News of the WeekArchaeology

The First Urban Center in the Americas

Science  27 Apr 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5517, pp. 621
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5517.621

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New dates from an archaeological team working at the sprawling inland site of Caral, some 200 kilometers north of Lima, push back the emergence of urban life and monumental architecture in the Americas by nearly 800 years--to 2627 B.C.--and cast serious doubt on one commonly held view of the relationships between inland and coastal centers in early Peru. But the research, reported on page 723, suggests an answer to the puzzle of why the desert sites became so prominent early on: Some were relatively easy to irrigate.