LIMA — Real estate developers using heavy machinery tore down a 20-foot tall pyramid at the oldest archeological site near Peru’s capital, cultural officials said.
Rafael Varon, deputy minister of cultural patrimony, told reporters Wednesday the destruction occurred last weekend at the ruins of El Paraiso, a few miles north of Lima.
He said his agency has lodged criminal complaints against the two companies for the weekend’s damage, identified as the Alisol and Provelanz, and has moved to seize the equipment used.
People at both companies said no one was available to comment.
Peru’s tourism ministry says El Paraiso was built some 4,000 years ago and was a religious and administrative center, long before the rise of the Inca culture encountered by the Spanish conquerors.
Freddy Ternero, the mayor of the local town, said the pyramids were in agricultural fields and were not guarded, though police were sent to protect the site afterward.