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Ancient Peru Site Older, Much Larger
Seattle Times ^ | 12-23-2004 | Thomas H. Maugh

Posted on 12/23/2004 9:49:50 AM PST by blam

Thursday, December 23, 2004 - Page updated at 12:03 A.M.

Ancient Peru site older, much larger

By Thomas H. Maugh II

Los Angeles Times

A Peruvian site previously reported as the oldest city in the Americas actually is a much larger complex of as many as 20 cities with huge pyramids and sunken plazas sprawled over three river valleys, researchers report.

Construction started about 5,000 years ago — nearly 400 years before the first pyramid was built in Egypt — at a time when most people around the world were simple hunters and gatherers, a team from Northern Illinois University and Chicago's Field Museum reports in today's issue of the journal Nature.

The society and its people — known only as the Andeans — persisted in virtually the same form for 1,200 years before they were overrun by more warlike neighbors. That is the longest time any known ancient civilization survived, according to archaeologist Jonathan Haas of the Field, who led the expedition.

The results greatly expand understanding of how complex states began in the Americas.

"We are seeing the emergence of centralized decision-making, government and religion out of pristine conditions," Haas said. "They were not following a pattern established by someone else. They were developing it on their own. An Andean culture was being invented in this area."

Haas said people always have thought the Americas were behind Europe, Africa and Asia in terms of developing civilizations. The new dates for the region show the two worlds developed more or less simultaneously.

The findings also are overturning the previous belief that South American civilization was based in coastal cities supported by fishing. Instead, Andean society seems to have been built primarily on cotton farming and trade, supported by fishing villages.

"There wasn't anything like this in the world as far as I can tell," Haas said.

The first city to be discovered, Caral in the Supe River Valley, about 120 miles north of Lima, lay virtually ignored for more than 100 years after its discovery, despite its nearly 100-foot-tall pyramids. It had no golden or jeweled artifacts, no pottery shards with which to date it, and no art or writing to indicate its origins.

It was not until Haas' team first reported radiocarbon dates for the site three years ago that scientists appreciated its antiquity. Those dates indicated that Caral was built about 2600 B.C., much earlier than thought possible.

A new series of dates from the Supe River Valley, as well as the nearby Pativilca and Fortaleza valleys, show construction began even earlier, about 3000 B.C.

The driving force may well have been the Humboldt Current, a broad band of cold water rich in marine life, which served as a valuable food source.

But the climate turned much drier beginning about 3100 B.C., eliminating naturally growing fruits and vegetables that villagers relied on to supplement their diet of fish. They began looking inland for new food sources, Haas said.

"They figured out that if you take water out of the rivers and put it on desert land, the desert blooms and becomes very productive," he said. In the Norte Chico region, they could do so by hand-digging short canals.

They grew guava, beans, peppers and fruits — but not the corn or potatoes that researchers previously believed necessary to support a large population. But their most important crop was cotton, which was traded to coastal villagers to make fishing nets.

Andeans were peaceful. "They didn't fight with each other, and nobody else was big enough to fight with them," Haas said.

But beginning about 1800 B.C., possibly because the soil began to lose its productivity, new buildings and monuments got smaller and the big cities began to decline. New, larger cities appeared north and south of Norte Chico.

Warfare eventually began, and Norte Chico was conquered and abandoned.

The only occupants today are scattered farmers.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ancient; archaeology; caral; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; incas; larger; machupicchu; much; older; peru; site
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1 posted on 12/23/2004 9:49:51 AM PST by blam
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To: SunkenCiv
GGG Ping.

This article has more detail than the one posted yesterday.

2 posted on 12/23/2004 9:50:51 AM PST by blam
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To: blam

I am having a problem with the dates, 5,000 years is far to old.


3 posted on 12/23/2004 9:54:56 AM PST by jpsb
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To: blam

bttt


4 posted on 12/23/2004 10:00:09 AM PST by TigersEye (Regime change in the courts. Impeach activist judges!)
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To: blam
Sowell's "Conquests and Cultures" does a masterful job of comparing and contrasting European, American, and African cultural development. Basically, cultures which did not develop the wheel, draft animals, and perhaps most importantly a written language did not survive.

-Eric

5 posted on 12/23/2004 10:01:06 AM PST by E Rocc
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To: blam; FairOpinion; Ernest_at_the_Beach; SunkenCiv; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; 4ConservativeJustices; ...
Thanks Blam.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on, off, or alter the "Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list --
Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
The GGG Digest
-- Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

6 posted on 12/23/2004 10:10:44 AM PST by SunkenCiv ("All I have seen teaches me trust the Creator for all I have not seen." -- Emerson)
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To: jpsb
I am having a problem with the dates, 5,000 years is far to old.

