Housing developers used heavy machinery to destroy an earthen pyramid in Peru’s northern Piura region, according to daily La Republica.
The prehispanic El Bosque pyramid was flattened by an earthmover last week, allegedly by workers from a housing project that claims to own some five hectares of land on the archaeological site.
The case is the latest example of Peruvian archaeology being damaged by urban sprawl. Hundreds of sites either not yet excavated or only superficially investigated are abandoned or poorly protected due to budget constraints, and the lack of importance given to them over centuries has meant that today they often lie within private property limits.
In Lima last year, a pyramid not yet excavated at the El Paraiso archaeological site was destroyed by heavy machinery, allegedly being operated by two development companies who claim ownership of the land.
The Culture Ministry said at the time that the perpetrators were land traffickers trying to benefit from Peru’s real-estate boom.
The pyramid is pre-Inca, in a broad region that reached major development during the Chimu, Wari and Moche civilizations.
Archaeology is an important tourist attraction in Peru, with hundreds of thousands of people visiting sites like Machu Picchu, the Inca citadel in Cusco every year.