Talk:Chachapoya culture

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more info[edit] <-- talks about blond indians.. it's from the American Philosophical Society published in 1925. these were from panama though.. haven't bothered to see whether it's the "cloud people" though interesting to note that on the first sighting when they were seen they were seen when flying under a cloud bank.. :)

probably Injuns raped by pillaging Spanish thugs during the colonial days. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:08, 6 December 2008 (UTC)


This article is disappointing for its regurgitated and unoriginal repetition of the same tired Garcilaso and Cieza "ethnohistoric" sketches that lack substantive detail. Both authors wrote decades after the conquest, and neither reported ever personally seeing a so-called Chachapoya native. "Warriors of the Clouds" is the name of a book, not the name of the people(s). There is no scientific information in this article, although lots of sound scientific information, especially archaeologal information, is available. Finally, opinions on "Origins" and cultural affiliations of the so-called Chachapoya are divided, and this article presents only the minority opinion of one scholar, Federico Kauffmann Doig.Craneando (talk) 04:44, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

I'm not disputing the article may require a certain amount of improvement, but I do think the Chachapoyas Culture warrants a separate article of its own, rather than being merged with the Cultures of Inca Empire, or any other article.KevinOKeeffe 07:22, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

This seems to be a bad translation from the Spanish. It needs a great deal of copy-editing. Mumblio 06:19, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

I agree that the subject warrants a separate article. Kdammers (talk) 23:57, 30 June 2009 (UTC)


The mystery of the Chachapoyas is that based on their mummified remains, they appear to be of at least partially Europoid, or European-like, physical type: "The Chachapoyas were a tall, fair-haired, light-skinned race that some researchers believe may have come from Europe...[source: Fox News report]

However as this is at odds with standard theories of the settlement patterns of the New World, it remains unmentioned or is downplayed in much scholarship and reporting."

I take offense at the word "downplayed". The whole issue is rather overplayed in pop-sci/media reports it seems. There is no information that the Chacapoyas were actually europid in appearance, only that they had lighter skin and hair than the Inca. Whether the latter was a natural condition or due to bleaching/dyeing is unknown. And "lighter skin" than the (rather dark-skinned, as usual wirh mountain dwellers) Incas does not mean much either. Skin color is too variable to be of use in human population studies; for example dark skin is a paraphyletic trait in Africans and Inuit (and probably Tibetans too), and that Japanese and Europeans appear fair-skinned is also paraphyletic. What was described by the conquistadores was probably nothing but the fact that not all "Indians" look alike.

Besides, it is not just "at odds with standard settlement patterns..." There is a science called biogeography, y'know? Basically, the presence of europids in the W Andes is at odds with any theory that does not include Atlantis, alien abductions or a hollow earth etc. IF indeed the Chacapoyas were exceptionally light-skinned by general standards, this is almost certainly a reflection of East Asian heritage... but even this scenario would be highly unlikely. Dysmorodrepanis 14:37, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

