South America 1500 BCE

The peoples of the Pacific coast are making strides towards civilization.

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What is happening in South America in 1500BCE

Community and cultural development

For the past thousand years, the people of the Pacific coast of Peru have been making strides towards true civilization, as larger and more complex societies have begun to emerge. Towns have appeared in the river valleys, dependent upon irrigation farming for their sustenance. The focus of their communal life are the ever-larger temple platforms being constructed in their centers.

The trade routes linking these coastal communities with the peoples of the high Andes are transmitting this cultural package into this region as well, so that the two geographical zones are increasingly forming one unified cultural area.

The spread of farming

Elsewhere in South America, the transition from a mainly hunter-gatherer way of life to one based on farming is gradually taking place, though much of the continent will be home to hunter-gatherers right up until post-Conquest times.


At this time the Amazonian basin sees the beginnings of a large-scale expansion of Arawak-speaking peoples from their homeland somewhere in the north-east of the region. This may have been caused by some agricultural innovation, such as the adoption of new root crops, highly suited to forest agriculture, or improvements in their slash-and-burn agricultural practices.

The Atlantic coast

In the lowlands of the Atlantic coast, communities are choosing to use refuse middens which have built up over hundreds of years as habitation mounds, as well as for ritual platforms.

Next map, South America in 1000 BCE

Dig Deeper

The coming of farming This article refers to the Old World, but similar developments occurred in the New World, with its different animals and plants.


Pre-Columbian civilizations of America

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