Karen Carrillo reports for Los Tiempos:
COCHABAMBA, A RICH AND INEXHAUSTIBLE SPACE OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL HERITAGE FOR BOLIVIA
More valuable archaeological findings
The Department of Cochabamba is surprising more and more by the rich archaeological heritage that was discovered. This time it’s several gold-plated blades that account for cultures that inhabited from 1500 B.C. in the region, marking a significant cultural and historical milestone for Bolivia.
In an archaeological survey carried out between 2007 and 2008, recently known by Los Tiempos, in Cochabamba, several sheets of gold were found in the Department with shapes and distinct characteristics that reveal the inexhaustible archaeological heritage center which has Cochabamba.
Parts that draw more attention are the four representations of the Andean cross or also called Chacana, believed to be used as ornament in the garments of the era. The same happens with other objects that are reflected in the photographs that account for the management of metals as gold in Cochabamba.
These fragments of gold, along with many other discoveries, are currently stored in the vault of a Bank, in the custody of the Universidad Mayor de San Simon (UMSS), since different municipalities do not have the adequate security for these objects, they were left as a “guard” to this university.
In this regard, the director of the Directorate of scientific and technological research (DICyT) of the UMSS, Guillermo Bazoberry, stated that these valuable pieces, like others, are sheltered by the University in order to protect the patrimonial legacy of the Department and for being one of the places with the necessary conditions.
For his part, the Director of the Directorate of culture, interculturality and decolonization of the Governor of Cochabamba, Estela Rivera, explained that after a legal vacuum for 10 years, recently there is the law of the Heritage Cultural of the Department of Cochabamba, which determines that each municipality must protect each one of the archaeological sites that has, at the time of generating conditions to expose these pieces and give them the necessary security to them.
The Authority said that this law is known by the 47 municipalities, although none of them so far, applied the same.
That is evidenced by the neglect of several archaeological sites.
On the other hand, Marco Irahola, consultant archaeologist explained that beyond the finding the entire piece or its material, the key is the context in which the snippet was found, which constitutes a “valuable” information, provided it is not taken away from the area, “the value of data is lost,” said.
The archaeologist made reference to this issue, noting that there are many places where the “waqueo” practised or looting of archaeological sites, by “unscrupulous” people, that all they seek is the personal benefit in Cochabamba and to obtain an economic revenue, leaving aside the historical and cultural significance of the piece.
The archaeological history of Cochabamba goes back to the 1950s when you create the archaeological school, which will institutionalize to form the Institute of anthropological research and Archaeological Museum (Iniam), in response to “the centrality of La Paz”.
According to Irahola, to date the Iniam has registered 3,000 archaeological sites in Cochabamba, of these only have inventoried 12 per cent, which corresponds to more than 300 places that would have been an intervention, creating a data base for the elaboration of a catalogue.
“The database allows us to know which are vulnerable, which are in critical condition.” There are many who are in the metropolitan area that are affected by the urban sprawl,” said Irahola.
It tells a story that a La Paz police was lost for three days in the forest along with one of his friends. The people looked for them, during that time, finding them healthy, but something had changed.
After 30 years, this person revealed that in his disappearance found a cave in which he found shelter along with his partner, finding in it a chest full of gold coins, which became owner, quit his job and could live with that found treasure, which corresponded to a great archaeological finding.
Despite the fact that the authorities believed that this person had made himself rich by trafficking drugs, never managed to find no indication of this.
CARELESS ARCHAEOLOGICAL HERITAGE
An example of the various municipalities that violate the Cochabamba Department of Cultural Heritage law is the municipality of Quillacollo, which, to date, the Department of Culture, interculturality and Decolonization, presented three letters application for shelter and immediate protection of the archaeological site of Sierra Mokho, and no response was given, informed the Director Estela Rivera.
The orders come after verification by this neglect in this archaeological site address which, according to the director of tourism for the municipality, Edgar Vargas, began recently with the work of cleaning and equipping of lanterns and other instruments for the protection of the area.
The first letter was sent in April, the second in May and the third in December of last year, in the latter is expressed that in case of not having a positive answer on the reservation, the Directorate “will start legal corresponding action, covered in the existing legislation” since the enactment of the law on Cultural Heritage in December of last year.
Laws or no laws, what needs to change is society, to value what we have and to keep it for future citizens as well. I would love to see those gold relics being copied in regular jewelry, many years ago pre-Colombian type jewelry was sold in Bolivia, with great success… why not with these?