Along the coast of Peru, a mysterious civilization sprang up about 5,000 years ago. This was many centuries before the Incan Empire. Yet these people were sophisticated. They cultivated crops and orchards. And they built huge monuments of earth and rock.
Archaeologists are trying to prove that an abrupt change of climate created this new culture.
The culture has no official name yet. It flourished in a series of dry coastal valleys called Norte Chico. The place is a moonscape — desolate, misty, a place of rock and dirt, with the occasional cactus and a few hardy trees along the few streams and rivers.
Pretty good long article.