Caral was inhabited roughly between the 26th and 20th centuries BCE,[3] enclosing an area of more than 60 hectares (150 acres).[4] Caral was 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.

in the Peruvian desert, with its elaborate complex of temples, an amphitheatre and ordinary houses.[5] 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 that Egypt's great pyramids were being built.


El primero que llamó la atención sobre Caral fue el viajero estadounidense Paul Kosok, que visitó el lugar juntamente con su compatriota, el arqueólogo Richard Schaedel, en 1949. En su informe, publicado en el libro Life, Land and Water in Ancient Peru, en 1965, mencionó que Chupacigarro, como se conocía a Caral entonces, debía ser muy antiguo, aunque no pudo precisar su antigüedad. También contiene una impresionante fotografía aérea de un sector de la ahora llamada Ciudad Sagrada de Caral.15​It received little attention at the time because it appeared to lack many 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, from which he made some observations about the development of architecture in the Andes.

En 1979, el arqueólogo suizo Frederic Engel visitó el lugar, y excavó y levantó un plano del mismo. En su libro De las begonias al maíz, publicado en 1987, afirmó que Chupacigarro Grande (Caral) pudo haber sido construido antes de la aparición de la cerámica en los Andes (1800 a. C.).18​ Sin embargo, los arqueólogos andinos asumieron que el asentamiento era «acerámico», es decir, que había sido construido por una población que no utilizaba la cerámica, aunque ya se conocía en otros lugares de los Andes.

Ruth Shady further explored the 4,000- to 4,600-year-old city.


No trace of warfare has been found at Caral: no battlements, no weapons, no mutilated bodies. Shady's findings suggest it was a gentle society, built on commerce and pleasure.


In one of the temples, they uncovered a collection of musical instruments: 32 flutes made of condor and pelican bones and 37 cornetts of deer and llama bones, and 33 flutes of unusual construction.[8] The flutes were radiocarbon dated to 2170±90 BCE.[5]
Un conjunto de 38 cornetas, hecho de huesos de huanaco y venado.
Un conjunto de 32 flautas traversas, de huesos de cóndor y pelícano, con diseños zoomorfos.
Un conjunto de 4 antaras (flauta de pan), de carrizo e hilos de algodón.

One find revealed the remains of a baby, wrapped and buried with a necklace made of stone beads.[5]


En los años iniciales del siglo XXI, el lingüista huachano Alfredo Torero publicó que el idioma quechua habría tenido su origen en los valles de Supe, Fortaleza y Pativilca. Esta afirmación la hizo después de estudiar la toponimia (nombres de los lugares) de los tres valles. Caral, nombre del centro poblado cercano al sitio arqueológico, aparece mencionado en los procesos de idolatrías del siglo XVII en Cajatambo. Es posible que Caral sea un nombre quechua. Sobre su significado no hay acuerdo, aunque algunos lingüistas han propuesto que significa "fibra" o "junco". O en todo caso habría sido una voz protoquechua.13


En general se considera a Caral como una cultura precerámica, es decir, que no desarrolló la técnica alfarera (esto es, piezas modeladas en arcilla y cocidas al fuego). Para Ruth Shady, los caralinos no necesitaban de cerámica pues contaban con mates de calabaza, cucharas de madera y platos tallados en piedra,30​ por lo que, según ella, debería ser calificada más bien como cultura acerámica.


The whole valley is riddled with irrigation canals, making it possible to grow squash, beans and extra-intensive cotton.

The proximity to the coast (25 km) does not surprise the use of marine fish as food. To conclude Caral's larger trading activities or to stylize it as a trading metropolis is inappropriate. The excavations also included herringbone bogs, snail shells and shells of animals found in the Amazon.


The amazing thing is that Caral is the first pre-ceramic civilization ever to be proven. The ability to extract and burn clay was one of the defining characteristics of a complex, structured human society prior to Caral's exploration - because ceramic vessels allowed the storage of water and food, always pointing to a culinary culture. Another of these high culture signs was the cultivation of crops: it allowed long-term planning to supply a large group of people and a trading system by using it as a currency. But grain was not grown in and around Caral.

Obviously, its residents used other means to ensure their sustainable supply and maintain effective barter. Massively grown pumpkins were dried and used as containers; the year-round harvest of soil and legumes replaced the grain stock.

The cotton cultivated in Caral probably played a big role as well. It could be used not only for clothing, but also as net material for the fishermen who came from the sea and traded the nets for fresh fish. This, in turn, allowed it to dry and provided the population of Caral with protein - an essential nutrient in otherwise plant-based food.

Recent discoveries also show that the inhabitants of Caral had their own trading network even further stretched: It must have come down to the Amazon. This is not only proven by images of monkeys carved into the rocks - remnants of coca and other hallucinogenic drugs were found, which at that time could only be obtained directly from the jungle. The inhabitants of Caral also had an obvious artistic and craftsmanship tradition, as the jewelry found and textile remains prove.

This fact was a sensation for historians: the complete definition of what "civilized" meant and how "developed" early cultures were, had to be reassessed after discovery and evaluation of the findings of Caral - this assessment continues to this day. Even within Old American Studies, historians need to rethink. So far, they have always assumed that there could be no sedentary early cultures due to the lack of water off the Andean coast.

Thus, Caral is more than just a cradle of early culture whose research is still in its infancy: it is also a testament to the ingenuity and diversity of human culture, which even without seemingly essential elements such as a mechanized transport and not least conflict and war great can create.

Recollected from:
Wikipedia English, Spanish, German.