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A panoramic photo of ruins of a city on a mountainside with large mountains in the background. In the front left of the image the ruined, dark gray, connected, long stone buildings sit on six steps with walls left depicting rooms and no roofs. Below the last step a flat, green grass filled space shows more stone walls with rooms outlined and roofs missing. Going down the mountain in front of the bottom tier are more ruined stone buildings and a thick forest of green trees. More ruins of maze-like buildings are seen in the background along with a pyramid shaped structure in the back left of the image. The bottom left corner shows beige steps in the mountain with people depicted at the top. In front of those steps are large greenish steps and some rocks. In the bottom right of the image a road can be seen with people standing.
Figure 8.1 Machu Picchu. Nestled between two peaks high in the Andes Mountains, the Inca fortress of Machu Picchu was built in the fifteenth century CE and once looked out over an expansive empire. (credit: modification of work “Machu Picchu” by Roger Canals/Wikimedia Commons, CC0 1.0)

The stunning ruins of Machu Picchu, situated in the Andes Mountains between two sharp peaks almost eight thousand feet above sea level, continue to attract visitors from around the world (Figure 8.1). Once a palace and royal retreat for the conquering Inca ruler Pachacuti Yupanqui, the complex was begun in the mid-fifteenth century CE and remained occupied until shortly after the Spanish arrived in the following century. Under Pachacuti Yupanqui, from their Andean home city of Cuzco, the Inca extended their control and built a large empire in Peru. Later rulers continued this expansion, bringing much of western South America under their rule. While the Inca Empire was impressive and politically, religiously, and technologically sophisticated, it was merely the last of many Andean civilizations and cultures stretching back thousands of years. Indeed, these South American civilizations were part of an even larger number of cultures, empires, and architectural traditions that spanned the entire Western Hemisphere and were built by the descendants of migrants who reached the Americas several thousand years ago.

A timeline with chapter events is shown. 16,000 BCE: Humans migrate into the Americas. 11,000 BCE: Clovis culture originates; an image of an orange and yellow arrow shaped item is shown. 3000 BCE: Norte Chico civilization begins. 1200 BCE: Olmec civilization forms; an image of a stone face is shown in a helmet. 300 BCE: Maya invent writing system; an image of twelve boxes of stone carvings is shown. 200 BCE: Nazca lines created; an aerial image of a winged figure is shown in green fields. 200 BCE: Hopewell tradition emerges. 1000 CE: Pueblo Bonito peaks; an image of ruins of a stone wall are seen on the backdrop of tall brown cliffs. 1050 CE: Cahokia founded. 1450 CE: Machu Picchu built; an aerial image of the ruins of a city set among the mountains is shown.
Figure 8.2 Timeline: The Americas in Ancient Times. (credit “11,000 BCE”: modification of work “Clovis point” by “Daderot”/Wikimedia Commons, CC0 1.0; credit “1200 BCE”: modification of work “An Olmec colossal head at the Xalapa Museum of Anthropology, in Veracruz, Mexico” by “Maunus”/Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain; credit “300 BCE”: modification of work “Maya stucco glyphs displayed in the museum at Palenque, Mexico” by “Kwamikagami”/Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain; credit “200 BCE”: modification of work “The Condor” by Roger Canals/Wikimedia Commons, CC0 1.0; credit “1000 CE”: modification of work “Chaco Canyon - Taaqa 'man' at Pueblo Bonita” by “Kyleson1”/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 4.0; credit “1450 CE”: modification of work “Machu Picchu” by Roger Canals/Wikimedia Commons, CC0 1.0)
A map of the world is shown. The continents of North and South American are highlighted orange.
Figure 8.3 Locator Map: The Americas in Ancient Times. (credit: modification of work “World map blank shorelines” by Maciej Jaros/Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)
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