DERECHO A REPLICA


En relación al comentario de M. Mercedes Podestá, Diana S. Rolandi y M. Pía Falchi:
“salvemos al sitio Palancho, La Rioja, Argentina”.


This web pages is my reply to the comments by the following three archaeologists from Argentina.
They commented on a YouTube video that revealed the location of a rock art site in Argentina
 in Rupestreweb Messages on 10-7-2014 (see their comments - in Spanish - below my reply)

To:
María Mercedes Podestá / e-mail: mercedespodesta@yahoo.com
María Pía Falchi / e-mail: mpiafalchi@yahoo.com.ar
Diana Rolandi / e-mail: diana_rolandi@hotmail.com



and to whom it concerns.



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In 2015 I published my comprehensive thoughts on this matter (TRACCE) accompanied by a video.

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Introduction to the 2014 issue

First of all, anyone reading the comments by Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi and my current reply must be assured of
my deep concern and my sincere commitment regarding the protection of rock art sites.

Therefore, I was most unpleasantly surprised to read the - in my opinion - unexpected, patronising and personal criticism by M. Mercedes Podestá, Diana S. Rolandi y M. Pía Falchi in Rupestreweb Messages. For some reason those three ladies are upset about one (or two?) of my videos on YouTube (Palancho and ?Banda Florida?) and they demand the immediate deletion of my Palancho video (solicitamos el inmediato retiro del video sobre Palancho de YouTube). My decision regarding this matter can be read in my “Replica”. Secondly, the issue raised by Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi seems to focus on revealing locations of rock art sites (only on YouTube, or no matter how??). However, there clearly is a second layer of issues (the bottom line) which I will explain in my “Replica”.

 

Reply

To start my reply I would like to express my disbelief when reading the remarks by Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi, who speak of thousands of hits (los miles que accedan a su video vía internet), while in fact I uploaded the five La Rioja videos as ‘hidden’ videos. So far the numbers of ‘hits’ of my five La Rioja videos are as follows: Palancho 25; Banda Florida 29; Anchumbil 33; Diaguita 17 and Cerro Toro 22 ‘hits’ (since being uploaded on 26 April 2014). It now seems as if Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi suggest that all those ‘hits’ were (and that future ‘hits’ will be) made by vandals desperately looking for information so that they can vandalise a rock art site. I agree that the general issue - revealing location or not - is a legitimate matter of discussion. But I deeply regret that Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi found it necessary to comment only on me in this way, being biased and most inconsistent in their arguments.

I now have a few (rhetorical!) questions that I want to “ask” Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi:

1). Why only attack me? I find it extremely strange that only my person is attacked in this case. There are many more authors who have published the “exact” location in their publications (both on-line and/or on-paper). Why did Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi not attack Daniel Chumpitaz Llerena and Maritza Rodríguez Cerrón, who in 2014 published “Los Petroglifos de Chillihuay: La imagen antropomorfa (del formativo al período de integración Wari)” with the exact coordinates of the rock art site of Chillihuay (in: Rupestreweb). Or why not attack Rainer Hostnig for revealing - with maps - the exact location of the rock art site of Chosecane (In Rupestreweb 2014), or Henry Tantaleán for exposing sites in the Mala Valley (in Rupestreweb in 2010), just to name a few rock art researchers from Peru? Mind you, I am not at all criticising Rainer Hostnig or Henry Tantaleán or whoever for the publication of their maps. I am fine with that.

It now seems to me that the bottom line of the comments by Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi is that an Argentinean rock art site is “revealed”. For that reason Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi ‘attack’ me, so it seems, also with the Argentinean law (Ley Nacional Nº 25.743/03). I will return to this issue further on.

In that case, why not attack María Eugenia De Feo and Lorena Ferraiuolo for their publication (not published in Rupestreweb) of the exact positions of all rock art panels of La Damiana in their detailed locations maps (Figs 1 and 2) in their paper (PDF): “GRABADOS RUPESTRES EN EL BORDE DE PUNA: SITIO LA DAMIANA (QUEBRADA DE INCAHUASI, SALTA)” in: La Zaranda de Ideas 3 - 2007. Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA? Because they are from Argentina? (see also Resúmenes for many more location maps) I will return to this issue further on.

