送交者: Latino2 于 2004-12-29, 12:41:37:
嘿嘿，这可是上下五千年， 俺们阿米狗历史悠久，地大物博， 人口不多.......
Birth of a Civilization
Half buried in the deserts of Peru's central coast, the ruins of Caral have
been dubbed America's first city. Dated to about 2627 B.C.E., it preceded
all other known New World settlements by nearly 800 years. But Caral, it
turns out, was no one-hit wonder. New radiocarbon dates from sites in adjoining
river valleys expands this early civilization from one city to 20. The discovery,
reported in the 22 December issue of Nature, sheds new light on the emergence
of the first settled agricultural society in the New World.
Researchers led by anthropologist Jonathan Haas of Chicago's Field Museum
report many ruins in the Norte Chico region are very similar to Caral. Structures
included monumental stone buildings, circular ceremonial plazas, and rectangular
platform mounds. Short irrigation canals capable of watering large fields
bordered every city. To establish the ages of the sites, the researchers
analyzed organic materials from 13 of the 20 cities.
When possible, they
sampled the very materials used to construct the buildings--cane fibers woven
into bags and filled with rock.
Nearly a third of the samples fell between 3200 and 2500 B.C.E., pointing
to a sudden human population explosion. "There's a big group of sites arising
at the same time," Haas says. "By 2200, about 18 sites are occupied at the
same time." The fuel behind this phenomenal growth, the researchers say,
was the adoption of agriculture. Although crops such as cotton and squash
had been domesticated earlier on the continent, Haas says, "this marks the
first time you see agriculture emerging as a full-time economy in the Americas.
Domesticated cotton, squash, avocado, and guava remains have all been found
in the area. Yet evidence of a staple grain--a nutritional foundation of
the world's other early civilizations--is missing. Instead, Peru's first
urbanites may have roasted, chewed, and then spat out the tuberous root
of a type of cane. Sardine remains in fossil feces indicate residents ate
seafood as well.
Together with previous dates from the contemporary coastal site of Aspero,
the findings point to a widespread trade network. Cotton fishing nets in
maritime settlements 150 miles north, which lacked their own inland cities,
suggest fishermen up and down the coast traded their catches for Norte Chico
plant products. That prosperity, says Haas, translated into 1200 years of
cultural dominance. "If you look at Andean civilization as a long story,
it starts at Norte Chico and ends with the Inca in 1500."