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The Olmec and Chavin religions emerged in different parts of the Americas and at different times. The two faiths share some similarities in their practices, such as shamanism[2] and worshipping deities associated with natural phenomena. However, it’s important to note that there is no evidence of direct cultural or religious contact between the two civilisations.

Picture: Olmec artefact in the Anthropology Museum, Mexico City” by Jeremy Weate is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

It’s unlikely that the two religions merged or influenced each other directly, although it’s possible that some of the similarities between the Olmec and Chavin religions were the result of convergent evolution, meaning that similar religious practices emerged independently in different cultures due to similar environmental or social conditions:
The Olmec and Chavin ancient cultures emerged in different parts of the Americas around 1200 BC and 900 BC, respectively. Although they were separated by geography and time, both cultures shared similarities in their religious practices.

The Olmec civilisation was in what is now Mexico, and it is often considered the “mother culture” of Mesoamerican civilisations. Their religion centred on the worship of a pantheon of gods, including a rain deity and a jaguar god. They also practised bloodletting rituals and human sacrifice as offerings to their gods. However, the Olmec civilisation declined around 400 BC, and their religion was largely replaced by the more well-known religions of the Maya and Aztec civilisations.

Chavin, on the other hand, was a civilisation located in what is now Peru. Their religion focused on the worship of a god known as “The Staff God,” who was associated with agricultural fertility and warfare. The Chavin civilisation also practised shamanism, a spiritual practice that involved communicating with the spirit world using hallucinogenic plants. Chavin declined around 200 BC, and their religion was largely supplanted by the Inca civilisation, which emerged centuries later.

Neither Olmec nor Chavin religions are still practised today in their original form. However, elements of these religions have survived in various forms. For example, many indigenous peoples in Mexico and Peru incorporate aspects of Olmec and Chavin religious practices into their current spiritual practices. The Olmec and Chavin religions were significant in the development of early American civilisations, and their influence can still be seen in the spiritual practices of some indigenous peoples today.

Olmec Art
Picture: Olmec Art” by koiart71 is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Olmec – the Multifaceted Ancient Religion
Researchers believe the Olmec people to have centred their religion around five key aspects: specific cosmology, deities who controlled the natural world, shamans and rulers who were intermediaries between such gods and the common Olmec people, rituals around ideas of the cosmos led by this ruling class, and sacred sites. Because they believed their rulers to be relatives of their supernatural gods, they were held to a level of high respect.[3]

The Olmecs are renowned for their massive carved stone heads and other sculptures, the first stone monuments produced in Mesoamerica. The religion of the Olmec people significantly influenced the social development and mythological worldview of Mesoamerica. Scholars have seen echoes of Olmec supernatural in the subsequent religions and mythologies of nearly all later pre-Columbian era cultures.

The first Mesoamerican civilisation, the Olmecs, developed on present-day Mexico’s southern Gulf Coast in the centuries before 1200 BC. The culture lasted until roughly 400 BC when their centre of La Venta lay abandoned. The Olmec culture is often considered a “mother culture” to later Mesoamerican cultures.

There is no surviving direct account of the Olmec’s religious beliefs, unlike the Mayan Popol Vuh or the Aztecs’ many codices and conquistador accounts. Archaeologists, therefore, have had to rely on other techniques to reconstruct Olmec beliefs, most prominently[4]:

  • Typological analysis of Olmec iconography and art.
  • Comparison to later, better documented pre-Columbian cultures.
  • Comparison to modern-day cultures of the indigenous peoples of the Americas.

The Olmecs were polytheistic, believing in many gods who controlled the natural forces of life. These gods took on human-like forms but had a more frightful quality as well by showing mixtures of feline, reptile, and bird-like features.

Birds, stones, and jaguars were important elements of the Olmec religious practices. The Olmec civilisation is known for its large stone heads, which are believed to depict their rulers or deities. Jaguars were also important in the Olmec religion, often associated with power and divinity. Birds were also significant in Olmec iconography and may have been associated with celestial or otherworldly realms.

