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Two empires began to flourish in Peru and Bolivia in South America around 600. One was centred at Tiahuanaco, near lake Titicaca in Bolivia. The other, the Huari empire, was based in northern Peru. Unlike Tiahuanaco, Huari was the centre of a powerful military empire, covering more than half of modern Peru. For many years these empires were linked, sharing a similar style of art and possibly also a religion. Together they controlled the whole Andean region, and the Tiahuanaco empire was in control of the trade of drugs used in religious ceremonies. Tiahuanaco, with its huge stone ceremonial buildings, was probably the religious centre of the joint empire, which was governed from Huari. In around 600 the god of the Gateway of the Sun in Tiahuanaco was made from andesite and sandstone; these materials were used to make many sculptures. The people made distinctive pottery and jewellery. They did not know how to smelt iron so they made axes and other tools from flint. The people of Huari also made jewellery and fine small objects out of gold. It is estimated that over 100,000 people lived in Huari city when the empire was at its height in the ninth century. Both empires were finally destroyed in the tenth century, and abruptly abandoned.

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