"Wall in the Huaca Dragon" by AgainErick via Wikimedia Commons

Nearly the entire Latin American region is home to major archaeological sites. In Central America, those in Mexico tend to be and Guatemala tend to be the most excavated and most advanced, while in nearby Belize and Honduras things are just beginning to take off. In South America most of the sites sit near the Pacific Coast and throughout the Andes. Peru is often called the Egypt of the America’s and many of the most important archaeological discoveries of the past century have occurred here and several major discoveries have even occurred in the past few years. Latin America is perhaps the most exciting region for archaeologists today.

  1. Trujillo, Peru While excavations at Huaca de la Luna and Chan Chan are well underway, in places like the Huaca del Sol they haven’t even started. The recent unearthing of a tattooed warrior princess is redefining our entire views of the civilizations that grew here.
  2. Chachapoyas, Peru The Chachapoyan culture, a foe of the Incas, are slowly becoming unraveled as their tombs set into cliff sides, walled fortresses, and cities are found in the dense cloud forest.
  3. Copan, Honduras The epicenter of the most sophisticated and intellectual Mayan city have been mostly restored, but thousands of more sets of ruins surrounding it are still lost in the jungle.
  4. The North, Belize A vast concentration of ruins covered in lush rainforest sits in the northern border of Belize near Guatemala. Altan Ha and Lamanai are the best known, but hundreds of others are crawling with archaeologist and tour groups who are slowly working away.
  5. The North, Guatemala The extensive ruins of Tikal, perhaps the most famous ruin in Central America, lies in the northern regions of Guatemala and is still being carved out of the jungle along with hundreds of other locations. This is the heartland of the Maya.
  6. Cuzco, Peru The Incas called Cuzco the navel of the world and made the city their capital. The Spanish built over most of it, apart from the scattered sets of ruins on the hillsides. Every time a hotel is built or building restored, Inca walls and carvings are found.
  7. Sacred Valley, Peru This valley surrounding Cuzco was the heartland of the Incas and home to most of their population. Widely spread out across hundreds of square miles you’ll find the ruins such as Machu Picchu, the fort of Ollantaytambo, the farming terraces at Pisac, and the experimental circular terraces, and the citadel of Choquequirao.
  8. Chiclayo, Peru The finding of the Lord of Sipan is considered one of the most important discoveries of the past century and work is still ongoing at the dig site. The huge adobe pyramids at Tucumé have hardly been touched and work is only beginning.
  9. Caral, Peru Caral, only discovered a decade ago, appears to be the oldest set of ruins in the Americas and existed around the same time as the pyramids of Egypt. More than eighty percent of the pyramids and ruins have yet to be restored.
  10. Nazca, Peru Lines and geometric shapes that extend for hundreds of miles across the arid desert south of Lima still baffle scientists. As more mummies, irrigation systems, tombs, and ruins are excavated, archaeologists are discovering more and more about the Nazcas.

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