LIMA – The city of Caral, considered the oldest in the Americas, celebrates the 19th anniversary of its discovery in Peru with new finds among its urban remains, even as studies continue to indicate that climate change ended this civilization that existed more than 5,000 years ago.
Located in a desert region north of Lima between the valley of the Supe River and the country’s coastline, the archaeological site was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2009.
As part of the anniversary celebration, a number of activities are being offered over the weekend, beginning Friday with the inauguration of the Supe Community Museum and the ceremony of the cult of Pachamama (Mother Earth) in Caral.
Being held on Saturday is the “Catu Caralino,” or the fair of sustainable agricultural and handcrafted products produced by settlers of the Barranca and Huaura provinces, the “Taste of the Land” gastronomic festival, and the artistic/cultural event “Runa Raymi.”
Nineteen years after research uncovered the remains of this civilization, which was contemporaneous with Egypt and Sumeria, the head of the Caral Archaeological Area, Ruth Shady, said that researchers have discovered a path which they have dubbed “Social Integration Street” because it connects the center with an outlying district.
Caral’s central core is the sector of the city with the most noteworthy public buildings and homes of the elite, while on the periphery were this civilization’s humbler abodes.
Here on the periphery is where a somewhat smaller public building was discovered this year, along with a street that connected the area with the central core, which according to Shady shows that both areas “were connected and participated in the same social and cultural system.”
The archaeologist said she is currently working on 11 different settlements, which indicates that this civilization had “great prestige which it maintained for more than 1,000 years” until it was plunged into crisis by an overpowering “climate change.”