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Peruvian Archaeologist’s Life Is Threatened Over Caral-Chupacigarro

Peruvian Archaeologist’s Life Is Threatened Over Caral-Chupacigarro

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A 73-year-old Peruvian archaeologist was shot in the chest. And now she’s receiving death threats, as she fights to defend Caral-Chupacigarro, America’s oldest city, from a violent criminal gang. Caral-Chupacigarro is an almost 5000-year-old Norte Chico civilization settlement located 200 kilometers (120 mi) north of Lima, on a dry desert terrace overlooking the Supe River Valley in the Barranca Province of modern-day Peru. Dating back to 2627 BC, the site is “America’s most ancient city.” It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009 AD. However, in the spring of 2020 AD a family of “squatters” claimed rights to the land, and they’ve begun destroying archaeological treasures to build new homes.

The Battle For Caral-Chupacigarro, America’s Oldest City

Peruvian archaeologist Ruth Shady, 73, discovered the ancient settlement of Caral-Chupacigarro in 1994 and in 1996 AD. In cooperation with the National Geographic Society, her Caral Archaeological Project excavated the ancient city. She was listed on BBC’s 100 Women list last year after she was shot in the chest defending Caral-Chupacigarro from squatters. Now, the family of squatters are claiming the almost 5,000-year-old ruins were given to them in the 1970s AD, during Peru’s agrarian land reform under a leftist military dictatorship.

  • The 5,000-year-old Pyramid City of Caral
  • Unique artifacts shed light on daily life in 5,000-year-old city of Caral
  • 3,800-Year-Old Statues from Advanced Caral Civilization found in Peru

Shady, even after being shot, is standing strong. An article in The Guardian quotes the archaeologist as saying “They {the criminals} do not have a single land title. The owner of the land is the Peruvian state.” During the 2020 Covid-19 lockdowns, Shady learned that the squatters had made nine "invasions" into the 626-hectare (1,546-acre) archaeological complex of Caral.

It turned out that last July a heavy digger knocked down ancient adobe walls and smashed hundreds of ancient ceramics, and tombs containing mummies. When Shady reported this to Peruvian police, they attended the site and stopped the destruction, but she began getting verbal death threats by telephone. Furthermore, text messages were sent to various workers at the archaeological site threatening them to back off, or else…

The eminent Peruvian archaeologist Ruth Shady who has been threatened over her attempts to protect the Caral-Chupacigarro site. ( Zona Caral )

At Caral-Chupacigarro, “Squatters” Are Violent Criminals

The word squatter brings with it images of helpless folk, who maybe through the toils of life lost everything and with nowhere to go they end up populating abandoned buildings and public spaces. Right? Well not in this case. These squatters are a gang of hardcore violent criminals who were audacious enough to call the lawyer who works for the ancient site threatening to kill both him and Shady, and bury them “five meters below the ground,” said Shady.

If any of you out there are thinking perhaps there’s another side to this story, and that maybe the squatters have a legal claim to the debated territory, then you are about to be converted. They poisoned Shady’s dog. Yup. They slaughtered her dog, folks. What’s more, while the archaeologist was grieving they texted her threatening a similar fate. See now? These “squatters” are in reality deplorable gangsters using violence as tool in their colonization of an ancient sacred land, for wealth.

The people threating Ruth Shady and the Caral-Chupacigarro site are motivated by greed as land prices in the area increased by 1000 percent over the last 10 years. ( Zona Caral )

Always Follow The Money Trail…

The archaeological site is surrounded by a 56-square-mile (145-square-kilometer) buffer zone and land prices surrounding Caral-Chupacigarro have rocketed in the last decade from around $5,000 (4,000 euros) per hectare (2.5 acres) to as much as $50,000 (40,000 euros) per hectare. And therein is the reason the “land developers” want to see Shady in a box “five meters” underground, in their own words.

The latest death threats made to Shady and her team might have been prevented, however, if in December 2020 AD a local prosecutor and governmental officials, hadn’t failed to or forgotten to give the appropriate orders to stop the criminal gang ripping the ancient city apart. These sorts of failings and mistakes happen a lot in South America, especially when valuable indigenous land is up for development. Couldn’t possibly think why. But maybe you can work that out.

The destruction of Caral-Chupacigarro is a monstrous act like the burning of books at Alexandria or the intentional damage of abbeys and cathedrals during the Protestant Reformation. ( jcfotografo / Adobe Stock)

The Destruction of Caral-Chupacigarro Is A Monstrous Act

Let’s stand back from the heat of this article for a moment and put what’s unfolding in Peru into historical perspective. While to many, this is “just another” story of archaeological vandalism, we must never ever become desensitized to these kinds of situations. Without a stroke of exaggeration, or journalistic color, whatsoever, if the oldest city in the Americas is destroyed by these bandits, for profit, it will be remembered as the 2020 AD burning of The Great Library of Alexandria, or perhaps the destruction of the abbeys and cathedrals during the European Protestant Reformation.

Ruth Shady was listed on the 2020 AD BBC’s 100 Women list , but it’s a crying shame that she was not also included on the 2020 Time’s 100 Most Influential People list . The woman took a bullet. And she’s now getting death threats, all to save “Americas oldest city.” In my book, Shady should be awarded a cape with “SA” printed on her chest, over her bullet wound, for “Super Archaeologist.”

There appears to have been shrines here from a very early date and the island is referenced by the Greek poet Homer , who was born sometime between the 12th and 8th centuries BC.

The island which was near ancient Thrace, was influenced by a variety of other cultures. Many of the deities that were worshipped here were the gods of the earth and underground. Although there is no conclusive evidence identifying all the deities that were honored, they were different from the Olympians worshipped elsewhere in Greece. What is known is that a Great Mother was worshipped and identified with other goddesses including a Trojan mother goddess .

Nike of Samothrace, goddess of victory, on display in the Louvre museum Paris ( fiore26 / Adobe Stock)

Two of deities venerated at Samothrace were Axiokersos and Axiokersa, fertility gods , who are sometimes identified with Hades and Persephone. It is most likely that the shrines were not only a Pan-Hellenic place of worship but was also sacred to other cultures, likely the reason for the many unusual cults celebrated here. Anyone could worship at Samothrace after following the commands of a chief priestess or prophetess known as a Sibyl, a woman in ancient times who was thought to utter the prophecies of a god. An annual festival was held every year which featured a sacred parable of the soul’s journey to the otherworld. Unlike other mystery religions which were elitist, this was open to everyone irrespective of ethnicity.

The mysterious religion practised at the site gave initiates secret knowledge that helped them secure the favor of the gods and even salvation. Very little is known about this ancient cult. Among the famous initiates was the historian Herodotus, who left behind a few clues to the nature of the mysteries.

The temple complex at Samothrace, known as Sanctuary of the Great Gods, was a self-governing political entity and was independent of the nearby city of Paleopoli. It even sent its ambassadors to other city-states in Greece.

Foundation of the Arsinoé Rotunda and fragment of the dedication (Marsyas / CC BY-SA 3.0 )

In the Hellenistic era, various Macedonian monarchs patronized the temples at Samothrace. They spent lavishly on the site and it greatly expanded during the Hellenistic era. According to some historians it became a Macedonian national shrine.

The island was the last stronghold of Perseus after his defeat by the Romans in the 2 nd century AD. The sanctuaries and temples continued to flourish under Rome rule until Theodosius the Great , Roman emperor from 379 to 395, had the complex closed in the 4 th century AD and it fell into disuse. The site fascinated historians because of its mysterious rituals and cults and it was first excavated in the 19 th century, during this time the famous statue of Nike of Samothrace was unearthed. The site is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.


First instances of archaeology Edit

In Ancient Mesopotamia, a foundation deposit of the Akkadian Empire ruler Naram-Sin (ruled circa 2200 BCE) was discovered and analysed by king Nabonidus, circa 550 BCE, who is thus known as the first archaeologist. [9] [10] [11] Not only did he lead the first excavations which were to find the foundation deposits of the temples of Šamaš the sun god, the warrior goddess Anunitu (both located in Sippar), and the sanctuary that Naram-Sin built to the moon god, located in Harran, but he also had them restored to their former glory. [9] He was also the first to date an archaeological artifact in his attempt to date Naram-Sin's temple during his search for it. [12] Even though his estimate was inaccurate by about 1,500 years, it was still a very good one considering the lack of accurate dating technology at the time. [9] [12] [10]

Antiquarians Edit

The science of archaeology (from Greek ἀρχαιολογία , archaiologia from ἀρχαῖος , arkhaios, "ancient" and -λογία , -logia, "-logy") [13] grew out of the older multi-disciplinary study known as antiquarianism. Antiquarians studied history with particular attention to ancient artifacts and manuscripts, as well as historical sites. Antiquarianism focused on the empirical evidence that existed for the understanding of the past, encapsulated in the motto of the 18th-century antiquary, Sir Richard Colt Hoare, "We speak from facts not theory". Tentative steps towards the systematization of archaeology as a science took place during the Enlightenment era in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. [14]

In Imperial China during the Song dynasty (960-1279), figures such as Ouyang Xiu [15] and Zhao Mingcheng established the tradition of Chinese epigraphy by investigating, preserving, and analyzing ancient Chinese bronze inscriptions from the Shang and Zhou periods. [16] [17] [18] In his book published in 1088, Shen Kuo criticized contemporary Chinese scholars for attributing ancient bronze vessels as creations of famous sages rather than artisan commoners, and for attempting to revive them for ritual use without discerning their original functionality and purpose of manufacture. [19] Such antiquarian pursuits waned after the Song period, were revived in the 17th century during the Qing dynasty, but were always considered a branch of Chinese historiography rather than a separate discipline of archaeology. [20] [21]

In Renaissance Europe, philosophical interest in the remains of Greco-Roman civilization and the rediscovery of classical culture began in the late Middle Ages. Flavio Biondo, an Italian Renaissance humanist historian, created a systematic guide to the ruins and topography of ancient Rome in the early 15th century, for which he has been called an early founder of archaeology. Antiquarians of the 16th century, including John Leland and William Camden, conducted surveys of the English countryside, drawing, describing and interpreting the monuments that they encountered.