Multifaceted suggests that the Olmec religion was complex and had multiple aspects that may be difficult to understand, which is very true. It also indicates that researchers use various pieces of evidence, such as archaeological artefacts and iconography, to reconstruct the Olmec religion and better understand its beliefs and practices.

Expanding on the above, here are some of the ways that researchers have studied the Olmec religion:

  • Archaeological artefacts: Researchers have analysed the archaeological artefacts left behind by the Olmec civilisation, such as pottery, figurines, and stone monuments. These artefacts often depict deities, animals, and other important elements in the Olmec religion.
  • Iconography: The Olmec civilisation is known for its distinctive iconography, which includes large stone heads and other sculptures. Researchers have analysed the symbolism and iconography of these sculptures to gain a better understanding of the Olmec religion. For example, the Olmec stone heads depict rulers or deities with distinct facial features and headdresses that may have had religious significance.
  • Comparative studies: Researchers have compared the religious practices of the Olmec civilisation to other Mesoamerican civilisations that emerged later, such as the Maya and Aztec cultures.
  • Ethnographic studies: Researchers have also studied the religious practices of indigenous peoples in the region today who may have cultural ties to the Olmec civilisation.

Reconstructing the Olmec religion is a complex and ongoing process that involves various methods and pieces of evidence, all necessary so that researchers can gain a complete understanding of the Olmec religion and its significance in the development of early American civilisations.

Rulers, Priests, Shamans and Olmec Supernaturals [5]
Olmec religious activities were performed by rulers, full-time priests, and shamans. Rulers seem to have been the most important religious figures, with their links to the Olmec deities or supernaturals providing legitimacy for their rule.[6] There is also considerable evidence of shamans in the Olmec archaeological record, particularly in the so-called “transformation figures“.[7]

Picture: Olmec Chief or King. Relief from La Venta Archaeological Site in Tabasco.
Attribution: O.Mustafin, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
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Specifics concerning Olmec’s religion are a matter of some conjecture. Early researchers found religious beliefs to be centred upon a jaguar god.[8] This view was challenged in the 1970s by Peter David Joralemon, whose PhD paper and subsequent article posited what are now considered to be eight different supernaturals.[9] With time, Joralemon’s viewpoint has become the predominant exposition of the Olmec pantheon. However, the study of Olmec religion is still in its infancy, and any list of Olmec supernaturals or deities can be neither definitive nor comprehensive.[10]

The names and identities of these supernaturals can only be regarded as provisional, and the details concerning many of them remain poorly known,[11] a confusion partly caused because the supernaturals are defined as a cluster of iconographic mafias.[12] Any given motif may appear in multiple supernaturals. For example, “flame eyebrows” are seen within representations of both the Olmec Dragon and the Bird Monster, and the cleft head is seen on all five supernaturals that appear on Las Limas Monument 1. To add to the confusion, Joralemon suggested that many of these gods had multiple aspects – for example, Joralemon had identified a God I-A through a God I-F.[13]

­­Despite using the descriptive term “god”, none of these deities and supernaturals show any gender indication:[14]

