Qhapaq Nan


Unesco grants Inca Qhapaq Nan road system World Heritage status

The Inca trail linked Cusco, in modern-day Peru, to distant parts of the empire

A road system built by the Inca Empire has been granted World Heritage status by the United Nations cultural agency, Unesco.

The Qhapaq Nan roads go through six South American countries.

It was built in the most diverse terrains, linking communities in the Andes mountains to fertile valleys, rainforests and deserts.

Unesco described the system as an engineering wonder that must be restored and preserved.

The decision was taken in the Qatari capital, Doha, where Unesco‘s World Heritage Committee is gathered to consider the inclusion of 40 cultural and natural sites to the list.

The Andean Road System was built over hundreds of years and was used by the Spanish when they arrived in South America in the 16th Century. It was used mostly for trade and defence.

It covers some 30,000 km (18,600 miles), from modern-day Colombia in the north to Argentina and Chile in the south, via Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia.

Historians believe the Inca trail was used to keep the the Andean city of Machu Picchu supplied

The six South American countries have agreed to work together to preserve the ancient route

Parts of it are still preserved, but most of the route has deteriorated since the Inca Empire was defeated.

“We still cannot see the entire road because a large part of it is covered by vegetation,” said Fernando Astete, chief archaeologist at Peru’s Machu Picchu site told AFP news agency.

The route system used to link the Inca capital, Cusco, to distant areas of the empire.

“The Qhapaq Nan by its sheer scale and quality of the road is a unique achievement of engineering skills. It demonstrates mastery in engineering technology,” Unesco said in a statement.

Unesco says that granting the Qhapaq Nan roads World Heritage status will make them eligible for much-needed restoration funds.

Source: BBCNews

Peru displays pre-Inca shroud returned from Sweden

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The BBC's Arrun Soma: "A very delicate homecoming"

The BBC’s Arrun Soma: “A very delicate homecoming”

An ancient Peruvian funeral shroud dating back to the pre-Inca period has gone on display in Lima after being returned from Sweden.

The Shroud of Gothenburg is described as uniquely complex, with more than 80 hues of blue, green, yellow and red woven into a pattern of 32 frames.

The shroud is one of four ancient Paracas textiles being returned, under an inter-governmental agreement.

They were smuggled out of Peru by a Swedish diplomat 80 years ago.

Researchers believe the images on the shroud functioned as a calendar of farming seasons.

The shroud, which has gone on display at the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History in Lima, shows condors, frogs, cats, corn, cassava and people.

Another 85 textiles are expected to be returned by 2021.

They were produced by the civilisation that flourished in the Paracas peninsula, in the south-west of modern-day Peru.

Although the shrouds are around 2,000 years old, archaeologists say they are perfectly preserved.

The Paracas funerary bundles “had been lowered into dry, cold and salty desert sand, protected from factors of deterioration such as oxygen and UV light,” says Sweden’s National Museum of World Culture in Gothenburg.

The shroud that has gone on display in Peru is one of 89 textiles being repatriated from Gothenburg

The textiles feature condors, frogs, cats, corn, cassava and humans

Source: BBC News More pictures

Pyramid in Peru torn down by developers

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Officials lodge criminal complaints against two firms after building at El Paraiso, one of Peru’s oldest archaeological sites, destroyed

El Paraiso, the archaeological site some 40km north of Lima where the 20ft pyramid was torn down. Photograph: Ernesto Benavides/AFP/Getty Images

Real estate developers using heavy machinery tore down a 20ft (6m) tall pyramid at one of Peru’s oldest archaeological sites, cultural officials have said.

Rafael Varon, deputy minister of cultural patrimony, told reporters on Wednesday that the destruction occurred over the weekend at the ruins of El Paraiso, a few miles north of Peru’s capital, Lima.

He said his agency has lodged criminal complaints against two companies for the damage – identified as Alisol and Provelanz – and has moved to seize the equipment used. People who answered the telephone at both companies said no one was available to comment.

Peru’s tourism ministry says El Paraiso was built some 4,000 years ago and was a religious and administrative centre, long before the rise of the Inca culture encountered by the Spanish conquerors.

Marco Guilen, director of an excavation project at El Paraiso, said the people who tore down the pyramid “have committed irreparable damage to a page of Peruvian history”.

