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Peruvian pyramid torn down by real estate developers

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
July 5th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In a flagrant disregard for their nation's cultural heritage, real estate developers using heavy machinery tore down a 20-foot tall pyramid at one of Peru's oldest archaeological sites. Rafael Varon, deputy minister of cultural patrimony, says that the pyramid's destruction occurred over the weekend at the ruins of El Paraiso, a few miles north of Peru's capital, Lima.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - Varon says his agency has lodged criminal complaints against two companies for the damage, identified as Alisol and Provelanz. The agency says that they have moved to seize the equipment used.

Peru's tourism ministry says El Paraiso was built some 4,000 years ago and was a religious and administrative center, long before the rise of the Inca culture encountered by the Spanish conquerors. The people who tore down the pyramid "committed irreparable damage to a page of Peruvian history."

Marco Guilen, the director of an excavation project at El Paraiso says that "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."

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.

The site, which dates back to the Late Preceramic (3500-1800 BC) period, is situated several kilometers north of Lima. "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."

In a related incident of cultural desecration, a construction crew demolished a 2,300 year-old Maya pyramid several months ago in Belize. They did so to extract crushed rock for a road project. The Ministry of Tourism and Culture called the wrecking of the ceremonial center "callous, ignorant, and unforgivable."

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