Skip to comments.The Mother Of All Civilizations (Caral, Peru)
Posted on 12/16/2007 8:19:48 AM PST by blam
The mother of all civilisations
16 Dec 2007, 0001 hrs IST,Shobhan Saxena,TNN
The ruins were so magnificent and sprawling that some people believed that the aliens from a faraway galaxy had built the huge pyramids that stood in the desert across the Andes.
Some historians believed that the complex society, which existed at that time, was born out of fear and war. They looked for the telltale signs of violence that they believed led to the creation of this civilisation. But, they could not find even a hint of any warfare. It was baffling. Even years after Ruth Shady Solis found the ancient city of pyramids at Caral in Peru, it continues to surprise historians around the world. It took Ruth Shady many years and many rounds of carbon dating to prove that the earliest known civilisation in South Americasat 2,627 BCwas much older than the Harappa Valley towns and the pyramids of Egypt.
Solis, an archaeologist at the National University of San Marcos, Lima, was looking for the fabled missing link of archaeology a mother citywhen she stumbled upon the ancient city of Caral in the Supe Valley of Peru a few years ago. Her findings were stunning.
It showed that a full-fledged urban civilisation existed at the place around 2700 BC. The archaeologist and her team found a huge compound at Caral: 65 hectares in the central zone, encompassing six large pyramids, many smaller pyramids, two circular plazas, temples, amphitheatres and other architectural features including residential districts spread in the desert, 23 km from the coast.
The discovery of Caral has pushed back the history of the Americas: Caral is more than 1,000 years older than Machu Picchu of the Incas. They built huge structures in Caral hundreds of years before the famous drainage system of Harappa and the pyramids of Egypt were even designed.
But, it was not easy for Ruth Shady to prove this. It was only in 2001 that the journal Science reported the Peruvian archaeologists discovery. And, despite the hard evidence backing her, she is still trying to convince people that Caral was indeed the oldest urban civilisation in the world.
"There were many problems, many of them in my own country," says Ruth Shady, on a visit to India to discuss her discovery with other historians. "The discovery of Caral challenged the accepted beliefs. Some historians were not ready to believe that an urban civilisation existed in Peru even before the pyramids were built in Egypt," she says.
Basically, there were two problems. First, for decades archaeologist have been looking for a mother city to find an answer to the question: why did humans become civilised?
The historians had been searching for this answer in Egypt, Mesopotamia (Iraq), India and China. They didnt expect to find the first signs of city life in a Peruvian desert. Secondly, most historians believed that only the fear of war could motivate people to form complex societies. And, since Caral did not show any trace of warfare; no battlements, no weapons, and no mutilated bodies, they found it hard to accept it as the mother city.
Thats when Ruth Shady stepped in with her discovery. "This place is somewhere between the seat of the gods and the home of man," she says, adding that Caral was a gentle society, built on trade and pleasure. "This great civilisation was based on trade in cotton. Caral made the cotton for the nets, which were sold to the fishermen living near the coast. Caral became a booming trading centre and the trade spread," she says.
Caral was born in trade and not bloodshed. Warfare came much later. This is what this mother city shows: great civilisations are born in peace. Ruth Shady continues to battle for this great truth.
Many pictures here
sounds like post flood migration builders....
Thanks blam, good stuff as usual!
Sometimes I think we're still waiting...
True enough. Actually about 4,000 years, but who's counting millenia?
The very absence of any violent indicators makes this whole edenic premise suspect. Violence and war are an inescapable reality of human nature.
This meme has been announced many times, from the Polynesians to the Maya to the Anasazi. Every time, as knowledge of the ancient people grows, it is found that they were as bloody-minded as anybody else.
Might even be true this time, but that's not the smart way to bet.
Leftists have an insatiable urge to believe in a primeval Garden of Eden, from which we fell only by the Original Sin of our ancestors, the development of private property. Usually white male ancestors.
Since we fell from a state of peace, harmony and equality, we can return to it if we just assign all power to the Annointed.
I, myself, go with the hydrology theory.
How old are the Chinese pyramids? No one seems to have dated them yet.
Well said. The Maya-as-peaceful-loving-farmers theorists got their rear ends handed to them on a platter. Turns out they were as blood-thirsty as the rest of us. The hilarious part was that the Kumbaya crowd kept asserting that the Mayas were peace-loving several decades after the entire world saw the paintings at Bonampak. Complete denial. Oh, and I also enjoyed the huge fuss that was raised when it turned out the Anasazi were cannibals.
They finally deciphered the Maya script and most of the inscriptions turn out to read like something left by the Assyrians.
I toured Mesa Verde 25 years ago, and the story was put forward by the guides that the Anasazi had moved into the uncomfortable, cramped and dangerous cliff dwellings for some sort of solar energy reason. Since they had previously lived for many centuries in mesa top villages much more convenient to their fields, it seemed obvious to me that they moved into the cliff dwellings because they were scared to death. The neighbors turning into cannibals will do that!
I’ve often wondered if some Meso-American religious influence may not have been involved in the apparent change in the Anasazi way of life. Refugees from the Toltec, perhaps, who certainly had trade relations with the Anasazi.
Arf! I was told the same tale at Mesa Verde, which I love and have visited several times, back in the late 80s. They never give up. The Toltecs certainly did a number on the religious practices of the Maya when they arrived in the Yucatan, so I think your theory might hold water. One interesting link between Central Mexico and the Four Corners area is that both the Ute language and nahuatl are closely related linguistically , and come from a separate line of development from the other pre-columbian languages. Perhaps the nahuatl-speakers were break away Utes who traveled south. Have you ever visited Paquime in Chihuahua? Very interesting site, and strangely New Mexican.
Oddly, I’ve never actually been into Mexico, although I’ve been in border towns quite a few times.
There is certainly a linguistic link between the Utes, Comanches and Aztecs, among others.
Very diverse cultures among these peoples, of course. The legends of the Aztecs indicate that they were dirt-poor nomads when they entered Mexico, much like the Utes or Comanches were before they got horses.
I have backpacked over much of the Four Corners area, and I suspect few people realize how widespread the Anasazi ruins are. There are only a few spectacular cliff dwellings or pueblo ruins, but less dramatic remains are scattered widely. It has been estimated that a lot more people lived in the area in 1000 than today.
They still hate Christy Turner for that one.
"For many years, anthropologists have understood the Zuni in the American Southwest to occupy a special place in Native American culture and ethnography. Their language, religion, and blood type are startlingly different from all other tribes. Most puzzling, the Zuni appear to have much in common with the people of Japan. "
Didn’t some American once say that “If you want peace be prepared for war”.
The results showed that it contained human proteins. The defecator was a cannibal.