“Caral, oldest city in America”, on Arte: in heart of cradle of Andean civilization

In a rather conventional documentary, Michael Gregor tries to elucidate the mysterious disappearance of caralinos, amazing inventiveness and modernity.

By Margaux Couillard

In the Peruvian desert, under a blazing sun, rocky terraces, 200 kilometers north of Lima. Welcome to Caral, the first city of the Americas. Here lived the people of the Caralinos, more than 5,000 years ago.

This documentary offers an immersion within the archaeological site of this disappeared city after a thousand years of a brilliant boom. Scientific discoveries made at the heart of the Supe valley paint a portrait of an innovative, peaceful and rather egalitarian civilization, the influence of which has spread from the millennia in the Andean world.

We discover its particularities with the archaeologist Julio Bendezu-Sarmiiento, of the Museum of Man, in Paris, whose teams have also searched the site of another forgotten city, Ulug Depened, in southern Turkmenistan .

Very pious, the caralinos developed to parasism architectural techniques, in order to preserve their six pyramidal temples. The archaeologist also traverses the processionary paths thought by this people and surrounding geoglyphs, drawn on the ground as divine supplications, during long periods of drought and famine.

Ecartments avant-garde

Ecolos before the hour, maintaining a form of culture relationship with their environment, they took advantage of nature with respect, reusing the raw materials, exploiting the energy of the wind, the sun and the water. A form of avant-garde eco-responsibility.

The inhabitants of Caral (3,000 at its peak) ended up deserting their city, leaving behind the historic site that we know today, listed since 2009 as a UNESCO World Heritage. The springs of his disappearance remain indeterminate and the mystery hovers, even if the climatic track is privileged. The region is affected by the regular occurrence of the El Niño phenomenon: “The warming of the ocean which it generates causes the death of the fish and causes storms. A catastrophe for caralinos”, says La Voix Off.

This conventional invoice documentary, taking place a classic theme on the theme of disappearance, which could be transposed to other cultures or periods of high antiquity, puts in images of striking landscapes. Above all, he invites you to reflect on the major global issues of our time.

Director Michael Gregor reveals an Andean civilization having prospered without recourse to war and oppression. A non-violence in which a form of social horizontality mixes, within this society where “the harvests were distributed among everyone”, and “the two sexes treated on an equal footing”. Evidenced by the symbols of power found on female statuettes, the women’s women were powerful, even, for some, fears.

/Media reports cited above.