Textiles in South America
Unlike most parts of the world where discoveries of ancient textiles are unusual, the Pacific desert coast and dry western Andean slopes have preserved enormous quantities of textiles, wood, feathers, plant material, and other usually perishable artifacts. Most of the best preserved textiles were originally part of burial furnishings left in ancient cemeteries stretching from central Peru to northern Chile. The far north Andean coast (modern Colombia, Ecuador, and northern Peru) encounters periodic torrential showers which have destroyed most ancient remains. Few textiles have survived from the highland wet and dry climate or the rainforest regions of the eastern Andean slopes stretching to the Atlantic ocean.
It is apparent that desert conditions and the careful preparation of tombs are the two elements most responsible for the preservation of ancient Andean textiles. Beginning around 3200 BCE and continuing until the conquest of the Andes in AD 1532, it is possible to reconstruct...
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