In a terrible turn of events, lack of leadership by the Peruvian government has allowed squatters, off road enthusiasts, and extremist groups to threaten the historic Nazca Lines. These creations are considered a world treasure, and yet the world is doing nothing. What would the aliens say?
I wanted to share this information with you because we occasionally discuss UFOs in this blog, and the Nazca lines are often associated with aliens and UFOs. However you look at these magnificent creations, what is happening to them now is a travesty.
The trouble seems to have begun in 2011 when young adults from the nearby town of San Pablo erected squalid structures near the lines and brought their pigs with them. The pigs root around in the dirt destroying historical treasures as they do so.
The law in Peru is such that if you squat on a piece of land for more than a day, the squatters have the right to a judicial process before they’re removed. Latest estimates say this process takes anywhere from two to three years. In the meantime a lot of damage is being done.
Why near the Nazca lines? Apparently there is a shortage of land for poor people to build upon, much less purchase. So they are spreading out on their own.
Ministry of Culture
Director of Peru’s culture ministry in 2012, Blanca Alva, said “The squatters have destroyed a Nazca-era cemetery and the 50 shacks they have built, border Nazca figures.” Alva also reported that she spotted 14 pig corrals in which lay broken pieces of precious Nazca ceramics.
Ann Peters, an archeologist with the University of Pennsylvania said of the lines, “They’re very delicate and they’ve survived to this point for 1500 years.” She also said the encroachments threaten work already done by approximately 60 Nazca archeologists.
How Peru allows this to happen simply boggles the mind. The lines were made by a very rich pre-Columbian culture by scraping iron-oxide pebbles from the ground which revealed white soil underneath. The white soil was limestone and when it’s exposed to the morning dew, it becomes very hard.
The figures created by the ancients represent huge birds, monkeys, flowers, geometric shapes, hummingbirds, orcas, sharks, lizards, and spiders. The largest figure measures 660 feet (200 m) in diameter.
It’s hard to see the figures when you’re standing on the ground next to the lines. So ancient alien theorists decided the figures were made for the sole purpose of attracting their UFO friends. However, scientists point out that if you climb the surrounding hills you can see the figures quite clearly. I don’t believe these lines have anything to do with aliens, and maybe we can explore that in a future article sometime.
In a shameful act of vandalism, Greenpeace installed a big yellow banner on land right next to the hummingbird geoglyph further damaging the land around it. As far as I’m concerned this is a terrible as ISIS marauding through the near east destroying historic religious and cultural items. And frankly, I would expect Greenpeace to be smarter than ISIS.
SHAME on them!
Some good news is that Greenpeace subsequently issued an apology for their stunt and the Peruvian government is filing charges against three of their members who have fled the country.
In a report by Ryan Dube for the Wall Street Journal, he says that the government is allowing off road vehicles to race around the coastal desert, near the Nazca lines putting them in further danger. Why would they ever allow this? Because it’s part of their tourism budget and money talks.
Shame on Peru
The responsibility for fixing this travesty lies with the Peruvian government. Can you imagine if Egypt treated the pyramids like this?
Peruvians have to establish solid boundaries around this precious area and see that they are guarded. Tourism is good, but needs to be handled responsibly. And as for the squatters, they are the pawns in a system that doesn’t really care about their wellbeing. Why isn’t someone building proper housing for them in better areas?
Another idea, why don’t they hire and pay these squatters to work in the protection of their national treasure?
There is no excuse for Peru. According to Alva, Peru’s former culture minister, “ Squatters are the biggest threat to Peru’s more than 13,000 archeological and heritage sites, a rich trove of information for scholars around the world. We get 120-180 reports or alerts about encroachment every year. For my colleagues in the rest of Latin America, [they] get two or maybe five cases per year. That figure is unbelievable.”
In a more recent article from January 2015, Fusion.net reports that the Peruvian government is filing charges against Greenpeace for their publicity stunt in November 2012.
Another disrespectful event occurred a year later when a Japanese TV reporter was shown lying on the ground next to one of the Nazca lines. The government is filing charges against the archeologist who helped the reporter access the line.
Apparently the tide is turning. According to Fusion, the Peruvian government is cracking down on encroachments on or near their treasured Nazca lines. Now you need special permission from the government to go to the historical area, and when you go, you must now wear special shoes so as not to damage the ground.
The report said most people are content to view them from the surrounding hills or by airplane which is even better.
There are still no updates on what happened to the squatters, if anything. But my hope is, if this tide continues to turn and Peru gets serious about protecting their national treasure, they will find a way to work with the squatters and perhaps work together to preserve the Nazca lines.
What do you think about all this?