All at once
The ancient city of Caral, in Peru. Discovered in 1948, it only really came into prominence after research in the 1990s, and especially following wide publicity in 2001. It is believed to have thrived at roughly the same time as Mesopotamia and Egypt. Complex civilizations sprang up rapidly in both the New and Old World shortly after Babel.
German archaeologists, working near Peru’s north-central coast about 320 km (200 miles) northwest of Lima, have discovered the oldest known ancient monument in South America.
Radiocarbon dating has well known limitations, especially given that the Flood buried massive amounts of carbon from the biosphere.1 But even allowing for this systematic bias towards ‘older’ dates, it’s significant that it places the plaza at 5,000–5,500 years ago2—roughly the same as similar markers of civilization in many other parts of the world, including the Middle East and southern Asia.
As one article puts it, quoting prominent Peruvian archaeologist Ruth Shady, the find ‘raises questions about what prompted “civilizations to form throughout the planet at more or less the same time”’.3
This is no mystery to the Bible-believer, of course, given the history in Genesis of how a civilization at Babel, after the Flood, scattered all over the globe in a short period of time.
Many of the dispersing groups would have carried with them the ‘know-how’ of city-building, causing civilizations to appear to spring up ‘suddenly’ in many parts of the world. Those who did not would have had to ‘start again’ in caves and makeshift dwellings, rapidly establishing a very different kind of society for later researchers to try to fit into an evolutionary scheme.
Shady, who was not involved in the plaza find, had earlier demonstrated that ‘a complex urban center in the Americas4 thrived as a contemporary to ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt—1,500 years earlier than previously believed’. This Peruvian monument, which clearly had to be made by a complex, established civilization, is dated a few centuries earlier still, reinforcing her conclusions.
She said that its discovery demonstrates that ‘human beings of the New World had the same capacity to create civilization as those in the Old World’.
Indeed. Genesis also tells us that the dispersion which led to this ‘burst of civilization’ was associated with the sudden emergence of the various language families. This would then lead to diversity within each group, including the emergence of many new (but interrelated) languages within isolated groups. But no languages show any relationship to those in another family, because these ‘root’ languages (e.g. Indo-European) originated suddenly and supernaturally.5
So it’s not surprising to read the following comment in a recent book by an evolutionist on the origin of language:
‘One of the greatest mysteries of prehistory is how people in widely separated places suddenly and spontaneously developed the capacity for language at roughly the same time. It was as if people carried around in their heads a genetic alarm clock that suddenly went off all around the world and led different groups in widely scattered places on every continent to create languages.’6
Stripped of their evolutionary presuppositions, such statements make perfect sense in the light of Genesis—the true history of the world.
References and notes
- Since 14C is still being made from atmospheric nitrogen, this causes the 14C/12C ratio to increase shortly after the Flood. See The Creation Answers Book, chapter 4. Return to text.
- From the Bible, we know that the actual date is likely to be 3,000–4,000 years ago (some 500–1500 years after the Flood). Return to text.
- Whalen, A., Ancient ceremonial plaza found in Peru, AAP, <www.wtopnews.com/?nid= 220&sid=1352629>, 27 February 2008. Return to text.
- The ancient city of Caral, discovered in 2001 some 200 km (125 miles) north of Lima. [Editor’s note added September 2014: as per the photo caption, it was initially discovered in 1948 but attracted little attention at the time]. Return to text.
- Wieland, C., Towering change, Creation 22(1):22–26, 1999; <creation.com/babel>. Return to text.
- Bryson, B., Mother Tongue, Penguin Books, London, England, p. 14, 1991. Return to text.
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My wife and I have often noticed that on the various “science” channels, like “Discovery” that when it comes to human civilization, ALL the evidence stops at around 6,000 years. Human dwellings like the Lascaux caves, of course, “look” older and bring up fantasies of “cavemen”, but when it comes to civilization the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the biblical time line. Yet, strangely, no one ever seems to make the connection (deep sigh).
Thanks for your perceptive comments. We think that actually, even those chronologies are as stretched as they can be, because in fact civilization had to ‘start again’ after the Flood, which was 1656 years after the creation. So considering that they would be motivated to stretch things much further than that, I think it is, as you say, noteworthy that try as they might, they can’t get more than a couple of thousand years past the oldest possible date for civilization.