National

Peru: hundreds of illegal settlements damaging Nazca lines

By Manuel Vigo

Illegal settlers had even made makeshift roads, and enabled vehicular access to the site, further damaging the area.

Peru: hundreds of illegal settlements damaging Nazca lines

(Photo: Jose Rosales/El Comercio)

Hundreds of squatters have occupied parts of archaeological sites in Nazca and Palpa, and have damaged parts of the Nazca lines.


El Comercio investigated the illegal settlements and found that at least 400 squatters had set up homes on registered archeological sites at Cerros Altos and La Calera II.


Reporters found that settlers had even made makeshift roads, and enabled vehicular access to the site, further damaging the area.


According to officials at Ica’s Regional Directorate of Culture the settlements were supported by Jorge Pacheco, Mayor of Palpla, and Jose Gutierrez, Mayor of Vista Alegre, in Nazca, during the 2010 election campaign,


The Mayors offered to grant settlers with certificates of land ownership and promised they would install water, sewage and electricity connections in the area, reported El Comercio.


Nazca’s attorney general has begun the necessary legal proceedings, but much remains to be done, according to Mario Olaechea, coordinator at Nazca’s Regional Office of Culture.


"After verifying the existence of these invasions, the Regional Directorate of Culture reported these squatters last August, but so far the Pubic Ministry has not been able to act on these criminal acts, which have destroyed part of the nation’s cultural heritage […]” said Olaechea.