PASQUALE SORRENTINO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PASQUALE SORRENTINO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Bag found at Caral. Archaeologist holding part of a "shicra", a bag for offerings, from the sacred city of Caral, Peru. The bag is made of natural fibres, and has been preserved by the extremely dry desert climate. It was the dating of plant fibres from bags like this that first revealed the immense age of the site. Caral, located in Peru's coastal desert region, was one of the centres of the Caral Supe civilisation, a pre-Hispanic culture dating from the period 3000-1600 BC. The site was discovered in 1905, but it was not until 2001 that it was realised that it was up to 5000 years old, making it the earliest known South American civilisation.
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