 

 Figure 1: Access to an unsupervised rock art site, signposted (in English! for tourists) in a (tourist) village in San Juan, Argentina.
(Photograph by Maarten van Hoek - 2010).



Figure 2: The second sign is very near the site with an arrow directly pointing at the petroglyphs that already were vandalised in 2010.
(Photograph by Maarten van Hoek - 2010).

If Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi would be consistent in their “warfare” against revealing locations and started their “warfare” much earlier, I probably would never have seen (in 2010) the signs along the road (Figures 1 and 2) pointing to an unsupervised (in 2010) and already vandalised (before 2010) rock art site in the San Juan Province, Argentina. Without those signs the site will be passed without noticing the rock art. If those signs are still there, Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi better battle against such signs.

Because Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi (inconsistently!) focus only on my publications, I regard their comments as an attack on my person. Hence my personal reactions that are directed directly to the persons of Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi (my reactions are not directed to their publications)!


2). Why now? I find it extremely strange that Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi decided to personally and publicly attack me in July 2014, while for instance my paper on Banda Florida, Argentina, was published in 2011. Was that publication - with the exact locations of most of the Banda Florida rock art panels - OK with Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi? If so, why? And is any other paper/video published by me OK with Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi - except the Palancho video? If so, why?

3). Have they read my Motocachy Pampa paper thoroughly? It seems that Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi cannot read English properly as in my Motocachy Pampa paper I clearly express my opinion (15th paragraph): “As a scientist I prefer to include the location; it is part of the investigation.”. Therefore, I always have the choice to provide (detailed) information about location or not. And that is what I do … or not.

4). Why their demand to only delete the Palancho video? I find it extremely strange that Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi “ask” me to delete only the Palancho video. My other four La Rioja videos also provide maps with the location and all five sites suffer from vandalism (all dating from before my photographic surveys in 2010). Here is an overview of my La Rioja videos:

Van Hoek, M. 2014. The petroglyphs of Banda Florida; (an unsupervised site).
Van Hoek, M. 2014. The petroglyphs of Palancho; (an unsupervised site).
Van Hoek, M. 2014. The rock paintings of Anchumbil; (an unsupervised site).
Van Hoek, M. 2014. The petroglyphs of Cerro Toro; (an unsupervised site).
Van Hoek, M. 2014. The petroglyphs of Parque Diaguita; (an “unsupervised” site; although I reported to the Museum (Museo Acnin) in Campanas and arranged for an official to guide me to the site, she left me at the site after 5! minutes).

5). What exactly is the worry? Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi must admit that none of my maps reveals the nearby towns or the roads or tracks leading to Palancho (or any other site). As they were not present when the rock art was manufactured, those details are not always necessary. However, I again refer to the publication by María Eugenia De Feo and Lorena Ferraiuolo in which their detail maps (Figs 1 and 2) reveal the exact location of all known rock art panels at La Damiana, which is crossed by an important (tourist) highway, thus making this site much more vulnerable than Palancho. I am not at all criticising María Eugenia De Feo and Lorena Ferraiuolo for their maps; I am criticising the persons of Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi for their bias and inconsistency. Mind you, I am absolutely positive about their fundamental integrity when it comes to protecting (Argentinean) rock art! But I again refer to the bottom line.

6). What is the difference? In my video I indeed used maps - leaving out modern features like towns or roads - to ‘disclose’ the location of Palancho. Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi (and two other authors; see the reference below) reveal the location of Palancho by writing (Page 42; see also their Fig. 1): Más específicamente, se ubica en uno de los extremos de la quebrada de Palanche, al suroeste del Bolsón de Paluqui, a 850 m.s.n.m. Se accede a la localidad desde la ruta 74, que une Patquia con Chilecito, donde se inicia un camino de tierra (antiguo Camino Real) que se abre en dirección Norte a lo largo de 22 km. Luego de atravesar un tramo a campo traviesa, se alcanza la localidad (Fig. 1). Anyone copying those lines and showing them to locals in Chilecito will ultimately reach the site.

María Pía Falchi, M. Mercedes Podestá, Diana S. Rolandi, Anahí Re y Marcelo A. Torres. 2011. ARTE RUPESTRE ENTRE LAS SIERRAS Y LOS LLANOS RIOJANOS:LOCALIDAD ARQUEOLÓGICA PALANCHO. Comechingonia. Revista de Arqueología; Número 15, 2011, pp. 39 - 63, Córdoba. ARGENTINA.