I don't know of any scholar who claims a European origin of the Chachapoyas. This just seems to be media hype/misunderstanding due to the fact that Chachapoyans may have been taller or of fairer complexion than other Andean tribes. It builds on a similar naive assumption that used to permeate speculations about the Maya having a connection to the Egyptians solely due to the fact that they had pyramids, et cetera.
I don't disagree with the information you entered, but I don't think it's really necessary to include a refuting statement. Too many Wikipedia articles have that kind of overcompensation. I would simply state that differing physical features (and the unique culture) of Chachapoyans have led to various conjectures about their origins or external influences upon them, referencing early chroniclers, other reports etc. Technically, the jury is still out on that. To get into the business of their actual origins, some DNA analysis is in order, but I haven't seen any studies on it. There does seem to have been more post-invasion European admixture in the general region more than others - perhaps this is the source of some of the speculation. Twalls 22:06, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
As you might have noted, I added/redid the parts in the article to put the "anomalities" into a larger context. Thanks BTW for confirming my suspicions that DNA analysis is still pending (with the latest mummy cache discovered, it should not be too long to wait). The issue is all over the news these days, and if the pop sci explanation sticks, it might warrant a more extensive discussion on WP. Else, one can just let it rest until research comes up. Dysmorodrepanis 18:28, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
I've searched around quite a bit and have even asked people who would be in the know. As far as I know, there have been no DNA studies as of yet. Even that may not settle many questions, because you're limited to the results of individual samples you take. The thing is, the journalists doing the research for their pop-sci articles may even look here in the WP for background info. Hopefully they'll walk away with some accurate information! For the time being, let's try to make the article coherent, consistent and useful. Cheers, Twalls 20:01, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
Your point with the background research thing was exactly my motivation too :) I will keep my eyes peeled on DNA stuff that might be interesting for the qestion, and other such things. Dysmorodrepanis 01:44, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
C'mon guys, Ive just saw a documentary (Chachapoya - The Blond Warriors of the Andes - 2000.) about the chachapoya people, and it is quite obvious that they have Mediteranian(celtic or phoenician) origin: decorations, weapons, fortresses, sculptures, their ancestors looking, the way of playing their folk songs(drumms in right hand flute in left) ... speaks for itself --fz22 (talk) 17:31, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
Because the Chachapoyans were so unique, it's easy to see why people look to other faraway cultures from history and say "wow, there must be a connection!" However, it is quite a leap to say the Chachapoyas, as a people, were "obviously" of Mediterranean origin. I couldn't find a reference to the program you referred to. Which Mediterranean structures resemble Kuelap, Gran Vilaya or the round houses with the snake eyes/jaguar eyes patterns? Twalls (talk) 20:46, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
Look, I know i'm just an outsider, I'm not an archeologist. However those evidences/images - from almost every field of the life - were so many then they could not be just a simple coincidence: cemetery caves (phoenician), their slings (celtic), skull trapanation techniques (celtic), folk music (north African), fortress (Middle East), peoples with sunspots, and red hair, man depicted with horns, sculptures with bullhorn, greek patterns etc ... but no DNA analysys result yet ... --fz22 (talk) 22:29, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
The coincidences you cite are your own interpretations of what you've seen, not the general consensus of archaeologists who are studying the Chachapoyas culture. In fact, National Geographic produced a last year (2007) featuring a mummy excavation as well as a summary of local artifacts linked to this subset of peoples living under Inca rule. Nowhere in the documentary did the anthropologists make statements linking or even associating Chachapoyas culture to ancient European/African ones. -- (talk) 05:42, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
Many of those features are not unique to the cultures you mentioned. Features like cemetery caves and slings were nearly universal from the Stone Age onwards and variations are based of mainly local conditions like suitable terrain and materials at hand. However, you might have seen more European depictions of them so they seem alike. Christian missionaries, for example, used to think that every form of Cross they met in their travels was somehow connected to Christianity even if it was purely local symbol - Skysmith (talk) 09:01, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

NPOV is OPOV. All reliable scientific and historical data, that means vetted by scientists and historians, indicate that the Chachapoya peoples (there was great genetic and cultural diversity because they lived at a communications crossroads) were Native Americans... no less indigenous that any other tribe, regardless of lighter or darker skin pigmentation. Read the "Tomb Raiders" article cited among the External Links. DNA studies have linked one mummy from the Uchucmarca region to a young female decedent who is not white, bearded nor of Phoenician blood. If some of the commentators would read the literature instead of citing TV specials no more credible than junk tabloids, all of this conversation would be unnecessary. No Phoenicians, no aliens, no lost tribes of Isreal... just Native Americans with very cool cultural traditions that do deserve our admiration.--Badilejo (talk) 03:17, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Cieza de León[edit]

From the article:

Contemporary reports such as that of Cieza de León [are there ANY other?] only indicate that they did have lighter skin than other Native Americans of the region, and it is not clear how reliable these statements are.

I'm removing the bracketed comment from the article because it's inappropriate, but it could make a good Talk topic. Does anyone have information? Ubermonkey 19:55, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

Cieza is the only chronicler who MAY have seen the Chachapoya with his own eyes. The prominent chroniclers copied one anothers' works. Padre Blas Valera, whose lost work was partially copied/relayed by Garcilaso de La Vega describes the Chachapoya and their conquest by the Inca. There is NO mention of white skin color nor other non-Native American features in this, the most extensive description of the Chachapoya.--Badilejo (talk) 03:16, 21 July 2012 (UTC)


There is no mention of them being bearded or hairy. That alone says a lot. Anyways, the dna(for the mummies as well) suggests that they are in fact amerindians, Just like the many mummies found in south america(including the cave ones). Dna confirms it(for the people and the mummies). Not all native americans are dead, or have been assimilated, crossed bredded, etc, you know(this is common knowledge(hopefully)). And everybody knows that spanish accounts are corrupted.Schweinsteiger54321 (talk) 22:48, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Is there a reliable source for DNA studies on Chachapoyan remains? I did find this: [1]Seidler is the same scientist who worked on Oetzi, The Ice Man. Twalls (talk) 21:17, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Who understands German?[edit]

You should have a look at the new Wiki-page “Chachapoya” in German Wikipedia ( To my opinion it represents in some aspects the state of the art and informs about the today relevant discussion about the origin of Chachapoya culture. The English-language-page "Chachapoya culture” only presents the position of the Peruvian archaeologist Kauffmann-Doig about "mountainization of the rain forest". Today this position by most scholars is not accepted, and it seems to have been refuted by the research of the US archaeologist Warren B. Church many years ago.

