America’s oldest urban site uncovered in Peru

It’s a circular plaza 5,500 years old.

A team of Peruvian and German archeologists uncovered the circular plaza, which was hidden beneath another piece of architecture at the ruins known as Sechin Bajo, in Casma, 229 miles north of Lima, the capital. Friezes depicting a warrior with a knife and trophies were found near the plaza. […]

Prior to the discovery at Sechin Bajo, archeologists considered the ancient Peruvian citadel of Caral to be one of the oldest in the Western Hemisphere, at about 5,000 years.

Scientists say Caral, located a few hours drive from Sechin Bajo, was one of six places in the world — along with Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, India and Mesoamerica — where humans started living in cities about 5,000 years ago.

There are even older layers underneath the structure they’ve uncovered, so this may be one of the oldest cities in the world, not just the Western Hemisphere.

They’ve had to fill in the site to keep it safe from, you guessed it, looters. It’s a miracle the site was discovered intact to begin with.

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Comment by Clutch
2008-02-28 12:49:55

Amazing. Our ancestors sure did get around!

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Comment by livius drusus
2008-02-28 22:28:55

They knew how to make a nice, cozy public space, too. I can totally picture them kicking back with a hot chocolate and a cigar.

Comment by Clutch
2008-03-01 10:16:45

It’s true! The familiarity of the public space makes it so tempting to see ourselves in them. It’s surprising, the sort of things that seem *not* to have been the product of more recent civilization — basic urban planning being one.

And the harder we look, the older the civilized settlements get all over the planet. It’s like early humans had a big football huddle in North Africa, the QB shouted “Break!”, and then they just scattered worldwide at top speed.

Comment by Bob
2008-05-02 14:32:40

Seems you can’t swing a dead cat without discovering something undiscovered or older in Peru.

National just launched a new site on Ancient History/Mysteries. Not in depth, but provides a good overview in a number of areas. Including Machu Picchu:

Here’s the full site:

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Comment by livius drusus
2008-05-02 18:07:10

Thank you for the link. There are some great pictures and videos on the site.


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