Bandurria is home to an impoverished community of 23 families who are continuing their ancestors’ tradition of reed and rush handicrafts, but are struggling to make ends meet. They live behind the mounds above and directly over the archaeological remains, which are protected by Peruvian law that prohibits the community from digging and installing such basics as water and electricity. The current location of their community is also destroying the archaeological site, the very thing that could attract tourists to the area to buy their traditional woven handicrafts.
Bandurria is also home to the earliest monumental architecture of the Americas: four pyramids rising to heights of 26 – 40 feet that are nearly 5,500 years old. Excavations have also revealed ancient homes and a cemetery that belonged to a complex society that had developed a tradition of reed and rush weaving, a skill used to produce such objects as mats and baskets before ceramics had even been invented! This precious archaeological site, however, is in danger of being lost forever.
Local archaeologist and Bandurria’s head of excavations, Alejandro Chu, approached the community and together, they came up with a creative solution for community improvement AND sustainable preservation of the site.
The project at Bandurria will develop a communal artisan training and production center, store, and “artisans’ quarter” in the form of a number of house-workshops, one for each family in the community, located adjacent to the archaeological site. The new location will allow for the digging necessary for water and electricity and preserve this priceless cultural heritage. With the artisan center and house-workshops, the local residents can better create the traditional handicrafts on which they pride themselves. The store allows for tourists to purchase these handicrafts directly from the artisans who made them when they visit the site (already the most popular tourist attraction of the Huaura province and the second most visited archaeological site after Caral in the Norte Chico area).
As with all of its projects, SPI tracks the progress and impact of these facilities to measure the long-term effects and sustainability of the project within the community. These results will be available on our website as data is collected and published.
We will soon be launching crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for our project at indiegogo.com! Initially, we are asking only for the funds to start the project and build the communal artisan training and production center and store. Due to the generosity of one of our donors, any donation you make will be matched, doubling your contribution to the project. Please help us save the site of Bandurria and empower a local community at the same time: Donate to our project!
Stay tuned for results from our crowdfunding campaign and, once underway, the project itself!