El Fuerte de Samaipata in context. Introduction

Albert Meyers



This article offers an introduction to the El Fuerte de Samaipata site as a unique example of pre-Hispanic cultural heritage in Bolivia, and discusses the importance of current research for the conservation and preservation of the site. The rock carvings and the actual rock on the site have to be viewed in correlation with the adjacent architectural remains and the landscaping and seen as a complete unit. A summary of current knowledge concerning the site is presented, and it shows that the scale of the rock art at Samaipata has no parallel in the Americas, as specified in the description of the site on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The site has been compared to some sites in Bolivia and Peru in terms of the problems facing the protection of heritage monuments. The new approach guided by the Polish mission for research on the architecture and rock art of the site is well justified by themethods and methodology used for its comprehensive documentation.

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