In DepthArchaeology

Airport construction threatens Incan heartland

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Science  08 Feb 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6427, pp. 568-569
DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6427.568

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Last month, a phalanx of bulldozers and trucks arrived in Chinchero, Peru, to begin to clear land for a 40-year-old dream: an international airport in the heart of the country's tourist region high in the Andes. Once it is completed in 2023, authorities say 6 million visitors a year will have an easier, more direct route to nearby Incan sites, including the famed royal estate of Machu Picchu. But archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, and others say the airport and the resulting surge in development and tourism will destroy archaeological sites and some of the very cultural riches the visitors come to see. Nearly 200 Peruvian and international experts have signed a letter to Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra asking him to suspend construction and consider relocating the project. More than 2000 people have signed an accompanying petition.