When I visited La Rioja in 2010 I had no idea where exactly Palancho was located, but I learned about several La Rioja rock art sites via the internet. In fact I first heard of Palancho through a publication in 2008 by María Pía Falchi available on the internet (PDF). And now Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi accuse me of revealing locations???

Therefore, in 2010 I asked locals in the town of Chilecito how to reach the site. This proved to be no problem as many people in the town know the site (and other sites). Therefore I had no trouble at all finding someone who was willing to drive me to Palancho. When people read the otherwise interesting 2011-article by María Pía Falchi, M. Mercedes Podestá, Diana S. Rolandi, Anahí Re and Marcelo A. Torres - which is also freely available on the internet - they can do the same: copy the information and just ask local people.

Moreover, a local from Chilecito also told me that he and his mates frequently went motor-crossing across the plains, often visiting Palancho. Moreover, there are many signs of vandalism at Palancho. This - and many many many other instances in the Andes - shows that especially locals are often much more damaging than publications and videos revealing the location (and my videos provide at least some education). Moreover, most (if not all) rock art sites are known by locals, often long before they are ‘discovered’ by the scientific world, and as a consequence often damage has already taken place long before any publication. A sad example is the Chiza Boulder in Chile. Dr. Horacio Larrain from Iquique, who reported the Chiza rock art site on the internet, confirmed (2014: pers. comm.) that indeed mainly local people cause the damage (to this stone and to [too] many other rock art sites!).

It also proves that Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi underestimate the power of the internet, especially of Google Earth. How easy it is to find rock art sites with for instance Panoramia and/or Google Earth! Check out the following Argentinean examples: Ischigualasto; Banda Florida; Anchumbil and Los Colorados! Also Parque Diaguita is on the internet. What are Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi going to do against those practices? Battling against Panoranio, Google?

By the way, when visiting Ischigualasto in 2010, I asked the officials at the entrance if I could see the rock art in the park (maps published by Mercedes Podestá and Diana Rolandi in 2001 > click Publicaciones No. 48 of the SIARB web page - see also No. 22!). They said there was no rock art in the park; dinosaurs, yes; but no rock art. Even when I insisted that there was, the officials maintained their … (again, see Ischigualasto). And now Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi accuse me of revealing locations??? In Holland we have an expression about such people: “die drie hebben echt een behoorlijk grote klont boter op hun hoofd ”!

The Bottom Line

I fear that Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi have not read my Motocachy Pampa paper thoroughly. Otherwise they might have seen the parallel of their comments on my video and the insulting attempt by Gori Tumi Echevarría López, president of APAR, Peru, to stop my surveys in Peru. Also the harsh and incorrect comments by Daniel Castillo Benites, archaeologist from Trujillo, Peru, in Rupestreweb Messages in 2014 actually mirror the same ‘demand’. I advise Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi (and anyone-else) to read the Echevarría page and my ‘Replica’ to Castillo carefully as it fully explains my views and opinions; also for the future.

The ‘covert’ ‘warnings’ by Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi not to interfere with Argentinean rock art essentially are what I think is the bottom line of their comments. Not so much the deletion of (only?) the Palancho video is their goal (see “Question” 4), but ‘informing’ me that rock art sites in Argentina can only be visited (and surveyed/described/published) by professional archaeologists, or - even worse - only by professional Argentinean archaeologists. I categorically reject this kind of ‘covert’ censorship. Because Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi did not have the courtesy to first write me personally and discuss this matter with me, but instead unjustly attack only my person and my investigations publicly, I have decided to change all my ‘hidden’ La Rioja videos into ‘public’ videos. Moreover their ‘comments’ and my “Replica” in Rupestreweb Messages will also be posted on my personal website (this web page). I will also include a link in all five La Rioja videos leading to this web page. And perhaps I will not publish further videos with the exact location of Argentinean rock art sites (more rock art videos are still in the pipeline), or publish papers with the exact location of Argentinean rock art sites, or publish the Google Earth kmz-file with the exact road to Palancho, if only Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi each would be so kind as to politely rectify this matter via an email personal to me (in English), and in Rupestreweb Messages (in Spanish and in English).

