Sugar Cane Fires Destroy a Mural from 2000 BCE

An ancient mural was destroyed recently in Peru as a result of poor farming practices locally. The murals were thought to be 4500 years old, but were burned down by fires started to burn sugar cane. Over 95% of the art work was damaged, and was traced back to ancient civilizations in Peru. Locals tried to put out the fire but were unable to, with parts of the artifact being damaged by the plastic protecting it. Historians are clearly outraged. The fire stems from lack of education, the Peruvian people may not entirely understand the importance of the mural, but definitely do not understand how to keep a fire contained or how to extinguish a fire. This may come from lack of technology, or from lack of formal education. Another facet of the destruction of the artifact is that Peru lacks technology and extensive tourism, so few people had seen the artifact to take pictures of it and keep its memory alive. Ability to contact fire services may also have been setback by rural farmers lacking access to cell phones. The artifacts are an indicator of a civilization which pre-dates other South American cultures. The destruction of the artifact may lead to decreases in tourism and fewer historic/academic pursuits studied. The Peru ministry of culture is outraged by the fire, and has been pursuing an investigation into seeing who started the fires. While back tracing the fire will be quite difficult, it also seems rather unnecessary. Unless the fires being started on accident by local sugar cane growers in untrue, they will have an ordeal trying to press charges on people who may not have understood what was happening and shouldn’t be held responsible for an agricultural burn that goes awry. Peruvian public services may also be ineffective as illustrated by their inability to put the fire out. While it is genuinely quite upsetting to lose a piece of history like that, thankfully we have photographic images of the art work and other pieces of the monument to provide us with a Peruvian background story.


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