Cochineal Red: Travels Through Ancient Peru

Front Cover
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2006 - Andes Region - 330 pages
1 Review

Peru wears its ancient cultures wrapped around in layers, like one of the mummified bodies so well preserved by the nitrates of its deserts.

After his acclaimed book on the Incas, The White Rock, Hugh Thomson unwraps those layers to show how civilisation emerged so early and so spectacularly in this toughest and most arid of terrains.

Many of the extraordinary cultures of Ancient Peru, from the lines of Nasca to the temple-cult of Chavín, buried in the mountains, and the great pyramids of the coast, have only started to give up their secrets and antiquity in just the last few years.

As one archaeologist put it: 'Imagine if all the discoveries of Ancient Egypt had been made so recently - the finding of Tutankhamen's tomb, of the Great Pyramid of Cheops, of Abu Simbel - and you have some idea of the great excitement at what has been happening in Peru.'

Hugh Thomson has been at the forefront of some of these discoveries himself, having made headlines with his work near Machu Picchu. Now he takes the reader on a journey back from the world of the Incas to the first dawn of Andean civilisation, to give an immensely personal and accessible guide to the wonders that have been revealed.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - nandadevi - LibraryThing

The author gives a strongly personal account of his experiences organising and visiting archeological digs throughout South America. At the same time he gives a vivid picture of ancient lives, and the ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2006)

Hugh Thomson read English at Cambridge University and worked briefly as a lecturer at Bristol University before becoming a film-maker. He has directed many feature-length documentaries for the BBC, including the award-winning Dancing in the Street, a Rock and Roll History. His films for television include the BBC's Great Journeys series about Cortez's invasion of Mexico and a series on India presented by William Dalrymple.

Bibliographic information