We thought we might write some deep and profound views about the Australian federal election held on 2 July. But….we decided not to. Our vote? We signed some official papers to say we were too far away.
Anyway we recently received some requests to be more anthropologically minded in some of our blogs, particularly as we are living in one of the richest anthropological treasures of the world. Over the last 12 months we have seen many an adobe brick wall, or ancient glyphs, ancient temples, and the remains of bygone civilizations. We have been to a variety of museums and seen and marvelled at the ingenuity of ancient peoples.
Having said that we are terrible advocates for many of the things that we have seen. Really it is not our cup of tea, which we know is really terrible, but when you have seen one pile of amazingly old rubble, it starts to look the same after awhile. Hersesy to some who may read this we know, if so our apologies.
Nevertheless, during the last week there was a public holiday (the Peruvians seem to have their holidays on days in the middle of the week, not like us truly patriotic Aussies who find Monday long weekends the best day for a game of footy and a barbecue). We joined a couple of other senior missionary couples for a guided tour of the Sacred City of Caral-Supe, commonly called Caral. It is a 5,000 year old archeological site (older the the Adelaide Railway Station), is four hours drive north of the city of Lima, located on a dry desert terrace overlooking the fertile valley of the Supe River. Unlike modern man, ancient civilizations tended to build on the dusty hill sides overlooking their fertile valleys - not on prime farming land. You still see it in Perú today, houses on the dusty bits and farms where things grow, not the other way round.
Caral is a UNESCO World Heritage site and dates back to the late Archaic Period of the central Andes. It is the oldest centre of civilization in North and South America. It is a city complex with six large pyramid structures (older than the Egyptian pyramids) with stone walls and terraces, using mortar and rocks rather than the adobe brick of later civilisations. It had a fully developed socio-political state with religion, commerce, architecture, and no sign of warfare or conflict. Platform mounds, sunken circular courts, and urban planning developed over centuries, influenced a large part of the Peruvian coast.
Although much of it remains yet to be unearthed, what has been discovered is remarkably intact because of its early abandonment (most likely due to severe weather changes) and relatively late discovery. The dry Peruvian climate has helped protect it, as has its lack of gold and silver which stopped future looting.
The surrounding valley is dedicated to non-industrialized agriculture including sugar cane, sweet corn and maize, avocado trees, and maracuya vines (think giant passion fruit, sweet to eat, but with the texture and look of snot inside - for some reason Lesley is not a fan). There were many donkey drawn carts (and some trucks) piled high with sugar cane.
We were glad to visit on a relatively cool overcast day, definitely not something to do in summer months. We headed back into Lima at the end of the day, enjoying the pleasantries of the city traffic. We also got to see more of this big, beautiful/ugly city in which we live.