Preview… Desert Voices – A novel of ancient Nasca

PROLOGUE

There is no evidence of any writing system in South America before 1532. After the Spaniards arrived, history recorded the brief and dramatic reign of the conquered Inca, but little is known of the many other cultures that had risen and endured for centuries before the Inca Empire. What we do know has been pieced together by archaeologists and anthropologists who decipher history from the pottery, textiles and constructions left behind.

Patya’s story unfolds in the sixth century AD on the southern coast of what is now known as Peru. The creative and resourceful Nasca culture has been flourishing for almost a thousand years, populating the narrow valleys carved by rivers that cross the desert on their way from the Andes mountains to the Pacific Ocean. In recent years, a series of droughts and weather anomalies have taken a heavy toll on the Nasca people. Fields lie barren, wells have gone dry, and raiders from the highlands have been foraging into Nasca territory, hunting their game and raiding their livestock.

nasca2-3
 Nasca pottery is known for its rich colors and imaginative designs. Above is the art from a ceramic vase depicting a tangle of flying anthropomorphic supernatural beings  wearing headdresses and nose ornaments, carrying severed heads, knives, slings for weapons, and sprouting cactus-like snakes. The  rich mythological world of the Nasca was very much part of their living landscape, and ceremonial offerings an integral part of their community.

 

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