Lost Kingdoms of South America

People of the Clouds

Series 1 - Episode 1 People of the Clouds



There seems to be no shortage of hip, photogenic young academics ready to take us on a journey down their particular byway. Dr Jago Cooper strides earnestly through the remotest corners of northern Peru to teach us more about the Chachapoya people, who built egalitarian communities and mummified their dead for 600 years or so before the Inca forcibly removed most of them from their lands (the Conquistadors and their infectious diseases did for the rest). Cooper is enthusiastic: “Archaeologists crave unexplored territory,” he says, but his rappelling skills may need some work; his attempt to climb back up a cliff face is not exactly textbook…


Dr Jago Cooper embarks on a journey to discover the history of some of South America's ancient civilisations, beginning with the Chachapoya people of the Peruvian Andes. He 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 past human behaviour.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Jago Cooper
Director John MacLaverty
Producer John MacLaverty
Series Producer Mary Downes