Dr Jago Cooper reveals the history of some of South America's ancient civilisations. Exploring ruins and investigating the truth behind legends that surround these cultures, Dr Cooper journeys through Peru, Bolivia and Colombia to reveal the true character of the continent through its archaeology, culture, people and landscapes.
He begins with an epic journey into the remote Peruvian Andes in search of the mysterious Chachapoya people. Once numbering half a million, they were known as the 'People of the Clouds'. Dr Cooper reveals how they developed sophisticated methods of recording stories, traded in exotic goods found hundreds of miles from their territory, and had funeral traditions that challenge assumptions about ancient human behaviour. His search for evidence takes him to astonishing cliff tombs untouched for 500 years and one of the most spectacular fortresses in South America, where the fate of the Chachapoya is revealed.
Deep in the Bolivian Andes at the height of 13,000ft stands Tiwanaku, the awe-inspiring ruins of a monolithic temple city. Built by a civilisation who dominated a vast swathe of South America, it was abandoned 1,000 years ago. For centuries it has been a mystery - how did a civilisation flourish at such an altitude and why did it vanish? Jago Cooper journeys through Bolivia's spectacular landscape to investigate the origins of Tiwanaku and finds evidence of an ancient people with amazing understanding of their environment, whose religion was based on collective effort and ritual beer drinking.
Through the mountains and jungles of Colombia, Cooper goes in search of the truth behind one of the greatest stories ever told - the legend of El Dorado. His journey takes him from Bogota to the Caribbean coast, through territories once dominated by two cultures, the Muisca and the Tairona, who flourished for centuries before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century. Cooper reveals forgotten peoples who valued gold in a way the Western world still struggles to understand, travelling to an astonishing lost city and meeting the last survivors of an ancient civilisation.
In the spectacular deserts of coastal Peru, archaeologist Dr Jago Cooper explores the dramatic rise and fall of Chimor, the first empire of South America. His journey begins among the ruins of a vast lost city once home to an all-powerful monarchy, whose subjects transformed the desert landscape, created gold and silver treasures and believed so strongly in the power of their gods that they made the most shocking of sacrifices. Chimor thrived despite facing some of the most extreme climate conditions in the world, but not even this powerful empire could withstand the forces that eventually destroyed it.