Bolivia Archaeology 101: Qillqantiji featuring over 220 cave paintings

Gabriel Diez Lacunza reports for Pagina Siete:


Qillqantiji featuring over 220 cave paintings

Archaeology The site, located in the town of Peñas, has paintings from the formative, pre-Tiwanaku period, to colonial.

2014-02-26 11.54.14 amOver 220 cave paintings of flames, masks, two-headed birds and human figures, created between the formative period before Tiwanaku, and colonial, were restored in the cave Qillqantiji by experts of the Research Society Cave Art Bolivia (SIARB).

The work was undertaken as part of a research project funded by the German Embassy, who spent Bs65,000.

“We are over 220 images,” said the president of the SIARB, Freddy Taboada, who conducts research since 2012 in this archaeological site. According to the expert, the place was in danger, “but thanks to the preservation and conservation plan came forward.”

The expert added that “the site initially has three panels ( … ) in the first representations of prehispanic character stand between 100 BC and 100 AD ( … ) in the second panel are representations of colonial character and especially symbolic, where we found a typical signature of the Colony. During the third panel, more colonial churches and crosses iconography are shown.”

Taboada said that in the place there are plenty of figures of camelids [llamas and alpacas mainly], in relation to human figures, which leads them to think that the creators of these images are of a pastoral society.

Qillqantiji is located in the community of Las Penas [Las Peñas], located in the municipality of Batallas, La Paz. This cave rock art site is part of the archaeological park, which has as one of its attractions to the site, that served as a hiding place for Tupac Katari at the time of the siege to La Paz.

In addition to recording and investigating rock art drawings, the SIARB developed a management plan for management and administration Qillqantiji (petite herb grotto). This community and social organizations can successfully manage the place.

For the preservation of the cave, which houses these prehispanic and colonial drawings, Taboada recommended that community members know the history of these records and then understand the issues related to management. “We as SIARB only provide technical and scientific support ( … ) the community has to carry out the management and administration,” he added.

Peñas and Archaeological Park

During the tour of the Peñas community, you can see the paths leading to Qillqantiji, dating from the pre-Hispanic period, explained the guides.

Villagers believe that Qillqantiji Peñas is not the only place that can offer this city tourism. ” There are many more beautiful places like the cross where the stones are carved,” said Marcela Pacheco, Commoning Peñas. However, for her and the other inhabitants of the place, perhaps the highlight within the tour is undoubtedly the Qillqantiji cave.

In addition to the archaeological landscape, the place offers another natural scenery in highlighting the crops of potatoes, oats and quinoa, and the presence of cattle, sheep and pigs.

In addition, visitors can find Itapallu medicinal flower, cypress pine trees and eucalyptus.

Point of view

Peter Linder, German Ambassador

“A new vision is achieved”

The project achieved a new vision of archeology, ethnohistory and cave art at Peñas.

Worked in conservation in the physical protection of the main site, infrastructure, training of guides and an educational campaign.

Considering the relative proximity of Peñas to the cities of La Paz and El Alto, Qillqantiji could become a major tourist attraction.

I’m happy because the German Embassy has been able to contribute to the development of the village with funding much of the project. In previous years, Germany had collaborated with Peñas in the restoration of its beautiful church.

I wish that their cultural heritage is preserved. [said the Ambassador]

Published by Bolivian Thoughts

Senior managerial experience on sustainable development projects.

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