  • Olmec Dragon (God I): Also known as the Earth Monster, the Olmec Dragon has flame eyebrows, a bulbous nose, and a bifurcated tongue.[15] When viewed from the front, the Olmec Dragon has trough-shaped eyes; when viewed in profile, the eyes are L-shaped.[16] Fangs are prominent, often rendered as an upside-down U-shaped bracket.[17] With the Bird Monster, the Olmec Dragon is one of the most commonly depicted supernaturals.[18] Miller & Taube differentiate a Personified Earth Cave, equating it with Joralmon’s God I-B.[19]
  • Maize deity (God II): Another probable supernatural is identified by the plants sprouting from its cleft head. A carved celt from Veracruz shows a representation of God II, or the Maize God, growing corn from his ‘cleft’, and also shows this god with the snarling face associated with the jaguar.[20] This deity is rarely shown with a full body.[21]
  • Rain Spirit and Were-jaguar (God III): There is considerable disagreement among researchers about whether the Rain Spirit and were-jaguar are one or two separate supernaturals. For example, Christopher Pool[22], Anatole Pohorilenko, and Miller & Taube each equate the were-jaguar with the Rain Deity, while Joralemon finds them as two separate supernaturals.[23] Joralemon states that the Olmec rain spirit “is based on were-jaguar features” but is not the were-jaguar per se.[24]
  • Banded-eye God (God IV): This enigmatic deity is named for the narrow band that runs along the side of its face through its almond-shaped eye with its round iris. Like many other supernaturals, the Banded-eye God has a cleft head and a downturned mouth. Unlike others, the Banded-eye God is only known from its profile – these renditions are generally concentrated on bowls from the Valley of Mexico[25], although the Banded-eye God is one of the five supernaturals shown on Las Limas Monument 1 from the Olmec heartland.
  • Feathered Serpent (God V): The feathered (or plumed) serpent depicted throughout Mesoamerica first appears in Olmec times, although there is some disagreement concerning its importance to the Olmec.[26] The Feathered Serpent appears on the La Venta Stele 19 and within a Juxtlahuaca cave painting, locations hundreds of miles apart.
  • Fish or Shark Monster (God VI): Most often recognised by its shark tooth, the head of the monster also features a crescent-shaped eye and a small lower jaw.[27] When depicted in its full-body form, such as on San Lorenzo Monument 58, the anthropomorphic Fish Monster also displays crossed bands, a dorsal fin, and a split tail.[28]

The Chavin Civilisation and its Association with Natural Phenomena
Religion was held in high esteem in the culture of the cult known as the Chavin Civilisation, most easily observed from the name of their civilisation itself. A cult is a group whose lives revolve around following a religious leader who promotes doctrine and practices specific to their religion. The Centre of their practice is known as the Old Temple. As time passed and their civilisation grew, part of the Old Temple was enlarged and remoulded, creating what is known as The New Temple. Both continued in use as a site for events and religious practice.[29]

Picture [Cropped]: The tusks are present in all the arts of Chavín including in the sculpture as this tenon head.
Attribution: Dtarazona, CC BY-SA 4.0 <;, via Wikimedia Commons
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The Chavin civilisation emerged in what is now Peru around 900/1000 BC and flourished until around 200 BC, roughly 1,000 years after the decline of the Caral civilisation[30]. Like the Olmec civilisation, the Chavin culture is considered one of the earliest complex societies in the Americas. The Chavin religion was polytheistic, with a pantheon of gods and goddesses associated with natural phenomena such as the sun, moon, and stars.

The culture extended its influence to other civilisations along the Peruvian coast.[31] The Chavin people were located in the Mosna Valley, where the Mosna and Huachecsa rivers merge. This area is 3,150 metres (10,330 ft) above sea level, encompassing the Quechua, suni and puna life zones.[32] In the periodisation of pre-Columbian Peru, the Chavin is the main culture of the Early Horizon period in highland Peru, characterised by the intensification of the religious cult, the appearance of ceramics closely related to the ceremonial centres, and the improvement of agricultural techniques and the development of metallurgy and textiles.

Double-chambered vessel with two crayfish Peru Recuay culture 2nd century BCE - 5th century CE Earthenware
Picture: Double-chambered vessel with two crayfish Peru Recuay culture 2nd century BCE – 5th century CE Earthenware” by mharrsch is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

The best-known archaeological site for the Chavin culture is Chavin de Huántar, located in the Andean highlands of the present-day Ancash Region. Although Chavin de Huántar may or may not have been the centre or birthplace of the Chavin culture, it was of great importance, in recognition for which it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Staff God
The most significant deity in the Chavin religion was known as the Staff God, depicted in artwork with a serpent-like staff and associated with fertility, agriculture, and warfare. The Staff God was often depicted alongside jaguars, which were also significant in Chavin’s religious iconography.

