Issue - May 2007

May 2007

In this Issue, an interview with Ana Cecilia Moreno, how she wanted to break the image of elite dance. Caroline Amouyal met with Anysongo.

Read about the history of Los Tiempos our local newspaper in Cochabamba. Andean Traditions, always present in our more...

May 2007


Past And Present

In 1972, UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention created an instrument that recognizes and protects natural and cultural heritage of exceptional value. Nevertheless, it was only by 1992 that the World Heritage Committee incorporated cultural landscape as one of its areas of interest, generating an international juridical tool to identify, protect, conserve and leave future generations these cultural landscapes of exceptional value.

By Walter Sanchez
Infography: Iván Montaño
Arqueological Museo
Translated by : Daniela Viljoen

What is cultural landscape? According to the first Article of the Convention, it is what “combines the work of man and nature”. Therefore, it refers to the anthropogenic interventions of man over space, giving it meaning. It also implies taking into account the present sense of meaning which people (local, regional, national and international) give to landscapes.

The Operative Guide for implementing the World Heritage Convention defines three categories of cultural landscape: Those landscapes designed and created intentionally, such as gardens and / or parks.

Those landscapes that have evolved as a result of social, political, economical, religious or ritual processes and that are also divided into sub-categories:
1. The Fossil/Relic landscape, whose process has been completed or ended,
2. The Continual landscape; meaning one that continues to be used by contemporary societies and that is linked to traditional ways of living.

Those landscapes associated with religious, artistic or cultural aspects and whose environment or location is quite relevant. In Bolivia, archaeology has been particularly sensible to understanding and studying the interventions than men and women have over the environment. Some examples of pre-Hispanic agricultural landscapes have been studied scientifically by archaeologist Clark Erickson in the plains of Moxos (artificial canals, trails, terraces, platforms, etc.) and in the area of Titicaca (canals, artificial lagoons, platforms, terraces for cultivating, etc.)

In Cochabamba, the introduction of location coordinates in archaeology is only beginning. This is important as it allows us to comprehend the logic behind the construction of the space used in the past by indigenous societies that can also serve as models for present and future societies.

In Mental Landscape, Landscape as idea and concept (Landscape Research 4, Vol.29, 2004), Gerard Ermisher emphasizes three aspects to understanding cultural landscapes:
1. Human ideas on landscaping,
2. the process of building a landscape – historically determined, and
3. the cultural view of landscaping, which is not singular, but collective.

If human ideas – Cosmo vision – are focused on the construction and perception of the landscape, one of the first steps to approaching pre-Hispanic landscapes, is by understanding the ideas that those societies intervened over space and relate them to actual perceptions due to the fact that we – in the present – are the ones who value these inherited landscapes and give them meaning.

Anthropologist Tom Zuidema, in his article The Lion in the city: Royal Symbols of Transition in Cuzco (Journal of Latin American Lore 9, 1983) spoke of how Cuzco during the Inca Empire – which extends to a more ample region not just a city – was organized through a radial-spatial system of sanctuaries, known as “ceques” made up of springs, rivers, mountains, rocks, etc., and expands over 15-25 kilometers. Polo de Ondegardo, who know the system of ceques of Cuzco well, in his book, Informaciones acerca de la Religion y Gobierno de los Inkas (1571), pointed out that the systems of Pocona (Cochabamba) had a particular “order” similar to that of Cuzco. He writes, “Even though there were not as many sanctuaries as in Cuzco”, the placement of these ceques were so similar to those of Pocona that “the Indians drew these on a map for the Archbishop of Charcas.”

Bernardo Ellefsen, in La Importancia Historica de Incallajta, (1972), following Zuidema, explains that the need to understand Pocona as an ample location that includes Inkallajta, whose pre-Historic name appears to be Machaca Marka or “Pueblo Nuevo”(new town) in Aymara. According to architectonic parallelisms with Cuzco, Peru, he also concludes that Inkallajta was an “an important religious, astronomical and administrative location”, where possibly the system of ceques was distributed or partitioned. Following the same views, Bolivian archaeologist Ramón Sanzetenea states that this new “pueblo”, according to the symbolic location, represents a “flying condor”, metaphorically as the urban landscaping of Cuzco represents the “body of a puma”.

Zuidema emfasizes “there is no evidence that the shape of Cuzco represents that of an animal (puma) lying on its side”; there is also evidence lacking that the architectonic landscape of Inkallajta represents a “flying condor”. However, it is important to recognize that a part of the perception and cultural construction or building of current pre-Hispanic landscapes is linked to the constant need to reinvent the past and give meaning again to those significant cultural locations.

It is a space of fusion between art and sport, as shown by its name: Ar stands for arte and de stands for deporte. We created it in collaboration with gymnasts, because we all needed a place to practice our different activities. We are all very proud of this place, because we built it up almost all by ourselves (we even installed the light and the electricity alone!)...
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