Lost Kingdoms of South America

Travel to Colombia, Bolivia and Peru in South America with archaeologist Jago Cooper as we embark on a historical documentary series. Here we’ll uncover the rich history, deep culture and archaeology of ancient South American civilizations.

Explore the Chachapoya people of the Peruvian Andes, an old kingdom conquered by the Inca Empire shortly before the Spanish conquest in the 16th century. Visit the ancient and mysterious Tiwanaku who left behind megalithic monuments in Colombia.

Investigate the Muisca and the Tairona – a group of chiefdoms who stood from 1st century CE to the Spanish conquest in 1600 century CE, and in Peru, we’ll visit the ruins of Chimor – the largest kingdom in the Late Intermediate Period who ruled the northern coast of Peru beginning around 850 CE and ending around 1470 CE.

Episode 1: People of the Clouds

Episode 1: People of the Clouds

Episode 1 takes a look at the Chachapya people, otherwise known as the ‘People of the Clouds’.

Numbering a population in the range of 500,000, this ancient civilization lived in the Peruvian Andes and was conquered by the Incan empire shortly before the Spanish conquest in the 16th century.

Episode 2: The Stone at the Centre

Episode 2: The Stone at the Centre

Episode 2 examines the Tiwanaku, builders of an ancient monolithic temple city deep in the Bolivian Andes. This ancient civilization most likely peaked around AD 800 with 10,000 to 20,000 people.

Some have hypothesized that Tiwanaku’s modern name is related to the Aymara term taypiqala, meaning “stone in the center”, alluding to the belief that it lay at the center of the world. The name by which Tiwanaku was known to its inhabitants may have been lost as they had no written language. Puquina language has been pointed out as the most likely language of Tiwanaku.

Episode 3: Lands of Gold

Episode 3: Lands of Gold

Episode 3 is all about the muisca and the Tairona, ancient chiefdoms who flourished for centuries before the spanish conquests in the 16th century.

Their civilizations stretched through the mountains and jungles of Colombia where they ruled for many hundreds of years. These forgotten people valued gold in a way the Western world still struggles to understand, forging legends such as the fabled city of El Dorado.

Episode 4: Kingdom of the Desert

Episode 4: Kingdom of the Desert

In episode 4 we’ll investigate the empire of Chimor on the coasts of Peru. Although the Chimor lived in a desert, they still found themselves thriving. To the Chimor, this was all down to appeasing their gods with human sacrifices and keeping the rule of the land.

Their civilization was rich in gold, silver, military and food. Believing their lives untouchable, they would soon meet the downfall of their hubris. The Incan empire was expanding during the 1470s and no-one could withstand their powers.

Lost Kingdoms of South America
  • Info
  • Release date14 Jan, 2013
  • Full runtime3 hours 55 min
  • Presented byJago Cooper
  • Produced byIWC Media
  • Produced forBBC