O f all the world's locations for early civilizations, the Central Andean area

is perhaps the most dramatic and exaggerated. A n immense and broken

geography of about 926,000 km 2 (357,000 mi 2) was eventually occupied

by complex cultures. Mountains rise to more than 5,400 m (18,000 feet)

above sea level. Highland valleys of mainly north-south trend lend them-

selves to human occupation, given enough investment of time and labor.