In 2500 BCE Stonehenge was in its most grandiose phase; the giant sarsen stones assembled and erected, the bluestones transported from quarries in West Wales, their disposition displaying their architect’s astronomical grasp. The Great Pyramids of Egypt had been built, proclaiming to posterity the god-like status of their commissioning pharaohs. The Indus Valley civilization left no great monuments but was remarkable for its magnificent sewerage systems and infrastructure. The city-states of Sumer experienced intermittent conflict; two opposing states sought the King of Kish’s arbitration in a boundary dispute. In China the Longshan culture was fashioning delicate black polished ceramics. In Peru, the Norte Chico culture had urbanized, manufacturing textiles but with no pottery or visual arts. In Central America, the earliest Maya were beginning organized cultivation of maize, beans and peppers, while the natives of New Guinea’s mountains had, in glorious isolation, long practised the terraced cultivation of bananas, sugarcane and yams.
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