Archaeologists and environmentalists are up in arms against Dakar Rally stating that the events would cause severe damage to archaeological sites in northern Chile. In the past four rallies held in South America, 200 archaeological sites in the country have been badly affected. The rally causes untold damage to geoglyphs, besides badly affecting paths called the Inca Trail, lithic works and cattle trails.
Chile is steeped in history. The country has over 500 years of Western history documented and accounted for but studies go centuries. The climatic conditions of the area make it an ideal location for the preservation and conservation of these remains. 17,288 archaeological sites are under state ownership and destruction of the same is an offence.
The Dakar Rally commenced on January 5th 2013 and concludes on January 19th 2013. 3,000 participants from 53 countries are taking part in the rally which includes 189 motorcycles, 155 cars, 75 trucks and 40 quad bikes. Organizers have stated that the Dakar Rally does not pass near archaeological sites but this is refuted by College of Archaeologists who has seen the large amount of damage and destruction to these heritage sites in the past.
Photo Credit: FREDERIC LE FLOC‘H / DPPI – . DPPI / ASO