Saturday, September 6, 2008

Coffins and Grave Robbing

This trench excavated by looters at the site of Rontoy exposed not a pre-Columbian tomb, but a coffin of the colonial period. People living nearby say that the Rontoy ruins were used as a burial ground for Chinese slaves brought to the area. Photo by Margaret Brown Vega, 2006.
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Broom with brutally battered body

A freshly looted tomb at Acaray. The entire leg of the disinterred individual lies strewn among ripped clothing and a piece of torso. The lower mandible has been removed from the cranium, which is placed on top of a broken pot. This may represent the huaquero's twisted sense of humor, but it may also be a marker. I believe looters leave markers behind in the vast cemeteries they destroy to return to areas where there is more to be sacked. The broom is probably a looter's tool. Usually associated with mundane sweeping activities, in this context the broom is a symbol of upheaval and destruction. Photo by Margaret Brown Vega, 2006.