It is important to be acquainted with each of these civilizations, because they influenced the development of other contemporary peoples and played a fundamental role in the growth of the societies that succeeded them in time. But unlike the Old World civilizations, which maintained a system of interaction and exchange of goods and knowledge among each other, enabling each to take advantage of the experiences of the group, in Peru the process took place in total isolation, since Caral was at least 1,500 years ahead of Mesoamerica, the other center of civilization in the New World.
In the Andean region, as in other parts of the world, there was a wide variety of cultural adaptations, but at relatively close distances.These societies, located in dissimilar geographic areas, followed different paths of development in terms of customs, cultures and socio-political systems.
The early development of the Supe culture, was due to the growing complexity of the social systems that came into being in different regions of the north-central area of present-day Peru: in the coastal valleys between the Chancay and Santa rivers, the Andean mountain area of Callejon de Huaylas and the eastern slopes of the Andes, and the valleys of the Maraņon and Huallaga rivers. All these societies had reached the stage of having surpluses in production and a level of organization that allowed them a certain amount of labor specialization, the construction of public buildings, and participation in interregional trade networks.
Around 3000 B.C. the coastal societies of the north-central area achieved significant progress, partly thanks to the wealth of resources in the region: an ocean rich in fish and mollusks, and fertile valleys with rivers bringing nutrients. A tradition of interregional communication among the inhabitants of the area contributed to their progress. In addition to the permanent nature of their settlements and the acquisition of shared life experiences (either by confrontation or by integration), the coastal communities incorporated new technological expertise: irrigation canals, agriculture, and fishing nets. These were innovations that increased productivity, promoted the specialization of labor, and made the exchange of products possible. The necessary conditions were in place for the development of civilization. Among these contemporary societies of the north-central area, it was Supe that managed to synthesize different adaptive experiences and take advantage of the surpluses in production of nearby communities. The considerable investment of labor in monumental constructions and in the continuous remodeling of these buildings would have been supported by the production of the populations of the other valleys that the emerging State acquired.
The first civilization of Peru and the Americas was formed between 3000 and 2500 B.C. in the Supe valley, from a group of communities located in urban settlements. This organizational model influenced the development of future civilizations; among the principal ones we can mention the societies that built Huaca La Florida, Garagay in Rimac, Cerro Sechin, Pampa de Llamas-Moxeque in the Casma valley.
Later the model was repeated in distant areas of the Andean territory: Chavin, Moche, Lima, Nazca, Tiahuanaco, Huari, Chincha, Ichma, Chimu; and finally the Inca culture, the last civilization of pre-Hispanic Peru, a full 4,400 years after Caral.
The Civilization is identified by:
Availability of a production surplus in order to mobilize an enormous labor force for the construction of public works and housing for the elite.
Complex social organization, with division of work and unequal distribution of the surplus.
A state government.
Residence in urban settlements with improvements in the standard of living of one social class.
An advanced knowledge of exact and predictive sciences such as arithmetic, geometry, physics, medicine, astronomy, etc., and their application in agricultural technology, in the construction of monumental buildings, in measuring time, in appropriate management of the territory, public administration, specialized work, etc.
Cultivation of the arts and their material expression in the manufacture of different objects for luxury use.
The existence of complex and extensive trade networks.
Cultural expressions shared by the population of an extensive territory.
A form of development of society characterized by the exercise of power by one dominant social class over the population of a certain territory, organized hierarchically and controlled by military force or by the force of religion, whereby the continuity of the system is assured.
A State society presupposes the existence of:
. A surplus economy: achieved either by extra work or by developing the means of production in order to increase productivity.
. A social division of labor and social relations in production that emphasize the individual over the collective.
. The appropriation of the social product or surplus by certain groups, as a consequence of the division of society into classes, with appropriating individuals and expropriated individuals.
The State has:
. An apparatus, the political-religious bureaucracy, for the control of the surplus, the circulation of goods and services, the use of resources, and the performing of the different functions and actions.
A settlement that is dense, diverse and permanent, of socially heterogeneous individuals where the power of the rulers, the bureaucracy and their civil servants are concentrated; it is a center of religious, political and administrative power. It forms part of a hierarchical group of settlements that have:
. Certain territorial extension derived from a concentration of population manifested in the residential complexes.
