Celebrating International Archaeology Day in Peru
November 16, 2016 | by Gustavo Valencia

Photo courtesy of Nivín Archaeology Museum

This blog post is reproduced from the Culture & Community in Casma Peru  newsletter.  You can subscribe to the newsletter here.  A photo exhibit from the Nivín celebration is available in Spanish and English

On October 15 of this year, International Archeology Day was celebrated with great enthusiasm in Nivín, in the Casma Province, Ancash Region, Peru. The event brought together students, teachers and parents from this rural community. To accomplish the different activities teachers and students prepared for several days.  The preparations included making traditional clothing, composing speeches and presentations, along with other tasks to accomplish this important celebration. The organizers of the event were the teachers at María Parado de Bellido, the community school in Nivín.
 
The first activity was carried out at the archaeological site of Nivín. This site is located very close to the town center and 400 meters from the school. This site is emblematic of the Identity and Archeology project of the school. The archaeological site has been seriously affected by the neglect of the important cultural heritage landmark. Therefore, the Nivín school carried out a day of cleaning the most important sectors of the site of the accumulations of garbage deposited over many years. Fathers and mothers were surprised to see their own sons and daughters cleaning up what the community had ignored for decades. The impact was very positive, and a progressive change in the attitude of the community towards its cultural legacy is expected.
 
Another International Archaeology Day activity was a celebration in Homage to the Pachamama (Mother Earth), through the staging of an ancient rite of our ancestors. In the past, the ancestors honored Mother Earth for the fruits provided to live and develop as a society. This year’s celebration marks the beginning of the resurgence of the community identity, which also promotes respect for the culture and care of natural resources of Nivín. This activity was carried out at both the school and the archaeological site of Nivín to demonstrate the importance of linking the past and the present. On International Archaeology Day, once the site was cleaned, the students dressed in traditional clothing, to demonstrate a respect for customs and the ancestors.  The Homage to Pachamama also caused a change of attitude for the preservation of the archaeological and historical sites left us by our ancestors.

The School Museum was also open to the visiting public of the community. Visitors to the museum also included friends of other schools and authorities from the city of Casma.  The visiting public officials were very pleased and surprised by the progress of our cultural identity project now in its fifth year.
 
All these activities were of great pedagogical, social, and historical relevance. The celebration of the International Archeology Day constituted a school and social event of great importance for the community of Nivín, as a step toward reclaiming our historical heritage, and best of all, learning and sharing fully.

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