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5,000-year-old pyramid decimated in Peru

5,000-year-old pyramid decimated in Peru

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Private construction companies have destroyed pyramid El Paraiso, a 5,000-year-old ancient structure located near the river Chillon, several kilometres north of Lima in Peru.

The archaeological site of El Paraiso is credited with the largest and oldest monumental architecture in Peru. It occupies an area of 50 hectares, held between 1500 and 3000 inhabitants, and required nearly 100,000 tons of rock to construct.  Archaeologists date the site to the Late Pre-Ceramic Age (2000 - 3000 BC) and suggest that it was used as a religious and administrative centre before the rise of the Inca culture encountered by the Spanish conquistadors.

Yet despite the cultural importance of El Paraiso, one of its pyramids measuring 20 feet in height was completely decimated – the structure was knocked down and later burned – by two private building companies which entered the site on Saturday.

The companies, named as Compañía y Promotora Provelanz E.I.R.L and Alisol S.A.C Ambas, claimed that they are the owners of the land, however, the Ministry of Culture has said that the land is under state control.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that such destruction has taken place. In May, we reported on the destruction of a 2,300-year-old Mayan pyramid in Belize, under similar circumstances.

With Peru’s economy riding high on a wave of real estate development, the economic incentive to knock down temple ruins are more powerful today than ever.

Archaeologists have stated that the destruction of this pyramid was an massive loss for the culture and history of Peru.  According to Marco Guilen, director of an excavation project at El Paraiso, the people who destroyed the pyramid “have committed irreparable damage to a page of Peruvian history”.

By April Holloway

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