The Watch

Apurlec Archaeological Site

near Motupe, Peru

1998 World Monuments Watch 

Adobe pyramids, civic squares, residential blocks, ceremonial fora, and planting fields were left behind in Apurlec, one of the largest pre-Columbian settlements in the Americas. The city was developed over a 500-square-kilometer range by the Lambayeque and Chimu cultures and their monuments and tombs speak of a culture that had a grasp of art and technology unknown elsewhere in the world. A vast and complicated irrigation system (still visible) enabled the inhabitants to turn fallow desert terrain into fertile agricultural land. Since 1981, the Bruning Museum has worked diligently to document and protect the site and raise public awareness. But because of Apurlec's remoteness, government agencies in charge of looking after national monuments have largely ignored it. The site is neglected, being encroached upon and looted of artifacts (a problem with archaeological sites throughout Peru). Preservation depends on conducting a general site survey, creating a greater awareness of Apurlec, and initiating legal action against unscrupulous land dealers.

Since the Watch

Following Watch listing Apurlec was added to Peru's land registry, preventing commercial development, and was designated a site of Peruvian national cultural patrimony. According to news sources, around 6 hectares of the archaeological site had been destroyed by encroaching agricultural areas and heavy machinery. Insufficient budget for site management is an ongoing issue for the area. January 2015

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