Implemented in 2012, the project at Pampas Gramalote was thought to be largely a failure. however time has shown the original project planted important seeds which have now resulted in significant community development and site preservation


  The Site This small but extremely significant site is the oldest archaeological settlement known for the area, with remains dating from 1600BC. It provides the earliest evidence for the existence of organized fishing communities that are the ancestors of contemporary communities on coast.  As a result Pampas Gramalote is vital to the identity of the last traditional fishing villages the area is famous for.  However in the past 25 years more than 15 archaeological sites here and in surrounding villages have disappeared due to urban growth and Pampas Gramalote is under threat of invasion.

 

The Site

This small but extremely significant site is the oldest archaeological settlement known for the area, with remains dating from 1600BC. It provides the earliest evidence for the existence of organized fishing communities that are the ancestors of contemporary communities on coast.  As a result Pampas Gramalote is vital to the identity of the last traditional fishing villages the area is famous for.  However in the past 25 years more than 15 archaeological sites here and in surrounding villages have disappeared due to urban growth and Pampas Gramalote is under threat of invasion.

  The Community Pampas Gramalote is near the small community of Huanchaco, located on the North Coast of Peru about 12km from the provincial capital of Trujillo. The community is known for its 'caballitos de totora', reed boats used by Peruvian fisherman 4,000 years ago and still constructed today. Fishing and tourism constitute a large part of the local economy. Director of excavations at the site, Gabriel Prieto, grew up in the impoverished community and understood that community members have been deeply interested in the site, but unable to preserve it against the pressures of development.

 

The Community

Pampas Gramalote is near the small community of Huanchaco, located on the North Coast of Peru about 12km from the provincial capital of Trujillo. The community is known for its 'caballitos de totora', reed boats used by Peruvian fisherman 4,000 years ago and still constructed today. Fishing and tourism constitute a large part of the local economy. Director of excavations at the site, Gabriel Prieto, grew up in the impoverished community and understood that community members have been deeply interested in the site, but unable to preserve it against the pressures of development.

  The Project In 2012, SPI provided a grant to Pampas Gramalote for artisanal and touristic development around the site and in the local community. The project invested in local resident and master-craftsman Ivan Cruz, to expand his gourd carving business and spread his experience with new artisans in the community. Alongside this, SPI provided infrastructure for an artisan training center, and new space for retail and exhibitions about the site for locals and tourists. 

 

The Project

In 2012, SPI provided a grant to Pampas Gramalote for artisanal and touristic development around the site and in the local community. The project invested in local resident and master-craftsman Ivan Cruz, to expand his gourd carving business and spread his experience with new artisans in the community. Alongside this, SPI provided infrastructure for an artisan training center, and new space for retail and exhibitions about the site for locals and tourists. 


Initial Achievements

  • In 2012 SPI trained local community members in gourd carving and built a workshop, a permanent exhibition area for the site and a small store selling gourds in the nearby beach community.
  • During that year over $3,000 worth of gourds were sold, and Gabriel Prieto was honored by the local municipality.
  • However, the initial business ran out of momentum, seemingly due to a lack of local leadership.

Subsequent Results

  • SPI has found that its early activities provided a seed for real sustainable development.
  • Pampas Gramalote has now become known as an attractive and safe archaeological site.  Increased visits by tourists and schools has meant that while in 2011 there were no hotels and only 10 restaurants, today there are five hotels and over 20 restaurants. Local businesses and investor now emphasize the site and local heritage as a selling point of the area!
  • In 2012 there was only one artisan, and therefore one family, benefiting from gourd carving.  Today there are 25 full-time adult gourd carvers providing for 10 families.  Local schools now teach children the art-form and the local community are holding gourd-carving festivals. 
  • In 2013 Pampas Gramalote was the victim of invasion by people seeking land.  However, demonstrating the value that the site now has, the local community contacted the police and Ministry of Culture and got the invaders evicted. True sustainable preservation!

The Future

  • SPI continues to be involved with Pampas Gramalote, understand the factors in its success and look at how we can continue to work with the local community for their benefit and for the benefit of the site.