|15 December 2003
Ancient Peruvian site in danger
In the far north of Peru, about 20 km east of the city of Trujillo is a highly endangered archaeological site located in the Quebrada de Santo Domingo, a dry river valley. Located about 5 km from the well known Moche Huaca de la Luna, the area was designated intangible by the Peruvian Institute of Culture.
The archaeological evidence in this valley indicates human ritual activity from 10,000 BCE to 1,400 CE and includes shelters, platforms, canals, ceremonial paths, as well as many stone point and tool workshops. Most impressive and most endangered is a dense distribution of geoglyphs dating from 5,000 BCE to 600 CE depicting zoomorphs, anthropomorphs, hunting scenes and complex spirals. Many of them are far older than than the famous Nazca lines.
Up until now the archaeological structures were very well preserved because of their inaccessibility. However, in the past two years the local Chavimochic Irrigation Canal authorities have clandestinely organised the quarrying, bulldozing, and distribution of lots of land in this so called intangible zone. Strangely enough the inventory, photos or articles relating to this vast archaeological zone have never been published. And local archaeologists seem reticent to protest too loudly the destruction of the zone.
Victor Corcuera, a local guide, is leading an active campaign with limited resources to alert authorities and the press - but the Trujillo area is already dominated by the Huaca de La Luna (research funded by private donations and foreign scientific organizations) and Chan Chan, an endangered world heritage monument.
The site of Quebrada de Santo Domingo is definitely worth saving. Peru is a signatory to the UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage and should be bound to preserve all its archaeological sites. International pressure may lead the local people and authorities to realize the treasure they are destroying.
The people who are trying to save the site are seeking help and are also organizing a petition to send to Peruvian authorities. For more information please contact: Victor Corcuera Cueva (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Melissa Massat (email@example.com)
Source: Melissa Massat (14 December 2003)
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