Beginning in 2001, researchers along the Pacific coast of Peru reported on excavations at Caral Supe (aka Norte Chico), a set of archaeological sites that had been known for a century or more. What had not been known, and what was realized during the 21st century excavations, was that these ancient ruins represent the oldest known urban civilization in the Americas, nearly 4600 years ago, or about the same time the Old Kingdom pharaoh Khufu was building the first of the Giza Pyramids.
Why Nominate the Caral Supe Civilization?
The archaeological ruins are astonishingly complex, with huge platform mounds and plazas and other public architecture. About 20 sites belonging to the Caral-Supe culture have been discovered. Excavations there continue to offer us insights into the ancestors of later civilizations, including such elements as agricultural crops, pyramidal structures and the use of the quipu system of communication.