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July 25, 2011 10:31:29

Opinion: Machu Picchu – A Failed Historic Management

Opinion: Machu Picchu ����¯�¿�½������¢������¯������¿������½������¯������¿������½ A Failed Historic Management
The Inca city of Machu Picchu as seen by Hiram Bingham in July 1911, exactly a hundred years ago. (Photo: Hiram Bingham)

Mariana Mould de Pease is a zealous advocate of Machu Picchu. She became a furious opposer to the cable car project, planned during the Fujimori regime, to be built as an access to the archaeological site. But Mould also became a public supporter to recover hundreds of artifacts from Yale University unearthed from the Inca city a hundred years ago by Bingham which refused to give them back arguing legal technicalities. Years ago, Mould also revealed historical evidence proving that Hiram Bingham was not the real discoverer of Machu Picchu as he claimed. In the following essay, a propos of the hundred years from Bingham's first visit to Machu Picchu, Mould reminds us of the disinformation that still misleads the ordinary traveler and citizen about the Inca city, and of the Peruvian government's wasted opportunity to demonstrate with historical evidence that Machu Picchu was never really lost to Peruvians.

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January 12, 2011 10:58:30

Proof of Peru's early civilization at Chavin de Huantar

John Rick of Stanford University leads a research team at Chavín de Huantar, one of Peru's oldest cradles of civilization. (Photo: Rosa de Rick)  See slide show.

By Alejandro Camino

One of the great jewels in Peru’s archaeological richness is Chavín de Huántar, a monumental temple complex nestled deep in the folds of the great cordilleras of Áncash. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985, the complex features huge stone-faced platforms decorated with engraved stone plaques, and sculpture of strange hybrid human-animal creatures. It is also laced with labyrinthine underground passages.

Chavín de Huántar dates to between about 1500 and 500 BCE, the central part of the Formative Period, a time in which the complex Andean societies that were to culminate under Inca rule began to take form. Differences in wealth and status began to appear, and the major amounts of labor in construction and specialized arts in sites like Chavín tell the story of developing leadership, authority, and organization, found in all the world centers of civilization.

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September 7, 2010 12:52:08

Lima: The oldest city in the Americas?

Is Lima, Peru the oldest city in the Americas?
Why not rebrand Lima? Here is Huaca Pucllana, 1,800 years old. All photos by Javier Lizarzaburu.
 See the history of Lima in photos.

By Javier Lizarzaburu

Imagine landing for the first time in Lima, Peru and the flight attendant saying something like this: “Welcome to the two-thousand-year-old city of Lima.”

Or even better: “Welcome to the oldest inhabited city in the Americas and the Pacific Rim.”

It is true, at times Peru seems to be a place where anything and everything is possible. Only this time, calling Lima the oldest inhabited city in the continent could be true, according to evidence that has been coming to the surface in recent years.

Based on this I launched Lima Milenaria early this year, a campaign that is asking the next mayor of Lima to declare the city a Millennium City. This would be, according to the information available, a more correct way to identify the Peruvian capital.

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August 25, 2010 11:46:21

The history behind Peru's new coin, the Sarcophagus Sol

The history behind Peru's new coin, the Sarcophagus Sol
Last month Peru's central bank issued a new one-sol coin that pays homage to the fascinating sarcophoguses made by the Chachapoyas people in 800 A.D. Here, archeologist and historian Federico Kauffmann tells

By Federico Kauffmann Doig for
El Comercio
Adapted from Spanish by Diana Schwalb

The cult of the dead was very popular among the ancient Peruvians, judging by the rich rituals with which they paid tribute to the deceased. This is demonstrated by the deployment implemented to preserve the body of their loved ones, mummifying it, or the special care they put into the construction of dwellings intended for eternal rest.

The history behind Peru's new coin, the Sarcophagus Sol
Sarcophogi made by the Chachapoyas people in northern Peru, cerca 800 A.D.

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April 6, 2010 7:09:20

The huacas of Lima, part three: Huaca Huallamarca

Essay and photos by Rodney L. Dodig in Lima, Peru: Huaca Huallamarca in San Isidro.
Researchers still do not know what culture built Huaca Huallamarca. click to enlarge
In the district of San Isidro we find Huaca Huallamarca, the third site for our series on archaeological ruins in Lima. This site was developed and occupied from 200 BC to 200 AD by an unknown culture. It is theorized that they came down from the Andean highlands to occupy the fertile valleys of the Lima area.

This huaca is an imposing site since it has been rebuilt to appear as if it were in pristine condition.  It is large with an impressive central ramp going up the middle of the pyramid. It was reconstructed by the same archaeologist that rebuilt the palace at Puruchuco, Arturo Jimenez Borja.

