Buried by the centuries on soaring mountain slopes and beneath arid deserts and lush jungles of South America, the remains of extraordinary, majestic civilizations - many unknown until recent decades - are now coming to light and raising tantalizing questions about what else may be awaiting discovery.
Take an adventurous trek to these wilds of South America and the great civilizations of the ancients. In 24 eye-opening lectures, you'll take an in-depth look at the emerging finds and archaeological knowledge of more than 12 seminal civilizations, giving you rich insight into the creative vision and monumental achievements of these wellsprings of human life.
The ancient South Americans show us striking models of how societies can function and organize themselves. The technologies and social structures seen here were wholly invented, using no preexisting models, as these dynamic peoples struggled to tame their environment and carve out societies and empires.
Recently unearthed marvels include elaborately prepared and adorned mummies that predate Egypt's by 2000 years; imposing palaces, solar observatories, and dramatically decorated pyramids; stunning art objects in gold, turquoise, lapis lazuli, and ceramic; and evidence of huge urban civilizations in the Amazon.
In their amazing sophistication and scale, the sites reveal some of the most remarkable ancient artifacts found anywhere in the world. The breathtaking valleys, mountains, and deserts you will study in this course reveal wonders that rival anything we know of the ancient world. Travel with us to a lost and splendorous past - a fountainhead of civilization that speaks unforgettably of human striving, vision, and the indomitable will to endure.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses
I really enjoyed this Lecture and would highly recommend it if archaic history is one of your interests. The book is not for everyone, but it sheds light on a history I didn't even know existed. The professor is very clear, easy to understand, and absolutely brings this subject to life.
This lecture is concerned with the ancient peoples and civilizations of South America. More specifically though, Peru and what would become the Inca Empire. The other groups mentioned, including the Amazonian peoples, are mentioned to highlight or emphasize their interactions with what we know as the Inca people.
It starts off with the earliest evidence of human life in South America and continues on until the fall of the Inca. Each lecture is half an hour long and covers a ton of detail. Each time a lecture ends I keep wishing he would continue on for another hour, the topics are very gripping.
Something I really enjoyed that this Professor does is he will discuss what is currently understood to be "true" as well as what the alternatives are. He also discusses a few of his own ideas, each time he does that he makes sure the listener is fully aware. I really enjoyed learning about the different theories that are out there.
This is a bit of a technical listen, but the Professor keeps it lively, interesting, and fun. I would highly recommend.
This was an enjoyable listen, but I would only recommend it for some. Essentially the teacher takes the listener on a journey of South American History (Note: Not Mesoamerican, Central American, Aztec, Mayan, or any other American/New World History). He starts with the earliest evidence of human life and continues all the way through the Inca and the Spanish conquest and ends by touching upon a few modern day connections to South American peoples afterwards. It is a bit shorter than most great courses (11 hours compared to 8 hours). This is not your typical history overview but really a highly archaeologically/anthropologically based overview. Much of the time is spent discussing archaeological sites and artifacts uncovered and what they might tell us about the people that lived back then. If you are not looking for something technical or you prefer a narrative style, I would not suggest this book. The professor is very knowledgeable and does a good job of presenting his topic in an interesting and enjoyable way. He has a few non-traditional perspectives which he emphasizes, but he also does a good job highlighting the latest discoveries as of his recording (2012 I think?). If you are interested and don't mind a slightly technical listen, I would recommend this book.
Audio Addict! Usually listening to History these days. Love Will Durant most of all authors!
I've listened to quite a few of the Great Courses. I have to rate this as one of the most interesting, with my new favorite professor. This guy thinks for himself, and knows what he is talking about. Certainly, I don't mean to say other professors haven't been thoughtful and knowledgable! But Dr Barnhart is truly exceptional.
If you are interested in this subject in any way, this particular course is must buy! I was only marginally interested when I started, but I have truly learned more than I imagined, and am completely hungry for more!!
Well done Mr. Edwin Barnhart and Great Courses! Fantastic lecture!!!
Informational, interesting, great series
History related books
Not really because there was lot of information to digest. Better to take in couple of lectures at a time.
Let's start with Professor Barnhart. Barnhart is actually a Mayanist and his course on Mesoamerica is incredibly detailed. For some reason, people have this belief that someone who knows about one part of the America's will be knowledgeable about all parts of the America's. Like expecting someone who specializes in French History to know a lot about Romanian history because they are both in Europe.
As it turns out, Barnhart actually DOES know quite a bit about South America. So he is definitely a qualified candidate to speak on ancient South America. Nevertheless, his knowledge is primarily in the area from Peru to the Amazon, and it mainly covers Peru and Bolivia. That leaves a huge portion of South America uncovered by this course.
What IS covered is covered quite well. Barnhart is enjoyable to listen to, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable. This course is definitely worth listening to, and I rate it highly. It's just that we'd like to know what happens in the rest of South America. When you title a course with "South America" in the title, you expect it to cover South America, and not one portion of South America.
My main purpose in acquiring the course was to learn more about the Inca's (Quechua), and this course did cover that. So for me, it was a great course. Still, I'm left wondering about the ancient people in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, etc. So I need to seek out additional sources of information to learn about those areas.
Perhaps the course is just fine the way it is, and needs to be titled more accurately?
I thoroughly enjoyed this course because it provided me with a great overview of the topic. I have had bits and pieces of history and archaeology of the region over the years but the professor weaves a wonderful tale of the long stretch of this civilization. I don't think he reflected a similar depth of understanding of the Spanish presence in the region, particularly the role of the Church, as he resorted to all the time worn stereotypes. It was also a bit painful to hear that flat US accent as he dealt with important Spanish vocabulary. But we take the good with the bad. His is the view of the archaeologist, of course.
Dr. Barnhart put the lost worlds into perspective. He covered a great deal of material in a concise and most interesting way.
He really makes the lost worlds come alive.
Didn't want to stop it is so interesting.
This was a very good and informative audio book. I liked everything about this lecture series..... except one trivial matter.... He states on a few occasions that these native peoples discovered certain things "totally on their own". Since we don;t know how most of these people arrived in the new world, we don't know how they learned to carve stone, smelt metal, etc.. I believe there were dozens if not hundreds of sea fearing people who ended up in south America. They would have brought and dispersed their knowledge. But that is a minor quibble. He does give some of his theories and opinions, which I appreciated. I found his comments on Pre INCA stonework very compelling. This is a must listen for any Peru Traveler. as an aside; 3 friends and I were going to Peru two years ago but LAN airlines gave our seats away to their employees at LAX. Remembering that painful experience saddened me . When I go to Peru next year (on DELTA or UNITED) I will listen to this again. He brings Peru to life. Definitely worth the purchase.
I'm a sci-fi and fantasy nerd, a fan of all things theology and an adjunct professor of political science.
I'd say probably his theory about the inter-connectedness of South American religion.
I bought this one along with Barnhart's other course, Maya to Aztec, in the recent two for one sale; while I'm still working through the Mesoamerica course, I loved this one. The descriptions of other cultures, theories about the South American past, Barnhart's fascinating take on the inter-connectedness of pre-Columbian South American religions and the role of the fanged deity, were all fascinating. Most of the things you read/hear about involving pre-Columbian South America begin and end with the Inca; this course demonstrates that this best-known South American civilization was the culmination of a long tradition stretching back thousands of years, and provides persuasive evidence that Peru's north coast is a real cradle of civilization. Highly recommended for those interested in pre-Columbian history, or just history in general.
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