“We are not going to be able to know in what ways it was constructed, what materials were used in it and how the society in that part of the pyramid behaved,” said Guilen.

Varon said people apparently working for the two companies tore down one pyramid and tried to destroy three others, but were stopped by witnesses.

Mayor Freddy Ternero of San Martin de Porres, the town where the ruins are located, said the pyramids were sited in agricultural fields and were not guarded, though he said the minister of the interior sent police to protect it after the incident.



Ancient Wari royal tomb unearthed in Peru

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The archaeologists spent months secretly digging through the burial chambers

Archaeologists in Peru have unearthed a royal tomb with treasures and mummified women from about 1,200 years ago.

The discovery north of Lima could shed new light on the Wari empire, which ruled in the Andes before the rise of the better-known Inca civilisation.

More than 60 skeletons were inside the tomb, including three Wari queens buried with gold and silver jewellery and brilliantly-painted ceramics.

Many mummified bodies were found sitting upright – indicating royalty.

The archaeologists say the tomb was found in El Castillo de Huarmey, about 280km (175 miles) north of Lima.

“We have found for the first time in Peruvian archaeological history, an imperial tomb of the Wari culture,” co-director of the project Milosz Giersz was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

“The contents of the chamber consisted of 63 human bodies, most of them women, wrapped in funerary bundles buried in the typical seated position, a native Wari pattern.”

Findings at El Castillo de Huarmey have changed archaeologists’ views of women in Wari culture

Forensic archaeologist Wieslaw Wieckowski says the way other bodies were positioned indicated human sacrifice.

“Six of the skeletons we found in the grave were not in the textiles. They were placed on the top of the other burials in very strange positions, so we believe that they were sacrifices,” he said.

“The fact that most of the skeletons were of women and the very rich grave goods, leads us to the interpretation that this was a tomb of the royal elite and that also changes our point of view on the position of the women in the Wari culture.”

The archaeologists spent months secretly digging through the burial chambers amid fears that grave robbers would find out and loot the site.

The Wari civilization thrived from the 7th to 10th centuries AD, conquering all of what is now Peru before a mysterious and dramatic decline.

The Wari people had their capital near the modern-day Ayacucho, in the Andes.





Idea for a post from my regular commenter Tempo…

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Buenos Aires, Argentina

La Paz, Bolivia – would you ride in a Bam Bam taxi?


Peru also has ‘colectivos’ usually old 1960s American cars of dubious character (some drivers too) that ply between many cities. A hair raising trip between Ica & Nazca is a great one.


New Delhi, India

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, I think, Tempo…

Or would you prefer one from Jakarta, Indonesia…

The Backyard

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The Yarccacancha community lives in a valley in Huancavelica, one of the poorest regions of Peru. The people struggle to make a living from farming as the valley is hit by flooding in the rainy season and water shortages in winter.

See the collection of photos and a fuller story on The Guardian

Peru archaeologists find pre-Inca sacrificed babies


The bodies were found on the shores of Lake Umayo in Puno province

Researchers at the Sillustani archaeological site in Peru say they have found the bodies of 44 children thought to have been sacrificed between 600 and 700 years ago.

They were buried in pairs in baskets placed around stone funerary towers.

Researchers said their ages ranged from newborns to three years old.

The archaeologists believe they belonged to the Kolla culture, which ruled parts of the Puno region of southern Peru between 1200 and 1450.

All the bodies had a volcanic stone placed on their chest, and were surrounded by a variety of offerings, including animals, food, dishes and pitchers, archaeologist Eduardo Arisaca said.

Researchers at the site say ceramics with paintings of scenes of war found with the bodies suggest the children were sacrificed during a period of conflict between the Kolla and a rival culture.

They said the bodies were found near a 10m-tall (32ft) circular stone tower known as Chullpa Lagarto.

The bodies of some 200 people have been unearthed near the tower at the Sillustani site some 1,300km (800 miles) south-east of the capital, Lima.

Source: BBC News

Chullpa largato (you can see the lizard on the left side)

I know Sillustani well, having traveled there many times when I was a tour guide in Peru. It is often visited by tourists traveling between the airport at Juliaca and Puno; or on day trips from Puno.