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March 28, 2010 14:41:59

The huacas of Lima, part two: Huaca Puruchuco

Essay and photos by Rodney L. Dodig in Lima, Peru, part two: Huaca Puruchuco
Huaca Puruchuco, on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. click to enlarge

Our second visit is to Huaca Puruchuco located in the district of Ate - Vitar. The Huaca Puruchuco consists of two distinct parts. The first and most obvious part is the restored palace. There is some discrepancy in the literature about this palace. Some think the palace was entirely Incan while others think is was first used by an Ichma chief and subsequently taken over by the Inca curaca, a local magistrate.

Secondly there is a vast cemetery that was used for the burial of the Inca and their elite. A nice museum is also located on the site with many objects discovered during excavation and restoration of the palace and cemetery. Puruchuco is a Quechua word meaning something similar to “feathered hat” or “feathered helmet.”

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March 17, 2010 9:09:06

A Peruvian UN officer in Afghanistan: Reflections on overcoming terror

By Gonzalo de Cesare

I left Peru in June 1987 after graduating from the American School of Lima. When I left, Peru was probably one of the most dangerous places in the Americas and possibly the world. Terrorism was spreading and throughout Peru (and especially in Lima), frequently one could hear something being blown up.

A Peruvian UN officer: Dispatches from Afghanistan
Gonzalo de Cesare is the only Latin American in his UN department in Afghanistan.
With time, the horrible sound of the bombs became less horrible and with time, people (including myself) learned to live with the threats and insecurities of Peru in the 1980s. Though I have never returned to live in Lima, for me it is still my home and the once or twice-a-year visits to my home city are sufficient to re-charge batteries and be able to represent my country the world over and to be able to always contribute with the “Peruvian Perspective.”

I have been working in Humanitarian Affairs and Human Rights affairs at the United Nations and partner organizations since 1994. In the pursuit of my work and true to my principles and commitments, I have traveled the world over and have seen solitude, devastation, desolation, war and hatred but at the same time and in the same place I also saw hope. I think that in many ways, it is the same hope that we all had in the 1980s and early 1990s in Peru and the hope I saw while growing up. The hope that things will get better, the hope that the attacks will stop, the hope that we have reached rock bottom (and yet we fall deeper again), the hope that tomorrow will be a brighter day.

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March 16, 2010 11:39:59

The huacas of Lima, Part One: Huaca Pucllana

Essay and photos by Rodney L. Dodig

Another of the many hidden treasures of Lima is its numerous huacas, or sacred places. They are located throughout the city and are in various stages of excavation, restoration or total neglect. Some of the huacas (pronounced wah-kas) were built by the people of the Lima Culture from 200 to 700 AD and taken over by cultures such as the Wari, Ichma and Inca after the Lima Culture’s demise. Others were built by the other cultures themselves.

In this series of articles I will take you on a visit to a few of them. The first will be the Huaca Pucllana located in the district of Miraflores.

Huaca Pucllana in Lima, Peru. Archeology and tourism.
Huaca Pucllana.

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February 9, 2010 17:36:53

How to rebuild Haiti: Lessons from the 1970 earthquake in Ancash, Peru

By Sophie Dila

Almost 40 years ago, an earthquake the magnitude of 7.7 on the Richter scale struck off the coast of Peru and devastated the Andean state of Ancash, taking the lives of an estimated 80,000 people. Another 3 million were affected, making the quake the largest natural disaster in Peruvian history.

Huaraz, Ancash’s capital city, crumbled to the ground. Ancash’s smaller villages were demolished; the adobe houses and buildings didn’t stand a chance. The quake destabilized the northern wall of Mount Huascaran, and towering at over 22,000 feet, the wall of the glacier broke off, creating a landslide of epic proportions that buried the urban town of Yungay. Only a couple hundred children and teachers survived the Yungay landslide because they were hiking on hills above the city, above the reach of the mud, ice, and debris that buried their town and families in the blink of an eye. The surviving children were dispatched to orphanages around the world.

Forty years later, another massive earthquake devastates the impoverished island nation of Haiti. The statistics are shockingly similar: both Ancash and Haiti were impoverished areas before the earthquakes, both quakes left over 50,000 people dead and around 3 million affected, and both quakes completely destroyed vital infrastructure. of Huaráz, before the 1970 earthquake - Peru
City of Huaráz, before the 1970 earthquake.áz after the earthquake - Peru
Huaráz after the earthquake.

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October 6, 2009 10:32:29

October 8th: The Battle of Angamos

By Diana Schwalb
Miguel Grau Seminario, the hero of The Battle of Angamos
This week many of us have paid special attention to the fact that October the 8th is a national holiday in Peru. But, do we know why this is? The day is a celebration, and an honoring of, Miguel Grau Seminario, one of Peru's heroes from the Guerra del Pacífico.

Miguel Grau Seminario holds an important place amongst Peru’s heroes. His military accomplishments, as well as his distinguished and courageous disposition earned him the title of Knight of the Seas (“Caballero de los mares”). At the end of the 20th century, he was also named the Peruvian of the Milenium.

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