In Andean Iconography, front-facing figures are often referred to as Staff Gods and are thought to represent deities in Andean cultures. There is no uniform representation of a Staff God. Dozens of variations exist. Usually, a Staff God is pictured “front-facing” holding vertical objects (referred to as “staffs”), one in each hand. Some scholars think that variations of the Staff God are possible depictions of Viracocha[33] or Thunupa.

The oldest known depiction of the Staff God was found in 2003 on broken gourd fragments in a burial site in the Pativilca River Valley (Norte Chico [Peruvian] region) and carbon dated to 2250 BC, making it the oldest image of a god to be found in the Americas.[34]

Some scholars maintain that the Wari-Tiwanaku Staff God is the forerunner of the Incan principal gods, Sun, Moon, and Thunder[35]. As the chief deity, it was considered the creator god and served as the primary religious icon of the entire Peruvian Andes, particularly during the Early Horizon (900-200 BC) and beyond[36]. The worship of Staff Gods spread to the Central Andes during the Middle Horizon (600-1000 AD)[37] and is supported by excavated Middle Horizon artefacts that resembled the Staff God.[38]

Shamanism was also an important aspect of the Chavin religion, and shamans were believed to have the ability to communicate with the spirit world. As already mentioned, Shamans used various techniques, such as the use of hallucinogenic plants, to achieve altered states of consciousness and communicate with the spirit world. These experiences were believed to be essential for gaining spiritual insight and guidance.

The Chavin civilisation built large temples and ceremonial centres, such as the Chavin de Huantar complex (see later), which were likely used for religious ceremonies and rituals. Archaeologists have found evidence of ritual sacrifice at these sites, including the remains of humans and animals.

While the Chavin civilisation declined around 200 BC, their religious practices likely influenced later cultures in the region, such as the Moche and Nazca civilisations. Today, some indigenous communities in Peru still incorporate elements of Chavin religion into their spiritual practices.

The Chavin religion was a complex and multifaceted system of beliefs integral to developing early Andean civilisations in the Americas.

Written language is absent[39], so the language spoken by the Chavin people is not known, but it is likely now extinct.[40] Some anthropologists have proposed that the language was a form of Proto-Quechuan, reasoning that the Quechuan languages’ highly regular morphology and syntax compared to surrounding languages would have been useful for allowing intelligible communication between communities separated by mountain ranges, as some Chavin groups were.[41] On the other hand, Alfredo Torero dates the Proto-Quechuan languages to the beginning of the first millennium AD.

Chavin de Huantar
Chavin de Huantar is an archaeological site in Peru, containing ruins and artefacts constructed as early as 1200 BC and occupied until around 400–500 BC by the Chavin, a major pre-Inca culture. The site is located in the Ancash Region, 434 kilometres (270 mi) north of Lima, at an elevation of 3,180 metres (10,430 ft), east of the Cordillera Blanca at the start of the Conchucos Valley.

Some of the Chavin relics from this archaeological site are displayed in the Museo de la Nación in Lima and the Museo Nacional de Chavin in Chavin itself.

Picture [Cropped]:Chavín de Huántar” by tacowitte is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Occupation at Chavin de Huántar has been carbon-dated to at least 3000 BC, with ceremonial centre activity occurring primarily toward the end of the second millennium and through to the middle of the first millennium BC. While the fairly large population was based on an agricultural economy, the city’s location at the headwaters of the Marañón River, between the coast and the jungle, made it an ideal place for disseminating and collecting both ideas and material goods. This archaeological site is a large ceremonial centre that has revealed much about the Chavin culture. Chavin de Huántar served as a gathering place for people of the region to come together and worship. The centre’s transformation into a valley-dominating monument made it a pan-regional place of importance. People went to Chavin de Huántar as a centre: to attend and participate in rituals, consult an oracle, or enter a cult.

