Monday, November 13, 2017

A Disastrous Loss in Peru

The temple of Ventarron has been in existence for over 4,500 years. It was discovered about 15 years ago and has been actively excavated since that day. Two days ago the site was completely destroyed by fire including what is thought to be the oldest mural in the Americas. 

The fire was caused by employees of a sugar cane company who had set fire to nearby fields to burn sugar cane stubble. The fire quickly spread, engulfing the entire archaeological site. Everything was lost including records of the excavation which were kept on site. 

More than one-half million US dollars had been earmarked for the protection and excavation of Ventarron and the nearby archaeological site of Collud. It is unknown how much of that money was spent. There was no reported damage to Collud.

Maribel and I would often visit Ventarron to watch the progress of the excavation. We could reach the site from our home in just 20 minutes. 

This is the mural that was destroyed. It is thought to be more than 2000 years old. The colors were much more vivid than in this photo.

This photo shows an artist's rendition of what the temple looked like based on measurements taken by noted Peruvian archaeologist Walter Alva. 

Authorities in Lima have dispatched investigators to Ventarron to determine if the sugar company is responsible. The outcome of that investigation won't change anything. The remains of one of the oldest and grandest temples in the Americas is lost. What a shame.

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