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Ministry of Culture lacks resources to protect more than one thousand archaeological sites

By Hillary Ojeda

As reports of security breaches of sites continue, Peru looks for higher security.

Ministry of Culture lacks resources to protect more than one thousand archaeological sites

(Photo: El Comercio/Dante Piaggio)

Minister of Culture announced today that more than 1,000 of Peru’s archaeological sites are at risk for lack of security and resources to guard the sites.

Minister Diana Álvarez-Calderón told El Comercio, “it is impossible for the Ministry of Culture, with the resources it has, to keep guard of thousands of archaeological sites or 5,500 kilometers of the Nasca Lines. In this particular case, we’re going to have to create a special program [to guard lines].”

The minister talks specifically for the Nazca Lines after multiple incidents have brought national and international attention to the historical site. In December Greenpeace activists entered the premises and left banners for a climate change manifestation. As well, recent footage surfaced of a foreign journalist lying just inches from the lines.

In both of these incidents, the perpetrators were on prohibited and protected areas and led by local archaeologists. The activists left damage that could possibly last for decades or thousands of years as some argue. While the journalist that walked the grounds a year ago, while trespassing the protected area, did not damage the lines.

With several large-scale mishaps in the security of just one archaeological site, Peru is dealing with a greater issue. Vandalism, invasion, and theft of artifacts and remains are rampant in many protected areas. Stretched all across the country are at least 100,000 recorded archaeological sites, more security is needed.

Calderon told El Comercio that as the ministry is under resourced they will look to collaborate with the private sector to meet the demands of security of the country’s heritage.

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