Sillustani was not known as a Kolla sacrifice centre, but apparently views are changing.

Just the same as it wasn’t known that the Inca sacrificed humans until the discovery of the “Ice Maiden” near Arequipa in 1996 (?)

So for me this is quite a revelation. To think that I had been walking over this entire area.

Barking up the Wrong Tree


Giant Mummy Discovered in Peru

Are we looking at an alien?

Peruvian researchers are puzzled on Friday over an oddly formed mummy found recently in the Cuzco region, the heart of Incan civilization.

The mummy now sits in the Ritos Andinos Museum in Andahuaylillas, some 685 miles southeast of Lima.

Here, anthropologist Renata Davila explained some of the strange features of the mummy.

[Renato Davila, Director, Ritos Andinos Museum]:
“It’s 20 inches tall, which doesn’t coincide with the stereotypes of humans. It’s head is triangular and the eye cavities are too big.”

Davila also pointed to a strange flange on the jaw and the development of teeth that don’t match the mummy’s apparent age.

[Renato Davila, Director, Ritos Andinos Museum]:
“The lower front part of the jaw has a kind of fin that doesn’t exist in any ethnicity in the world. The opening at the top of the head also calls for attention, and it has wisdom teeth and molars that also don’t coincide with any human being.”

Back in Lima, anthropologist Pablo Bayabar attempted to put together the pieces of the malformed mummy.

[Pablo Bayabar, Anthropologist]:
“Children’s heads are proportionally bigger than their bodies. Here we have two points. First, the fontanelle is open, which usually closes at 31 months. And it has molars that usually appears between approximately 13 and 19 months. So we are looking at a child under two years old with an enormous head.”

Source: NTD Television There’s a video clip there, it’s not on YouTube yet so I can’t show you.


Oh yes, I have an opinion here. Did you for a moment think I wouldn’t?

Yes, triangular shape, big head, large eyes, seems to fit.

Check out this site: ArchaeoBlog and see what they have to say. Seems they are reading a little more into this than the original report NTD TV that I found; as does the original story (in Spanish) on RPP.

It seems the general consensus is that the mummy is of terrestrial origin. The mummification maybe, but not the subject.

14 Shamans Murdered in Peru

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Shaman are traditional healers

Fourteen traditional healers have been brutally murdered in Peru in the past 20 months, allegedly at the urging of a local mayor. The Peruvian government has sent a team of investigators to look into the incidents. While 14 shaman have disappeared, the bodies of only seven have been retrieved so far; the indigenous healers were shot, stabbed or hacked to death by machete.

Protestant Sect Members Suspected

The prosecutor’s office of Alto Amazonas province stated that the alleged murders were carried out by a man known locally at the “witch hunter,” at the behest of his brother, the mayor of the town of Balsa Puerto. A Peruvian government adviser and expert on Amazon cultures alleges that both are members of a Protestant sect that claims shamans are possessed by demons and must be eliminated. The Peruvian Times reports that the shamans had been planning to form an association to share their knowledge.

Irrecoverable Loss

The shamans’ deaths go beyond a brutal crime to represent a loss of unrecoverable knowledge. NGO Amazon Watch’s Peru program director Gregor MacLennan is quoted in the Guardian: “The death of these shamans represents not just a tragic loss of life, but the loss of a huge body of knowledge about rainforest plants and the crucial role shamans play in traditional medicine and spiritual guidance in indigenous communities.”

As the U.S. government marks Columbus Day on October 10, it is disheartening that the oppression of indigenous people that began with the conquerors’ arrival back in 1492 continues to this day.

Source: Care2
Another article in the English language newspaper Peruvian Times
The article refers to protestant sects, I wish to comment that these are more likely to be evangelical sects, not protestant. In South America which is predominantly Catholic, anything not Catholic is wrongly classed as protestant, including evangelicals. This problem of identification exists all over South America. Here in Brazil even evangelicals can’t discern the difference and can’t understand it when explained to them. Having lived in Bolivia and Peru, the problem is the same there. The Peruvian newspaper La Republica reported sectas protestantes which is understandably the same mistaken belief meaning they weren’t Catholic. The evangelical churches in South America (and there are hundreds of different sects) have some really weird ideas which thrive in people who lack education.

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