Category: Tiwanaku.

Renovation of Bolivia pyramid halted

A plan to “better protect” an ancient pyramid is needed as well. Renovation of the second biggest pre-Columbian construction in South America has been halted over fears the work may actually be causing more damage than good. In a bid to have what they thought was a “better looking” landmark, archaeologists have given the ancient Akapana pyramid in Bolivia a makeover using adobe instead of stone. Experts are calling it a renovation fiasco.

From around 1500 BC to 1200 AD, the Tiwanaku civilization spread throughout southwestern Bolivia and parts of neighboring Peru, Argentina, and Chile. The Akapana pyramid is one of the biggest pre-Columbian constructions in South America, and has great spiritual significance for the Tiwanaku.

Over the centuries, looting, extreme temperatures, and strong winds in the Andean plateau – some 38-hundred meters above sea level – have left the pyramid looking rundown, though it is still evident that it was an impressive structure in its time.

Bolivia’s National Archaeology Union, or the UNAR in its Spanish initials, wanted to revamp the site to attract more tourists to the pyramid and the surrounding areas.

But director of the Akapana excavation project, Jose Luis Paz, is puzzled as to why UNAR chose to rebuild the pyramid using adobe, when it is clear to the naked eye that the original was built with stone.

Jose Luis Paz, Akapana project excavations director, said, “The most urgent problem is the slanted walls that are in danger of falling. There are drainage problems that we are working on. This is pretty basic work. There are aesthetic problems, because on one side we have a stone pyramid and on the other an adobe pyramid taking away from its criteria as original and authentic. I mean, which of the two is the real thing? And there are problems caused by poor planning with the plaster that we are working to solve.”

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, is due to visit Tiwanaku shortly and if it deems that the Akapana Pyramid has been excessively tampered with, it may drop Tiwanaku from its list of World Heritage Sites.

In 2000, UNESCO decided that Tiwanaku deserved to be in the list because its ruins “bear striking witness to the power of the empire that played a leading role in the development of the Andean pre-Hispanic civilization.”

According to archaeologists, at its peak, the city of Tiwanaku stretched over 600 hectares and had a population of over 100-thousand.

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Category: Tiwanaku
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