Lima, January 5, 2005
Open Letter from Ruth Shady
I am writing to inform you about the misappropriation of the results of the research on the origins of civilization in Peru which the Special Archaeological Project Caral-Supe / INC PEACS/INC has obtained during a decade of work in Caral and the Supe Valley, misappropriation effected by two North American archaeologists, the husband-and-wife team Jonathan Haas and Winifred Creamer, with the complicity of a Peruvian archaeologist, lvaro Ruiz Rubio. This conduct began some years ago and continues now with greater intensity, possibly because there has been no legal claim on our part or censure by our countrys authorities or institutions.
THE FACTS ARE AS FOLLOWS:
1. History of our research:
In 1994 a team of archaeologists led by the undersigned began studies in the Supe Valley. We identified 18 settlements with monumental and domestic architecture, located between the coast and the first 40 kilometers of the valley. Caral was one of these, located at the beginning of the intermediate valley.
In 1996 we started excavating in Caral and, based on the results, we proved the existence of extensive settlements with monumental and residential architecture in the valley, completely devoid of ceramic association and therefore belonging to the Late Archaic period (3000 1800 B.C.).
The work that had been done prior to this was limited to the coast (Feldman in spero in 1980) or had not evaluated the age or the social, cultural and political importance of this occupation (cases Williams & Merino in 1979 or Zechenter in 1988).
Our results have been published continuously from 1997 to date (see Bibliography below) in academic media and also through museographic exhibitions and in the Peruvian press.
Intervention of Haas Creamer:
With reference to the presence in Peru of Haas and Creamer, I should explain that I met them when I was invited to Chicago in 1999 for a meeting about the El Nio Phenomenon. I gave a presentation about Caral, and they showed interest and announced that they would travel to Peru the following year. In 2000, they did, indeed, come to Lima, and I took them to see Caral, where they stayed for one weekend. At that time our research in the Supe Valley already had six years of uninterrupted work and several publications. As I had done previously with colleagues Betty Meggers of the Smithsonian Institution and Henning Bischof of the Mannheim Museum in Germany, I committed Haas and Creamer to negotiating in their respective institutions the payment for 12 samples to be dated by radiocarbon 14. In December 2000, Haas told me by telephone that they had the results and that these indicated that Caral was as old as I had proposed. This is when he suggested to me that I publish the carbon datings in Science, together with him and his wife so that it would subsequently be easier to obtain funds for Caral by submitting a binational project in the United States. In this way Caral would have the economic resources it had lacked until then. I accepted this proposal, even though Haas and Creamer had never excavated in Caral.
Incorrect claims and attributions:
What went wrong was that, following the publication in Science, in April 2001, the web site of the Field Museum, where Haas works, attributed to its researchers the fixing of the date and importance of the oldest city in the Americas (link, see the source and date); and, also, the web site of the University of Illinois, where Creamer works, highlighted the discovery of the oldest civilization in the Americas by its professor Creamer. Because of these lies and expressions of misconduct, that did not give credits to my actual investigation neither mention to the San Marcos National Major University where it belonged nor the country, we decided not to go into the project with Haas and Creamer.
However, they have created a parallel research program in Barranca, in the north central area, where we work, in the next valleys to Supe, in Pativilca and Fortaleza, called Norte Chico, which they have been carrying out since 2002, and since then they have been taking advantage of the image of Caral and our results on the oldest civilization in the Americas, as indicated by the following documents:
In 2004, the magazine American Way published by the airline American Airlines (link), says that the investigations in Caral are being assisted by the Chicago Field Museum (where Jonathan Haas works) with researchers from the University of Northern Illinois (where his wife, Winifred Creamer, works).
The document defended by National Science Foundation before the House of Representatives of the United States to justify its budget includes as an argument the economic support it has provided for research on the origins of civilization by Winifred Creamer and Jonathan Haas, who have discovered a complex society on the Peruvian coast, which predates other forms of civilization in the Western Hemisphere and mentions Caral as the oldest city in the new world (link). The truth is that neither Creamer nor Haas has ever worked in Caral, and neither they nor their institutions have given a single dollar to the Caral Project.
