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(pärä`käs), Native American culture of ancient Peru. Named after the Paracas peninsula on the south coast, where their remains were first found, the Paracas produced resin-painted pottery and textiles, but little is known of their way of life. They were probably influenced by the earlier culture centered around Chavín de HuántarChavín de Huántar
, archaeological site in the northeastern highlands of Peru, near the headwaters of the Marañon River. It flourished between c.900 B.C. and 200 B.C.
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an archaeological culture of settled farmers who lived along the southern coast of what is now Peru from the second half of the first millennium B.C. to the beginning of the Common Era. It was named after the Paracas Peninsula, where, in 1925, the archaeologist J. C. Tello first discovered a burial ground of this culture.

The initiators of the Paracas culture lived in small pisé houses. Among the crops they cultivated were maize, beans, pumpkins, and peanuts. They engaged in the gathering of shellfish and in fishing. Their pottery was very advanced and exhibited the marked influence of the Chavin culture in its decoration. The Paracas culture also exhibited highly developed textile weaving of cotton and wool and knitting and wickerwork, by which means fishnets were made. The dead were buried in a sitting position in underground chambers or in shallow graves. The burials were collective, apparently grouped by clans or families. The skulls were artificially deformed, some of them exhibiting traces of trepanation performed with obsidian implements, indicating an advanced knowledge of medicine.


Bashilov, V. A. Drevnie tsivilizatsii Peru i Bolivii. Moscow, 1972. Pages 155–62.