The OED first cites "archaeologist" from 1824 this soon took over as the usual term for one major branch of antiquarian activity. "Archaeology", from 1607 onwards, initially meant what we would call "ancient history" generally, with the narrower modern sense first seen in 1837.

First excavations Edit

One of the first sites to undergo archaeological excavation was Stonehenge and other megalithic monuments in England. John Aubrey (1626–1697) was a pioneer archaeologist who recorded numerous megalithic and other field monuments in southern England. He was also ahead of his time in the analysis of his findings. He attempted to chart the chronological stylistic evolution of handwriting, medieval architecture, costume, and shield-shapes. [22]

Excavations were also carried out by the Spanish military engineer Roque Joaquín de Alcubierre in the ancient towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, both of which had been covered by ash during the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. These excavations began in 1748 in Pompeii, while in Herculaneum they began in 1738. The discovery of entire towns, complete with utensils and even human shapes, as well the unearthing of frescos, had a big impact throughout Europe.

However, prior to the development of modern techniques, excavations tended to be haphazard the importance of concepts such as stratification and context were overlooked. [23]

Development of archaeological method Edit

The father of archaeological excavation was William Cunnington (1754–1810). He undertook excavations in Wiltshire from around 1798, [24] funded by Sir Richard Colt Hoare. Cunnington made meticulous recordings of Neolithic and Bronze Age barrows, and the terms he used to categorize and describe them are still used by archaeologists today. [25]

One of the major achievements of 19th-century archaeology was the development of stratigraphy. The idea of overlapping strata tracing back to successive periods was borrowed from the new geological and paleontological work of scholars like William Smith, James Hutton and Charles Lyell. The application of stratigraphy to archaeology first took place with the excavations of prehistorical and Bronze Age sites. In the third and fourth decades of the 19th-century, archaeologists like Jacques Boucher de Perthes and Christian Jürgensen Thomsen began to put the artifacts they had found in chronological order.

A major figure in the development of archaeology into a rigorous science was the army officer and ethnologist, Augustus Pitt Rivers, [26] who began excavations on his land in England in the 1880s. His approach was highly methodical by the standards of the time, and he is widely regarded as the first scientific archaeologist. He arranged his artifacts by type or "typologically, and within types by date or "chronologically". This style of arrangement, designed to highlight the evolutionary trends in human artifacts, was of enormous significance for the accurate dating of the objects. His most important methodological innovation was his insistence that all artifacts, not just beautiful or unique ones, be collected and catalogued. [27]

William Flinders Petrie is another man who may legitimately be called the Father of Archaeology. His painstaking recording and study of artifacts, both in Egypt and later in Palestine, laid down many of the ideas behind modern archaeological recording he remarked that "I believe the true line of research lies in the noting and comparison of the smallest details." Petrie developed the system of dating layers based on pottery and ceramic findings, which revolutionized the chronological basis of Egyptology. Petrie was the first to scientifically investigate the Great Pyramid in Egypt during the 1880s. [28] He was also responsible for mentoring and training a whole generation of Egyptologists, including Howard Carter who went on to achieve fame with the discovery of the tomb of 14th-century BC pharaoh Tutankhamun.

The first stratigraphic excavation to reach wide popularity with public was that of Hissarlik, on the site of ancient Troy, carried out by Heinrich Schliemann, Frank Calvert and Wilhelm Dörpfeld in the 1870s. These scholars individuated nine different cities that had overlapped with one another, from prehistory to the Hellenistic period. [29] Meanwhile, the work of Sir Arthur Evans at Knossos in Crete revealed the ancient existence of an equally advanced Minoan civilization. [30]

The next major figure in the development of archaeology was Sir Mortimer Wheeler, whose highly disciplined approach to excavation and systematic coverage in the 1920s and 1930s brought the science on swiftly. Wheeler developed the grid system of excavation, which was further improved by his student Kathleen Kenyon.

Archaeology became a professional activity in the first half of the 20th century, and it became possible to study archaeology as a subject in universities and even schools. By the end of the 20th century nearly all professional archaeologists, at least in developed countries, were graduates. Further adaptation and innovation in archaeology continued in this period, when maritime archaeology and urban archaeology became more prevalent and rescue archaeology was developed as a result of increasing commercial development. [31]

The purpose of archaeology is to learn more about past societies and the development of the human race. Over 99% of the development of humanity has occurred within prehistoric cultures, who did not make use of writing, thereby no written records exist for study purposes. Without such written sources, the only way to understand prehistoric societies is through archaeology. Because archaeology is the study of past human activity, it stretches back to about 2.5 million years ago when we find the first stone tools – The Oldowan Industry. Many important developments in human history occurred during prehistory, such as the evolution of humanity during the Paleolithic period, when the hominins developed from the australopithecines in Africa and eventually into modern Homo sapiens. Archaeology also sheds light on many of humanity's technological advances, for instance the ability to use fire, the development of stone tools, the discovery of metallurgy, the beginnings of religion and the creation of agriculture. Without archaeology, we would know little or nothing about the use of material culture by humanity that pre-dates writing. [32]

However, it is not only prehistoric, pre-literate cultures that can be studied using archaeology but historic, literate cultures as well, through the sub-discipline of historical archaeology. For many literate cultures, such as Ancient Greece and Mesopotamia, their surviving records are often incomplete and biased to some extent. In many societies, literacy was restricted to the elite classes, such as the clergy or the bureaucracy of court or temple. The literacy even of aristocrats has sometimes been restricted to deeds and contracts. The interests and world-view of elites are often quite different from the lives and interests of the populace. Writings that were produced by people more representative of the general population were unlikely to find their way into libraries and be preserved there for posterity. Thus, written records tend to reflect the biases, assumptions, cultural values and possibly deceptions of a limited range of individuals, usually a small fraction of the larger population. Hence, written records cannot be trusted as a sole source. The material record may be closer to a fair representation of society, though it is subject to its own biases, such as sampling bias and differential preservation. [33]

Often, archaeology provides the only means to learn of the existence and behaviors of people of the past. Across the millennia many thousands of cultures and societies and billions of people have come and gone of which there is little or no written record or existing records are misrepresentative or incomplete. Writing as it is known today did not exist in human civilization until the 4th millennium BC, in a relatively small number of technologically advanced civilizations. In contrast, Homo sapiens has existed for at least 200,000 years, and other species of Homo for millions of years (see Human evolution). These civilizations are, not coincidentally, the best-known they are open to the inquiry of historians for centuries, while the study of pre-historic cultures has arisen only recently. Even within a literate civilization many events and important human practices are not officially recorded. Any knowledge of the early years of human civilization – the development of agriculture, cult practices of folk religion, the rise of the first cities – must come from archaeology.

In addition to their scientific importance, archaeological remains sometimes have political or cultural significance to descendants of the people who produced them, monetary value to collectors, or simply strong aesthetic appeal. Many people identify archaeology with the recovery of such aesthetic, religious, political, or economic treasures rather than with the reconstruction of past societies.

This view is often espoused in works of popular fiction, such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Mummy, and King Solomon's Mines. When such unrealistic subjects are treated more seriously, accusations of pseudoscience are invariably levelled at their proponents (see Pseudoarchaeology). However, these endeavours, real and fictional, are not representative of modern archaeology.

Theory Edit

There is no one approach to archaeological theory that has been adhered to by all archaeologists. When archaeology developed in the late 19th century, the first approach to archaeological theory to be practiced was that of cultural-history archaeology, which held the goal of explaining why cultures changed and adapted rather than just highlighting the fact that they did, therefore emphasizing historical particularism. [34] In the early 20th century, many archaeologists who studied past societies with direct continuing links to existing ones (such as those of Native Americans, Siberians, Mesoamericans etc.) followed the direct historical approach, compared the continuity between the past and contemporary ethnic and cultural groups. [34] In the 1960s, an archaeological movement largely led by American archaeologists like Lewis Binford and Kent Flannery arose that rebelled against the established cultural-history archaeology. [35] [36] They proposed a "New Archaeology", which would be more "scientific" and "anthropological", with hypothesis testing and the scientific method very important parts of what became known as processual archaeology. [34]

In the 1980s, a new postmodern movement arose led by the British archaeologists Michael Shanks, [37] [38] [39] [40] Christopher Tilley, [41] Daniel Miller, [42] [43] and Ian Hodder, [44] [45] [46] [47] [48] [49] which has become known as post-processual archaeology. It questioned processualism's appeals to scientific positivism and impartiality, and emphasized the importance of a more self-critical theoretical reflexivity. [ citation needed ] However, this approach has been criticized by processualists as lacking scientific rigor, and the validity of both processualism and post-processualism is still under debate. Meanwhile, another theory, known as historical processualism has emerged seeking to incorporate a focus on process and post-processual archaeology's emphasis of reflexivity and history. [50]

