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16 October 2003
Dump set up inside Peruvian Nazca lines

A coastal town set up a garbage dump inside Peru's mysterious Nazca Lines, sending trucks rumbling across the mysterious markings etched into the desert sands more than a millennium ago. The lines cover a 35-mile stretch of desert some 250 miles south of Lima and are among Peru's top tourist attractions. They have mystified scientists and were added to the United Nation's Cultural Heritage list in 1994.
     Nazca Mayor Daniel Mantilla explained that the town decided to use the area as a dump in frustration after failing to get the Peru's National Institute of Culture to approve a site. He said that the town stopped using the dump - which has refuse reaching about knee high and spread across an area 200 yards long and 60 yard wide - a week ago and is now using another one on the outskirts of town.
     Alberto Urbano, a site archaeologist with the culture institute, said a landfill location, 25 miles south of Nazca, was approved in 2001, but Mantilla said the distance made it too expensive for the cash-strapped municipality to use. The lines, thousands of them in all, were made by the Nazca and Paracas cultures by clearing darker rocks on the desert surface to expose lighter soil underneath. Urbano said the trucks damaged two trapezoid-shaped lines. The lines are loosely guarded and problems periodically arise.

Source: Newsday.com, Associated Press (14 October 2003)

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