I agree. That would put it at the same time as the flood of Noah. There wouldn't be enough time to breed a new race of people and migrate to South America.

7 posted on 12/23/2004 10:10:56 AM PST by shekkian
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To: jpsb

Good advice. Never, never try to eat 5,000 year old dates.


8 posted on 12/23/2004 10:12:12 AM PST by SunkenCiv ("All I have seen teaches me trust the Creator for all I have not seen." -- Emerson)
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To: jpsb
I am having a problem with the dates, 5,000 years is far to old.

Why? They got there in ~6000 BCE, 8000 years ago.

9 posted on 12/23/2004 10:13:17 AM PST by balrog666 (The invisible and the nonexistent look very much alike.)
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To: blam

>>That is the longest time any known ancient civilization survived, according to archaeologist Jonathan Haas of the Field, who led the expedition.

Hey, I've worked with that guy. His wife is nice. Him, welll...


10 posted on 12/23/2004 10:21:06 AM PST by Betis70 (I'm only Left Wing when I play hockey)
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To: balrog666

If civilization got started in South America 5000 years ago, as it did in Egypt, India and China then what happened? Why did civilization advance in other parts of the world but not in South America or North America? Something does not compute.


11 posted on 12/23/2004 10:23:46 AM PST by jpsb
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To: Betis70
That is the longest time any known ancient civilization survived

Bull, see China.

12 posted on 12/23/2004 10:25:21 AM PST by jpsb
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To: jpsb

>>Why did civilization advance in other parts of the world but not in South America or North America?

Define "advance" because in this context I really have no clue what you mean. Peru was a highly advanced society when Pizarro came along, but one of the things that happened a lot in the Andean region is that periodic enviornmental catastrophes seem to cause a collapse of various State level societies (Chimu, Moche, Huari).

The well known "El Nino" weather pattern is one example.

As it was, the Inca were pretty advanced by the time the Spanish encountered them, with an elaborate road system, record keeping system, and advanced agricultural systems.


13 posted on 12/23/2004 10:29:18 AM PST by Betis70 (I'm only Left Wing when I play hockey)
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To: jpsb

>>That is the longest time any known ancient civilization survived

>>Bull, see China.

Well since I didn't post that quote, I have no idea why you replying to me.


14 posted on 12/23/2004 10:30:18 AM PST by Betis70 (I'm only Left Wing when I play hockey)
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To: Betis70; jpsb

I should clairify--the quote was IN the article. If you have a problem with it, take it up with Haas, not me.


15 posted on 12/23/2004 10:31:29 AM PST by Betis70 (I'm only Left Wing when I play hockey)
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To: Betis70

The comment was a general one, not at all directed to you.


16 posted on 12/23/2004 10:36:05 AM PST by jpsb
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To: blam
...persisted in virtually the same form for 1,200 years before they were overrun by more warlike neighbors.

His evidence of this is what? Or is it just an educated guess since it's the way things usually turn out?

"We are seeing the emergence of centralized decision-making, government and religion out of pristine conditions," Haas said. "They were not following a pattern established by someone else. They were developing it on their own. An Andean culture was being invented in this area."

Conjecture? I know next to nothing about this site/people, but it seems to the layman this guy's making some pretty large leaps.

Nifty slide show on the "The Sacred City of Caral, Peru" from UCDavis.

FGS

17 posted on 12/23/2004 10:43:48 AM PST by ForGod'sSake (ABCNNBCBS: An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly.)
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To: blam

"......persisted in virtually the same form for 1,200 years before they were overrun by more warlike neighbors.'

In the end it often comes down to cojones.

As far as age, who the heck knows what to believe. The great pyramid is claimed by some to be 8000 or 10000years old. You'd figure they could date these things fairly precisly.


18 posted on 12/23/2004 10:44:07 AM PST by TalBlack
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To: TalBlack
You'd figure they could date these things fairly precisly.

It's just rock and limestone. How are you going to date when some random limestone was dug up, carved up, or put in place?

19 posted on 12/23/2004 10:49:28 AM PST by balrog666 (The invisible and the nonexistent look very much alike.)
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To: blam

Neat! I love this stuff.

Did you see the History Channels Modern Marvels last night, about Galen and the study of medicine?? That was fascinating. And right before that they had some sort of "andulytch (sp) dear" that was possibly designed by Archimedes.

I am SUCH a geek. :-)

Merry Christmas Blam.


