Norte Chico - oldest known civ in the Americas (c. 3500-1800 BC) en.wikipedia.org

Submitted by tnstaec in anticiv (edited )

Some interesting points relating to the origins of civilization:

When compared to the common Eurasian models of the development of civilization, Norte Chico's differences are striking. A total lack of ceramics persists across the period.

I've read elsewhere that Norte Chico was founded prior to the domestication of plants, which also contradicts the established model of early civilizations. Perhaps this related to the lack of ceramics. It would create greater difficulty in transporting and storing food. Not seeing that on this article, so more research is warranted.

Haas notes the absence of any suggestion of physical bases of power, that is, defensive construction. There is no evidence of warfare "of any kind or at any level during the Preceramic Period." Mutilated bodies, burned buildings, and other tell-tale signs of violence are absent, and settlement patterns are completely non-defensive. The evidence of the development of complex government in the absence of warfare is in marked contrast to archaeological theory

Worthy further investigation!


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ziq_postcivver wrote

So it's a civilization that existed without agriculture? Can that even be called a civilization? I guess the organized workforce gets it the civ label?


tnstaec wrote (edited )

IMO the defining trait of civilization is large, concentrated settlements (cities, Latin: civis). Social stratification and agriculture are near-universals in these cases. I also draw a sharp distinction between agriculture (lit: "field cultivation") and horticulture (lit: "garden cultivation"), but I'm not sure if this is given much consideration in archeology. I hope that as more discoveries are made we develop a clearer, more nuanced understanding of intermediate forms between and amongst the dominant civilzed vs. primitve model that persists.