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

Kansas City Jewish Community Center shooter: “I was an FBI Informant”
2014 04 24
Kansas City Jewish Community Center shooter: “I was an FBI Informant” …… Which is EXACTLY how we called it when this story broke a few weeks back. We also mentioned that the SPLC, just discarded from the FBI “hate” website… Would be the prime benefactor. Ex-KKK Leader Was Given a New Identity Years Before Shooting Glenn Miller Claims He Was an FBI Informant by ...
Meet AISight – The Artificial Intelligence Software Being Installed on CCTV Networks Globally
2014 04 24
If you thought that CCTV cameras tracking your every move in public was bad enough, you’re going to just love AISight (pronounced “eyesight” of course). The invention of a Houston, Texas based company called BRS Labs (which stands for Behavioral Recognition Systems) is headed by former secret service special agent John Frazzini, and this Orwellian surveillance platform brings artificial intelligence ...
Biofuel Made From Corn Waste Less ‘Green’ Than Gasoline
2014 04 24
Biofuel created from corn waste may not be the clean, eco-friendly oil alternative the United States government is hoping for. A new study has found that fuel generated from harvested corn leftovers creates more greenhouse gases than conventional gasoline — at least in the short term. The fuel under study, called cellulosic ethanol, has been touted in recent years as a ...
Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king
2014 04 24
Scientists pried open the 850-year-old casket of King Erik the Holy on Wednesday, hoping to find out more about the king, his crown, and his eating habits. "This was a very special occasion, especially considering the importance of Saint Erik religiously in Sweden," Uppsala Cathedral Chaplain Lars Åstrand told The Local. The casket contained the bones of King ...
John Kerry and the Pope set to face off with Jewish Knight Templars on the Temple Mount
2014 04 24
This is the week that supposedly spells the end of the peace process or its end. My money is on a continuation that has no real substance or direction. What’s the alternative? With Passover and Easter over, Secretary Kerry can return to the Middle East crisis. This, after dealing so successfully with crisis in the Ukraine. [Is the author joking? - RIC] With ...
More News »