A Brief History of Bolivia, 2nd Edition by Waltraud Q. Morales

By Waltraud Q. Morales

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These native Andean cultures never developed written records, but they left behind extensive archaeological sites and a rich heritage of oral traditions and artifacts. Much of what is known about these civilizations is drawn from the remains of their cities and villages, extensive centers of worship, and public works projects. In addition, examples of their material and artistic cultures are provided in the form of distinctive woven textiles, gold and silver ornaments, and intricate pottery and carvings.

These were divided into upper and lower parts with the nobility associated with the upper ayllus and the commoners with the lower. The Aymara social order, which also influenced Incan society, rested on the extended family and tribal agricultural cooperatives of the ayllu. Several ayllus formed a federation of ayllus. The primarily agricultural economy was organized around the communal cultivation of the native potato and highland grains. 6 The Ancient Indian Peoples Aymara cosmology and religion centered on nature and the sun, moon, and stars.

Tiwanaku was laid out in several large plazas with the dominant central plaza paved with imposing stone slabs. The few architectural walls, semisubterranean temples, and gateways that survive today are adorned with Chavín-style figures and carved animals. Most impressive of these is the Puerta del Sol, or the Gate of the Sun, and the rebuilt Temple of Kalasasaya, which in Aymara means “stones standing upright” and refers to its basaltsandstone monoliths that are astronomically aligned around a ritual platform.

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