" Found: A Miniature Incan Llama at the Bottom of Lake Titicaca" Discussion Thread

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Excellent story, definitely enjoyed reading it.

Lake Titicaca is quite an interesting place in terms of archeology and I see a lot of historical parallels with the valley of Mexico and it’s civilizations.

Hope to visit one day

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Why oh why are they doing this? These are offerings. These are not for people. Maybe I just answered my own question? These are not people doing this? These are money-hungry fame-chasers who discount the offerings of native peoples? I don’t know, I don’t understand. Will the ravaging of native peoples and ways and holy sacred sites never cease?

Yes, thank you for an excellent reply. I think the emotions that I have (which may be as flawed as anyone else’s) of actually feeling a connection to people and nature causes my own “lashing out” at anything that feels so like a kind of rape to me. Do I know anyone’s intentions? Of course not. Do I know they don’t actually see the significance and grandness of that offering–yes, there I do make a judgement. Because how could you take that offering out of its place; how can you rip it from the heart of the world; how can you say to generations before ours that your offering is now going to be a treasure for humans to enjoy and nature isn’t going to have it anymore? That is where I am coming from. I understand the argument that any civilian could dive down and take these offerings. My comments were directed at the “whole” mentality. Not just archaeology–at anyone who could do this. I never hear this voice–what I’m trying to communicate–and so I posted it. I hear lots of justification for the pillaging. I realize it feels like I’m attacking an entire field of science. In fact, I love reading about the many discoveries and revelations that can come from this field. I consume it regularly. My angst and even anger comes when the offerings are ripped out. Is there a way to keep these in their rightful places? I don’t know, it’s done within some spaces but rather difficult with the ocean, right? Still, I wish (and this was the motivation behind my original emotional post), that somehow we could see what these items are and realize the deep significance of how they keep the world spinning and humans connected.

I understand your point of view but I respectfully disagree with it.

I think that it is a difficult one but the same argument could essentially be made about the Mayan offerings in the Cenotes of Mexico or the Ancient tombs of the Emperors in China or the pharoahs in Egypt. Yes, these offerings and tombs were created and made as a pact between these people and their gods to appease them and guarantee either security and prosperity in life or in the afterlife.

Also true that these peoples if they were brought back to life would probably be horrified that their artifacts were displaced from sacred sites or in some cases that their mummified remains were disturbed / displaced. This because these offerings or funerary rites were central to their worldview and cosmovision and disturbance would be a violation of this connection with the divine.

However, in spite of all of this we have to acknowledge that these civilizations no longer exist and that the descendants of these Ancient peoples in many cases are rightfully interested in exploring and documenting the past of their Nations through archeology and science. If this isn’t done it is simply quite impossible to learn about the history of their ancestors (or in some cases dignify them and give them their rightful place in history that was denied them for so many centuries of European conquest and colonization) and Nation beyond speculation. So many of the Andean civilizations are total enigmas precisely because of this lack of research.

Furthermore without this intervention by archeologists I think it is important to remember that artifacts such as this little llama stand to be lost in other ways. As I mentioned in my deleted comment, in the Andean region there is a widespread and endemic problem with the theft of antiquities from tombs and ruins to sell on the black market to collectors who pay hefty prices for them.

I do agree though that it would be an interesting idea and compromise for artifacts to be kept in-situ and I know that this does happen in many cases when archeological sites become museums open to the public. For example in Mexico many archeological zones of the Meso-American civilizations have on site museums which display the artifacts and I believe the same is true in Peru where you have museums at Pre-Incan and Incan sites.