An archaeological investigation usually involves several distinct phases, each of which employs its own variety of methods. Before any practical work can begin, however, a clear objective as to what the archaeologists are looking to achieve must be agreed upon. This done, a site is surveyed to find out as much as possible about it and the surrounding area. Second, an excavation may take place to uncover any archaeological features buried under the ground. And, third, the information collected during the excavation is studied and evaluated in an attempt to achieve the original research objectives of the archaeologists. It is then considered good practice for the information to be published so that it is available to other archaeologists and historians, although this is sometimes neglected. [52]

Remote sensing Edit

Before actually starting to dig in a location, remote sensing can be used to look where sites are located within a large area or provide more information about sites or regions. There are two types of remote sensing instruments—passive and active. Passive instruments detect natural energy that is reflected or emitted from the observed scene. Passive instruments sense only radiation emitted by the object being viewed or reflected by the object from a source other than the instrument. Active instruments emit energy and record what is reflected. Satellite imagery is an example of passive remote sensing. Here are two active remote sensing instruments:

Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) A lidar uses a laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) to transmit a light pulse and a receiver with sensitive detectors to measure the backscattered or reflected light. Distance to the object is determined by recording the time between the transmitted and backscattered pulses and using the speed of light to calculate the distance travelled. Lidars can determine atmospheric profiles of aerosols, clouds, and other constituents of the atmosphere.

Laser altimeter A laser altimeter uses a lidar (see above) to measure the height of the instrument platform above the surface. By independently knowing the height of the platform with respect to the mean Earth's surface, the topography of the underlying surface can be determined. [53]

Field survey Edit

The archaeological project then continues (or alternatively, begins) with a field survey. Regional survey is the attempt to systematically locate previously unknown sites in a region. Site survey is the attempt to systematically locate features of interest, such as houses and middens, within a site. Each of these two goals may be accomplished with largely the same methods.

Survey was not widely practiced in the early days of archaeology. Cultural historians and prior researchers were usually content with discovering the locations of monumental sites from the local populace, and excavating only the plainly visible features there. Gordon Willey pioneered the technique of regional settlement pattern survey in 1949 in the Viru Valley of coastal Peru, [54] [55] and survey of all levels became prominent with the rise of processual archaeology some years later. [56]

Survey work has many benefits if performed as a preliminary exercise to, or even in place of, excavation. It requires relatively little time and expense, because it does not require processing large volumes of soil to search out artifacts. (Nevertheless, surveying a large region or site can be expensive, so archaeologists often employ sampling methods.) [57] As with other forms of non-destructive archaeology, survey avoids ethical issues (of particular concern to descendant peoples) associated with destroying a site through excavation. It is the only way to gather some forms of information, such as settlement patterns and settlement structure. Survey data are commonly assembled into maps, which may show surface features and/or artifact distribution.

The simplest survey technique is surface survey. It involves combing an area, usually on foot but sometimes with the use of mechanized transport, to search for features or artifacts visible on the surface. Surface survey cannot detect sites or features that are completely buried under earth, or overgrown with vegetation. Surface survey may also include mini-excavation techniques such as augers, corers, and shovel test pits. If no materials are found, the area surveyed is deemed sterile.

Aerial survey is conducted using cameras attached to airplanes, balloons, UAVs, or even Kites. [58] A bird's-eye view is useful for quick mapping of large or complex sites. Aerial photographs are used to document the status of the archaeological dig. Aerial imaging can also detect many things not visible from the surface. Plants growing above a buried man made structure, such as a stone wall, will develop more slowly, while those above other types of features (such as middens) may develop more rapidly. Photographs of ripening grain, which changes colour rapidly at maturation, have revealed buried structures with great precision. Aerial photographs taken at different times of day will help show the outlines of structures by changes in shadows. Aerial survey also employs ultraviolet, infrared, ground-penetrating radar wavelengths, LiDAR and thermography. [59]

Geophysical survey can be the most effective way to see beneath the ground. Magnetometers detect minute deviations in the Earth's magnetic field caused by iron artifacts, kilns, some types of stone structures, and even ditches and middens. Devices that measure the electrical resistivity of the soil are also widely used. Archaeological features whose electrical resistivity contrasts with that of surrounding soils can be detected and mapped. Some archaeological features (such as those composed of stone or brick) have higher resistivity than typical soils, while others (such as organic deposits or unfired clay) tend to have lower resistivity.

Although some archaeologists consider the use of metal detectors to be tantamount to treasure hunting, others deem them an effective tool in archaeological surveying. [60] Examples of formal archaeological use of metal detectors include musketball distribution analysis on English Civil War battlefields, metal distribution analysis prior to excavation of a 19th-century ship wreck, and service cable location during evaluation. Metal detectorists have also contributed to archaeology where they have made detailed records of their results and refrained from raising artifacts from their archaeological context. In the UK, metal detectorists have been solicited for involvement in the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

Regional survey in underwater archaeology uses geophysical or remote sensing devices such as marine magnetometer, side-scan sonar, or sub-bottom sonar. [61]

Excavation Edit

Archaeological excavation existed even when the field was still the domain of amateurs, and it remains the source of the majority of data recovered in most field projects. It can reveal several types of information usually not accessible to survey, such as stratigraphy, three-dimensional structure, and verifiably primary context.

Modern excavation techniques require that the precise locations of objects and features, known as their provenance or provenience, be recorded. This always involves determining their horizontal locations, and sometimes vertical position as well (also see Primary Laws of Archaeology). Likewise, their association, or relationship with nearby objects and features, needs to be recorded for later analysis. This allows the archaeologist to deduce which artifacts and features were likely used together and which may be from different phases of activity. For example, excavation of a site reveals its stratigraphy if a site was occupied by a succession of distinct cultures, artifacts from more recent cultures will lie above those from more ancient cultures.

Excavation is the most expensive phase of archaeological research, in relative terms. Also, as a destructive process, it carries ethical concerns. As a result, very few sites are excavated in their entirety. Again the percentage of a site excavated depends greatly on the country and "method statement" issued. Sampling is even more important in excavation than in survey. Sometimes large mechanical equipment, such as backhoes (JCBs), is used in excavation, especially to remove the topsoil (overburden), though this method is increasingly used with great caution. Following this rather dramatic step, the exposed area is usually hand-cleaned with trowels or hoes to ensure that all features are apparent.

The next task is to form a site plan and then use it to help decide the method of excavation. Features dug into the natural subsoil are normally excavated in portions to produce a visible archaeological section for recording. A feature, for example a pit or a ditch, consists of two parts: the cut and the fill. The cut describes the edge of the feature, where the feature meets the natural soil. It is the feature's boundary. The fill is what the feature is filled with, and will often appear quite distinct from the natural soil. The cut and fill are given consecutive numbers for recording purposes. Scaled plans and sections of individual features are all drawn on site, black and white and colour photographs of them are taken, and recording sheets are filled in describing the context of each. All this information serves as a permanent record of the now-destroyed archaeology and is used in describing and interpreting the site.

Analysis Edit

Once artifacts and structures have been excavated, or collected from surface surveys, it is necessary to properly study them. This process is known as post-excavation analysis, and is usually the most time-consuming part of an archaeological investigation. It is not uncommon for final excavation reports for major sites to take years to be published.

At a basic level of analysis, artifacts found are cleaned, catalogued and compared to published collections. This comparison process often involves classifying them typologically and identifying other sites with similar artifact assemblages. However, a much more comprehensive range of analytical techniques are available through archaeological science, meaning that artifacts can be dated and their compositions examined. Bones, plants, and pollen collected from a site can all be analyzed using the methods of zooarchaeology, paleoethnobotany, palynology and stable isotopes [62] while any texts can usually be deciphered.

These techniques frequently provide information that would not otherwise be known, and therefore they contribute greatly to the understanding of a site.

Computational and virtual archaeology Edit

Computer graphics are now used to build virtual 3D models of sites, such as the throne room of an Assyrian palace or ancient Rome. [63] Photogrammetry is also used as an analytical tool, and digital topographical models have been combined with astronomical calculations to verify whether or not certain structures (such as pillars) were aligned with astronomical events such as the sun's position at a solstice. [63] Agent-based modeling and simulation can be used to better understand past social dynamics and outcomes. Data mining can be applied to large bodies of archaeological 'grey literature'.

Drones Edit

Archaeologists around the world use drones to speed up survey work and protect sites from squatters, builders and miners. In Peru, small drones helped researchers produce three-dimensional models of Peruvian sites instead of the usual flat maps – and in days and weeks instead of months and years. [64]

Drones costing as little as £650 have proven useful. In 2013, drones have flown over at least six Peruvian archaeological sites, including the colonial Andean town Machu Llacta 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) above sea level. The drones continue to have altitude problems in the Andes, leading to plans to make a drone blimp, employing open source software. [64]

Jeffrey Quilter, an archaeologist with Harvard University said, "You can go up three metres and photograph a room, 300 metres and photograph a site, or you can go up 3,000 metres and photograph the entire valley." [64]

In September 2014 drones weighing about 5 kg (11 lb) were used for 3D mapping of the above-ground ruins of the Greek city of Aphrodisias. The data are being analysed by the Austrian Archaeological Institute in Vienna. [65]

Historical archaeology Edit

Historical archaeology is the study of cultures with some form of writing.

