Pigs and squatters threaten Peru’s Nazca lines
2012 08 15

By Mitra Taj | Reuters.com

Squatters have started raising pigs on the site of Peru’s Nazca lines - the giant designs best seen from an airplane that were mysteriously etched into the desert more than 1,500 years ago.

The squatters have destroyed a Nazca-era cemetery and the 50 shacks they have built border Nazca figures, said Blanca Alva, a director at Peru’s culture ministry.

She said the squatters, the latest in a succession of encroachments over the years into the protected Nazca area, invaded the site during the Easter holidays in April and that Peruvian laws designed to protect the poor and landless have thwarted efforts to remove them.

In Peru, squatters who occupy land for more than a day have the right to a judicial process before eviction, which Alva said can take two to three years.

"The problem is that by then, the site will be destroyed," she said.

She said she counted 14 pig corals in a recent inspection that also revealed broken bits of Nazca ceramics.

The Nazca lines known as geoglyphs, declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994, were produced over a period of a thousand years on a 200 square mile (500 square km) stretch of coastal desert.

They include enormous birds, monkeys and other geometric shapes. The culture ministry evicted a separate batch of squatters in January from near a sprawling design known as the Solar Clock, only to face down a new group months later.

The lines are striking reminders of Peru’s rich pre-Columbian history, and are considered one of the world’s greatest archeological enigmas, as no one knows for sure why they were drawn, so large, and for so long.

"They’re very delicate and they’ve survived to this point for 1500 years," said Ann Peters, an archeologist affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania, who hosted an international symposium on Nazca culture in Peru this week.

Peters said encroachments in the area threaten research by 60 or so archeologists specialized in Nazca.

Ancient Nazcans formed the figures by scraping away the desert’s dark iron-oxide pebbles to reveal the white soil underneath, which hardened as unearthed limestone was exposed to morning dew.

The head of the squatter settlement, Jesus Arias, denies his community has hurt the area. "It isn’t archeological to me. There was no cemetery there, and there are no lines from Nazca culture either."

Arias said the squatters are the grown children of people from the nearby town of San Pablo who want their own homes.

"Our population keeps growing," he said. "These are poor people who don’t have the money to buy land or a house."

Arias said the culture ministry should do a better job marking the boundaries of protected areas.

Encroachments are a common way for the poor, and increasingly organized land traffickers, to acquire property in Peru. Evictions can be violent when security forces try to pry thousands of people from their homes.

"It could generate chaos," said Livina Alvis, a prosecutor in the province of Nazca.

The culture ministry’s Alva said squatters are the biggest threat to Peru’s more than 13,000 archeological and heritage sites, a rich trove of information for scholars around the world.

"We get 120-180 reports or alerts about encroachments every year," Alva said. "For my colleagues in the rest of Latin America, who get two or maybe five cases per year, that figure is unbelievable."


Article from: reuters.com







Related Articles
Thousands of strange ’Nazca Lines’ discovered in the Middle East
Intelligent Design, Creation in the 21st Century - Nazca Lines, Inca Stones (Video)
Scientists claim new geoglyph find in Nazca, Peru
UFO mysteries: ‘Nazca Lines’ discovered in Kazakhstan
The Lines of Nazca Peru


Latest News from our Front Page

Hungary’s Orban Bashes Liberal Immigration Policy
2014 08 29
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Monday lashed out against immigration, setting one of the main policy objectives of his next term in power after winning parliamentary elections in April. “The goal is to cease immigration whatsoever,” said Hungary’s prime minister. “I think the current liberal immigration policy, which is considered obvious and morally based, is hypocrite,” Mr. Orban said. At a ...
China’s “Duplitecture” Cities Mimic the World’s Greatest Architectural Hits
2014 08 29
The best knockoffs in the world are in China. There are plenty of fake designer handbags and Rolexes, but China’s knockoffs go way beyond fashion. There are knockoff Apple stores that look so much like the real thing that some employees believe they are working in real Apple stores. And then there are entire knockoff cities. There are Venices with ...
Kiev loses control of Novoazovsk, rebel troops advance in southeast Ukraine
2014 08 29
Kiev’s troops had to leave the eastern Ukrainian city of Novoazovsk to save their lives, said the country’s Security and Defense Council. The authorities admitted that self-defense forces are advancing and leading a counteroffensive in the southeast. Along with Novoazovsk, Kiev troops have lost control over the villages of Amvrosiivka and Starobeshevo in the Donetsk Region of Eastern Ukraine. According to Ukraine’s ...
Mohammed is most popular name in Oslo
2014 08 29
For the first time in the capital city’s history, Mohammed is the most common name for boys and men, said a study on Thursday. Statistics Norway (Statistisk Sentralbyrĺ - SSB) has counted the population of Oslo and found that Mohammed is the most common male name in Oslo for the first time ever. Jřrgen Ouren of SSB said to NRK: “It is ...
Beaten to Death at McDonald’s
2014 08 29
To the four clean-cut college freshman out on a double date, it had seemed like a typical McDonald’s: spanking clean, well-lighted, and safe. It was in a good neighborhood too, right next to Texas A&M University in College Station -- a campus known for its friendly atmosphere and official down-home greeting: “howdy.” Shortly after 2 A.M. that Sunday, they pulled into ...
More News »