Squatters at Site of Ancient Peruvian City Threaten Archaeologists

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Squatters at Site of Ancient Peruvian City Threaten Archaeologists
The ancient site of Caral in Peru is believed to be the oldest city in the Americas - Image Source: Peru Travel

SQUATTERS at the site of the oldest city in the Americas have threatened the lives of archaeologists working on the Peruvian heritage area.

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Illegal squatters have invaded the site of what experts believe to be the oldest city in the Americas and threatened the lives of archaeologists. Among the team working on excavating the UNESCO heritage site of Caral, located in the west of Peru, is Ruth Shady who famously began excavating the ancient city in the mid-1990s.

She claims that the squatters, who belong to one extended family, poisoned the team’s beloved dog as a warning as well as sending multiple threats via messages and phonecalls. The family claim that they were given the site, prior to its archaeological discoveries, in the 1970s during the controversial land reforms passed by Peru’s former military junta.


Shady says that the site’s lawyer was warned that if he continued working with the archaeologists, he and the team would be murdered and their bodies buried. As a result, the Caral site is now patrolled by police officers. In 2003, Shady was shot in the chest during a different dispute over the site.

During the summer squatters attacked the site with a digger, destroying ancient walls as well as priceless artifacts including ceramic works, mummy tombs, and textiles left behind by the mysterious civilisation who inhabited the city over 2500 years ago.



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