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18 February 2013
Ancient rock art under threat in Paraguay

The march of so-called civilisation has been having a devastating effect on the ancient rock art of the Amambay hills in Paraguay. For thousands of years incredible examples of rock art have laid undisturbed in caves and rock shelters, protected from the ravages of rain and sun under a thick canopy of dense jungle. But as vast areas are cleared and burned then these amazing examples are exposed and either the rocks are shattered by intense sunlight or fungal growths would appear, causing equally destructive effects.
     The increasing loss of these ancient artefacts came to the attention of an American documentary maker, Frank Weaver, who is making a brave attempt to not only record as much of the art as possible, but he is also hoping that, by bringing attention to the plight of the Pai Tavytera Indians, then some of their culture may still be preserved.
     Frank weaver is supported in his quest by a rock art specialist, Dr George Nash, of Bristol University (UK), who is quoted as saying "Rock-art, like any other material culture is a dwindling resource. The rock art of the Guarani Indian region of Paraguay is unique revealing an ancient and vibrant society steeped in ritual and religion. However, the plight of this potentially important resource and its guardians is currently at the mercy of short-term gain. This is yet another small but significant corner of our global village which is now under grave threat from so-called progress; deforestation, the destruction of cultural heritage and the alienation of an indigenous population; it has to stop - Now".

Edited from Past Horizons (24 January 2013)

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