In England, archaeologists have uncovered layouts of 14th century medieval villages, abandoned after crises such as the Black Death. [67] In downtown New York City, archaeologists have exhumed the 18th century remains of the African Burial Ground. When remnants of the WWII Siegfried Line were being destroyed, emergency archaeological digs took place whenever any part of the line was removed, to further scientific knowledge and reveal details of the line's construction.

Ethnoarchaeology Edit

Ethnoarchaeology is the ethnographic study of living people, designed to aid in our interpretation of the archaeological record. [68] [69] [70] [71] [72] [73] The approach first gained prominence during the processual movement of the 1960s, and continues to be a vibrant component of post-processual and other current archaeological approaches. [51] [74] [75] [76] [77] Early ethnoarchaeological research focused on hunter-gatherer or foraging societies today ethnoarchaeological research encompasses a much wider range of human behaviour.

Experimental archaeology Edit

Experimental archaeology represents the application of the experimental method to develop more highly controlled observations of processes that create and impact the archaeological record. [78] [79] [80] [81] [82] In the context of the logical positivism of processualism with its goals of improving the scientific rigor of archaeological epistemologies the experimental method gained importance. Experimental techniques remain a crucial component to improving the inferential frameworks for interpreting the archaeological record.

Archaeometry Edit

Archaeometry aims to systematize archaeological measurement. It emphasizes the application of analytical techniques from physics, chemistry, and engineering. It is a field of research that frequently focuses on the definition of the chemical composition of archaeological remains for source analysis. [83] Archaeometry also investigates different spatial characteristics of features, employing methods such as space syntax techniques and geodesy as well as computer-based tools such as geographic information system technology. [84] Rare earth elements patterns may also be used. [85] A relatively nascent subfield is that of archaeological materials, designed to enhance understanding of prehistoric and non-industrial culture through scientific analysis of the structure and properties of materials associated with human activity. [86]

Cultural resources management Edit

Archaeology can be a subsidiary activity within Cultural resources management (CRM), also called Cultural heritage management (CHM) in the United Kingdom. [87] CRM archaeologists frequently examine archaeological sites that are threatened by development. Today, CRM accounts for most of the archaeological research done in the United States and much of that in western Europe as well. In the US, CRM archaeology has been a growing concern since the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, and most taxpayers, scholars, and politicians believe that CRM has helped preserve much of that nation's history and prehistory that would have otherwise been lost in the expansion of cities, dams, and highways. Along with other statutes, the NHPA mandates that projects on federal land or involving federal funds or permits consider the effects of the project on each archaeological site.

The application of CRM in the United Kingdom is not limited to government-funded projects. Since 1990, PPG 16 [88] has required planners to consider archaeology as a material consideration in determining applications for new development. As a result, numerous archaeological organizations undertake mitigation work in advance of (or during) construction work in archaeologically sensitive areas, at the developer's expense.

In England, ultimate responsibility of care for the historic environment rests with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport [89] in association with English Heritage. [90] In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the same responsibilities lie with Historic Scotland, [91] Cadw [92] and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency [93] respectively.

In France, the Institut national du patrimoine (The National Institute of Cultural Heritage) trains curators specialized in archaeology. Their mission is to enhance the objects discovered. The curator is the link between scientific knowledge, administrative regulations, heritage objects and the public.

Among the goals of CRM are the identification, preservation, and maintenance of cultural sites on public and private lands, and the removal of culturally valuable materials from areas where they would otherwise be destroyed by human activity, such as proposed construction. This study involves at least a cursory examination to determine whether or not any significant archaeological sites are present in the area affected by the proposed construction. If these do exist, time and money must be allotted for their excavation. If initial survey and/or test excavations indicate the presence of an extraordinarily valuable site, the construction may be prohibited entirely.

Cultural resources management has, however, been criticized. CRM is conducted by private companies that bid for projects by submitting proposals outlining the work to be done and an expected budget. It is not unheard-of for the agency responsible for the construction to simply choose the proposal that asks for the least funding. CRM archaeologists face considerable time pressure, often being forced to complete their work in a fraction of the time that might be allotted for a purely scholarly endeavour. Compounding the time pressure is the vetting process of site reports that are required (in the US) to be submitted by CRM firms to the appropriate State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). From the SHPO's perspective there is to be no difference between a report submitted by a CRM firm operating under a deadline, and a multi-year academic project. The end result is that for a Cultural Resource Management archaeologist to be successful, they must be able to produce academic quality documents at a corporate world pace.

The annual ratio of open academic archaeology positions (inclusive of post-doc, temporary, and non- tenure track appointments) to the annual number of archaeology MA/MSc and PhD students is disproportionate. Cultural Resource Management, once considered an intellectual backwater for individuals with "strong backs and weak minds," [94] has attracted these graduates, and CRM offices are thus increasingly staffed by advance degreed individuals with a track record of producing scholarly articles but who also have extensive CRM field experience.

The protection of archaeological finds for the public from catastrophes, wars and armed conflicts is increasingly being implemented internationally. This happens on the one hand through international agreements and on the other hand through organizations that monitor or enforce protection. United Nations, UNESCO and Blue Shield International deal with the protection of cultural heritage and thus also archaeological sites. This also applies to the integration of United Nations peacekeeping. Blue Shield International has undertaken various fact-finding missions in recent years to protect archaeological sites during the wars in Libya, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon. The importance of archaeological finds for identity, tourism and sustainable economic growth is repeatedly emphasized internationally. [95] [96] [97] [98] [99] [100]

The President of Blue Shield International, Karl von Habsburg, said during a cultural property protection mission in Lebanon in April 2019 with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon: “Cultural assets are part of the identity of the people who live in a certain place. If you destroy their culture, you also destroy their identity. Many people are uprooted, often have no prospects anymore and subsequently flee from their homeland." [101]

Early archaeology was largely an attempt to uncover spectacular artifacts and features, or to explore vast and mysterious abandoned cities and was mostly done by upper class, scholarly men. This general tendency laid the foundation for the modern popular view of archaeology and archaeologists. Many of the public view archaeology as something only available to a narrow demographic. The job of archaeologist is depicted as a "romantic adventurist occupation". [102] and as a hobby more than a job in the scientific community. Cinema audiences form a notion of "who archaeologists are, why they do what they do, and how relationships to the past are constituted", [102] and is often under the impression that all archaeology takes place in a distant and foreign land, only to collect monetarily or spiritually priceless artifacts. The modern depiction of archaeology has incorrectly formed the public's perception of what archaeology is.

Much thorough and productive research has indeed been conducted in dramatic locales such as Copán and the Valley of the Kings, but the bulk of activities and finds of modern archaeology are not so sensational. Archaeological adventure stories tend to ignore the painstaking work involved in carrying out modern surveys, excavations, and data processing. Some archaeologists refer to such off-the-mark portrayals as "pseudoarchaeology". [103] Archaeologists are also very much reliant on public support the question of exactly who they are doing their work for is often discussed. [104]

Public archaeology Edit

Motivated by a desire to halt looting, curb pseudoarchaeology, and to help preserve archaeological sites through education and fostering public appreciation for the importance of archaeological heritage, archaeologists are mounting public-outreach campaigns. [105] They seek to stop looting by combatting people who illegally take artifacts from protected sites, and by alerting people who live near archaeological sites of the threat of looting. Common methods of public outreach include press releases, the encouragement of school field trips to sites under excavation by professional archaeologists, and making reports and publications accessible outside of academia. [106] [107] Public appreciation of the significance of archaeology and archaeological sites often leads to improved protection from encroaching development or other threats.

One audience for archaeologists' work is the public. They increasingly realize that their work can benefit non-academic and non-archaeological audiences, and that they have a responsibility to educate and inform the public about archaeology. Local heritage awareness is aimed at increasing civic and individual pride through projects such as community excavation projects, and better public presentations of archaeological sites and knowledge. [ citation needed ] The U.S.Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service (USFS) operates a volunteer archaeology and historic preservation program called the Passport in Time (PIT). Volunteers work with professional USFS archaeologists and historians on national forests throughout the U.S. Volunteers are involved in all aspects of professional archaeology under expert supervision. [108]

Television programs, web videos and social media can also bring an understanding of underwater archaeology to a broad audience. The Mardi Gras Shipwreck Project [109] integrated a one-hour HD documentary, [110] short videos for public viewing and video updates during the expedition as part of the educational outreach. Webcasting is also another tool for educational outreach. For one week in 2000 and 2001, live underwater video of the Queen Anne's Revenge Shipwreck Project was webcast to the Internet as a part of the QAR DiveLive [111] educational program that reached thousands of children around the world. [112] Created and co-produced by Nautilus Productions and Marine Grafics, this project enabled students to talk to scientists and learn about methods and technologies utilized by the underwater archaeology team. [113] [114]

In the UK, popular archaeology programs such as Time Team and Meet the Ancestors have resulted in a huge upsurge in public interest. [ citation needed ] Where possible, archaeologists now make more provisions for public involvement and outreach in larger projects than they once did, and many local archaeological organizations operate within the Community archaeology framework to expand public involvement in smaller-scale, more local projects. Archaeological excavation, however, is best undertaken by well-trained staff that can work quickly and accurately. Often this requires observing the necessary health and safety and indemnity insurance issues involved in working on a modern building site with tight deadlines. Certain charities and local government bodies sometimes offer places on research projects either as part of academic work or as a defined community project. [ citation needed ] There is also a flourishing industry selling places on commercial training excavations and archaeological holiday tours. [ citation needed ]

Archaeologists prize local knowledge and often liaise with local historical and archaeological societies, which is one reason why Community archaeology projects are starting to become more common. Often archaeologists are assisted by the public in the locating of archaeological sites, which professional archaeologists have neither the funding, nor the time to do.

