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Another Vanished Civilization

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Our own civilization is in deep, deep trouble. While our ruling class does everything it can think of to poison the culture, President *Batteries Not Included and his secretary of state, John “Scarecrow” Kerry, urged on by the notion of “a deal at any price,” are putting all the world at risk by arranging for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons and touch off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East–the most unstable powder-keg on earth. They’re all like toddlers playing with loaded guns.

Against this background, scientists, only since the late 1990s, are discovering a mind-bogglingly ancient civilization in coastal Peru, the Norte Chico (or  Caral-Supe) civilization. Fully formed and in business by around 3200 B.C., and fading out around 1800 B.C., the Norte Chico people built cities characterized by monumental architecture.

They seem to have had plenty of music (various instruments have been found in the ruins), but no visual arts–although painting may simply not have been preserved over such a long period of time. They invented quipu, a system of record-keeping with knotted cords, which was still in use by the Incas thousands of years later.

We don’t know the name of a single person who lived in any of those cities. We don’t know what gods they worshiped, what jokes they told, what language they spoke, or anything much else.

What we do know is something hauntingly strange.

At roughly the same time in history, in parts of the world widely separated geographically, true civilizations (with cities and record-keeping) seem to have arisen independently–in Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus Valley, Northern China… and Peru. Norte Chico is so far away from any of the others, it doesn’t seem at all possible that any other civilization might have influenced its development. And unlike the others, Norte Chico was not centered around a major river system.

Five civilizations arise in five different places, at about the same time–how could that have happened?

In the Book of Genesis, civilization suffers two destructions–by the Flood, and by God’s action at the Tower of Babel. I think this suggests the possibility that survivors of those calamities would have tried to rebuild, wherever they happened to be. Reputable Bible scholars who don’t believe the Bible will scoff at this; but they can’t laugh the cradles of civilization out of existence.

Why did they come at around the same time, in different places far apart?

And what will scholars be saying about our modern Western civilization, centuries from now, when they pick over our ruins and try to decide which of our famous names were real and which belonged to legend?

Or will we, like the Norte Chico and the Indus Valley people, leave behind no famous names at all?



 

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