20,000-10,000 BC

First evidence of human settlement in Peru. Cave dwellings in the Ayacucho Valley; stone artefacts in the Chillon Valley.

8000-5000 BC

Nomadic tribes , and more permanent settlement in fertile coastal areas. Cave paintings and fine stone tools.

5000-2000 BC

Introduction of cultivation and stable settlements. Early agricultural sites include Huaca Prieta in the Chicama Valley, Paracas and Kotosh.

1200 BC-200 AD

Formative Era and emergence of the Chavín Cult , with great progress in ceramics and metallurgy. Temple complex at Chavín de Huantar, important sites too at Kotosh and Sechin.

300 AD

Technological advance marked above all in the Viru Valley – the Gallinazo culture – and at Paracas.
Sites in the Viru Valley, at Paracas, and the growth of Tiahuanuco culture around Lake Titicaca.

200-1100 AD

Classical Cultures emergent throughout the land. Mochica culture and Temples of the Sun and Moon near Trujillo; further Tiahuanuco development; Nazca lines and Cahuachi complex on the coast; Wilkawain temple; Huari complex; and Tantamayo ruins.


The age of the great city builders . Well-preserved adobe settlements survive at Chan Chan (near Trujillo) and Cajamarquilla (Lima).


Expansion of the Inca Empire from its bases around Cusco, north into Ecuador and south into Chile. Inca sites survive throughout Peru, but the greatest are still around Cusco – Sacsayhuaman and Machu Picchu above all. Inca Highway constructed from Columbia to Chile; parts still in existence.


Foundation of Lima. Colonial architecture draws heavily on Spanish influences, though native craftsmen also leave their mark. Church building above all – at Arequipa (Santa Catalina Convent) and around Cusco. The Spanish city of Cusco incorporates much Inca stonework. Meanwhile, the rebel Incas build new cities around Vilcabamba. Throughout colonial rule building follows European fashions, especially into Baroque; churches, mansions and a few public buildings.


Construction of the high-altitude rail lines and other engineering projects. First exploitation of Amazonian rubber .


Much modernization in Lima (Presidential Palace etc), grandiose public buildings elsewhere. Massive urban growth in Lima from the 1930s onwards.


Organized shanty towns begin to grow around Lima.


Development of the jungle – timber trade, oil companies and settlers threaten traditional tribal life and ecology ; construction of “Marginal Highway” into central Amazon resumed.

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