Valdivia - History of Ecuador
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Valdivia

stone carving of a human or bird, very abstract
Valdivian carving, ca. 3500-2000 BC

May 2016 - People probably first reached Ecuador by boat, about 13,000 BC, coming down the Pacific Coast from North America. They settled in river valleys along the coast, hunting and gathering their food both on land and by fishing in the ocean. They started farming about the same time as people in Asia and Africa. Around 8000 BC, they started farming squash, and by 7000 BC they were growing gourds to use as cups and maybe floats for fishing nets. By 6000 BC these people had also gotten corn from their neighbors in Mexico, and they buried their dead all together in two big cemeteries. About 5000 BC, they domesticated guinea pigs for their meat.

small sculpture of very pregnant woman
Valdivian pregnant woman
(Clay, ca. 2300 BC)

Around 4500 BC, these people left the area - nobody knows why - and then they came back about a thousand years later, about 3500 BC, just as the Norte Chico people were getting settled to their south. We call this second settlement the Valdivia culture. Like the Brazilian fishing people on the Atlantic coast, the Valdivia people used pottery, and like them, they lived partly from farming and partly from fishing. Like the earlier Ecuadorean people, they grew corn and squash, but the Valdivian people also grew chili peppers, beans, and cotton, which they used to make fishing nets and also clothing. Like the Norte Chico, they hung out in circular plazas.

Around 1800 BC, something bad seems to have happened along the Pacific coast of South America, because both the Valdivian and the Norte Chico people moved away from their homes.

Go on to the Olmec

Bibliography and further reading about the Moche:

Initial Period
Moche
Aztec
Inca
South America after 1500 AD
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Professor Carr

Karen Eva Carr, PhD.
Assoc. Professor Emerita, History
Portland State University

Professor Carr holds a B.A. with high honors from Cornell University in classics and archaeology, and her M.A. and PhD. from the University of Michigan in Classical Art and Archaeology. She has excavated in Scotland, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Tunisia, and she has been teaching history to university students for a very long time.

Professor Carr's PSU page

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