Archaeological Legacy Institute (ALI), is a registered 501[c] [3] non-profit, media and education corporation registered in Oregon in 1999. ALI founded a website, The Archaeology Channel to support the organization's mission "to nurturing and bringing attention to the human cultural heritage, by using media in the most efficient and effective ways possible." [115]

Pseudoarchaeology Edit

Pseudoarchaeology is an umbrella term for all activities that falsely claim to be archaeological but in fact violate commonly accepted and scientific archaeological practices. It includes much fictional archaeological work (discussed above), as well as some actual activity. Many non-fiction authors have ignored the scientific methods of processual archaeology, or the specific critiques of it contained in post-processualism.

An example of this type is the writing of Erich von Däniken. His 1968 book, Chariots of the Gods?, together with many subsequent lesser-known works, expounds a theory of ancient contacts between human civilization on Earth and more technologically advanced extraterrestrial civilizations. This theory, known as palaeocontact theory, or Ancient astronaut theory, is not exclusively Däniken's, nor did the idea originate with him. Works of this nature are usually marked by the renunciation of well-established theories on the basis of limited evidence, and the interpretation of evidence with a preconceived theory in mind.

Looting Edit

Looting of archaeological sites is an ancient problem. For instance, many of the tombs of the Egyptian pharaohs were looted during antiquity. [116] Archaeology stimulates interest in ancient objects, and people in search of artifacts or treasure cause damage to archaeological sites. The commercial and academic demand for artifacts unfortunately contributes directly to the illicit antiquities trade. Smuggling of antiquities abroad to private collectors has caused great cultural and economic damage in many countries whose governments lack the resources and or the will to deter it. Looters damage and destroy archaeological sites, denying future generations information about their ethnic and cultural heritage. Indigenous peoples especially lose access to and control over their 'cultural resources', ultimately denying them the opportunity to know their past. [117]

In 1937, W. F. Hodge the Director of the Southwest Museum released a statement that the museum would no longer purchase or accept collections from looted contexts. [118] The first conviction of the transport of artifacts illegally removed from private property under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA Public Law 96-95 93 Statute 721 16 U.S.C. § 470aamm) was in 1992 in the State of Indiana. [119]

Archaeologists trying to protect artifacts may be placed in danger by looters or locals trying to protect the artifacts from archaeologists who are viewed as looters by the locals. [120]

Some historical archaeology sites are subjected to looting by metal detector hobbyists who search for artifacts using increasingly advanced technology. Efforts are underway among all major Archaeological organizations to increase education and legitimate cooperation between amateurs and professionals in the metal detecting community. [121]

While most looting is deliberate, accidental looting can occur when amateurs, who are unaware of the importance of Archaeological rigor, collect artifacts from sites and place them into private collections.

Descendant peoples Edit

In the United States, examples such as the case of Kennewick Man have illustrated the tensions between Native Americans and archaeologists, which can be summarized as a conflict between a need to remain respectful toward sacred burial sites and the academic benefit from studying them. For years, American archaeologists dug on Indian burial grounds and other places considered sacred, removing artifacts and human remains to storage facilities for further study. In some cases human remains were not even thoroughly studied but instead archived rather than reburied. Furthermore, Western archaeologists' views of the past often differ from those of tribal peoples. The West views time as linear for many natives, it is cyclic. From a Western perspective, the past is long-gone from a native perspective, disturbing the past can have dire consequences in the present.

As a consequence of this, American Indians attempted to prevent archaeological excavation of sites inhabited by their ancestors, while American archaeologists believed that the advancement of scientific knowledge was a valid reason to continue their studies. This contradictory situation was addressed by the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA, 1990), which sought to reach a compromise by limiting the right of research institutions to possess human remains. Due in part to the spirit of postprocessualism, some archaeologists have begun to actively enlist the assistance of indigenous peoples likely to be descended from those under study.

Archaeologists have also been obliged to re-examine what constitutes an archaeological site in view of what native peoples believe to constitute sacred space. To many native peoples, natural features such as lakes, mountains or even individual trees have cultural significance. Australian archaeologists especially have explored this issue and attempted to survey these sites to give them some protection from being developed. Such work requires close links and trust between archaeologists and the people they are trying to help and at the same time study.

While this cooperation presents a new set of challenges and hurdles to fieldwork, it has benefits for all parties involved. Tribal elders cooperating with archaeologists can prevent the excavation of areas of sites that they consider sacred, while the archaeologists gain the elders' aid in interpreting their finds. There have also been active efforts to recruit aboriginal peoples directly into the archaeological profession.

Repatriation Edit

A new trend in the heated controversy between First Nations groups and scientists is the repatriation of native artifacts to the original descendants. [ clarification needed ] An example of this occurred on 21 June 2005, when community members and elders from a number of the 10 Algonquian nations in the Ottawa area convened on the Kitigan Zibi reservation near Maniwaki, Quebec, to inter ancestral human remains and burial goods—some dating back 6,000 years. It was not determined, however, if the remains were directly related to the Algonquin people who now inhabit the region. The remains may be of Iroquoian ancestry, since Iroquoian people inhabited the area before the Algonquin. Moreover, the oldest of these remains might have no relation at all to the Algonquin or Iroquois, and belong to an earlier culture who previously inhabited the area. [ citation needed ]

The remains and artifacts, including jewelry, tools and weapons, were originally excavated from various sites in the Ottawa Valley, including Morrison and the Allumette Islands. They had been part of the Canadian Museum of Civilization's research collection for decades, some since the late 19th century. Elders from various Algonquin communities conferred on an appropriate reburial, eventually deciding on traditional redcedar and birchbark boxes lined with redcedar chips, muskrat and beaver pelts. [ citation needed ]

An inconspicuous rock mound marks the reburial site where close to 80 boxes of various sizes are buried. Because of this reburial, no further scientific study is possible. Although negotiations were at times tense between the Kitigan Zibi community and museum, they were able to reach agreement. [122]

Kennewick Man is another repatriation candidate that has been the source of heated debate. [ citation needed ]

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"There are people who come and invade this site, which is state property, and they use it to plant," archaeologist Daniel Mayta told AFP.

"It's hugely harmful because they're destroying 5,000-year-old cultural evidence."

Caral is situated in the valley of the Supe river some 182km north of the capital Lima, and 20km from the Pacific Ocean to the west.

Developed between 3,000 and 1,800 BC in an arid desert, Caral is the cradle of civilisation in the Americas.

Its people were contemporaries of Pharaonic Egypt and the great Mesopotamian civilisations.

It pre-dates the far better known Inca empire by 45 centuries.

None of that mattered to the squatters, though, who took advantage of the minimal police surveillance during 107 days of lockdown to take over 10ha of the Chupacigarro archaeological site and plant avocados, fruit trees and lima beans.

"The families don't want to leave," said Mr Mayta, 36.

"We explained to them that this site is a (Unesco) World Heritage site and what they're doing is serious and could see them go to jail."

Death threats

Dr Shady is the director of the Caral archaeological zone and has been managing the investigations since 1996 when excavations began.

She says that land traffickers - who occupy state or protected land illegally to sell it for private gain - are behind the invasions.

"We're receiving threats from people who are taking advantage of the pandemic conditions to occupy archaeological sites and invade them to establish huts and till the land with machinery. they destroy everything they come across," said Dr Shady.

"One day they called the lawyer who works with us and told him they were going to kill him with me and bury us five meters underground" if the archaeological work continued at the site.

Dr Shady, 74, has spent the last quarter of a century in Caral trying to bring back to life the social history and legacy of the civilisation, such as how the construction techniques they used resisted earthquakes.

An archaeologist walks on top of one of the pyramids at the Caral archaeological complex, in Supe, Peru, on Jan 13, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

"These structures up to five thousand years old have remained stable up to the present and structural engineers from Peru and Japan will apply that technology," said Dr Shady.

The Caral inhabitants understood that they lived in seismic territory.

Their structures had baskets filled with stones at the base that cushioned the movement of the ground and prevented the construction from collapsing.

The threats have forced Dr Shady to live in Lima under protection.

She was given the Order of Merit by the government last week for services to the nation.

"We're doing what we can to ensure that neither your health nor your life are at risk due to the effects of the threats you're receiving," Peru's President Francisco Sagasti told her at the ceremony.


Caral was inhabited between approximately 26th century BC and 20th century BC, [2] and the site includes an area of more than 60 hectares (150 acres). [3] Caral has been described by its excavators as the oldest urban centre in the Americas, a claim that was later challenged as other ancient sites were found nearby, such as Bandurria, Peru. Accommodating more than 3,000 inhabitants, it is the best studied and one of the largest Norte Chico sites known.

The city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009. [4] In early 2021, tensions arose between squatters claiming land rights and archaeologists researching the site as housing construction encroached on the site. [5] [6]

The Caral temples in the arid Supe Valley, some 20 km from the Pacific coast.

Paul Kosok discovered Caral in 1948. The site received little attention at the time because it appeared to lack many of the typical artifacts that were sought at archaeological sites throughout the Andes.

In 1975, the Peruvian architect Carlos Williams made a detailed record of most of the archaeological sites of the valley of Supe, among which he recorded Caral. Based on what he observed in the region, he made some observations about the development of architecture in the Andes.

