Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Caral - Norte Chico, Peru 3000 BC

ABC News in Australia carried the following story on
Thursday, January 6, 2005. 4:00pm (AEDT)

"US archaeologists accused of plagiarism

A Peruvian archaeologist has accused two US archaeologists of plagiarising her work on the Caral complex, recently determined to be the oldest site in the Americas.

The official news agency Andina reported Ruth Shady accused Chicago-area archaeologists Jonathan Haas and his wife Winifred Creamer before the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) with taking her work on Caral, Ms Shady told Andina.

Mr Haas and Ms Creamer may want to appear as the discoverers of the complex - one of the most important in the world due to its antiquity - or they might be seeking money for their "alleged" investigations, Ms Shady said.

Caral is located some 200 kilometres on the coast north of Lima.

It is part of several sites collectively known as the Norte Chico.

Researchers say the Norte Chico sites are 5,000 years old - much older than previously sites in the Americas and from the same period of the Egyptian pyramids.

Peru's National Institute of Culture (INC), headed by distinguished archaeologist Luis Lumbreras, said the institute is working on a formal document to submit to the SAA's ethics committee.

The report by Mr Haas - a curator at the Field Museum in Chicago, and Ms Creamer, a professor at Northern Illinois University - was published in December in the British journal Nature.

Recent work led by Ms Shady uncovered five 20-metre high terrace pyramids in Caral.

The site has been known for some 40 years, but only studied in detail over the past decade. -AFP"

I do not know the facts of the case and hence make no judgment on who is right or wrong here, as I am sure it will be resolved within the archaeological community.

This dispute, however, highlights the importance of the Norte Chico culture and Caral especially for ancient history. Obviously, if pyramids are first appearing at exactly the same time in Peru as they did in Egypt, then it is simply impossible that these are unrelated developments. Rather, the technology of the Old World has then clearly been brought to the New World by ancient seafarers, as I have always claimed.

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