5000 Year Old Pyramid Destroyed by Greed…Once Again

Before and After of El Paraiso

Well, capitalism has gone and done it again.  Construction companies in Peru have destroyed a 5000 year old pyramid.

One of the oldest structures ever erected in the America’s, El Paraiso, a component of the complex at Ancón-Chillón Valley of the late Preceramic era, is located several kilometres north of Lima Peru, in the district of San Martin de Porres.

Emily Culver of Peru This Week (an online Peruvian news outlet), reported on Monday that workers for two local construction companies used bulldozers and other equipment to destroy a large portion of the ancient pyramid.

The site is controlled by the Peruvian Ministry of Culture and is not protected under UNESCO.  Archaeologist Marco Guillén Hugo, who heads the excavation at the site, identified the construction companies Compañía y Promotora Provelanz E.I.R.L and Alisol S.A.C Ambas as the responsible parties, citing their longstanding but illegitimate claims of ownership of the land.[1]

El Paraiso stands amid 90 hectares of arable land, which makes its 53 hectares of protected space valuable to the area for crop development and other construction, but officials agree that El Paraiso’s historical and cultural importance far outweighs the agricultural value of the land.

Archaeologists believe that the site was occupied for a relatively short period, lasting 300-400 years between 3790 and 3065 cal BP, and that its builders used over 100,000 stone blocks in its construction.  It was likely used for ritual or religious purposes.

As with other examples of corporate greed motivating the desecration of cultural heritage sites, such as the partial destruction of the Nazca Lines in April of 2013 (also in Peru) and the complete destruction of the Noh Mul pyramid in Mexico in May, the damage to El Paraiso is irreparable.

Despite outrage by members of the Ministry of Culture, it seems unlikely that those responsible will suffer any repercussions and doubtless this will not be the last example of greed overshadowing historical relevance.


[1] Culver, Emily. 5000-year-old pyramid destroyed in Lima. Peru this Week: http://www.peruthisweek.com/news-5000-year-old-pyramid-destroyed-in-lima-100260

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