Lost Pyramid of Caral, Peru
Caral is situated on the dry desert plateau overlooking the green valley of the Supe River. Approximately two and a half hours from Lima, Caral is unique because of its non-violent history and claim to be the second oldest ruin in the world.
Discovered in 1994, Caral is believed to date from 2600 BC, making it the oldest center of civilization in the Americas, and second-oldest in the world after Mesopotamia. Some of the structures from the main plaza were built around the same time as the Egyptian pyramids. So far archaeologists have found over 20 different stone structures, six of which are large pyramids distributed in a wide circle. Templo Mayor, or "The Great Pyramid" in English, is the grandest and was used by the local leaders to survey the city below.
A large square connects all of the pyramid mounds. The main pyramid has a staircase leading up to a platform, housing enclosed rooms and a ceremonial fire pit. There are two sunken plazas at the foot of the mounts. Much of the history of this site is still unknown, but there is evidence of animal sacrifice to Pachamama, an Andean goddess. No traces of warfare have been found at Caral. Despite Caral's proximity to the coast, the inhabitants were aware of animals as far away as the Amazon, as evidenced by their illustrations of monkeys.
Due to the importance of the site, guides are mandatory. The guides show visitors around the complex, which continues to grow as more areas are excavated. Caral is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most archaeologically important areas in Peru.