Nevada State Museum lecture to look at ancient civilizations | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada State Museum lecture to look at ancient civilizations

Nevada Appeal staff report
Machu Picchu in Peru’s Andes mountains.
Hal Starratt

In honor of Archaeological Awareness Month, the Nevada State Museum will present Andean Prehistory: The Archaeology of Ancient Civilizations in Peru from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, when Hal Starratt, a WNC anthropology professor, will present about travel, archaeology, ancient cultures and civilizations.

When North Americans think about the prehistory of ancient South America, the Inca civilization immediately comes to mind — then we don’t go any further. That’s because the Inca of Peru was the pre-Columbian civilization dominant at the time of the Spanish arrival in the 16th century, and is thus the one we know most about. When Pizarro landed in 1532, the Incan empire stretched more than 3,000 miles from Columbia in the north to Argentina in the south, with marvelous stone cities connected by thousands of miles of roads. But what’s surprising to most is the Inca represented only the last 200 years or so of a deep archaeological past stretching back nearly 5,000 years. The Inca were situated at the apex of a long string of civilizations and cultures who all contributed to their greatness. Dr. Hal Starratt began his archaeological career working at classic Mayan sites in Mexico and Honduras. In 2002, he was invited to work at the Moché site of El Brujo on the northern coast of Peru, and spent the next six years immersing himself in the study of ancient Andean civilizations. Dr. Starratt’s work included recording and photographing several delicate murals adorning the Moché pyramids, and excavating a sacred well site at El Brujo. In 2005 Dr. Starratt participated in a National Endowment for the Humanities six-week study tour of sites all over Peru and Bolivia. He teaches anthropology at Western Nevada College.

Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults and free for museum members and ages 17 and under.

The Nevada State Museum is at 600 N. Carson St. It’s open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.