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14 July 2008
3000 years old ruins found in Bolivia

Archeologists have begun digging at an ancient ceremonial site in eastern Bolivia to piece together the rites and daily life of cultures dating as far back as 3,000 years ago.
     Locals stumbled upon the remains while clearing the ground to build a new market in the town of Copacabana, a tourist hotspot on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Some relics go back as far as 3,000 years, when a little-known religious tradition called Yayamama is thought to have flourished in the Andes. "They carved sculptures [in stone] with a man on one side and a woman on the other," said archeologist Sergio Chavez, who works for Central Michigan University. The sculptures, which also feature two-headed snakes and geometric shapes, are still revered by local indigenous groups.
     The Yayamama built a series of small temples by the lake, each two hours by foot from the other, Chavez said. "There's a lot to be proud of in here, and we have to find our identity in these things. To understand the present and plan for the future, we have to look at the past," he added. But the archeologist said not everyone in Copacabana, near the border with Peru, is as excited about the past as he is. Locals are determined to finish the construction of the market they started in June, and Chavez said he feels rushed. "We've had to work really hard to show the architecture, the remains, so people realize that they have a huge cultural value," he said.

Source: The Vancouver Sun (10 July 2008)

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