Peru Book Recommendations
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Recommended Books on the Archaeology of Peru

Your Guide: Catherine Criolla
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Overviews and General Books

  • Craig Morris and Adriana Von Hagen The Inca Empire and Its Andean Origins Abbeville Press. 1993. This book accompanies the wonderful Hall of South American Peoples at New York's American Museum of Natural History. It details the archaeology of the pre-hispanic civilizations of Peru and it is illustrated with wonderful photographs of important archaeological sites and of artifacts from AMNH collections. A nice coffee table book as well as a great reference and pre- or post- trip read (It's a little heavy to take with you)
  • Adriana Von Hagen and Craig Morris The Cities of the Ancient Andes Thames and Hudson 1998. A wonderful and unique, readable guide to major archaeological sites of Peru and surrounding areas, with good and up-to-date information on what is known about the sites. This book includes discussions of the most famous sites as well as many that are only rarely visited by the average foreign tourist.
  • Michael E. Moseley The Incas and Their Ancestors: The Archaeology of Peru Thames and Hudson 1992. A college level textbook written by one of the best known archaeologists working in Peru. More polemic and less encyclopedic that the Morris and Von Hagen book, but quite good.

Books on specific archaeological cultures

 

Moche

  • Walter Alva and Christopher B. Donnan Royal Tombs of Sipan Fowler Museum of Cultural History, 1993. The catalog to the traveling exhibition of the same name. This book tells the story of the discovery, excavation, and study of one of the most spectacular archeological discoveries in recent memory. It is a great read, provides lots of information on Moche iconography, and on the discoveries at Sipan, and it illustrates many of the most spectacular artifacts from the discovery. Highly recommended for the traveler
  • Garth Bawden Moche (The Peoples of America) This book is not for the casual traveler, but is good for those who want a more detailed and systematic description of the Moche.
  • Christopher B. Donnan Moche Portraits from Ancient Peru This in depthy systematic exploration of Moche portrait pots is fascinating for those interested in a deeper exploration of the ancient art and related aspects of Moche culture.
  • Christopher B. Donnan and Donna McClellan Moche Fineline Painting: Its Evolution and Its Artists Another fascinating book for those more seriously interested in ancient art and artists.
  • Moche Art and Archaeology in Ancient Peru, edited by Joanne Pillsbury. A compilation of articles on the exciting specialized research going on. For the more serious student.

Inca (all of these are for the more serious student)

Books on specific topics and individual civilizations

  • Richard L. Burger Chavin: And the Origins of the Andean Civilization Thames and Hudson 1992. An overview of one of Peru’s earliest civilizations. Recommended for those that get serious about exploration (the site of Chavin can be visited by the intrepid)
  • Evan Hadingham Lines to the Mountain Gods: Nazca and the Mysteries of Peru University of Oklahoma Press 1988. A good overview of this fascinating and mysterious ancient civilization and phenomenon.
  • Alan Kolata The Tiwanaku: Portrait of an Andean Civilization Blackwell Publishers 1993. An overview of what was known about the Tiwanaku a decade ago. This is the only overview available, but there has been so much recent research on the Tiwanaku civilization that this is due for an update.
  • Tiwanaku: Ancestors Of The Inca This is an exhibit catalog that includes spectacular illustrations of rarely seen Tiwanaku textiles and other artifacts. Recommended for those interested in textiles.

Archaeological discovery and adventure

  • Ephraim G. Squier's Peru: Incidents of travel and exploration in the land of the Incas a 19th Century source, features wonderful drawings of archeological ruins and of landscapes cities of the Andes.
  • Hiram Bingham's Lost City of the Incas is a classic. Bingham was the Yale adventurer who "rediscovered" Machu Picchu. His ideas about the site were colorful, although almost none of them proved to be true.
  • Victor Von Hagen's Highway of the sun, published in 1955, is also a fun read about an expedition of discovery of the ancient roads of the Inca. Feminists may want to avoid this one.

 

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