Findings at Chavin de Huántar indicate that social instability and upheaval began to occur between 500 and 300 BC, while the larger Chavin culture began to decline. Large ceremonial sites were abandoned, some unfinished, and were replaced by villages and agricultural land. At Chavin de Huántar, no later than 500 BC, a small village replaced the Circular Plaza. A succession of cultural groups occupied the plaza, and residents salvaged building stones and stone carvings to use in house walls.

The temple is a massive flat-topped pyramid surrounded by lower platforms. It is a U-shaped plaza with a sunken circular court in the centre. The interior temple walls are decorated with sculptures and carvings. During its heyday, Chavín de Huántar was a religious centre for ceremonies and events, perhaps a home for an oracle.

Concluding Words
In conclusion, the Olmec and Chavin civilisations were two of the earliest complex societies in the Americas, emerging around 1200 BC and 900/1000 BC, respectively. Both civilisations were marked by their impressive architectural achievements, sophisticated art, and religious practices that incorporated the worship of natural phenomena.

The Olmec civilisation, centred in what is now Mexico, is notable for its monumental stone sculptures, including the iconic “colossal heads.” The Olmec also developed a complex calendar system, an early form of writing, and extensive trade networks.

The Chavin civilisation, located in what is now Peru, built impressive temples and ceremonial centres, the most well-known of which is Chavin de Huantar. Their religious practices centred around worshipping a pantheon of gods and goddesses associated with natural phenomena such as the sun, moon, and stars.

The Olmec and Chavin civilisations were two of the earliest complex societies in the Americas, and they had a significant impact on later cultures in the region, including the Inca, Moche, and Nazca civilisations. Some ways in which the Olmec and Chavin cultures influenced later civilisations were:

  • Artistic and architectural influence: The Olmec and Chavin cultures were known for their impressive art and architecture, including monumental stone sculptures and buildings with intricate carvings and designs. These artistic styles influenced later cultures in the region, including the Inca, Moche, and Nazca civilisations, which also created impressive sculptures and buildings with detailed designs.
  • Agricultural practices: The Olmec and Chavin cultures were among the first in the Americas to develop advanced agricultural practices, including irrigation systems and terraced farming. These techniques allowed them to support larger populations and produce surplus food, which became a key feature of later civilisations in the region.
  • Religious and spiritual beliefs: Both the Olmec and Chavin cultures had complex religious and spiritual beliefs that involved the worship of various gods and the use of ritual practices. These beliefs influenced later cultures in the region, which also had complex religious systems that involved the worship of multiple deities.
  • Trading networks: The Olmec and Chavin cultures had extensive trading networks that allowed them to exchange goods and ideas with other cultures, helping them spread their influence and ideas to other civilisations, far and wide.

Both the Olmec and Chavin civilisations developed independently, but their similarities in art, architecture, and religion suggest that there may have been some exchange of ideas and influence between them. Furthermore, they emerged after the decline of the Caral civilisation, suggesting that the development of complex societies in the Americas was not a linear process but a result of multiple independent developments.

Overall, the Olmec and Chavin civilisations represent significant milestones in the cultural and technological development of the Americas, and their legacy can still be seen in the art, religion, and culture of contemporary societies in the region.

Picture: The “twins” from El Azuzul, 1200–900 BCE
Attribution: Mag2017, CC BY-SA 4.0 <;, via Wikimedia Commons
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Sources and Further Reading


CAUTION: This paper is compiled from the sources stated but has not been externally reviewed. Parts of this paper include information provided via artificial intelligence which, although checked by the author, is not always accurate or reliable. Neither we nor any third parties provide any warranty or guarantee as to the accuracy, timeliness, performance, completeness or suitability of the information and materials covered in this paper for any particular purpose. Such information and materials may contain inaccuracies or errors and we expressly exclude liability for any such inaccuracies or errors to the fullest extent permitted by law. Your use of any information or materials on this website is entirely at your own risk, for which we shall not be liable. It shall be your own responsibility to ensure that any products, services or information available through this paper meet your specific requirements and you should neither take action nor exercise inaction without taking appropriate professional advice. The hyperlinks were current at the date of publication.