. A well-defined design denoting planning, zoning, and organized management of space for differentiated use by its occupants, with physical or symbolic connotations.
. Diverse architectural expressions relating to a complex division of labor and the presence of specialists in a variety of production and trade activities; and where the surplus is distributed unequally, according to each person's place in the social productive process.
. Indicators that reflect the hierarchical position of the occupants by social strata: residence of authorities, specialists, civil servants.
. The development of public architecture in keeping with the institutions present: temples and palaces for religious, administrative and political functions.
. Evidence of services rendered for the development of production processes: a calendar, public works, irrigation and management of agriculture, trading of goods with other societies.
The Sacred City or Caral Architecture
The greater pyramid
This architectural complex has two components: a sunken circular plaza and a pyramid with stepped platforms. Located in a dominants position, it surveyed activities taking place in the city and in the intermediatepart of the valley.
The Quarri Pyramid
This building was constructed on a rock outcrop that was used as a quarry.
Infill material was set in place in level the ground before constructing the Pyramid.
Residential units Residence of the Elite B1
The house is located south of the Quarry Pyramid.
This residence was used by persons of high social standing involved in the administration and functions of the Quarry Pyramid.
Residence of the Elite B2
This house is located south of the Quarry Pyramid in the same area as the B1 residence of the elite. Different activities were carried out in this residential unit: social, administrative, religious, and domestic.
Residence of the Elite B5
This house stands west of the Quarry Pyramid. Adjacent to the area where stone was quarried. Different activities were carried out in this residential unit: social, administrative, religious and domestic.
The Lesser Pyramid
This is the smallest pyramidal building in the upper part of the city. Function administrative and ceremonial activities were carried out here.
The Gallery Pyramid
This is the third-largest structure, after the Greater Temple and the Old Pyramid. To the south of the Gallery Pyramid there is a groups of the rooms associated with the pyramid.
The Pyramid of the Huanca
This pyramidal structure is called La Huaca because of the orientiation of its central stairway to the monolith (“huanca”).
Greater Residential Complex
This groups of houses is located on the south explanade of the upper part of the city . the houses are arranged in sub-groups, with their facades facing in Central Plaza. Excavation of the house in sub sector A1 has been completed.
The Amphitheatre Pyramid
A walled architectural complex made up of several components.
The Temple Of a Round Altar
The pyramid –type construction s the second –largest building in the lower part of the City of Caral.
Lesser Residential Complex
This groups of houses is in the Lower half of the city, set out in a line from east to west. The houses are square or rectangular and vary is size from 40m2 to 80 m2.
Residences of the Elite
Two spacious houses adjoining the pyramid of The Huanca.
Residential sector D
Extensive residential area on the outskirts of the city. Domestic and production activities were carried out here. One of the houses has been excavated.
Architectural Complex on the East Side
This groups of interconnected areas and rooms is located on the east side of the Amphitheatre Temple.
The facades of the pyramids and residences of Caral all face towards this great esplanade. Marks in the ground made by many poles point to the periodic installation of tents for exchanging products.
The Altar of Eternal Fire
Private ceremonial construction inside the walled complex of the Amphitheater Temple.
The geoglyph is associated with the Chupacigarro settlement. Is represents a head drawn in profile, looking towards the east, it shows careful planning and a knowledge of perspective and proportion in a context of astronomical observations.
Social, Economic, Political Oganization
Production and Exchange
The inhabitants of Supe used different natural areas of their territory to obtain a wide array of products; they had access to the resources of the valley, the river, springs, wetlands,
hills, forests, and riparian woodlands.
The peasant farmers of the valley dug and cleaned irrigation ditches and tended their crops: squash, beans, pumpkins, cotton, sweet potatoes, chili peppers, flat gourds and tutumo(a small tree whose seeds and fruit were used for different medicinal purposes).They also cultivated or gathered pacae (ice-cream beans) and guava. They gave part of their harvests to their authorities and served whenever drafted for collective labor in the lands and buildings of the gods.
They caught fish and crayfish in the river.Cazaban venados y vizcachas o recolectaban frutos, raices y caracoles en las lomas. In the wetlands they cut reeds and rushes to make shicras (loosely woven bags) and mats.