Recently Haas and Creamer have published an article in Nature magazine, volume 432 of December 2004, once more claiming to have discovered that the development of social complexity in Peru dates back to the Late Archaic, between 3000 and 1800 B.C., and that this process occurred in the Norte Chico in agricultural and fishing societies. They make no reference in the text to the fact that this and other proposals had already been indicated by us based on the work in Caral-Supe, a valley in the north-central area or Norte Chico, apart from some bibliographic notes; as my U.S. colleague Michael Moseley points out: Haas and his wife, with a parallel project that is better publicized in the mass media of the United States, are gaining international credit for the work, data, and interpretations that you have previously made public in Peru.
It is obvious that Haas and Creamer intend to ignore the fact that a team of Peruvian archaeologists led by the undersigned, for a decade, has been researching into the origins of civilization on the north-central coast or Norte Chico, in the Supe Valley; and that it was we who posited the north-central area as the seat of the oldest civilization of the Americas. In addition to this, Haas and Creamer make use of our results, previously published in books, leaflets and numerous articles, without citing their sources (see bibliography below and link).
With this behavior Haas and Creamer are violating not only my intellectual rights as an archaeologist but also the rights of a Peruvian research project whose authorship they intend to expropriate.
4. Situation of the Special Archaeological Project Caral-Supe:
From 1994 to 1999 the Caral Archaeological Project was dedicated to archaeological research, in order to identify first the early settlements of the Supe Valley, and subsequently Caral. The Project had the economic support of the National Geographic Society and of the local Municipalities of Supe and Barranca.
From 1999 to 2002 the Caral Archaeological Project continued with archaeological research in Caral, with the support of the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos.
From 2003 to date the Caral Archaeological Project has had the status of Executing Unit of the National Institute of Culture, and as such it receives funds from the Peruvian State to continue with its work: that is, not only the archaeological research, but also the conservation and restoration of Carals monuments, and preparation of the site for tourist services.
Archaeological investigations are also being made in the other settlements in the valley, such as Chupacigarro, Miraya, and Lurihuasi; and a project has been submitted to National Geographic Society and the Heinz Foundation to carry out excavations in spero, the settlement on the coast. With the parallel work in these other settlements we seek to compare results in order to gain a better understanding of the social system that was formed at the dawn of civilization, between 3000 and 1800 B.C.; as well as to assess the interpretations that we have already put forward about the economic, social, political, and religious organization of Caral, Supe, and the north-central region of Peru.
Today, visitors to Caral are able to appreciate the complexity of the public and residential architecture; the facades of eight public pyramidal buildings have been consolidated, as well as those of six domestic units, in four sectors of the city; there are set circuits for visits with appropriate information displayed in Spanish and English on panels at each point of interest; illustrated booklets are sold in Spanish and English (44 pages each); and local guides have been especially trained by us to provide tourists with this service. Young archaeologists from Peru and abroad are also being trained in Caral.
In addition, a Master Plan has been drawn up to promote integral and sustainable socioeconomic development in the area, in an effort to improve the living conditions of the local inhabitants. Thus, in 2005, an Agroecology Project will start operating, with the economic support of the Americas Fund and the participation of the Institute for Development and the Environment.
Since this is a case of flagrant lack of professional and intellectual ethics, we have applied to Perus National Institute of Culture (see attached document) for this institution to sanction Haas and Creamer for presenting as their own the results of the research of others. In addition, I am requesting that the pertinent clarification be made to the Chicago Field Museum, Northern Illinois University, National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society, the Center for Latino and Latin American Studies, and the California Community.
In the words of my colleague Dr. Michael Moseley of the Department of Anthropology of the University of Florida: Unfortunately, Haas et al, as newcomers with parallel data, are gaining international credit for work, data, and interpretations that you pioneered. Unfortunately, what is happening here in general is that Haas with his considerable resources has launched a massive Public Relations Campaign in the English press and journals to claim the basics of your discoveries as his own. This is Academic Imperialism of the first order!. Another colleague, Dr. Betty Meggers of the Smithsonian Institution, says: I have just seen the article by Haas in Nature and am shocked at his failure to acknowledge your priority in the interpretations he provides. I have not seen the Washington Post, but there is apparently an article on this discovery, which quotes him as attributing the preceramic complexity to reciprocity between cotton from the inland and fish from the shore as if it were his idea. He is confirming your interpretations and to give the impression that they are new is dishonest. You dont deserve this kind of treatment. Before doing so, re-read the Nature article and noticed that the references have nothing to do with the text. This is an astonishing case that verges on plagiarism.
