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date: 09 April 2020

South America, Pre-Columbianlocked

  • Gordon R. Willey,
  • David M. Jones,
  • Gordon Brotherston,
  • Peter W. Stahl,
  • Elizabeth P. Benson,
  • Warwick Bray,
  • H. Stanley Loten,
  • Ursula Jones,
  • Karen Olsen Bruhns,
  • Frederick W. Lange,
  • Sara Lunt,
  • Annemarie Seiler-Baldinger,
  • Elizabeth K. Easby,
  • M. E. Moseley,
  • W. Iain Mackay,
  • Susan A. Niles,
  • Pauline Antrobus,
  • Duccio Bonavia,
  • George Bankes,
  • R. José Berenguer,
  • Daniel Schávelzon,
  • Irmhild Wüst,
  • Tania Andrade Lima,
  • José R. Oliver,
  • Ann M. Mester,
  • Luis A. Borrero,
  • Colin McEwan,
  • Anthony Alan Shelton,
  • William J. Conklin,
  • Peter Cloudsley
  •  and Joanne Pillsbury


This survey covers a region comprising the entire subcontinent of South America, lower Central America (present-day Panama and parts of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador) and the Antilles. It ranges in date from the earliest known works of art and architecture in the region to the period of European contact and colonization in the early 16th century. During this timespan many different civilizations and cultures flourished; the most important of these have articles devoted to them elsewhere in this dictionary, as do individual sites of particular interest. Certain art forms (architecture, sculpture, wall painting, pottery, textiles and dress, and lapidary arts) are covered under the area headings of §§II–VII below; others (for example bone-carving and metalwork) are treated pan-regionally in §VIII. The Post-Columbian development of the region is discussed under the headings of the modern states of which it is now made up.

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S. Sadie, ed.: The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, 3 vols (London, 1984)