Ruth Shady further explored this 4,000- to 4,600-year-old city in the Peruvian desert, with its elaborate complex of temples, an amphitheatre, and ordinary houses. [7] The urban complex is spread out over 150 hectares (370 acres) and contains plazas and residential buildings. Caral was a thriving metropolis at roughly the same time as the great pyramids were being built in Egypt.

Caral is the largest recorded site in the Andean region with dates older than 2000 BC and it appears to be the model for the urban design adopted by Andean civilisations that rose and fell over the span of four millennia. It is believed that research conducted in Caral may answer questions about the origins of the Andean civilisations and the development of its first cities.

Among the artifacts found at Caral is a knotted textile piece that the excavators have labelled a quipu. They write that the artifact is evidence that the quipu record keeping system, a method involving knots tied in textiles that was brought to its highest development by the Inca Empire, was older than any archaeologist previously had determined. Evidence has emerged that the quipu also may have recorded logographic information in the same way writing does. Gary Urton has suggested that the quipus used a binary system that could record phonological or logographic data.

Main temple Edit

The main temple complex (Spanish: Templo Mayor) is 150 meters (490 ft) long, 110 meters (360 ft) wide and 28 meters (92 ft) high. The date of its construction is unknown.

Peaceful society Edit

Shady's findings suggest it was a gentle society, built on commerce and pleasure. No indications of warfare have been found at Caral: no battlements, no weapons, no mutilated bodies. This contrasts with the older civilisation of Sechin Bajo where depictions of weapons are found. In one of the temples, they uncovered 32 flutes made of condor and pelican bones and 37 cornetts of deer and llama bones. One find revealed the remains of a baby, wrapped and buried with a necklace made of stone beads. [7]

Scope of site Edit

Caral spawned 19 other temple complexes scattered across the 90 square kilometres (35 sq mi) area of the Supe Valley.

The date of 2627 BC for Caral is based on the carbon dating of reed and woven carrying bags that were found in situ. These bags were used to carry the stones that were used for the construction of the temples. The material is an excellent candidate for high precision dating. The site may date even earlier, however, as samples from the oldest parts of the excavation have yet to be dated. [8]

Caral had a population of approximately 3,000 people. However, 19 other sites in the area (posted at Caral), allow for a possible total population of 20,000 people sharing the same culture in the Supe Valley. All of these sites share similarities with Caral, including small platforms or stone circles. Shady believes that Caral was the focus of this civilisation, which was part of an even vaster cultural complex, trading with the coastal communities and the regions farther inland – perhaps, if the depiction of monkeys is an indication, as far as the Amazon. [7]

Mayan Mask Discovered in the Yucatán Peninsula

The Maya stucco relief was first discovered in 2017. Researchers from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in Mexico spent three years carefully restoring the sculpture, between periods when it was temporarily reburied to prevent its rapid deterioration from exposure to the elements. They were able to positively date the Mayan mask to the Late Pre-Classical era of the ancient Maya civilization, meaning it was created sometime between 300 BC and 250 AD.

View of the giant stucco face, or Mayan mask, in situ. The face was discovered in the Yucatán Peninsula near the village of Ucanha. ( INAH)

In their statement announcing the finding , INAH stated that sculptures like these “represent the faces of individuals with particular features that can be associated with deities or with characters of prominent social status.” It was a common practice in Maya civilization to decorate buildings with large-scale, embedded decorative sculptures, which often featured the faces of rulers or gods.

Relics like this are a rare find, however, since so many of the sculptures that once existed have been irrevocably damaged, or destroyed, or remain deeply buried in undiscovered locations. Nevertheless, similar sculpted stucco reliefs have been found in the villages of Acanceh and Izamal. But those are the only other giant faces discovered on the Yucatán Peninsula.

Recognizing the delicate nature of their discovery, the archaeologists have now reburied the fully-restored sculpture, thereby guaranteeing its preservation. However, tourists interested in getting a closer look at ancient Maya stucco reliefs can do so by traveling to Acanceh . There, several sculptures honoring Maya deities have been put on display to the public, in the town’s “Palace of the Stuccos.”

Detail of the stucco Mayan mask discovered near the village of Ucanha in Mexico. ( INAH)

Caral: Why America's oldest metropolis was suddenly abandoned

Archaeologists have been uncovering the ruins of Caral north of Lima since the 1990s. His monumental buildings were built 4600 years ago, as old as the pyramids of Egypt. What is striking, however, is that Caral and the other towns on the Río Supe were evacuated at the same time.

When the Peruvian anthropologist Ruth Shady began digging on the banks of the Río Supe in the mid-1990s, her venture was considered bold, to say the least.

What could be found on a desert plateau about 25 kilometers from the coast of the Pacific?

But what she discovered since then was suitable for rewriting the history of settlement in America.

Because in the meantime Caral is considered to be one of the oldest urban complexes in the New World and has not been included on the Unesco World Heritage List since 2009 for nothing.

Although the place about 200 kilometers north of the Peruvian capital Lima has long been declared a national treasure (and tourist magnet), it still holds more questions than answers.

This is shown by Gisela Graichen and Peter Prestel in their documentary "Unsolved Archeology - Lost Worlds", which will be broadcast on the ZDF Terra X format on February 14th, and which will include archaeological evergreens such as "Atlantis" and "Machu Picchu" Caral goes.

The mysterious rotunda could have been a meeting place

Source: ZDF and Lizeth Yarlequé

The dimensions alone are overwhelming, as the settlement extended over an area of ​​more than 150 hectares and comprised seven hills.

Six temple pyramids up to 18 meters high and a kind of amphitheater in the center gave the place an urban character.

The base of the largest pyramid measures a good 150 meters.

But the real sensation is the dating: the oldest parts are 4600 years old.

This means that at the same time as the Egyptian pharaohs of the Old Kingdom erected their pyramids, similar monumental structures were also built at the foot of the Andes.

In the meantime, archaeologists are certain that Caral was not an isolated case, but was part of a network of urban settlements that began in the 3rd millennium BC.

Originated in the valley of the Río Supe.

So far, the ruins of 25 locations have been discovered, all of which show similar structures.

In addition to monumental structures, there were extensive living areas for several thousand residents, which already reflected a social structure.

The reed nets were filled with stones and placed in the foundations

Source: ZDF and Lizeth Yarlequé

To protect their temples from earthquakes, the residents invented a fascinating technique.

They knotted nets from totara reeds, which they filled with stones, thus giving the foundations extraordinary flexibility.

A sophisticated irrigation system ensured that water from the Río Supe reached the fields.

A whole mix of crops was grown on them: potatoes, cassava, chilli, beans, pumpkin, guava and avocado.

But Caral's prosperity was based primarily on long-distance trade.

Ruth Shady discovered remains of fish and mussels that came from the jungle on the other side of the Andes.

Further finds show that Caral was apparently an important station on a trade route that led from the Pacific to the east of the continent.

Celebrations with coca and other drugs: aerial view of Caral

Source: ZDF and Lizeth Yarlequé

All this shows that in the valley of the Río Supe a "highly organized civilization with a state character" flourished, "in which different social classes existed and a large organizational structure for the work to build these pyramids", says Daniel Mayta, the chief archaeologist of the excavation .

Flutes made of pelican bones accompanied cult ceremonies or were used for entertainment, traces show the use of coca and other hallucinogenic drugs in similar contexts.

The level of conflict is likely to have been manageable for a long time.

This is supported by the lack of walls or other fortifications.

It is therefore all the more striking that Caral was born around 1600 BC.

Was abandoned by its inhabitants.

The lack of destruction rules out civil unrest or invasions.

Apparently Caral and the rest of the towns on the Río Supe were properly cleared around the same time.

These human figures are interpreted as evidence of great hunger

Source: picture alliance / dpa

In search of the why, archaeologists in Vichana, west of Caral on the Pacific, came across a revealing finding.

The same architectural and ceramic shapes can be found there as in Caral.

But many buildings are decorated with reliefs that represent people.

But its simplicity does not testify to joie de vivre, but to need.

They are pictures of hunger pangs, the bones of which are clearly visible.

The excavation manager Tatiana Abad interprets this as “the collective memory of a population that has experienced a crisis, a change in climate”.

Even today, the El Niño weather phenomenon regularly attacks the Pacific region.

Its water heats up and makes plankton die.

But with this many fish lose their nutritional basis.

It is also known from later cultures such as the Nazca in southern Peru that they suddenly left their settlements.

There, too, circumstantial evidence suggests a dramatic loss of the nutritional basis.

First City in the New World?

Six earth-and-rock mounds rise out of the windswept desert of the SupeValley near the coast of Peru. Dunelike and immense, they appear to be nature’s handiwork, forlorn outposts in an arid region squeezed between the Pacific Ocean and the folds of the Andean Cordillera. But looks deceive. These are human-made pyramids, and compelling new evidence indicates they are the remains of a city that flourished nearly 5,000 years ago. If true, it would be the oldest urban center in the Americas and among the most ancient in all the world.

Research developed by Peruvian archaeologist Ruth Shady Solís of San Marcos University suggests that Caral, as the 150-acre complex of pyramids, plazas and residential buildings is known, was a thriving metropolis as Egypt’s great pyramids were being built. The energetic archaeologist believes that Caral may also answer nagging questions about the long-mysterious origins of the Inca, the civilization that once stretched from modern-day Ecuador to central Chile and gave rise to such cities as Cuzco and Machu Picchu. Caral may even hold a key to the origins of civilizations everywhere.