20 posted on 12/23/2004 10:51:22 AM PST by RikaStrom
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To: blam
"Construction started about 5,000 years ago — nearly 400 years before the first pyramid was built in Egypt — at a time when most people around the world were simple hunters and gatherers,..."

I resent statements like this!

My ancestors, while hunter-gatherers, were not simple! They had needs, and feelings.

Why, my own male forbears had vague unexpressed longings for wheels...

21 posted on 12/23/2004 10:52:45 AM PST by Redbob
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To: blam
Construction started about 5,000 years ago — nearly 400 years before the first pyramid was built in Egypt

They don't know when the first pyramid was built in Egypt, though.

22 posted on 12/23/2004 10:54:23 AM PST by Fedora
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To: shekkian

That regional flooding of the Black Sea was many thousands of miles from Peru.


23 posted on 12/23/2004 10:58:24 AM PST by ASA Vet (It's a science thread.)
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To: blam

453 of these Andeans have been found to have voted for Kerry and Daschle last November...


24 posted on 12/23/2004 11:10:58 AM PST by pabianice
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To: jpsb

OK. I don't really know much about ancient China, so I'll have to take your word on that.


25 posted on 12/23/2004 11:13:46 AM PST by Betis70 (I'm only Left Wing when I play hockey)
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To: ForGod'sSake

Haas likes the spotlight. Don't know enough about this particular study to say one way or the other though.


26 posted on 12/23/2004 11:16:11 AM PST by Betis70 (I'm only Left Wing when I play hockey)
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To: jpsb
If civilization got started in South America 5000 years ago, as it did in Egypt, India and China then what happened? Why did civilization advance in other parts of the world but not in South America or North America? Something does not compute.

If you're curious about that question, run, don't walk to your local bookstore or library and get "Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jared Diamond. Amazing book.

He ended up writing the book after he visited New Guinea and made some friends among the tribesmen there, who struck him as very intelligent people, despite having a very primitive society, and one of them asked basically the same question you asked.

27 posted on 12/23/2004 11:16:56 AM PST by Strategerist
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To: shekkian
I agree. That would put it at the same time as the flood of Noah. There wouldn't be enough time to breed a new race of people and migrate to South America.

On the other hand, along with a lot of other overwhelming evidence, it might cause you to consider the possibility that at no time in human history has there been a worldwide flood.

28 posted on 12/23/2004 11:18:03 AM PST by Strategerist
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To: Strategerist

That book has been on my Amazon "Wish List" for far too long. Now with that glowing recommendation I'm gonna have to get it.


29 posted on 12/23/2004 11:18:21 AM PST by Betis70 (I'm only Left Wing when I play hockey)
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To: Betis70

I've mentioned it on another thread and it was attacked by a few people; not really sure why, It certainly doesn't seem to have a leftist perspective or ideology at all to me.

Basically, Diamond he attacks the idea that certain cultures developed more slowly because the people of that culture were genetically inferior or stupid or something; he attributes the main reasons for development of societies to the local plant and animal life and geography of given areas.


30 posted on 12/23/2004 11:22:21 AM PST by Strategerist
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To: shekkian

What if the continents were still slowing from The Event?
Peoples were still close across narrow seas....


31 posted on 12/23/2004 11:29:55 AM PST by metacognative (expecting exculpation?!)
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To: Strategerist
On the other hand, along with a lot of other overwhelming evidence, it might cause you to consider the possibility that at no time in human history has there been a worldwide flood.

Then again, you might consider that it was after the Tower of Babel incedent, perhaps a couple hundred years after the flood, when God created the different languages and scattered the people around the world.

32 posted on 12/23/2004 11:33:00 AM PST by shekkian
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To: metacognative
What if the continents were still slowing from The Event? Peoples were still close across narrow seas....

An interesting theory... We could ask Jesus when He comes back.

33 posted on 12/23/2004 11:35:21 AM PST by shekkian
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To: Strategerist
Basically, Diamond he attacks the idea that certain cultures developed more slowly because the people of that culture were genetically inferior or stupid or something; he attributes the main reasons for development of societies to the local plant and animal life and geography of given areas.

Geography. You don't invent the wheel in the mountains. And you can't run away (very far) in the mountains.

Also you need widescale agriculture to support a large population and you can't plow a field without a plow, an ox, and fertile soil. Which means metal forging, large animal domestication, and bottomland. There are no large oxen-type mammals or horses in South America and the bottom land is mostly jungle/rain forest with low nutrient counts (except in the NW), etc.