The substantiation of the recent changes in the German article by a “quidquidagisprudenteragas”, posted at 15/07/2013 at the page “Diskussion” (talk), might also be interesting.

By the way: if there were ancient European immigrants to the Chachapoya-region, they probably would have been male – warriors, sailors, some craftsmen. And as far as I know the few existing DNA-analyses of Chachapoya-mummies only were based on MT-DNA, which is much easier to extract from mummies, but which never would show genetic markers of European admixtures via the paternal line (Y-DNA). So this question is, like many others, still open.

What is definitely falsified by archaeological evidence is the idea of a group of European immigrants or any other ethnic group also from the Americas, who later formed a “Chachapoya nation”. The Chachapoya culture consisted of different ethnic groups, and at least some of them developed some of the Chachapoya cultural traditions in North-East-Peru, in the Chachapoya region, more than two thousand years ago. But what cannot be excluded is that other ethnic groups arrived there later and brought with them other cultural traditions, mixed with the native Amerindians and perhaps left some genetic evidence, which perhaps will be discovered in the future and which would explain some phenomena of Chachapoya culture and as well the actually existing chroniclers reports about “White and fair-haired Chachapoya”. (More about this at the German article “Chachapoya”.) Frank654 (talk) 23:22, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

Wow, that discussion page is a disaster (or cluster&*&£)! Just tried to read through it. I see the current version of the article relies heavily on Hans Giffhorn, who "was a high school teacher of Visual Communication at the Pedagogical University of Göttingen [1] and of Cultural Studies at the Universities of Göttingen and Hildesheim . He undertook research trips and also worked as a documentary filmmaker for ARD, ZDF, 3sat and Arte in South America , especially in the urban areas of the prehistoric people of the Chachapoyas " according to his German Wikipedia article. Not exactly someone we'd use as a reliable source on You can see a bit of Church's work at [2] Dougweller (talk) 09:42, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

You are right: the discussion page is a disaster (some archaeologists just hate any of those ideas, often without being interested in facts and rational arguments). For that reason I recommended only the contribution from 15/07/2013.

And there was a little equivocation: German “Hochschullehrer” at the Wiki-page “Hans Giffhorn” doesn´t mean “high school teacher” but (as in Giffhorns case) university professor. And you neglected, that he studied Chachapoya culture since 1998. The fact, that he is not a specialized archaeologist but studying cultures in general, helped him to approach the subject in an interdisciplinary and more open way. I read his new book: after having studied the results of archaeological research on Chachapoya culture and the contradictory theories about its origin, he came to the conclusion, that questions have to be pursued, which most archaeologists don´t ask. He did, and so new discoveries were possible – more, than can be described here (he filled a book with these discoveries, and they complement each other). Frank654 (talk) 12:05, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

Sorry, forgot my German but didn't notice it, just that he taught cultural studies and visual communication. No qualifications or peer reviewed publications in anthropology or archaeology (I see that in Germany cultural studies can include Philosophical anthropology but that's not relevant here). His academic work seems what I'd expect, and not relevant here[3] [4]. So, not a reliable source for this subject although he might be in his academic specialities. Dougweller (talk) 13:31, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

You touched a nice topic.

It is a question of philosophy of science, if only specialists, whose studies e.g. are restricted to archaeology or anthropology of pre-Columbian cultures, are allowed to research on questions like the origins of some components of Chachapoya culture, in particular if until now they could not answer this question satisfactory (archaeologists are arguing about this question since decades and without generally accepted results).

In cases like this to my opinion generalists could be useful as well – of course if they know and use the results of researchers, whose competence is legitimated by tradition, but also consider a lot of additional knowledge from other disciplines, and if they cooperate with relevant specialists (also archaeologists and anthropologists with enough peer-reviewed publications about the subject – you find them in the list of cited publications in Giffhorn´s book).