Traveling by roads interconnecting the coast, mountains and jungle, traders from the valley took agricultural and marine products and exchanged them for lumber, herbs, seeds, pigments, medicinal plants and snails originating in distant settlements, which they then circulated among the coastal populations.
The fishermen of the coast caught anchovy and sardines, as well as clams and mussels. They dried fish and separated the mollusks destined for trade. Like the peasant farmers, they gave part of their catch to their authorities, and were at their service for collective work.
The farmers supplied the fishermen with cotton, indispensable for making their large fishing nets; likewise, the inhabitants of the valley obtained marine products, a necessary complement to their nutrition. Thus was formed the first socio-economic integration between regions, leading to mutual dependence and occupational specialization.
The lords of Caral also had trade relations with inhabitants of other regions, principally those of the coast, who supplied them with fish and mollusks.They also interchanged products with the coastal dwellers of Pativilca and Fortaleza, and even had links with places as distant as Kotosh in the Huallaga valley, La Galgada in Tablachaca, Santa; Piruro in the Maraņon, and Huaricoto in the Callejon de Huaylas.
The plentiful trade generated a dynamic economic process between the regions and promoted accumulation. Those conditions allowed the Supe society to strengthen its process of political integration under a state government and favored the formation of social classes. The effectiveness of this form of government can be measured by the boom in the construction of large monumental complexes undertaken by the State.
Religion and Government
Some archaeologists consider that the presence of a military force is a prerequisite for the existence of a state political organization, but this first State did not have enemies to compete with; its power lay in its ability to unite distant communities in a common ideology.
Religion was the power used by the first State to impose labor and social discipline. The rulers were priests, administrators and scientists. These people were in charge of ceremonies; they directed public acts and rituals; prepared collective labor and administered the goods that were collected; collated astronomical data and made calendars to schedule the people's activities. The farmers and fishermen, for their part, recognized the power of their rulers by paying tribute in the form of extra work and services, for the benefit of the ruling class.
It was widely believed that the gods had taught them to prepare their farms, design their canals, plant their crops and build their boundaries; therefore it was necessary
to carry out propitiatory rituals and fulfill the calendar of ceremonies and rites to the sun, to water and to the land. All activities, domestic, productive, constructive, administrative and governmental carried out in Caral are one way or another related to offerings, ceremonies, rituals and sacrifices.
Fireplaces used for burned offerings are found in the different constructions, both residential and public; this was a widespread custom among peoples who believed fire to be a way of communicating with the gods.The large number of temples and the constant remodeling undertaken bear witness to a dynamic religious system, in constant renovation, and at the same time they are evidence of the social power of religion and the voluminous work invested by the inhabitants for the purpose of obtaining the favor of the gods.
The offerings found in ceremonial contexts and in the fills of constructions include:
- Small unbaked clay statues, used in symbolic burials, generally representing women associated with propitiation or fertility rituals.
- Burned textiles and baskets.
- Burned food
- Woven crosses or “God's Eyes”
- Burials of children or adults, some adorned with necklaces, indicating high status.
- Beads, chips or fragments of semiprecious stones, spondylus, quartz.
- Eaves, flat gourds.
- Intertwined vegetable material.
- Balls of willow leaves.
- Mytilus mussel shells with human hair, quartz.
The Political Aspect
Material evidence indicates the existence of social classes, distinguished by their place in the production process. The leading class did intellectual and administrative work, performed political and religious duties, benefited from the socially produced surplus, lived in large houses, and possessed luxury articles, such as quartz axes, seats made of whale vertebra, and necklaces of exotic beads. Their homes were very large and elaborate. By contrast, the most numerous class tended the crops, and performed services in the city. They lived in small, simple homes.
Ritual Human Sacrifices
Excavations have revealed burials of children who had apparently been sacrificed as offerings in relation to construction events. They were buried either under a
wall or a floor. Some were buried fully clothed and adorned with necklaces to denote their high social position.
An adult (approximately 23 years of age) who appears to have been sacrificed was also found; he was buried nude, and had his hands and fingers cut off. Some of the fingers were found in niches in the same room, where they had also been ritually buried. The young man's hair had been intricately arranged.
