Looters strip Latin America of archaelogical heritage

21 Mar 2011 3:06 PM | Anonymous

Looters strip Latin America of archaelogical heritage
Rory Carroll, Latin America correspondent, and Matthew Barker in Galindo guardian.co.uk, Monday 21 March 2011 18.59 GMT

A century after Machu Picchu's rediscovery, ancient Mayan and Moche sites are being ransacked for tourist baubles

 
Etched into the surviving art of the Moche, one of South America's most ancient and mysterious civilisations, is a fearsome creature dubbed the Decapitator. Also known as Ai Apaec, the octopus-type figure holds a knife in one hand and a severed head in the other in a graphic rendition of the human sacrifices the Moche practiced in northern Peru 1,500 years ago.

For archaeologists, the horror here is not in Moche iconography, which you see in pottery and mural fragments, but in the hundreds of thousands of trenches scarring the landscape: a warren of man-made pillage. Gangs of looters, known as huaqueros, are ransacking Peru's heritage to illegally sell artefacts to collectors and tourists.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/21/looters-latin-america-archaeological-heritage

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