Though discovered in 1905, Caral first drew little attention, largely because archaeologists believed the complex structures were fairly recent. But the monumental scale of the pyramids had long tantalized Shady. “When I first arrived in the valley in 1994, I was overwhelmed,” she says. “This place is somewhere between the seat of the gods and the home of man.” She began excavations two years later, braving primitive conditions on a tight budget. Fourteen miles from the coast and 120 miles north of Peru’s capital city of Lima, Caral lies in a desert region that lacks paved roads, electricity and public water. Shady, who enlisted 25 Peruvian soldiers to help with the excavations, often used her own money to advance the work.

For two months she and her crew searched for the broken remains of pots and containers, called potsherds, that most such sites contain. Not finding any only made her more excited it meant Caral could be what archaeologists term pre-ceramic, or existing before the advent of pot-firing technology in the area. Shady eventually concluded that Caral predated Olmec settlements to the north by 1,000 years. But colleagues remained skeptical. She needed proof.

In 1996, Shady’s team began the mammoth task of excavating Pirámide Mayor, the largest of the pyramids. After carefully clearing away several millennia’s worth of rubble and sand, they unearthed staircases, circular walls covered with remnants of colored plaster, and squared brickwork. Finally, in the foundation, they found the preserved remains of reeds woven into bags, known as shicras. The original workers, she surmised, must have filled these bags with stones from a hillside quarry a mile away and laid them atop one another inside retaining walls, gradually giving rise to the city of Caral’s immense structures.

Shady knew that the reeds were ideal subjects for radiocarbon dating and could make her case. In 1999, she sent samples of them to Jonathan Haas at Chicago’s FieldMuseum and to Winifred Creamer at NorthernIllinoisUniversity. In December 2000, Shady’s suspicions were confirmed: the reeds were 4,600 years old. She took the news calmly, but Haas says he “was virtually in hysterics for three days afterward.” In the April 27, 2001, issue of the journal Science, the three archaeologists reported that Caral and the other ruins of the SupeValley are “the locus of some of the earliest population concentrations and corporate architecture in South America.” The news stunned other scientists. “It was almost unbelievable,” says Betty Meggers, an archaeologist at the Smithsonian Institution. “This data pushed back the oldest known dates for an urban center in the Americas by more than 1,000 years.”

What amazed archaeologists was not just the age but the complexity and scope of Caral. Pirámide Mayor alone covers an area nearly the size of four football fields and is 60 feet tall. A 30-foot-wide staircase rises from a sunken circular plaza at the foot of the pyramid, passing over three terraced levels until it reaches the top of the platform, which contains the remains of an atrium and a large fireplace. Thousands of manual laborers would have been needed to build such a mammoth project, not even counting the many architects, craftsmen, supervisors and other managers. Inside a ring of platform pyramids lies a large sunken amphitheater, which could have held many hundreds of people during civic or religious events. Inside the amphitheater, Shady’s team found 32 flutes made of pelican and condor bones. And, in April 2002, they uncovered 37 cornets of deer and llama bones. “Clearly, music played an important role in their society,” says Shady.

The perimeter of Caral holds a series of smaller mounds, various buildings and residential complexes. Shady discovered a hierarchy in living arrangements: large, well-kept rooms atop the pyramids for the elite, ground-level complexes for craftsmen, and shabbier outlying shantytowns for workers.

But why had Caral been built in the first place? More important, why would people living comfortably in small communities perched on the Pacific Ocean with easy access to abundant marine food choose to move inland to an inhospitable desert? If she could answer this question, Shady believed she might begin to unravel one of the knottiest questions in the field of anthropology today: What causes civilizations to arise? And what was it about the desert landscape of Peru’s SupeValley that caused a complex, hierarchical society to flourish there?

Her excavations convinced Shady that Caral had served as a major trade center for the region, ranging from the rain forests of the Amazon to the high forests of the Andes. She found fragments of the fruit of the achiote, a plant still used today in the rain forest as an aphrodisiac. And she found necklaces of snails and the seeds of the coca plant, neither of which was native to Caral. This rich trading environment, Shady believes, gave rise to an elite group that did not take part in the production of food, allowing them to become priests and planners, builders and designers. Thus, the class distinctions elemental to an urban society emerged.

But what sustained such a trading center and drew travelers to it? Was it food? Shady and her team found the remains of sardines and anchovies, which must have come from the coast 14 miles to the west, in the excavations. But they also found evidence that the Caral people ate squash, sweet potatoes and beans. Shady theorized that Caral’s early farmers diverted area rivers into trenches and canals, which still crisscross the SupeValley today, to irrigate their fields. But because she found no traces of maize (corn) or other grains, which can be traded or stored and used to tide a population over in difficult times, she concluded that Caral’s trade leverage was not based on stockpiling food supplies.

It was evidence of another crop in the excavations that gave Shady the best clue to the mystery of Caral’s success. In nearly every excavated building, her team discovered great quantities of cotton seeds, fibers and textiles. Her theory fell into place when a large fishing net, unearthed at an unrelated dig on Peru’s coast, turned out to be as old as Caral. “The farmers of Caral grew the cotton that the fishermen needed to make the nets,” Shady speculates. “And the fishermen gave them shellfish and dried fish in exchange for these nets.” In essence, the people of Caral enabled fishermen to work with larger and more effective nets, which made the resources of the sea more readily available. The Caral people probably used dried squash as flotation devices for nets and also as containers, thus obviating any need for ceramics.

Eventually Caral would spawn 17 other pyramid complexes scattered across the 35-square-mile area of the SupeValley. Then, around 1600 B.C., for reasons that may never be answered, the Caral civilization toppled, though it didn’t disappear overnight. “They had time to protect some of their architectural structures, burying them discreetly,” says Shady. Other nearby areas, such as Chupacigarro, Lurihuasi and Miraya, became centers of power. But based on Caral’s size and scope, Shady believes that it is indeed the mother city of the Incan civilization.

She plans to continue excavating Caral and says she would someday like to build a museum on the site. “So many questions still remain,” she says. “Who were these people? How did they control the other populations? What was their main god?”


The dating of the Norte Chico sites has pushed back the estimated beginning date of complex societies in the Peruvian region by more than one thousand years. The Chavín culture, circa 900 BC, had long been considered the first civilization of the area. It is still regularly cited as such in general works. [14] [15]

The discovery of Norte Chico has also shifted the focus of research away from the highland areas of the Andes and lowlands adjacent to the mountains (where the Chavín, and later Inca, had their major centers) to the Peruvian littoral, or coastal regions. Norte Chico is located in a north-central area of the coast, approximately 150 to 200 km north of Lima, roughly bounded by the Lurín Valley on the south and the Casma Valley on the north. It comprises four coastal valleys: the Huaura, Supe, Pativilca, and Fortaleza known sites are concentrated in the latter three, which share a common coastal plain. The three principal valleys cover only 1,800 km², and research has emphasized the density of the population centers. [16]

The Peruvian littoral appears an "improbable, even aberrant" candidate for the "pristine" development of civilization, compared to other world centers. [5] It is extremely arid, bounded by two rain shadows (caused by the Andes to the east, and the Pacific trade winds to the west). The region is punctuated by more than 50 rivers that carry Andean snowmelt. The development of widespread irrigation from these water sources is seen as decisive in the emergence of Norte Chico [7] [17] since all of the monumental architecture at various sites has been found close to irrigation channels.

The radiocarbon work of Jonathan Haas et al., found that 10 of 95 samples taken in the Pativilca and Fortaleza areas dated from before 3500 BC the oldest, dating from 9210 BC, provides "limited indication" of human settlement during the Pre-Columbian Early Archaic era. Two dates of 3700 BC are associated with communal architecture, but are likely to be anomalous. It is from 3200 BC onward that large-scale human settlement and communal construction are clearly apparent. [6] Mann, in a survey of the literature in 2005, suggests "sometime before 3200 BC, and possibly before 3500 BC" as the beginning date of the Norte Chico formative period. He notes that the earliest date securely associated with a city is 3500 BC, at Huaricanga, in the Fortaleza area of the north, based on Haas's dates. [5]

Haas's early-third-millennium dates suggest that the development of coastal and inland sites occurred in parallel. But, from 2500 to 2000 BC, during the period of greatest expansion, the population and development decisively shifted toward the inland sites. All development apparently occurred at large interior sites such as Caral, though they remained dependent on fish and shellfish from the coast. [6] The peak in dates is in keeping with Shady's dates at Caral, which show habitation from 2627 BC to 2020 BC. [12] That coastal and inland sites developed in tandem remains disputed, however (see next section).

Circa 1800 BC, the Norte Chico civilization began to decline, with more powerful centers appearing to the south and north along the coast, and to the east inside the belt of the Andes. Norte Chico's success at irrigation-based agriculture may have contributed to its being eclipsed. Anthropologist Professor Winifred Creamer of Northern Illinois University notes that "when this civilization is in decline, we begin to find extensive canals farther north. People were moving to more fertile ground and taking their knowledge of irrigation with them". [7] It would be a thousand years before the rise of the next great Peruvian culture, the Chavín.

Cultural links with the highland areas have been noted by archaeologists. In particular, the links with the Kotosh Religious Tradition have been suggested.

