For Immediate Release

Gordon R. Willey Lecture

Four Thousand Years Ago in Coastal Peru: America's First Civilization?

Listen to the lecture: "Four Thousand Years Ago in Coastal Peru" (mp3) 1:08:00

(Cambridge, March 8, 2010) Could the ancient city of Caral in Peru be the oldest city in the Western Hemisphere?

The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology presents the Gordon R. Willey lecture, Four Thousand Years Ago in Coastal Peru: America’s First Civilization? by Dr. Michael E. Moseley, a professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Florida, Gainesville.

In 1943 and again in 1971, Harvard archaeologist Gordon Willey investigated the monumental site Aspero in Peru’s Supe desert valley. Later, Peruvian scholars identified 16 more early monumental centers, including Caral, in the Supe desert valley. Covering more than 130 acres, Caral was an urban center with large temple mounds that predate Giza’s famed pyramids. In this illustrated talk, archaeologist Michael Moseley will discuss the four-thousand year-old architectural monuments in the Supe desert valley that are the focus of claims for the earliest civilization in the Americas.

About Michael Moseley

Dr. Michael Moseley earned his doctorate from Harvard University studying coastal Peru, and went on to become a curator at the Peabody Museum and the Field Museum before joining the University of Florida. He writes, “I am privileged to have conducted field studies with students and colleagues on the full temporal spectrum of indigenous evolution in the Americas and the Andes… my research interests are trans-disciplinary, embracing ideologies of corporate art and monumental architecture, political economies of subsistence and settlement systems, and adaptive responses to dynamic stress of social and environmental origin. My investigative methodologies are eclectic, ranging from traditional to art history through new technologies of regional landscape analysis. I invite exceptionally inquisitive minds with superior credentials to enjoy a mutual thirst for evolutionary understanding of the Native American achievement.”


About the Peabody Museum
The Peabody Museum is among the oldest archaeological and ethnographic museums in the world with one of the finest collections of human cultural history found anywhere. It is home to superb materials from Africa, ancient Europe, North America, Mesoamerica, Oceania, and South America in particular. In addition to its archaeological and ethnographic holdings, the Museum’s photographic archives, one of the largest of its kind, hold more than 500,000 historical photographs, dating from the mid-nineteenth century to the present and chronicling anthropology, archaeology, and world culture.

Hours and location: 9 A.M. to 5 P.M., seven days a week. The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for students and seniors, $6 for children, 3–18. Free with Harvard ID or Museum membership. The Museum is free to Massachusetts residents Sundays, 9 A.M. to noon, year round, and Wednesdays from 3 P.M. to 5 P.M. (September to May). Admission includes admission to the Harvard Museum of Natural History. For more information call 617-496-1027 or go online to: The Peabody Museum is located at 11 Divinity Avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Museum is a short walk from the Harvard Square MBTA station.

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Faith Sutter
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Peabody Museum
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The Menor & Huanca temple mounds at Caral in the Supe Valley of Peru. Photo by David Keefer.

Where: Peabody Museum
When: 5:30 PM, April 8, 2010
Public Information: 617-496-1027 or