Posted by: Khepera | Friday, 25 April 2008

Ancient Gold Necklace Discovered in Peru

In an AP article, by Randolph E. Schmid, dated Mar 31, 2008, a recent archaeological discovery in Peru was discussed. Looking beyond the historical provincialism expressed by the scientists, this find further substantiates the importance of contemplating a very different timeline for tropical cultures and civilizations. It also demands that we give the consideration of environment primacy in assessing the roles and processes of cultural development. For instance, a culture will build with available materials. One developing in the rainforest will use wood and other perishable materials which will be all but invisible with in a few centuries. As our limits on our vision expand, the more we will be able to see.

An excerpt:

“The earliest known gold jewelry made in the Americas has been discovered in southern Peru. The gold necklace, made nearly 4,000 years ago, was found in a burial site near Lake Titicaca, researchers report in Tuesday’s issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The discovery “was a complete shock,” said Mark Aldenderfer, an anthropologist at the University of Arizona.

“It was not expected in the least,” he said in a telephone interview. “It’s always fun to find something and go, ‘Wow, what is that doing here?'”

In the past, it had been assumed that a society needed to be settled to produce agricultural surpluses that can support activities such as making ornamental objects, he explained.

But the people living in this region at the time were still primarily hunter-gatherers, he said. “They were on their way to becoming settled peoples, but they were not quite there yet.”

Someone, though, had the time and knowledge to make this ornament, which he speculates is a sign of importance.

“These folks are obtaining this by their effort, accumulating more wealth and using objects for prestige,” Aldenderfer said. It says: “Pay attention to me, I’m successful.”

There is no evidence at the site that shows how it was made, he said. But it looks like a nugget of native raw gold, which occurs near the area, was pounded flat in a stone mortar and pestle.

Then the gold was probably wrapped around a piece of wood and pounded until it was folded into a tube, he said.

The researchers restrung the necklace, alternating nine small gold tubes with a series of round stones, identified as either greenstone or turquoise, with holes in them that were found in the same grave.

The next oldest gold ornaments found in this hemisphere, also located in Peru but farther north, date to about 600 years later than this necklace, Aldenderfer said.”

Full article


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