Photo(s!) of the Week: PUCP’s Graphic Design Team tour Bandurria and Chotuna-Chornancap

By Solsiré Cusicanqui

Two weeks ago students from the Art Faculty at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú were working with the artisans of the projects sponsored by SPI: Chotuna-Chornancap (Lambayeque) and Bandurria (Lima). Thanks to the support of professors Carmen García, Isabel Hidalgo and Martín Razuri, the students were incorporated into classes working with local iconography, the creation of a brand and a graphic line that includes merchandising products. Artisans, archaeologists, professors and SPI members will eventually choose the winning proposal for each site. During the visit by students professors also organized talks surrounding innovation and the improvement of the quality of these products.

Within the classes the students were divided into two groups which visited the two project sites while aiming to collect information and create a tie with the local communities. The first group visited the Bandurria Archaeological Site where the students learned both the archaeological and social aspects of the project. After viewing the conditions in which the artisans live, they were interviewed with the president of the artisan group who explained to them part of the rush extraction process and the elaboration of products. Furthermore, they could watch one of the local ladies elaborating a “Rush Petate”.

 Bandurria (1) (1)

The rush extraction process utilised by local artisans is demonstrated to PUCP students during their visit to Bandurria.

Bandurria (3)

The students visit the monumental reminds at the Bandurria archaeological site.

The second group visited textile artisans at the Chotuna-Chornancap Archaeological Site who made a demonstration of the textile production process. This group was also interviewed with the archaeologist Carlos Wester, Director of the Brüning Museum, Director of the Chotuna-Chornancap Project and the person responsible for the artisans. The next day, they visited the archaeological site of Túcume and the artisan store, in which students could appreciate an example of the archaeological project which yielded designs for local art crafts.

 Students working with the weavers, Chotuna (1)

Students from PUCP are given a demonstration of the textile production process by artisan weavers at Chotuna-Chornancap.

Students at the Bruning Museum, Chotuna (1)

The students visit the Bruning Archaeological Museum.

Worth noting is that the Faculty of Graphic Design at PUCP has been supporting us since 2012 with San José de Moro artisans, most recently winning the 1st International “Turismo Cuida” award and which continues to develop serigraphy workshops in the region. Let’s hope this alliance endures in the future!

Students at the Archaeological site of Chotuna-Chornancap (1)

Photo of the Week: Túcume Archaeological Site


Photo of the Week: Tucumé Archaeological Site

This week we bring you a photo from a recent trip made by a group of Harvard students to the Tucumé Archaeological Site in Northern Peru. Led by Solsiré Cusicanqui and Carlos Wester, the students learned about the traditional craft methods used by weavers to sustain local economic development and visited sites such as the above along the way. Part of the Lambayeque Valley, this region is home to thousands of monumental sites similar to Tucumé.

Watch this space next week for more photos and find out exactly what the group got up to on the trip!

San Jose de Moro Archaeological Program Wins First International “Tourism Cares” Award!


San Jose de Moro Archaeological Program is the winner of the first International Turismo Cuida/Tourism Cares Contest!

SPI’s San Jose de Moro, Peru project was awarded recently the First International Tourism Cares/Turismo Cuida award. Sponsored by the world’s leading travel and tourism companies, the award is given for outstanding work in sustainability and preservation, both of which are critical to SPI’s mission. The award recognizes both the job creation (22 new permanent jobs!) from tourist development and the resultant end to looting at the site. The accompanying $15,000 grant will aid our continued work on sustainable tourism and economic, social and cultural development at Moro.

Congratulations to all of those involved on their hard work.

Photo of the Week: The Newest Generation of Artisans

Women WeaversThis week’s photo shows the participants of our artisan training centre recently inaugurated at Chotuna. In his own words, archaeologist and researcher Carlos Wester updates us on how the local women of Chotuna are working towards a branding process reflecting the remains of the ancient monumental palace complex located here.

“Women from the areas surrounding the Chotuna-Chornancap Complex in Lambayeque – Perú have come together to receive training in an artisan textile workshop built by SPI with the aim to promote sustainable activities in the local community.”

“Currently there are 10 weavers participating who show a surprising enthusiasm guaranteeing the success of this process that with the Chotuna-Chornancap Site Museum and the Brüning National Museum of Archaeology, hopes to create a brand identity for the local weavers inspired by the images of the Priestess of Chornancap’s Tomb.”