But perhaps it is less a question of using science as a means to gain new knowledge than of defending paradigms and traditional structures of power in the science business. This conflict exists in every discipline and any country I know. And you surely are informed about the risks and limits of the peer-review-system especially in respect to new discoveries and conclusions which obviously contradict established and politically supported mainstream ideas (like the ones of Federico Kaufmann-Doig, which were first published more than twenty years ago and still are alive in this article, though for example Church refuted them already in his dissertation 1996 -

Well, my remarks should not be more than a hint. Readers have to decide if and how they use it and if they wish to continue this discussion (they’ll find additional information on the German “Chachapoya” – Wiki and its sources, most of which are in English). I would like to continue that interesting talk as well, but I´m afraid I will be too occupied. Thanks.Frank654 (talk) 20:43, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

The question of ancient European influence on the Chachapoya does not remain open because it was never open to begin with. The person who tried to "open" it in the first place was a junk scientist who assumed what was politically convenient for him and then invented the evidence. 2001:558:6045:1D:30BE:51B7:3A69:C863 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 19:43, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

I updated and completed the information about Giffhorn´s book and removed the comment “Thesis: The Chachapoya tribe = Blond, blue-eyed Celts”, because this comment is sheer fantasy. In his book Giffhorn presents evidence that the term “Chachapoya” describes a mixed group of ethnics with broad cultural and genetic diversity, and he states that he didn´t find any hints to “Blue-eyed Chachapoya”. He supposes, that those “blue eyes” were invented by authors like Gene Savoy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A02:8108:8700:1BA0:483D:CAD2:71DF:95D8 (talk) 22:09, 12 March 2014 (UTC)


That entire section of the article seems designed to disprove that they were white people, and actually states it with no solidifying evidence. This is not a scholarly, scientific, or objective. I see this with Kennewick Man as well.

The one problem is most researchers are testing Kenniwick Man and the skeletal remains of the Cloud People with modern Europeans. This is blatant junk science!

First, approximating the time period of the first migrations, if Europeans did cross the bearing straight they would have been the Proto-Indo-Europeans - most Europeans are descended from Indo-Euopeans and the Proto-Indo-Europeans had left little genetic effect on Europe. Also, eastern Proto-Indo-Europeans mixed with Mongoloids early on.

Second, Siberian Boy: scientifically proves this!

Cieza de León saw them with his own eyes, this is the only conclusive evidence that can be drawn from this, he described them as white, I see no evidence to the contrary. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:35, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

The only evidence of any value evaluated on this very far out hypothesis of Euro origins is DNA, and this was unsatisfactorily presented during a recent PBS documentary in which one German researcher was pushing the idea that a remnant group of Carthaginian sailors and Balearic Celt mercenaries had made their way up the Amazon before Columbus. At the end of the show, they said that DNA tests on purported descendants showed a small admixture of European ancestry. My reaction? Gee what a surprise. 500 years of Europeans in the Americas, and there's admixture. The show went flat and failed to support the outlandish theory by making no mention of the all important date of the admixture, which is technically doable. The omission was glaring, and puts the whole idea in the realm of just another fantasy. Besides the lack of DNA evidence, there is the fact that there was no mass dying of the indigenous peoples before Columbus as there was after due to the immunological isolation of the Americas. Nor any written records...the Carthaginians were literate and being originally semitic Phoenicians, would have had an alphabet. Not a sign of it. And why no round "Roman" arches in the stone buildings? Civilization in the Americas did not originate externally. It originated from a base of a much earlier and wholly native American agriculture. Signs of civilization occur throughout the Americas long before this hypothesized visit. Tmangray (talk) 21:33, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

The DNA result are displayed here: The YFull spreadsheet shows that 9 out of the 41 1000 Genomes Peruvian samples (22%) are R1b. A K = 26 admixture analysis of Amerindians and Mestizos showed that the 1000 Genomes Peruvian samples have Caucasoid admixture beyond what is found in all Amerindians, but that this admixture is distinct from the kind of additional Caucasoid admixture that is found in Mestizos, and that it therefore cannot possibly be from the post-Columbian Spanish. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:38, 31 December 2014 (UTC)

And when that claim is made in a peer reviewed journal we might use it. But that's raw data on a private company's website that you are interpreting, so the source fails WP:RS and your interpretation is what we call "original research" and can't use. Dougweller (talk) 15:09, 31 December 2014 (UTC)

Hans Giffhorn[edit]

Review of a documentary at[5]. Dougweller (talk) 17:49, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

The author of this review is not aware of my theory or the evidence it is based on.

If the review provides a different impression, this probably results from an equivocation: I am not the author of the PBS-documentary “Cartage’s Lost Warriors”, nor did I have any control over its contents. I am the author of a book, which informs about formerly unknown evidence concerning the question of the origins of Chachapoya Culture.

The producers of the reviewed film just used some statements and some of the ideas published in February 2013 in the first, partly obsolete edition of my book. Hans Giffhorn (talk) 07:55, 22 April 2014 (UTC)


Any idea what language they spoke? Enlil Ninlil (talk) 00:43, 18 September 2015 (UTC)

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