The first traces found on the so-called “Caral” civilization date from between 6000 and 7000 years BC Since 2007, it was discovered that the Caralians began to build pyramids 5000 years ago. This date is therefore contemporary with the pyramids of Egypt, which are generally estimated at 3000 BC. These constructions make it the oldest pre-Columbian civilization and one of the oldest in the world. Although there are still many things to discover about the people of Caral, we know that they were a peaceful people and a great consumer of psychotropic drugs. A petroglyph similar to the Nazca Spiral has also been discovered in the remains of the site.
Between 5,000 and 3,000 years BC, in the Supe Valley, 200 km north of Lima, people began to settle down. To do this, they choose a site where all the rivers converge. This site is then a lush oasis in the desert. These populations will then be able to quickly set up a subsistence-type agriculture and cultivate fruits, vegetables and especially cotton. In 2007, according to the Carbon 14 analysis of woodwork having been used for the construction of buildings, we know that from 3000 BC, the people occupying the site of Caral began to carry out constructions. This state makes the people of Caral the first pre-Columbian civilization known to date and one of the oldest civilizations in the world. For good reason, it emerged barely a thousand years after the Sumerian civilization. The constructions which will initially consist mainly of small temples which will then be covered by a pyramid at the same time when this type of construction emerges in Egypt. Five other pyramids, a monumental central building, a temple and an amphitheater will also be built later. At its beginnings, Caral therefore developed a massive cultivation of cotton with which clothing and fishing nets were made in particular. These nets were then traded with local fishermen for fish. This had the effect of causing an increase in the food available and an increase in the population. As a result, an intense commercial activity developed up to 300 km around. Textiles from the cotton were thus exchanged for objects, food, raw materials but also various psychotropics and aphrodisiacs.
A hierarchical and peaceful society
During the excavations carried out on the Caral site, one fact greatly surprised the archaeologists. They found no fortifications, no walls, no weapons and not the slightest trace of the remains of any battle. Another striking fact is that they did not find any cemeteries either. There is little information on the way of life of this civilization, archaeologists have found neither ceramics nor paintings. On the other hand, we found a lot of musical instruments and an incredible number of flutes carved from condor bones from the Amazon rainforest. This again proves the extent of the area of their commercial exchanges. The Caralians therefore seemed to give a lot of importance to the artistic field. We also know that they consumed a lot of drugs and aphrodisiacs both during religious ceremonies, like other civilizations, but also a lot outside of these ceremonies. This explains why the search for psychotropics was one of the priorities during their commercial exchanges.
The three statutes and the petroglyphs
It is also known that there were three social statuses within Caralian society. The elite which concentrated the people living near the religious temples, that is to say the priests and the chiefs. The so-called “specialist” class comprising craftsmen, mathematicians and architects. Their houses were built with the “quincha” technique. This technique consisted in placing vertical posts between which a sort of vegetable mesh was placed. This vegetable mesh was then covered with mud to consolidate the wall. The walls were then painted yellow. Traces of this painting can still be seen today. It is assumed that the Caralian pyramids were also painted. Finally, the people. He lived below the sacred city, around the Rio, near the agricultural fields. It is known that the Caral civilization lived in this way without major conflicts from 3000 to 2000 BC This period corresponds to the golden age of Caral. But this civilization will collapse in 1800 BC We know that at the end, social tensions were greater than during the golden age and that petroglyphs similar to those of Nazca, even if they were of more modest size, have been drawn. These petroglyphs were much earlier than those of Nazca which, according to specialists, were made between 200 BC and 600 AD…