South America 2500 BCE

Large villages are developing along the Pacific coast, with temple-mounds and irrigation systems being constructed.

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What is happening in South America in 2500BCE

The Pacific Coast

Over the past thousand years, on the Pacific coast of Peru and Ecuador, improvements in farming have led to increases in population and the spread of permanent farming villages. These developments have been accompanied by the appearance of pottery, the invention of loom weaving and the beginnings of a more class-based society. The largest villages house up to 4000 people. Here, large temple-mounds are starting to be built, evidence for the development of a priestly elite able to control the labor of the rest of the population. This is also apparent in the irrigation systems now being developed.


Elsewhere, the shift to farming has been much slower. However, in Amazonia, proto-agricultural villages are beginning to appear, and pottery is spreading throughout the region.

The Andes

Changes are also taking place in the high Andes, where the hunter-gatherer way of life is giving way to llama- and alpaca-herding. A growing network of trade routes links the high mountain regions with the villages of the Pacific coast.

Next map, South America in 1500 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.

More details on early South American agriculture (an external link)

Pre-Columbian civilizations of America

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