We are not opposed to research by foreign archaeologists in Peru, but this should be carried out ethically and with respect for the intellectual rights of Peruvian professionals and the preservation of the countrys cultural heritage.
Trusting that you will be able to give us the support we require, I remain,
Dr. Ruth Shady Sols
Special Archaeological Project Caral-Supe
Jr. De La Unin 1040, 3er piso, Lima 1 Per
Telefax 00 511 3325380
BIBLIOGRAFÍA SOBRE CARAL PREPARADA POR EL PROYECTO ARQUEOLÓGICO CARAL-SUPE:
2004 La ciudad del fuego sagrado. Lima.
2004 The Foundations of Andean Civilization: Papers in Honor of Michael E. Moseley. Joyce Marcus, Charles Stanish and Patrick Ryan Williams, eds. (en imprenta).
2004 Caral-Supe, la civilización más antigua de Perú y de América. En: Andean Archaeology III: North and South. William H. Isbell y Helaine Silverman, eds. (en imprenta).
2004 Caral-Supe, Perú: The oldest civilization in the Americas. Proyecto Especial Arqueológico Caral-Supe, Lima, 41 pp.
SHADY, Ruth y Carlos LEYVA, eds.
2003 La ciudad sagrada de Caral-Supe. Los orígenes de la civilización andina y la formación del Estado prístino en el antiguo Perú. Proyecto Especial Arqueológico Caral-Supe, Lima, 342 pp.
2003 Caral-Supe, la civilización más antigua de América. Proyecto Especial Arqueológico Caral-Supe, Lima, 42 pp.
2002 Caral-Supe La Civilización más antigua del Perú y América. En: Revista Múltiple Cultura Peruana. año 2002, nro. 3, pp. 60-68.
2002 Caral, Supe: La civilización más antigua de América. En: Revista del Instituto de Investigaciones Histórico Sociales, año VI, nro. 9, Lima, pp. 51-81.
2001 Caral, la Ciudadela más Antigua de América. En: Revista Rumbos, año V, nro. 29, Lima, pp. 72-76.
SHADY, Ruth, Pedro NOVOA y Dolores BUITRÓN
2001 Artefactos simbólicos de Caral-Supe y su importancia en la tradición cultural andina. En Boletín del Museo de Arqueología y Antropología de la UNMSM, año 4, n 4, Lima, pp. 87-94.
2001 Caral: La primera ciudad del nuevo mundo. En: Revista Copé, vol. XI - N 28, Lima, pp. 1-6
SHADY, Ruth, Jonathan HAAS y Winifred CREAMER
2001 Dating Caral, a Preceramic Site in the Supe Valley on the Central Coast of Peru. En: SCIENCE, vol 292: 723-726.
2001 La Ciudad Sagrada de Caral-Supe y los Orígenes de la Civilización Andina. Museo de Arqueología y Antropología de la Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, 48 pp.
2001 Caral-Supe y la Costa Norcentral del Perú: La cuna de la civilización y la formación del estado prístino. En: Historia de la cultura peruana I. Fondo Editorial del Congreso del Perú. Lima, pp. 45-87.
SHADY, Ruth y Marco MACHACUAY
2000 El Altar del Fuego Sagrado del Templo Mayor de la Ciudad Sagrada de Caral-Supe. En Boletín del Museo de Arqueología y Antropología de la UNMSM, año 3, n 12, Lima, pp. 2-18.
SHADY, Ruth, Martha PRADO, Carlos LEYVA, Jorge MORENO, Carlos JIMENEZ y Celso LLIMPE
2000 Las Flautas de Caral-Supe: Aproximaciones al Estudio Acústico-Arqueológico del Conjunto de Flautas más Antiguo de América. En Boletín del Museo de Arqueología y Antropología de la UNMSM, año 3, n 11, Lima, pp. 2-9.