End Notes and Explanations

  1. Source: Compiled from research using information at the sources stated throughout the text, together with information provided by machine-generated artificial intelligence at: [chat] and
  2. Explanation: Shamanism is a religious practice that involves a practitioner (shaman) interacting with the spirit world through altered states of consciousness, such as trance.[1] & [2] The goal of this is usually to direct spirits or spiritual energies into the physical world for the purpose of healing, divination, or to aid human beings in some other way. [1] Beliefs and practices categorised as “shamanic” have attracted the interest of scholars from a variety of disciplines, including anthropologists, archeologists, historians, religious studies scholars, philosophers and psychologists. Hundreds of books and academic papers on the subject have been produced, with a peer-reviewed academic journal being devoted to the study of shamanism. Sources: [1] Singh, Manvir (2018). “The cultural evolution of shamanism”. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 41: e66: 1–61. doi:10.1017/S0140525X17001893PMID 28679454S2CID 206264885.[2] Mircea Eliade; Vilmos Diószegi (12 May 2020). “Shamanism”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Shamanism, religious phenomenon centred on the shaman, a person believed to achieve various powers through trance or ecstatic religious experience. Although shamans’ repertoires vary from one culture to the next, they are typically thought to have the ability to heal the sick, to communicate with the otherworld, and often to escort the souls of the dead to that otherworld. Cited at:
  3. Source:
  4. Source: Pool, Christopher A. (2007). Olmec Archaeology and Early Mesoamerica. p. 98. Cambridge World Archaeology. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University PressISBN 978-0-521-78882-3OCLC 68965709. Cited at:
  5. Source:
  6. Source:  Diehl, p. 106. See also J. E. Clark, , p. 343, who says “much of the art of La Venta appears to have been dedicated to rulers who dressed as gods, or to the gods themselves”. Cited at:
  7. Ibid.
  8. Source: Joralemon, Peter David (1996) “In Search of the Olmec Cosmos: Reconstructing the World View of Mexico’s First Civilization”. p. 31. In E. P. Benson and B. de la Fuente (eds.), Olmec Art of Ancient Mexico. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art: 51-60. ISBN 0-89468-250-4. Cited at:
  9. Source: Joralemon originally defined Gods I through X. However, over time, Joralemon proposed that Gods V, IX, and X were not separate deities (e.g. God IX was to be merged with God II) and has since split the earlier God IV into a rain supernatural and the were-jaguar. See Joralemon (1996) and Coe (1989), pp. 75-76. . Cited at: Olmec_religion
  10. Source: Miller, MaryKarl Taube (1993). The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya: An Illustrated Dictionary of Mesoamerican Religion. p.126. London: Thames & HudsonISBN 0-500-05068-6. . Cited at: Olmec_religion
  11. Source:Taube, Karl (2004). Olmec Art at Dumbarton Oaks (PDF). p. 29. Pre-Columbian Art at Dumbarton Oaks, No. 2. Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection; Trustees of Harvard University. ISBN 0-88402-275-7. . Cited at:
  12. Source: See Joralemon (1996), p. 54. Cited at: Olmec_religion
  13. Source: Joralemon (1971). Cited at: Olmec_religion
  14. Source: Miller & Taube, p. 126. Cited at: Olmec_religion
  15. Source: Pool, p. 117. Joralemon (1996), p. 54. Cited at: Olmec_religion
  16. Source: Pool, p. 117. Cited at: Olmec_religion
  17. Source: Joralemon (1996), p. 54. Cited at: Olmec_religion
  18. Source: Miller & Taube, p. 126. Cited at: Olmec_religion
  19. Ibid. Cited at: Olmec_religion
  20. Source: Coe (1972), p. 3. Cited at: Olmec_religion
  21. Source: Miller & Taube, p. 126. Cited at: Olmec_religion
  22. Source: Pool, p. 117, who states: “The were-jaguar is God IV, a god of rain and storms”. Cited at:
  23. Source: Joralemon, pp. 56-58. Cited at: Olmec_religion
  24. Ibid. Cited at: Olmec_religion
  25. Ibid. Cited at: Olmec_religion
  26. Source: Joralemon (1996), p. 58, says “it was a divinity of considerable significance”. However, in counterpoint, Diehl, p. 104, says that the Feathered Serpent’s “rarity suggests that it was a minor member of the Olmec pantheon”. Cited at: Olmec_religion
  27. Source: Arnold, p. 10. Cited at: Olmec_religion
  28. Source: Pool, p. 102. Cited at: Olmec_religion
  29. Source:
  30. Explanation The Sacred City of Caral-Supe, or simply Caral, is an archaeological site in Peru where the remains of the main city of the Caral civilisation are found. It is located in Supe valley of Peryu, near the current town of Caral, 182 kilometers north of Lima, 23 km from the coast and 350 metres above sea level. It is attributed an antiquity of 5000 years and it is considered the oldest city in the Americas and one of the oldest in the world. No other site has been found with such a diversity of monumental buildings or different ceremonial and administrative functions in the Americas as early as Caral. It has been declared a Humanity Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO. Source:
  31. Sources: (1) Burger, Richard L. 2008 “Chavin de Huantar and its Sphere of Influence”, In Handbook of South American Archeology, edited by H. Silverman and W. Isbell. New York: Springer, pp. 681–706, and (2) Burger, Richard L., and Nikolaas J. Van Der Merwe (1990). “Maize and the Origin of Highland Chavín Civilization: An Isotopic Perspective”, American Anthropologist 92(1):85–95. Cited at:
  32. Source: Source: Burger (1992), Chavin and the Origins of Andean Civilization. Cited at:
  33. Explanation: Viracocha is (said to be) the great creator deity in the pre-Inca and Inca mythology in the Andes region of South America. Full name and some spelling alternatives are (said to be) Wiracocha, Apu Qun Tiqsi Wiraqutra and Con-Tic, (also spelled Kon-Tiki, the source of the name of Thor Heyerdahl’s raft). Viracocha was one of the most important deities in the Inca pantheon and seen as the creator of all things, or the substance from which all things are created, and intimately associated with the sea.[3] Viracocha (is is to have) created the universe, sun, moon, and stars, time (by commanding the sun to move over the sky) and civilisation itself. Viracocha was worshipped as god of the sun and of storms. He was represented as wearing the sun for a crown, with thunderbolts in his hands, and tears descending from his eyes as rain. In accord with the Inca cosmogony, Viracocha may be assimilated to Saturn, the “old god”, the maker of time or “deus faber” (god maker), corresponding to the visible planet with the longest revolution around the sun. Source:
  34. Source: Hannah Hoag (15 April 2003). “Oldest evidence of Andean religion found”. Nature. doi:10.1038/news030414-4. Cited at:
  35. Source:  Isbell, William; Silverman, Helaine (2008). Andean Archaeology III: North and South. New York: Springer Science & Business Media. p. 307. ISBN 9780387757308. Cited at:
  36. Source: Henderson, Peter V. N. (2013). The Course of Andean History. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. p. 16. ISBN 9780826353368. Cited at:
  37. Source:  Eeckhout, Peter; Owens, Lawrence S. (2015). Funerary Practices and Models in the Ancient Andes. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 137. ISBN 9781107059344. Cited at:
  38. Source:  Salomon, Frank L. (2004). The Cord Keepers: Khipus and Cultural Life in a Peruvian Village. Durham: Duke University Press. p. 78.

    ISBN 9780822386179. Cited at:

  39. Source: Conklin, William J. (2008). Chavín: Art, Architecture and Culture. Cited at:
  40. Source: Wolfson, Nessa; Manes, Joan. Language of Inequality. p. 186. Cited at:
  41. Source: Campbell, Lyle; Grondona, Verónica. The Indigenous Languages of South America: A Comprehensive Guide. p. 588. Cited at:


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