Casarab Civilization: What is a “Lost Civilization”?

Jungle, the Amazon? Never. This is confirmed by a recent study published in the journal Nature : 26 sites of the pre-Columbian civilization of the Casarabes (disappeared in the aftermath of the conquest of America, in the XVIe century), spread over 4,500 km2, were discovered under the canopy using helicopter scanners in Bolivia. This culture attests to:“a highly integrated, continuous and dense settlement system”, equipped with ramparts and a complex hydraulic network. Dizzy.

How many other lost civilizations remain in total shadow? To get an idea, ask yourself: what is a lost civilization?

The question is more complex than it seems. The mythical kingdom of Atlantis is not lost in the same sense as ancient Greece or the Casarabic civilization. All these societies have disappeared in the sense that their institutions – their rituals, their practices, their customs, their own language – no longer exist. This disappearance can also be the erasing of a memory. “Once there is an institution, there are people who are appointed and who have the authority to manage the archive, i.e. choose what is kept and what is not. Not, what we give access, who we give access to , when and how, etc. »lit Jacques Derrida in the dialogue “Trace and archive, image and art” (2002). From an internal point of view, the disappearance of a civilization is closely related to the disappearance of the” archive ” which, by sorting it, maintains the thread of a historical narrative.

The logic of as

No more witnesses to explain the disappearance, even indirectly† That’s the logic of Derrida “ash”† Uproot the foundations, banish all memory. In some cases, the disappearance refers to a political logic of planned destruction. Carthagedelenda is“we must destroy Carthage” – the hereditary enemy of Rome – for Cato the Elder in 149 BC. This will be, in an even more radical way, the meaning of the Holocaust for Derrida: abolish “the ability to witness destruction” deprive the social group of the possibility of future expansion. “The archive is not about the past, it is about the future. I select […] which I think should be repeated, preserved and repeated in the future. †

That said, the various ‘lost’ civilizations remain very different in their ways of disappearing.

  • Ancient Greece is no more. But it’s no less. It remains in our world through its remains, its ruins, its traces, which certainly testify to the separation, but nevertheless follow a path to the past. Above all, in its absence, it exists outside itself: at the heart of the network of meanings that make up our world. Ancient Greece is everywhere: in history books, in philosophical treatises, etc.
  • Atlantis is lost in a more radical sense. We have no material trace of the legendary island. You even wonder if it existed – an age-old debate that will probably never be solved. And yet, despite the absence of traces, the Atlantean kingdom haunts our imaginations. It stands out as an important element in our speeches.
  • The case of the Casarabes is quite different.† The physical traces have not completely disappeared. The path to it has been forgotten – buried by Amazonian vegetation – but the foundations remain beneath the foliage. More profoundly, however, the Casarabes disappeared from the surface of the planet for centuries: they have been erased from all conversations, from all memories, from all records since the Spanish conquest of the Americas. The thread of meaning has been broken.

Fortunately, there are still some remnants of the Casarabe civilization. Here she is somehow rediscovered, through her tracks. This civilization will also be the subject of future research, with the aim of better understanding its functioning and reintroducing it into the world history of mankind. This means that the Casarabic civilization is no longer completely extinct. So the “ideal” lost civilization would, in a sense, be a civilization that we couldn’t even imagine. Once it regains a place in the discourse, the lost link is renewed and something of the past life is restored.

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