4,000 years old pyramid destroyed

One of the world's oldest buildings vs short term profit

Huaca El Paraiso, San Martín de Porres; the pyramid destroyed in 2013
Huaca El Paraiso, San Martín de Porres; the pyramid destroyed in 2013.

In the 1950's, in a place called El Paraiso -Paradise-, north of Lima, Peru, twelve pyramids were found. Ever since, the site has been dug and studied by archeologists, and late 2012 a structure dated 3000 BC was found, making the site one of the oldest sites in the Americas.

Humanity's memory vs short term profit

Yet only six months later, a site with millennia old pyramids and signs “archeological zone - ministry of Culture - monument 2,000 BC” was attacked by men with machinery, in a bid to level the entire site, a land grab to turn the archeological zone into a field.

In one single fateful day one of the oldest buildings of the world was torn down and burnt. A 4,000 years old pyramid, that took years to build, and was brought back to life decades earlier vanished in a few hours.

The sole motivation for the destruction was to make a quick profit. Tragically, economically speaking, the site was worth a lot more intact, as the “land developers” who attempted to steal the land alongside theirs would have been first to profit from an important archeological site.

One just needs to contemplate the economic impact of Machu Picchu for the local economy, or recall Victor Hugo's warning that “speaking purely in terms of economics … these monuments are capital (and) bring back to the country more than the interest of the money which they cost. To destroy them is to deprive the country of a revenue”.
The choice was between a small profit now or lifting the entire community out of poverty for generations.

Peru is a country with 13,000 archeological sites, and this chapter illustrates how greed, short term profit for long term losses, might not get the attention of the monuments blown up by extremists, but nevertheless is as a dangerous threat for the survival of humanity's memory.
The destroyers do not only impoverish their community, they impoverish mankind.


This is a preview of the chapter about the cultural heritage of mankind destroyed by greed illustrated by the destruction of an ancient Peruvian pyramid from the book Lost Treasures.