Property developers have illegally torn down a 5,000 year old pyramid in Peru using heavy machinery. The pyramid, which was built before the Incas, stood six metres high and was part of the oldest archaeological site in the country.
The mayor of the city of San Martin de Porres near Lima, where the site is located, Freddy Ternero, said developers destroyed the pyramid deliberately.
“They had asked for a certificate for the absence of archaeological remains which was denied by the Ministry of Culture because of the obvious existence of archaeological remains. So they knew, they knew very well about the marked-off area. They did this on purpose. And from what the archaeologist has explained to us, it was planned down to the millimetre with a lot of people involved in the crime making it difficult for them to react before the police arrived,” Ternero said
A government minister confirmed that developers had tried to destroy three other pyramids but were stopped by locals. The department of cultural patrimony has lodged criminal complaints against the two companies involved.
The damage to the pyramid is described as “irreversible”.
Mummified women discovered in ancient tomb
In June archaeologists in Peru revealed that they had unearthed a massive royal tomb full of mummified women that provides clues about the enigmatic Wari empire that ruled the Andes long before their better-known Incan successors.
“For the first time in the history of archeology in Peru we have found an imperial tomb that belongs to the Wari empire and culture,” lead archeologist Milosz Giersz said.
Researchers are overjoyed that the discovery will help them piece together life in the Andes centuries before the rise of the Incan empire, which was written about in detail by the conquering Spaniards.
The mausoleum is at a coastal pyramid site called El Castillo de Huarmey 185 miles (299 km) north of Lima. It also contained gold pieces, ceramics and 63 skeletons about 1,300 years old.
Researchers said most of the bodies found in the burial chamber were mummified women sitting upright – indicating royalty and suggesting Wari women held more power than previously thought.
Historians believe the Wari, who ruled between 600 and 1100 AD, were the first people to unite diverse tribes into a sophisticated network across most of today’s Peruvian Andes.