34 posted on 12/23/2004 11:41:01 AM PST by balrog666 (The invisible and the nonexistent look very much alike.)
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To: RikaStrom
"Did you see the History Channels Modern Marvels last night, about Galen and the study of medicine?? That was fascinating. "

Yup. I did see that...some of it twice.

Merry Christmas

35 posted on 12/23/2004 11:41:44 AM PST by blam
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To: Betis70
Haas likes the spotlight. Don't know enough about this particular study to say one way or the other though.

My suspicion is, he doesn't either.

FGS

36 posted on 12/23/2004 11:43:20 AM PST by ForGod'sSake (ABCNNBCBS: An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly.)
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To: balrog666
An Origin Of New World Agriculture In Coastal Ecuador (12,000BP)
37 posted on 12/23/2004 11:48:39 AM PST by blam
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To: balrog666
Also you need widescale agriculture to support a large population and you can't plow a field without a plow, an ox, and fertile soil. Which means metal forging, large animal domestication, and bottomland. There are no large oxen-type mammals or horses in South America and the bottom land is mostly jungle/rain forest with low nutrient counts (except in the NW), etc.

Disagree. Manpower works just fine.

FGS

38 posted on 12/23/2004 11:50:56 AM PST by ForGod'sSake (ABCNNBCBS: An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly.)
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To: balrog666
Rainforest Researchers Hit Paydirt (Farming 11K Years Ago In South America)
39 posted on 12/23/2004 11:54:19 AM PST by blam
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To: Strategerist

I just finished reading this book - I really enjoyed it. It would be very interesting if his theories could be extrapolated from the present. I'd imagine (in fact he seems to imply) that China enjoys the greatest confluence of these factors among individual nations and therefore would rise to pre-eminence in the long term.


40 posted on 12/23/2004 11:54:21 AM PST by linear (You men can't fight in here - this is the War Room!)
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To: blam

It may even occur to these archeologists that these ruins may pre-date the flood of Noah's day.


41 posted on 12/23/2004 11:55:49 AM PST by nightdriver
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To: restornu; Jeremiah Jr

Ophir ping.


42 posted on 12/23/2004 11:59:18 AM PST by Thinkin' Gal
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To: balrog666

"I am having a problem with the dates, 5,000 years is far to old."

Now I thought dating old hippies was pushing it, but you guys are saying 5000 years old is your limit? What, do you only go after the spry young 3000 year old ones?


43 posted on 12/23/2004 12:18:04 PM PST by FastCoyote
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To: pabianice

...And the civilization finally collapsed under the tremendous cost of endless recounts...


44 posted on 12/23/2004 12:23:03 PM PST by hlmencken3 ("...politics is a religion substitute for liberals and they can't stand the competition")
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To: balrog666
The specific make-up of the rock, cross checked with where it was quarried and when. Tool marks. Styles of stone work or craftsmanship. Methods of transport, weather erosion. Cross-checking with known seismic activity etc.
45 posted on 12/23/2004 1:11:57 PM PST by TalBlack
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To: TalBlack
The specific make-up of the rock, cross checked with where it was quarried and when. Tool marks. Styles of stone work or craftsmanship. Methods of transport, weather erosion. Cross-checking with known seismic activity etc.

Go for it, dude!

46 posted on 12/23/2004 1:16:23 PM PST by balrog666 (The invisible and the nonexistent look very much alike.)
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To: jpsb

Some Chinese still don't realize that their civilization goes back 7,000 years.


47 posted on 12/23/2004 4:11:30 PM PST by Quix (5having a form of godliness but denying its power. I TIM 3:5)
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To: jpsb; All

Here's a link to a beautiful presentation of Chinese characters that relate to Biblical history in a net type slide show sort of thing. Makes a great CHRISTmas card:

http://www.wbschool.org/chinesecharacters.htm


48 posted on 12/23/2004 4:18:12 PM PST by Quix (5having a form of godliness but denying its power. I TIM 3:5)
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To: SunkenCiv
There's a one hour program right now on the National Geographic Channel covering this topic. The title is "Hidden Pyramids Of Peru. Pretty good, I watched it earlier.
49 posted on 12/23/2004 9:06:48 PM PST by blam
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To: blam

I was in Save A Lot tonight (it's a deeply cheap discount grocery store chain, franchised I think, similar to Aldi for those who know those) and found a video about the Chinese mummies or something, for a mere $1. Narrated by John Malkovich, so that should be nice and creepy. ;')


50 posted on 12/23/2004 9:17:50 PM PST by SunkenCiv ("All I have seen teaches me trust the Creator for all I have not seen." -- Emerson)
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