Lawyers at Peru’s Ministry of Culture said that it would present criminal charges against a woman who has built a house only meters away from the Kuelap archaeological fortress, daily El Comercio reported
Public lawyer Javier Paredes presented the criminal complaint to prosecutors in the northern Amazonas region, where Kuelap is located, alleging that the woman committed a crime against the cultural heritage.
The lawyer said that the woman, a small business owner, did clandestine excavations that affected Kuelap’s protected zone and altered the cultural landscape.
The cultural office in Amazonas said the area that has been damaged is located about 40 meters from Kuelap’s Eastern wall and very close to the main entrance of the fortress.
The woman who built the house told local archaeologists that she has property titles to the area where it was constructed. She reportedly said she was not ready to leave the area.
Peru’s government declared the large fortress of Kuelap a cultural heritage site in 2003.
The circular stone fortress, built around AD 1300, is at the top of a mountain ridge deep in the Amazon cloud forest, with unlimited views of the surrounding landscape. Its impressive walls are about 19 meters tall (60 ft).
The fortress was built by the Chachapoya civilization, a strongly independent people who lived in the Andean cloud forests from about AD 800, building hilltop complexes such as Kuelap and the large cities of circular buildings of Gran Pajaten and Gran Vilaya. They resisted conquest for many years by the Incas, who referred to the Chachapoyas as the “cloud people” and held the Chachapoyas weaving techniques in high regard.
Unlike the more-visited Inca complexes in Peru’s southern highlands, many of the Chachapoyas ruins in Peru’s north have been underexplored or yet to be rediscovered.