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

Your Smartphone Broadcasts Your Entire Life To The Secret Service
2014 09 23
Intelligence services collect metadata on the communication of all citizens. Politicians would have us believe that this data doesn’t say all that much. A reader of De Correspondent put this to the test and demonstrated otherwise: metadata reveals a lot more about your life than you think. Ton Siedsma is nervous. He made the decision weeks ago, but keeps postponing it. ...
Scots were tricked into voting ‘No’ – Salmond
2014 09 23
London politicians gulled Scottish voters out of independence by making a false “vow” to grant Glasgow extra powers, First Minister Alex Salmond has said. He also raised the prospect of another referendum, saying the break-up is inevitable. Alex Salmond, leader of the ’Yes’ campaign and the outgoing head of the Scottish National Party (SNP), told the BBC’s Sunday Politics program that ...
The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola
2014 09 23
The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity. Suspected Ebola patient Finda “Zanabo” prays over her sick family members before being admitted to the Doctors Without Borders Ebola treatment center on Aug. 21, 2014, near Monrovia, Liberia. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images As the Ebola epidemic in West Africa has spiraled out of control, affecting thousands of Liberians, Sierra Leonians, and Guineans, ...
Man bitten by Ebola patient flown to Switzerland
2014 09 22
Swiss authorities say a male nurse who was bitten by an Ebola patient while working in West Africa has been flown to Switzerland as a precaution. The health ministry says the unidentified man was working for an international organization in Sierra Leone when he was bitten by a child infected with Ebola on Saturday. The ministry says the nurse was wearing protective ...
Climate March in New York City Reveals Communists Demanding ’Revolution, Nothing Less’ - Trash the City With Garbage
2014 09 22
Tens-of-thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of New York City Sunday to demand political leaders take action on climate change. While the protest remained peaceful, much of the “People’s Climate March” appeared to be made up of fringe elements of the political left. Dozens of signs denouncing capitalism were spotted at the demonstration, often held by self-proclaimed socialists. “Capitalism is destroying the ...
More News »