Grace Alexandrino Ocana
Despite recent development of government policies geared towards both the protection of tangible cultural heritage and their engagement with the population, the erasure of tangible heritage persists, with the past decades of increasing population density and a lack of inclusion of monuments into “city life” as outstanding records of Peruvian identity. Lima, the capital of Peru, circumscribes multiple urban realities, with remains of the city’s pre-Hispanic and colonial past existing alongside modern constructions. This rich history is exemplified by the inscription of the city’s center to the UNESCO World Heritage List. With Peru facing a new social and economic era, this advancement is reflected in the philosophies of some enterprises and social groups, which consider tangible cultural heritage in a manner that seeks to discard historical memories as an obstacle to overcome. As an archaeologist and an educator, I am interested in the study of heritage and how contemporary societies relate and interact with the material remains of their pasts. There are some Peruvian cities and communities where there is a palpable disconnect between modern Peruvian society and its pre-hispanic and colonial pasts. I aim to understand how this disjuncture develops and manifests in formulations of national identity, and how an ethical and educative archaeology can act as a bridge between the material past and national present. Within this line of inquiry I envision three approaches: the development of heritage education, the formation of a Peruvian identity: pre-Hispanic and Hispanic; and the implementation of public policies for cultural heritage sites.