Watch this space for more updates on Chotuna’s project and the latest developments from our other most recent project site, Bandurria, coming soon!

Photo of the Week: Throwing Some Shapes


Photo of the Week: Throwing Some Shapes

This week’s snapshot shows the lighter side to cultural heritage preservation!

Taken at the SPI project site of San Jose de Moro, Peru, a group taking part in the annual field school enjoy the Peruvian sunset.

Registration is still open for the 2013 field season – spread the word!

Photo of the Week: Bandurria Celebrates!


Bandurria Celebrates!

As April 18th is International Day of Monuments and Sites we just had to post our Photo of the Week a day early!

This week’s photo shows the community of Bandurria celebrateing as work is now full steam ahead! Following our People Not Stones 2013 crowd funding campaign, we are well on our way to the construction of a communal artisan training and production centre  a local store and an “artisans’ quarter” in the form of a number of house-workshops, one for each family in the community. These workshops will be located adjacent to the archaeological site where four pyramids almost 5,500 years old are located.

Photo of the Week: Crowdfunding Successfully Completed and Work Begins at Chotuna!


Support and Success

Our crowd funding campaign, People Not Stones 2013 has been an overwhelming success and raised a total of $49,203 surpassing our goal! We had over 100 generous contributors to our campaign to help us alleviate poverty and preserve the cultural heritage sites of Bandurria, Peru and Chotuna-Chornancap, Peru.

The SPI Team would like to extend a huge Thank You to everyone involved throughout the campaign for your contributions, sharing, tweeting and support. As a result of all of your generous contributions, work at both of these amazing cultural heritage sites is now underway. For all who contributed, your perks will be winging their way to you soon.

People Not Stones

Throughout our campaign we have tried to highlight SPI’s ‘People Not Stones’ mission by emphasizing those personally affected by SPI’s work in poverty-stricken communities to date. One such example, Julio Ibarrola, a campesino turned entrepreneur with SPI’s help in San Jose de Moro, Peru. We know that Julio’s success story will be replicated numerous times in Bandurria and Chotuna.

Press Coverage

The success of our campaign would also not have been possible without the recent press coverage our campaign has been getting. Read about SPI’s work and People Not Stones 2013 on Newsweek, in an article by Reuter’s financial columnist Felix Salmon and at the Huffington Post.  We were also honoured to be chosen among thousands of other Indiegogo campaigns and featured on the Team Indiegogo Blog.

From all of us at SPI, thank you again for your support throughout this campaign. We will be updating you soon with news from these two new project sites – watch this space!

Photo of the Week


Photo of the Week

We know why this guy seems so happy! He’s just as excited as us about SPI’s upcoming project crowd funding campaign which goes live next week! Our campaign will raise money for our two new project sites; Bandurria and Chotuna-Chornancap. All contributions will help alleviate poverty in these two communities and sustainably preserve the stunning cultural heritage that remains there. With less than a week to Valentine’s Day, why not make a contribution to this worthy cause in the name of a loved one? He already has…!

Photo of the Week


Photo of the Week

This week’s photo reveals the exquisite carved detail at Chotuna-Chornancap, Peru. This site, along with Bandurria, Peru pictured in last week’s Photo, is one of SPI’s newest projects beginning in 2013. The site of Chotuna-Chornancap is a stunning 235-acre monumental temple complex where several royal tombs have been discovered. However, the local community currently survives in impoverished conditions where electricity, a sewer system and even clean water is absent. The Sustainable Preservation Initiative will generate a sustainable income for the local community here by facilitating artisan training and production of center. This economic development will empower the local community and incentivise the preservation of this astounding cultural heritage.

Photo of the Week: Bandurria


Photo of the Week: Bandurria

This week’s photo glimpses a tour by SPI board members to Bandurria, the site of one of SPI’s latest projects beginning in 2013. Bandurria is home to four pyramids nearly 5,500 years old, the earliest monumental architecture of the Americas and excavations at this site have also revealed a cemetery that belonged to a complex society. 2013 will see SPI work to preserve the site and help to develop a community artisan and training center. SPI hopes to improve and maintain the local economy whilst preserving the cultural heritage of Bandurria for future generations.