads to several rectangular rooms that were built with cut polished stone set around a trapezoidal plaza,” Estupinan explained to AFP. Archeologist Tamara Bray, of Wayne State University in Michigan, and a colleague of Estupinan, confirmed that the site boasts “an Inca edifice that is phenomenally well preserved and quite important scientifically.” Inside the facility, a walled walkway starts at the Machay River and one can see the shape of an “ushno”, essentially stairs that form a pyramid believed to be the (capac’s) emperor’s throne. Meanwhile a tiny cut channel of water would spout out a small waterfall nicknamed “the Inca’s bath”. The director at the Lima-based IFEA, Georges Lomne, said the find appears to confirm that the Incas were active and present in a lowland area well outside what their best-known area of operations were: Andean highlands. “Malqui-Machay is part of a broader complex that also would have included the Quilotoa lagoon and the area called Pujili (Cotopaxi),” he explained. The Final Resting Place of Atahualpa? “All of this belonged to Atahualpa. It was his personal fiefdom in the way that French (and other) kings had royal domains,” Lomne added. Bray also stressed that “very few such Inca sites have been found in this type of tropical lowland. I think that the Incas used it as a sort of getaway.” Estupinan has some more specific ideas. She believes Malqui-Machay is Atahualpa’s final resting place. The tomb of the last capac (emperor) of Tahuantinsuyo, the trans-Andean empire. While many experts have other theories, Estupinan believes that when Atahualpa was killed his remains could have been brought by his most loyal man, Ruminahui, to Sigchos for burial, to a place where Ruminahui based his fight for survival against the European intruders.
A group of uncontacted Mashco Piro Indians, one of an estimated fifteen uncontacted Indian tribes in Peru Peru Struggles To Keep Outsiders Away From Uncontacted Amazon Tribe Mashco-Piro Indians have been spotted on the banks of a river popular with tourists after increasing logging in the area Jan 31, 2012 guardian.co.uk Peruvian authorities say they are struggling to keep outsiders away from a clan of previously isolated Amazon Indians who began appearing on the banks of a jungle river popular with environmental tourists last year. The behavior of the small group of Mashco-Piro Indians has puzzled scientists, who say it may be related to the encroachment of loggers and low-flying aircraft from nearby natural gas and oil exploration in the south-eastern region of the country. Clan members have been blamed for two bow-and-arrow attacks on people near the riverbank in Madre de Dios state where officials say they were first seen last May. One attack badly wounded a forest ranger in October. The following month, another fatally pierced the heart of a local Matsiguenka Indian, Nicolas "Shaco" Flores, who had long maintained a relationship with the Mashco-Piro. The advocacy group Survival International released photos on Tuesday showing clan members on the riverbank, describing the pictures as the "most detailed sightings of uncontacted Indians ever recorded on camera". The British-based group provided the photos exactly a year after releasing aerial photos from Brazil of another tribe classified as uncontacted, one of about 100 such groups it says exist around the world. (Above: a group of tourists filmed this footage of the Mashco Piro shooting an arrow at them on the Manu River, Peru) One of the Mashco-Piro photos was taken by a birdwatcher in August, Survival International said. The other two were shot by the Spanish archaeologist Diego Cortijo on 16 November, six days before Flores was killed. Cortijo, a member of the Spanish Geographical Society, was visiting Flores while on an expedition in search of petroglyphs and said clan members appeared across the river from Flores's house, calling for him by name. Flores could communicate with the Mashco-Piro because he spoke two related dialects, said Cortijo, who added that Flores had previously provided clan members with machetes and cooking pots. The Mashco-Piro tribe is believed to number in the hundreds and lives in the Manu national park that borders Diamante, a community of more than 200 people where Flores lived. Although it is not known what provoked the Mashco-Piro clan to leave the relative safety of their tribe's jungle home, Beatriz Huerta, an anthropologist who works with Peru's Indepa agency for indigenous affairs, speculated that their habitat was becoming increasingly less isolated. The upper Madre de Dios region where the tribe lives has been affected by logging, she said. "They are removing wood very close." The Madre de Dios (Mother of God) River crisscrosses the department of the same name in the SE of Peru Meanwhile, Huerta said, naturalists in the area and Manu national park officials told her during a recent visit that a rise in air traffic related to natural gas and oil exploration in the region was adversely affecting native hunting grounds, forcing increasing migration by nomadic tribes. The clan that showed up at the river is believed to number about 60, including some 25 adults, said Carlos Soria, a professor at Lima's Catholic University who ran Peru's park protection agency last year. "It seemed like they wanted to draw a bit of attention, which is a bit strange because I know that on other occasions they had attacked people," Cortijo said by phone from Spain. "It seemed they didn't want us to go near them, but I also know that the only thing that they wanted was machetes and cooking pots." Cortijo said the group lingered by the river a few minutes, apparently to see if a boat would pass by so they could ask for some tools, something authorities say they have done in the past. "The place where they are seen is one of heavy transit" of river cargo and tourist passage, and so the potential for more violent encounters remains high, Soria said. That is compounded by a culture clash. The Mashco-Piro live by their own social code, which Soria said includes the practice of kidnapping women and children from other tribes. He said the Mashco-Piro were one of about 15 "uncontacted" tribes in Peru that together are estimated to number between 12,000 and 15,000 people living in jungles east of the Andes. "The situation is incredibly delicate," said Huerta. "It's very clear that they don't want people there," she said, noting that they had ransacked a jungle ranger's post that authorities later removed. One of the clan's likely fears is being decimated by disease borne by outsiders, as has occurred with other uncontacted peoples, Huerta said. After the first sightings, and after tourists left clothing for the Mashco-Piro, state authorities issued a directive in August barring all boats from going ashore in the area. But enforcing it has been difficult as there are few trained and willing local officials. In response to the Flores killing, authorities sent a team into Diamante to explain to inhabitants that it would be wrong to try to retaliate. Cortijo said Flores's death made reaching any understanding with the Mashco-Piro very complicated. "The problem is that Shaco was the only person who could talk to them," he said. "Now that he's dead it's impossible to make contact." Below: An emergent rainforest tree in Manu National Park, Peru