As recently as 1987, robbers discovered by far the most spectacular vestiges of the Moche people who ruled much of Peru for the first six Christian centuries. This find - a royal burial chamber shoulder-deep in gold and silver ornaments and carvings studded with jewels - has provided many insights into their way of life as Nigel Davies shows. Patterns representing a condor, a killer whale and even a 260-foot monkey, visible only from the air, are built into a bare expanse of desert at Nazca. Davies analyses and assesses the latest scholarly theories surrounding one of the world's great enigmas. He then turns to the key power centres of the 'middle period' in Huari and Tiahuanaco, the great coastal civilization of Chimor (the first for which we have written accounts), and its eventual defeat by the Incas in around 1470. Alongside the often biased conquistador chronicles, archaeology can now illuminate the Inca imperial cult, their methods of agriculture, road-building, town-planning and settlement.