Periodization of pre-Columbian Peru

This is a chart of cultural periods of Peru and the Andean Region developed by Edward Lanning and used by some archaeologists studying the area. An alternative dating system was developed by Luis Lumbreras and provides different dates for some archaeological finds.

Most of the cultures of the Late Horizon and some of the cultures of the Late Intermediate joined the Inca Empire by 1493, but the period ends in 1532 because that marks the fall of the Inca empire after the Spanish conquest. Most of the cut-off years mark either an end of a severe drought or the beginning of one. These marked a shift of the most productive farming to or from the mountains, and tended to mark the end of one culture and the rise of another.

The more recent findings concerning the Norte Chico civilization are not included on this list, as it was compiled before the site at Caral was investigated in detail.

Period Dates Cultures
Lithic and Andean preceramic
Period I ? BC – 9500 BC Oquendo, Red Zone (central coast)
Period II 9500 BC – 8000 BC Chivateros I, Lauricocha I
Period III 8000 BC – 6000 BC Arenal, Chivateros II, Lauricocha I, Playa Chira, Puyenca, Toquepala I
Period IV 6000 BC – 4200 BC Ambo, Canario, Siches, Lauricocha II, Luz, Toquepala II
Period V 4200 BC – 2500 BC Honda, Lauricocha III, Viscachani, Sechin Bajo
Period VI (Cotton Pre-ceramic) 2500 BC – 1800 BC Norte Chico (Caral), Buena Vista, Casavilca, Culebras, Ventarron, Viscachani, Huaca Prieta, Las Haldas
Initial Period (Also called Formative Period) 1800 BC – 900 BC Early Chiripa, Kotosh culture, Cupisnique, Toríl (The Cumbe Mayo aqueduct was built c. 1000 BC), Las Haldas, Sechin Alto.
Early Horizon (Also called Formative Period) 900 BC – 200 BC Chavín, Late Chiripa, Paracas, Pechiche, Sechura, Chankillo
Early Intermediate  200 BC – 600 AD Moche, Nazca, Recuay, Lima, Tiwanaku, Pechiche, Piura, Vicus, Huarpa
Middle Horizon 600 AD – 1000 AD Wari, Tiwanaku, Piura, Las Ánimas, Sican
Late Intermediate 1000 AD – 1476 AD Chimú, Cajamarca, Piura, Chancay, Chachapoya, Chincha, Chiribaya, Chucuito,
Huaman Huilca, Ilo, Qotu Qotu, Pacacocha, Palli Marca, Piura, Sican, Tajaraca, Huaylas, Conchucos, Huamachuco, Rucanas, Chanka, Wanka, Aymara nations (Qulla, Lupaca, Charca, Kana, Qanchi), Ayabaca, Bracamoros, Huancabambas, Tallan, Tumpis, Huarco, Coayllo, Ichma, Parinacota, Cuntis, Chinchaycochas, Huarochiri, Kheswas, Yaro, Atavillo, Cantas, Yauyos, Tarmas, Paltas, Camanas (peruvian culture)
Late Horizon 1476 AD – 1534 AD Inca, Quispiguanca. Huchuy Qosqo.

See also


  • Edward P. Lanning, 1967 Peru Before the Incas. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., ISBN 0-13-661595-3
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