Numerous architectural features found among the settlements of Supe, including subterranean circular courts, stepped pyramids and sequential platforms, as well as material remains and their cultural implications, excavated at Aspero and the valley sites we are digging (Caral, Chupacigarro, Lurihuasi, Miraya), are shared with other settlements of the area that participated in what is known as the Kotosh Religious Tradition. [18] [19] Most specific among these features are rooms with benches and hearths with subterranean ventilation ducts, wall niches, biconvex beads, musical flutes, etc. [20]

Research into Norte Chico continues, with many unsettled questions. Debate is ongoing over two related questions: the degree to which the flourishing of the Norte Chico was based on maritime food resources, and the exact relationship this implies between the coastal and inland sites. [NB 2]

Confirmed diet Edit

A broad outline of the Norte Chico diet has been suggested. At Caral, the edible domesticated plants noted by Shady are squash, beans, lúcuma, guava, pacay (Inga feuilleei), and sweet potato. [12] Haas et al. noted the same foods in their survey further north, while adding avocado and achira. In 2013, good evidence for maize was also documented by Haas et al. (see below). [21]

There was also a significant seafood component at both coastal and inland sites. Shady notes that "animal remains are almost exclusively marine" at Caral, including clams and mussels, and large amounts of anchovies and sardines. [12] That the anchovy fish reached inland is clear, [5] although Haas suggests that "shellfish [which would include clams and mussels], sea mammals, and seaweed do not appear to have been significant portions of the diet in the inland, non-maritime sites". [16]

Theory of a maritime foundation for Andean civilization Edit

The role of seafood in the Norte Chico diet has aroused debate. Much early fieldwork was done in the region of Aspero on the coast, before the full scope and inter-connectedness of the several sites of the civilization were realized. In a 1973 paper, Michael E. Moseley contended that a maritime subsistence (seafood) economy had been the basis of the society and its remarkably early flourishing, [10] a theory later elaborated as a "maritime foundation of Andean civilization" (MFAC). [22] [23] He also confirmed a previously observed lack of ceramics at Aspero, and deduced that "hummocks" on the site constituted the remains of artificial platform mounds.

This thesis of a maritime foundation was contrary to the general scholarly consensus that the rise of civilization was based on intensive agriculture, particularly of at least one cereal. The production of agricultural surpluses had long been seen as essential in promoting population density and the emergence of complex society. Moseley's ideas would be debated and challenged (that maritime remains and their caloric contribution were overestimated, for example) [24] but have been treated as plausible as late as Mann's summary of the literature in 2005.

Concomitant to the maritime subsistence hypothesis was an implied dominance of sites immediately adjacent to the coast over other centers. This idea was shaken by the realization of the magnitude of Caral, an inland site. Supplemental to Shady's 1997 article dating Caral, a 2001 Science news article emphasized the dominance of agriculture and also suggested that Caral was the oldest urban center in Peru (and the entire Americas). It deprecated the idea that civilization might have begun adjacent to the coast and then moved inland. One archaeologist was quoted as suggesting that "rather than coastal antecedents to monumental inland sites, what we have now are coastal satellite villages to monumental inland sites". [17]

These assertions were quickly challenged by Sandweiss and Moseley, who observed that Caral, though the largest and most complex Preceramic site, is not the oldest. They admitted the importance of agriculture to industry and to augment diet, while broadly affirming "the formative role of marine resources in early Andean civilization". [25] Scholars now agree that the inland sites did have significantly greater populations, and that there were "so many more people along the four rivers than on the shore that they had to have been dominant". [5]

The remaining question is which of the areas developed first and created a template for subsequent development. [26] Haas rejects suggestions that maritime development at sites immediately adjacent to the coast was initial, pointing to contemporaneous development based on his dating. [6] Moseley remains convinced that coastal Aspero is the oldest site, and that its maritime subsistence served as a basis for the civilization. [5] [25]

Cotton and food sources Edit

Cotton (of the species Gossypium barbadense) likely provided the basis of the dominance of inland over coast (whether development was earlier, later, or contemporaneous). [5] [16] Though not edible, it was the most important product of irrigation in the Norte Chico, vital to the production of fishing nets (that in turn provided maritime resources) as well as to textiles and textile technology. Haas notes that "control over cotton allows a ruling elite to provide the benefit of cloth for clothing, bags, wraps, and adornment". [16] He is willing to admit to a mutual dependency dilemma: "The prehistoric residents of the Norte Chico needed the fish resources for their protein and the fishermen needed the cotton to make the nets to catch the fish." [16] Thus, identifying cotton as a vital resource produced in the inland does not by itself resolve the issue of whether the inland centers were a progenitor for the coast, or vice versa. Moseley argues that successful maritime centers would have moved inland to find cotton. [5] The exact relationship between food resources and political organization remains unresolved.

Norte Chico's development is particularly remarkable for the apparent absence of a staple food. However, recent studies increasingly dispute this and point to maize as a dietary backbone of this and later pre-Columbian civilizations. [27] Moseley found a small number of maize cobs in 1973 at Aspero (also seen in site work in the 1940s and '50s) [10] but has since called the find "problematic". [25] However, increasing evidence has emerged about the importance of maize in this period:

Archaeological testing at a number of sites in the Norte Chico region of the north central coast provides a broad range of empirical data on the production, processing, and consumption of maize. New data drawn from coprolites, pollen records, and stone tool residues, combined with 126 radiocarbon dates, demonstrate that maize was widely grown, intensively processed, and constituted a primary component of the diet throughout the period from 3000 to 1800 BC. [21]

Peruvian Archaeologist’s Life Is Threatened Over Caral-Chupacigarro - History

Jhony Islas/AP A 2,000-year-old giant etching in the shape of a cat was found at the famous Nazca Lines site in Peru.

Aside from Machu Picchu, the ancient Nazca Lines are Peru’s largest tourist attraction. A collection of larger-than-life geoglyphs that were etched into the ground by Indigenous people thousands of years ago, the Nazca Lines have just gained a new attraction.

According to CNN, a massive etching of a feline was recently discovered during maintenance work at the Nazca Lines, an official UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The newly uncovered carving, which stretches over 121 feet long on a hillside plateau, is made-up of a pair of carved out eyes, pointy ears, and a large tail.

“Representations of this type of feline are frequently found in the iconography of ceramics and textiles in the Paracas society,” the country’s Ministry of Culture wrote in a statement, a reference to the ancient South American culture that once dominated the region.

Researchers excavated the geoglyph during the site’s closure amid the global COVID-19 pandemic. The newly found cat carving was created sometime between 200 B.C. to 100 B.C. during the late Paracas period in what is modern-day southern Peru.

Jhony Islas/AP The massive geoglyph was unearthed during maintenance work at the Nazca Lines, which is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The cat carving is believed to be older than any of the prehistoric geoglyphs previously unearthed at the site. It is also the largest animal depiction unearthed there so far.

The Nazca Lines were created by ancient Peruvians, scraping the top layer of black rock and gravel from the ground to reveal a bed of rock that was much lighter in color.

This resulted in hundreds of giant carvings which, when observed from above, clearly form depictions of various animals, plants, birds, and intricate abstract designs.

The ancient geoglyphs of the Nazca Lines cover roughly 174 square miles of land and are believed to have been created between 100 BC to 700 AD.

They were finally brought to light thousands of years later during the 1920s when Peruvian archaeologist Toribio Mejia Xesspe uncovered the striking depictions carved into the rocky landscape of the region. As air travel became more prevalent in the 1930s, even more lines were discovered.

In recent years, scientists began to use new technology to uncover a trove of ancient etchings throughout the landscape. In 2019, a group of Japanese researchers successfully identified more than 140 new designs among the Nazca Lines using high-resolution 3D data to uncover etchings that were still hidden.

The massive cat carving is the latest finding at the mysterious Nazca Lines site. It’s still unclear what exactly these giant etchings were meant to be used for though some experts suspect they served as travel markers.

Further studies on the site will hopefully help archaeologists better understand these enigmatic geoglyphs, and uncover their true purpose and meaning.

Masaki Eda
Hundreds of geoglyphs have been excavated as part of the ancient Nazca Lines including this hummingbird depiction.

As UNESCO describes these ancient drawings:

“They are the most outstanding group of geoglyphs anywhere in the world and are unmatched in its extent, magnitude, quantity, size, diversity and ancient tradition to any similar work in the world. The concentration and juxtaposition of the lines, as well as their cultural continuity, demonstrate that this was an important and long-lasting activity, lasting approximately one thousand years.”

For now, the Nazca Lines site will remain closed off to visitors. The site is normally restricted from the public because of the fragile nature of the carvings and even high-ranking government officials are reportedly forbidden to walk around the site without special authorization.

The only way to see these mesmerizing images is by overhead plane tours or by viewing them from designated vantage points.

“The figure was barely visible and was about to disappear because it is situated on quite a steep slope that’s prone to the effects of natural erosion,” the Ministry of Culture said in its statement.

Luckily, this image was found before it could be eroded away, providing a new window into an ancient culture that scientists have yet to fully understand.

“It’s quite striking that we’re still finding new figures,” Johny Isla, Peru’s chief archaeologist for the Nazca Lines, told Spanish news agency Efe, “but we also know that there are more to be found.”

Next, learn why some people believe ancient Sumerians were visited by extraterrestrial beings and go inside the unsolved mystery of the Georgia Guidestones, America’s very own stonehenge.

Watch the video: Conference: Values of the Caral Civilization that prompt reflection in contemporary society. (August 2022).