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The Qhapaq Nan Project. a Critical View

The Qhapaq Nan Project. a Critical View

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Published by: henrytantalean on Jan 29, 2012
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The Qhapaq N˜an Project: A Critical View
M. Alejandra Korstanje,
Universidad Nacional de Tucuma´n, Leloir582, 4107, Yerba Buena, Tucuman, ArgentinaE-mail: alek@webmail.unt.edu.ar
Jorgelina Garcı´a Azca´rate,
Universidad Nacional de Tucuma´n, Av.Independencia 1800T4002BLS, San Miguel de Tucuman, Tucuman,ArgentinaE-mail: jorgelinag@arnet.com.ar
The Qhapaq-N˜an Project promotes the integration of shared cultural valuesamong six countries: Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.These countries are collaborating to nominate the Main Andean Road or‘‘Qhapaq-N˜an’’ for inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Although theparticipants envision local and Indian communities as the true beneficiariesof the project, and the archaeological effort is already under way,communities associated with the road have not been involved. (At the verymoment we are editing this article (March 2007) Argentina is holding thefirst meeting about a project that is already five years old, with some of theIndian communities of the territories where the project will be carried out.The participation, however, was far below what we expected.). Followingthe guidelines of the World Archaeological Congress and the currentemphasis of many heritage professionals on community participation, westrongly advise that these dynamics must be changed and that the programmust be developed jointly with affected communities from the beginning of the project and not in subsequent steps, or (even worse) once the projectalready taken shape.
Resumen:El Proyecto Qhapaq-N˜an promueve la integracio´n de los valoresculturales compartidos entre seis paı´ses: Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru´,Ecuador y Colombia, que preparan la candidatura del Camino PrincipalAndino, ‘‘Qhapaq-N˜an’’, para que sea declarado ‘‘Patrimonio Cultural de laHumanidad’por UNESCO. Si bien, el proyecto busca asociar a lascomunidades de la regio´n, las cuales sera´n las beneficiarias directas de lapuesta en valor de los bienes, hasta ahora la participacio´n en el mismo delas comunidades indı´genas y otras comunidades locales asociadas al mismohan sido nulas. En el momento en que se esta editando este artı´culo (marzo
      R      E      S      E      A      R      C      H
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2007 World Archaeological Congress
 Archaeologies: Journal of the World Archaeological Congress ( 
DOI 10.1007/s11759-007-9018-8
2007) Argentina ha realizado su primera reunio´n de este tipo -en unproyecto que lleva ya cinco an˜os- con algunas de las comunidades indı´genasde los territorios donde este proyecto se llevara´a cabo. La participacio´n, sinembargo, no ha sido disen˜ada del modo que espera´bamos. Desde laperspectiva de trabajo del WAC y desde otras experiencias de participacio´ncomunitaria, advertimos que esta dina´mica debe ser llevada adelanteconjuntamente con las comunidades y no en pasos sucesivos donde se lesde´intervencio´n cuando el proyecto ya tenga forma.
Re´sume´:Le projet Qhapaq-N˜an fait la promotion de l’inte´gration de valeursculturelles partage´es par six pays: l’Argentine, le Chili, la Bolivie, le Pe´rou,l’E´quateur et la Colombie. Ces pays collaborent pre´sentement a`la possibilite´de faire reconnaıˆtre la principale route des Andes, connue sous le nom de« Qhapaq-N˜an », sur la liste du patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO. Malgre´lefait que les participants conside`rent que ce projet est principalementprofitable aux les communaute´s locales et autochtones, et alors que lestravaux arche´ologiques sont de´ ja`entame´s, les communaute´s associe´s a`cette route n’ont pas e´te´implique´dans ce projet. Au moment d’e´diter cetarticle (mars 2007), l’Argentine a tenu la premie`re rencontre avec lescommunaute´s indiennes a`propos de ce projet qui en est de´ ja`a`sacinquie`me anne´e. La participation fut cependant bien en dessous de ce a`quoi nous nous attendions. Suivant les lignes directrices du Congre`smondial de l’arche´ologie ainsi que l’emphase sur la participation descommunaute´s proˆne´e par de nombreux spe´cialistes du patrimoine, nousinsistons sur le changement de cette dynamique au profit d’un programmede´veloppe´conjointement avec les communaute´s concerne´es de`s le de´butdu projet et non dans une e´tape subse´quente, ou (encore pire), lorsque leprojet a`de´ ja`pris forme.
The Qhapaq N˜an Project
In developing countries, doing ‘‘Archaeology across the border’’ is not very common. While it is not uncommon to share research projects with for-eign scholars who carry on their work in South America, the opposite situ-ation—South Americans working in other parts of the world—is rare. Inmost cases archaeologists pursue research within their own country, andmany of us even work in the same region for most of our lives. Althoughsome of us are trained and complete degrees abroad, only a very smallnumber actually carry out research abroad. This pattern results from thefact that most funding is provided by national government agencies that
The Qhapaq N ˜an Project 
encourage national projects. Nevertheless, academic globalization hasstarted to open opportunities through improved avenues of communica-tion, thereby promoting the involvement of local archaeologists in researchprojects that cross national borders. This is the case of the Qhapaq N˜an
or ‘‘Camino Principal Andino’’ project, where both authors are currently involved in different roles. It is important to point out however that eventhough both of us are archaeologists working in this international project,we are not involved as ‘‘foreign’’ professionals that will make decisions in acountry other than our own, or even in a different province
from wherewe usually work. We are both local archaeologists, working locally on aninternational heritage project.
What is the Qhapaq N˜an Project About?
The Qhapaq N˜an was the main Andean road during the time of the Inkas,who developed a widespread Andean road system by integrating their ownconstructions with road networks built by previous cultures. An estimated6,000 km long, this main route linked a coordinated network of roads andinfrastructure constructed over the more than 2,000 years of pre-InkaAndean culture. The complete network of roads, over 23,000 km in all,connected several production, administration and ceremonial centers.Bridges and ferries were built to connect trails along the rugged geography of the Andes. Besides the roads themselves, the transportation systemincluded ‘‘tampus’’ (lodging places with storage facilities); ‘‘kanchas’’ (rect-angular spaces surrounded by walls enclosing several structures); ‘‘kallan-kas’’ (large rectangular buildings within the kanchas, probably used as restareas); warehouses; ‘‘apachetas’’ (sacred sites); ‘‘chaskiwasis’’ (control pointsfor travellers and goods); landmarks; boundary markers; and ‘‘huancas’(fortified outposts).The Qhapaq N˜an project began in 2001 as a Peruvian government ini-tiative proposing the Inka Road System for the UNESCO’S World Heritagelist. Consequently the project has the important distinction of havingbegun as the cultural policy of one nation that was later adopted by othercountries with a common heritage. Of course, since governors have theoption to initiate any programme to promote and protect the cultural heri-tage, this is a good start, but by current standards of heritage managementsuch programs must promote real participation, assessment, acceptance,and interest from the local and indigenous population. How such partici-pation takes place is the challenge we discuss in this article.
This is the
name for the main Inka road system.
In Argentina, a ‘‘province’’ is the larger political unity within the country, in a federalsystem.

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