Caral is in the Supe Valley, 200 kilometers north of Lima, Peru. The civilization of Caral, the oldest in the Americas, was contemporary to others such as China, Egypt, India, and Mesopotamia; having already become at that time a city-state, surrounded by other civilizations still gathered in what is denominated & #8220; village societies & #8221 ;.
Thus, it is one of the geographical areas that can be considered as the cradle of world civilization for its antiquity and its independent development.
Max Uhle excavated in 1905 in Rough, a site on the coast of the Soube Valley, 23 km from the Sacred City of Caral in Peru. Julio C. Tello explored the same place in 1937. There is no evidence that they entered the Soube Valley and thus came to know the Sacred City of Caral.
The first person to draw attention to the Sacred City of Caral (Chupacigarro Grande) was the American traveler Paul Kosok, who visited the place together with fellow American archaeologist Richard Schaedel in 1949. In his report, published in the book & #8220; Life, Land and Water in Ancient Peru & #8221;, in 1965, mentioned that Chupacigarro (as the Holy City of Caral was known) must be very old, but cannot show how much.
In 1975 Peruvian architect Carlos Williams made a record of most of the archaeological sites in the Soube Valley, including the Chupacigarro Grande, from which he made some observations on the development of architecture in the Andes, which he first presented in article & #8220; Architecture and Urbanism in Ancient Peru & #8221 ;, published in 1983 in Volume VIII of the series & #8220; History of Peru & #8221; by Juan Mejía Baca, and then article #8220; A Scheme for the Early Monumental Architecture of the Central Coast of Peru & #8221; published in 1985 in the book & #8220; Early Ceremonial Architecture in the Andes & #8221 ;.
French archaeologist Frederic Engel visited the site in 1979, lifting a plan and excavating it. In his book & #8220; From Begonias to Corn & #8221; published in 1987, Engel stated that Chupacigarro Grande (as the Holy City of Caral was still known) could have been built before the appearance of ceramics in the Andes (1800 BC). However, the Andean archaeologists assumed that the site was & acerámic, ie, that it had been built by a population that did not use ceramics, although it was already known elsewhere in the Andes.
In 1994 Ruth Shady toured the Supe Valley again and identified 18 places with the same architectural features, including the 4 known as Chupacigarro Grande, Chupacigarro Chico, Chupacigarro Centro and Chupacigarro Oeste. To differentiate them Shady named them, Caral, Chupacigarro, Miraya and Lurihuasi. Caral, Miraya and Lurihuasi are the Quechua names of the villages closest to the places. Chupacigarro is the Spanish name of a local bird.
Shady excavated in Caral from 1996 and presented his data for the first time in 1997 in the book & #8220; The Sacred City of Caral-Supe in the dawn of civilization in Peru & #8221 ;. In this book he openly sustained the pre-ceramic antiquity of the Holy City of Caral, a claim which he irrefutably consolidated in subsequent years through intensive excavations in the place.
The Caral-Supe Archaeological Special Project is in charge of work in the Holy City of Caral, as well as settlements near Rough, Miraya and Lurihuasi. Archaeologist Ruth Shady travels the valley on a permanent basis to continue the work of excavation and discovery in this part of an archaeologically rich country and diverse millenary cultures.
The antiquity of the Sacred City of Caral was confirmed through 42 carbonic dating in the United States. According to them, the Holy City of Caral has an average antiquity of approximately 2,627 to 2,100 BC, while in the rest of America urban development began 1,550 years later. Their discovery changes the theories that existed until now about the emergence of ancient civilizations in Peru.
Until recently Chavín de Huántar was considered the oldest cultural center of this country, with a maximum of 1,500 years BC
The Caral Civilization was a complex pre-Columbian society that included about 30 large population centers in what are now the north-central coast of Peru. It has been known since 1997 by Peruvian archaeologist Ruth Shady as the oldest civilization in the Americas and one of six places where civilization separately originated in the ancient world. It flourished between the XXX century BC and XVIII BC, in the pre-ceramic neolithic period. The name & #8220; Caral-Supe & #8221; It is derived from the Sacred City of Caral, a large, widely studied archaeological site in the Supe Valley, north of the Lima department (known as Norte Chico). The society of the region arose a millennium after Sumer, and precedes the Mesoamerican Olmecs by almost two millennia.
In archaeological nomenclature, Norte Chico is a pre-ceramic culture of the pre-Columbian period that has a total absence of ceramics and apparently lacks artistic expressions. The most impressive achievement of civilization was its monumental architecture, which included mound and circular platforms. Archaeological evidence suggests the use of textile technology, and possibly worship of symbols representing gods, situations that compete in pre-Columbian Andean cultures. It is assumed that a sophisticated government was required to lead the former Norte Chico region, and questions remain unanswered about its organization, particularly the issue of food resources and the political function.
In the context in which it was formed, it corresponds to the so-called Peruvian North-Central Area, which includes the valleys of the coast - Santa, Nepeña, Sechín, Culebras, Huarmey, Fortress, Pativilca, Supe, Huaura, Chancay and Chillón - and the mountain alleys of Huaylas. and Conchucos, along with the Junín plateau, and the Marañón, Huallaga river basins and the Ucayali springs. In the Peruvian North-Central Area, it was previously known that there were pre-ceramic settlements from which leadership-level social organizations were assumed. These include La Galgada, in the Conchucos alley, Piruro in the Marañón, Huaricoto in the Huaylas alley, Kotosh in the Huallaga, Las Haldas in Casma, Los Gavilanes in Huarmey, Rough in Supe, Bandurria and Dry River in Huaura and El Paraíso in Chillón. .
The city existed during the years 3000 BC until 1800 BC, when the city suffered from drought, famine, disease and its inhabitants left the city until it was discovered in 1905.
Buildings in the Holy City of Caral have been continually refurbished, with increasingly complex structures. This means the evolution of the construction techniques, the knowledge of the exact sciences like the arithmetic, the geometry and also the astronomy that influenced the ancient Peruvian cultures. They highlighted space, architecture and precision, especially in the six volumes of the larger pyramids.
The most outstanding monumental buildings are:
The Greater Pyramid
The Lesser Pyramid
The Gallery Pyramid
The Pyramid of Huanca
The Amphitheater Temple
The Cantera Pyramid
The Temple of the Circular Altar.
At the foot of the Greater Temple and the Amphitheater Pyramid were built large circular squares, meeting places for the inhabitants of the city, where activities were probably performed accompanied by the music of transverse flutes and bugles.
The 32 pyramidal structures found, one of them 18 m high, coincide with the date when the Egyptian civilization built its own.