The Mysterious Pyramids of Caral


How can it be that 5,000 years ago people as far apart as Egypt and Peru came up with the same idea – –  to build pyramids?

In the Supe Valley desert, four hours north of Lima, there’s an excavation going on that might change the history of the world as we know it. Initially discovered more than fifty years ago by an American scientist, no one really paid attention to the site until Peruvian archaeologist Ruth Shady started excavating the site in 1994. What she found was unexpected — an sprawling urban complex of pyramids, temples, amphitheaters, plazas and ordinary houses across 150 acres. To date, this pre-ceramic metropolis is the oldest known settlement in the Americas.

The size of the site is staggering. Only five of the many pyramids in Caral have been excavated and renovated so far, but they have discovered an additional 19 pyramid complexes along the Supe Valley. Who knows what else they will find if they keep digging. And there are still a lot of unanswered questions hanging in the air: Who were these people? Where did they come from? Where did they go? Why were no weapons found at the site? And maybe most interestingly – why were no graves found here?

The last two questions blow my mind. A peaceful people with no weapons? How is it possible that they had no fear of invasion or attack? The only feasible answer to this in my mind, although incredible, is that they must have had strong mental powers. Obviously religion also played a huge role in their lives, what with so many pyramids that were constructed purely as sacred ceremonial sites. They have also found numerous flutes, instruments, recreational drugs and aphrodisiacs. Did they just enjoy life and cherish a good time? And if it’s true that the original Egyptians also were a peaceful people, does this mean that war is a relatively new invention? Were all ancient people closer to God than we are? Did greed and envy not exist before modern time?

And what on earth did they do with the folks who died? The archeologists believe that Caral was inhabited by 3,000 people at the time, and was an active city for at least 600 years. If so, there should be tens of thousands of graves in the area. But there are none. The only bodies found on the site are the sacrificial remains of a couple of children and a young man. Our guide said that five thousand years ago Peruvians did not have the custom of burning corpses. So where did the bodies go? We joked that perhaps they were beamed up to a UFO and carried into space. But we just don’t know. No one knows. Maybe one day the archeologists will find out. But after 17 years of excavations, isn’t it strange that they still don’t know?

And why pyramids? Perhaps it’s just a logical shape to build to reach as high as possible into the sky, before they had the technological savvy to build high towers like churches. So maybe the Caralians, like the Egyptians, didn’t need the help of aliens to build their edifices – they just built up, up, up…


About Kristi D

It's in my blood, as they say, travelling. And it's true; I'm never happy unless I have a ticket in my hand. With only 75 countries visited, three quarters of the world still lies undiscovered. One by one, they will be seen, sniffed, tasted, heard and experienced in a way you can only do when you are travelling low budget. Ethnically Estonian, native Swedish, currently residing in New York. I'm a writer, traveller, channel, Reiki therapist, and above all an optimist. Photographer? No, my husband Eduardo took the best photos on this blog.

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