TECHNOLOGY AND ART
In the valley the farmers cleaned to the drains of irrigation or drainage and took care of their cultures. Have been woods diggers and sickles used in the agricolas workings.
The agriculturists producian cotton, destined to the preparation of networks and clothes; kill and tutumos; nutritional products like frijol, pumpkin, zapallo, sweet potato, pacay, guayaba, aji, etc.
The construction was a very important activity, also surrounded in a ritual atmosfera. They designed, they planned and they distributed the diverse constructions. They had a ordered handling of the space. The periodica remodeling of the buildings I imply the interment of old enclosures, places setting with shicras that contenian stones and burned, associated sweepings to offerings, like broken mud statuettes, quartz fragments, shell and vegetables.
They used thicknesses ropes to transport great canteada stone blocks, chosen to reinforce the corners of the walls that contain the platforms or frontis of these. They constructed to stone walls united with white, yellow, red or gray mortar, plasterings and painted periodically of colors.
Some enclosures were built with organico material. These present/display a post frame of ready willow or guarango in equidistant form, alternated with reed or brave cane, moored with soguillas of rush. It takes a clay cover, plastered and finally painted. In other enclosures they used a similar tecnica but with preferred frame of reed.
In the construction of the publicos buildings invirtio enormous force of originating work of the services of the majority population. Certain walls were constructed with you marinate, elaborated without mold, in diverse forms.
They manufactured special stone instruments for the construction, like plummets to measure the inclination of the walls and polishers for the plastering; also they used fulling mills to grind minerals or plants and to obtain pigments destined to the color painting elaboration.
Have been doubled handfuls of willow; this plant with curativas properties, is used until the present time by the settlers of the valley to resist the headache; and by the farmaceutica industry to elaborate the aspirin.
The settlers of Caral had a balanced feeding; they consumed vegetables produced in the valley like frijol, zapallo and sweet potato, complementing his nutrition with marine products like fish and moluscos, mainly anchoveta, food with high protein content.
Students of Caral observed and registered the movements of the stars and identified constellations. This information was shaped in the territory, in anthropomorphous geoglifos, spiral and line, to way of an astronomical observatory. The observation of the stars them permitio to make importance, the natural phenomena and weather forecasts great to establish the agricultural calendar and other social activities.
This geoglifo this associate to the urban establishment of Chupacigarro, in relation to which it was oriented. It measures 48.5 ms of length by 26 ms of wide. The head this of profile, oriented towards the East, with the closed eye and the open mouth. It shows to the hair beaten by the air or the blood that emanates of the head, characteristic that gives to movement and dynamism to the figure. It was constructed by means of a careful planning and knowledge of the perspective and the proportion; they used angular stones, of medium and great size placed without mortar directly on the surface of the land. It is possible to emphasize the stylistic similarity between this geoglifo and the later representations that are harian in the society of Sechin, in the valley of Casma.
Manufacture with vegetal fibers
The cotton was one of main agricultural valley products of I knew, abundant seeds and specks of cotton in diverse enclosures of the city have been unearthed. This product was used for aims domestic servants, commercial and ritual.
• Has been textile with varied structural designs and different natural colors.
• As offering to the Gods frequently weaves were incinerated.
• For the manufacture of articles used bone needles and ruecas of kills, shell or stone.
Rushes for the elaboration of shicras, baskets, bed rolls and wrappers of the funeral fardos used. The raw material was cultivated in the humedales and marshes. Soon they cut and they dried the leaves to the sun.
There was a production in mass of shicras, used for the transport and I deposit of stones in the constructive fillings. It emphasizes the great volume of the fillings of shicras in the different monumental constructions from the city, which allows to interpret that this activity I involve numerous people, as much for the production of the fiber as for the manufacture and distribution of the product.
Two possibilities exist to arrive at the City Sagrada de Caral:
• In kilometro 159 of the North Pan-American Highway, to the height of the Center Populated with Mallet, in the Vegueta district, a deflection exists that leads to the arqueologica zone by an affirmed way of 28 km. This route, in spite of not being signalized, can be journeyed the year throughout.
• In kilometro 184 of the North Pan-American Highway via Supe-A'mbar is located, 23 km of via are crossed approximately affirmed and signalized. This route offers the possibility of knowing the surroundings paisajistico the valley that I lodge to the old civilization but of America.