1998 and 2006 World Monuments Watch
Settled 2,500 years ago and located in an ancient oasis once supported by the San Pedro River, Tulor Village is the most important of a suite of ancient villages in the Atacama Desert. The site, which has numerous circular adobe structures surrounded by a perimeter wall, was abandoned ca. a.d. 300 when the oasis dried up and dunes advanced. Since 1998 the site has been managed as an eco-tourism destination, yet little has been done to preserve Tulor, resulting in damage to the archaeological remains through erosion, sand encroachment, and lack of maintenance.
Since the Watch
In 2009, the Chilean government, through the Corporación Nacional Forestal , an agency of the Ministerio de Agricultura, and in collaboration with the Universidad de Antofagasta, initiated a project for the creation of a preservation plan for the ancient village. The project involved the creation of tourist facilities, including signage and information centers. Protective caps were installed to guard the ancient earthen walls against erosion. Unfortunately, the site was vandalized in April 2010. According to Chile's Consejo de Monumentos Nacionales, this was the worst damage to the site in decades. In November 2010 the office of CONAF at Tulor was set on fire. Last update: December 2010