SHADY, Ruth, Camilo DOLORIER, Fanny MONTESINOS y Lyda CASAS
2000 Los Orígenes de la Civilización en el Perú: el área Norcentral y el valle de Supe durante el Arcaico Tardío. En Revista Arqueología y Sociedad. UNMSM, Lima, N 13, pp. 13-48.
2000 Sustento Socioeconómico del Estado Prístino de Supe Perú: Las evidencias de Caral - Supe. En Revista Arqueología y Sociedad. UNMSM. Lima, N 13, pp. 49-66.
SHADY, Ruth, Marco MACHACUAY y Rocío ARAMBURÚ
2000 La Plaza Circular del Templo Mayor de Caral: Su presencia en Supe y en el área Norcentral del Perú. En Boletín del Museo de Arqueología y Antropología de la UNMSM, año 3, n 8, Lima, pp. 2-25.
SHADY, Ruth y Miriam GONZÁLEZ
2000 Una Tumba Circular Profanada de la Ciudad Sagrada de Caral-Supe. En Boletín del Museo de Arqueología y Antropología de la UNMSM, año 3, n5, Lima, pp. 2-9.
SHADY, Ruth, Marco MACHACUAY y Sonia LÓPEZ
2000 Recuperando La Historia del Altar del Fuego Sagrado. En Boletín del Museo de Arqueología y Antropología. UNMSM. Lima, año 3, N 4 pp 2 - 19.
2000 Práctica Mortuoria de la Sociedad de Caral - Supe, durante el Arcaico Tardío. En Boletín del Museo de Arqueología y Antropología de la UNMSM, año 3, N 3, Lima, pp. 2-15.
2000 Los orígenes de la Civilización y la Formación del Estado en el Perú. Las evidencias arqueológicas de Caral - Supe (Segunda Parte). En Boletín del Museo de Arqueología y Antropología de la UNMSM, año 3, n 2, Lima, pp. 2-7.
SHADY, Ruth, Marco MACHACUAY y Rocío ARAMBURÚ
2000 Un Geoglifo de Estilo Sechín en el valle de Supe. En Boletín del Museo de Arqueología y Antropología de la UNMSM, año 3, n 1, Lima, pp. 2-11.
1999 Los Orígenes de la Civilización y la Formación del Estado en el Perú: Las evidencias arqueológicas de Caral-Supe. (Primera Parte). En Boletín del Museo de Arqueología y Antropología de la UNMSM, año 2, n 12, Lima, pp. 2-4.
1999 El Sustento Económico del Surgimiento de la Civilización en el Perú. En Boletín del Museo de Arqueología y Antropología de la UNMSM, año 2, n 11, Lima, pp. 2-4.
1999 Flautas de Caral: El conjunto musical ms antiguo de Amrica. En Boletn del Museo de Arqueologa y Antropologa de la UNMSM, ao 2, n 10, Lima, pp. 4-5.
1999 La Religión como una forma de cohesión social y manejo político en los albores de la civilización en el Perú. En Boletín del Museo de Arqueología y Antropología de la UNMSM, año 2, n 9, Lima, pp. 13-15.
SHADY, Ruth y Sonia LPEZ
1999 Ritual de Enterramiento de un Recinto en el Sector Residencial A.
En Caral-Supe. En: Boletín de Arqueología PUCP, No.3: 187-212.
1999 La Ciudad Sagrada de Caral-Supe. Museo de Arqueologa y Antropologa UNMSM. Lima, 14 pp.
1997 Caral. La Cité Ensevelie, En: Revista Archéologie, N 340, pags. 58-65, Francia.
1997 La Ciudad Sagrada de Caral - Supe en los Albores de la Civilización en el Perú. Fondo Editorial, UNMSM, 75 pags.
1995 La Neolitización en Los Andes Centrales y los Orígenes del Sedentarismo, la Domesticación y la Distinción Social. En: Saguntum, Revista del Departamento de Prehistoria y Arqueología, N 28, Universidad de Valencia, Espaa.
The following document is attached:
Copy of official communication No. 411-2004/INC-UE.003-J, to the National Director of the INC.