LA PAZ – Bolivia presented on Friday a project to build a new museum at Tiahuanaco, the country’s most important archaeological site, to equip visitors with the knowledge to understand what they are seeing.
During the presentation, Argentine museologist Benito Montiel emphasized the need to use the planned museum “as a site-interpretation space.”
“So that the visitor who arrives at the site has been minimally sensitized with the minimum and basic knowledge to not pass through the site as if it were a common tourist outing,” he said.
Montiel said that the proposal seeks to reverse the previous arrangement, in which visitors walk through the archaeological site to reach a museum.
He said that the new exhibition space will be nine times larger than the current museum of ceramics at the site.
The project is a joint effort of the Tiahuanaco research and administrative center, UNESCO and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, with funding from French conglomerate Thales Group.
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared Tiahuanaco a World Heritage Site in 1999.
Tiahuanaco, located near Lake Titicaca in western Bolivia, was the capital of a pre-Columbian empire known as Tiwanaku that left a legacy of impressive stone monuments such as Kalasasaya and the Gate of the Sun.
Bolivian researchers say Tiahuanaco began as an agricultural village around 1580 B.C. and grew to become an imperial state by A.D. 724, but was in decline by the late 12th century.
At its peak, the Tiwanaku realm occupied over 600,000 sq km (231,000 sq mi).