EFEBy Fernando Gimeno Lima

Caral, a civilization that flourished around 5,000 years ago in what is today north-central Peru and is regarded as the oldest known pre-Columbian society, has now been shown to have partly used astronomical observations to determine the location and orientation of its most important built structures.

Contemporaneous to the great civilizations of the ancient world such as Egypt, Mesopotamia and China, Caral developed in the Supe River valley, about 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of where Lima is now located.

According to an article that appeared in Latin American Antiquity, a journal published by the Cambridge University Press, astronomical awareness played a role in the positioning of the Caral society's buildings, including large pyramidal structures that were often associated with sunken circular plazas.