I conclude by repeating what I wrote in my Motocachy Pampa paper: “… it is much wiser to educate people than to (seemingly) withhold information”. In this respect I also quote Luis Rodolfo Monteverde Sotil, Miembro de la Asociación Peruana de Arte Rupestre (APAR); Lima, Mayo: who in 2008 wrote (Source): ‘… y recuerden que hay que registrar el arte rupestre para conocerlo, hay que conocerlo para educar y hay que educar para proteger al arte rupestre’ (my emphases). Similarly important are the legitimate comments by Sonia Victoria Avilés Loayza. You cannot expect people to appreciate and respect rock art sites by not revealing their locations. Anyone may have a different opinion, but I repeat the important remark by Diego Martínez Celis, editor of Rupestreweb (June 2013), that I quoted earlier: EN RUPESTREWEB BUSCAMOS DISCUTIR LAS IDEAS, NO JUZGAR A LAS PERSONAS.

Thank you for your attention.

Maarten van Hoek

Rock Art Researcher
rockartAThomeDOTnl

Websites:
http://andeanrockart.webklik.nl/page/homepage
http://andeanrockartpapers.yolasite.com/
http://rockartpapers.yolasite.com/
http://andeanrockart.simpsite.nl/

 

 

 

 salvemos al sitio Palancho, La Rioja, Argentina

Estimados colegas de la Lista rupestreweb:

Nos dirigimos a Uds. con el motivo de hacerle llegar nuestra opinión sobre los videos: Los Petroglifos de Banda Florida y Los Petroglifos de Palancho (2014)(You Tube), difundidos a través de rupestreweb y cuya temática, en mayor o menor medida, está relacionada con los artículos aparecidos en rupestreweb: “The Motocachy Pampa Disaster: A Tale of Neglect of Rock Art” (2014) http://www.rupestreweb.info/motocachy.html y “Banda Florida. An overview of a rock art site in La Rioja, Argentina” (2011) http://www.rupestreweb.info/bandaflorida.html, todas obras del Profesor de Geografía Maarten van Hoek.

Nos referiremos en este comentario fundamentalmente a uno de los sitios abordados por dicho autor en uno de sus videos, la localidad de Palancho, Palanche, Paluque, Paluqui o Perfil del Inca, según los diferentes nombres con los cuales se conoce a esta localidad de arte rupestre, ya que allí realizamos investigaciones arqueológicas desde 2002.

Palancho es una localidad con grabados rupestres de características únicas en la provincia de La Rioja, Argentina, que ocupa una superficie de 28 ha en una zona inhóspita. La localidad más próxima, Los Colorados, está a unos 20 Km de distancia. Este emplazamiento, en una zona tan inhóspita, actúa en desmedro de la protección del sitio.

La localidad se compone de una serie de afloramientos de arenisca con 871 motivos registrados en paredes y bloques datados entre los 600 años después de Cristo hasta momentos históricos. El tipo de roca es muy poco resistente a los agentes erosivos que actúan muy severamente en la región. Las manifestaciones grabadas y el soporte están en un proceso de desgaste muy acelerado, no solo por la caída del soporte sino también por la fuerte erosión eólica que pule la superficie restando visibilidad a los grabados. A estos procesos naturales se les suman casos de vandalismo producido por los visitantes que suelen acampar y cazar en forma furtiva en el lugar.

Un equipo de arqueólogos del Instituto Nacional de Antropología y Pensamiento Latinoamericano INAPL), Ministerio de Cultura de la Argentina conjuntamente con la Agencia de Cultura de la Provincia de La Rioja realiza trabajos arqueológicos en la localidad desde hace 12 años. Los resultados se publicaron en diversas revistas científicas siendo la documentación completa del arte rupestre, además de la secuencia cronológica tentativa de los grabados, una de las más recientes y completas (Falchi et al. 2011), si bien las primeras publicaciones sobre la localidad se dieron a conocer muy anteriormente (Ortiz Malmierca 2004, Podestá y Rolandi 2005, Podestá et al. 2005, Rolandi et al. 2003 y 2009). A estas publicaciones de carácter científico se agregan varias notas periodísticas en diarios locales aparecidas entre 1973 y 1992 y visitas no publicadas de los investigadores J. Cáceres Freyre y J. Schobinger.

Si bien se llevaron a cabo varios intentos de protección de la localidad por parte de los organismos mencionados, las condiciones de inaccesibilidad de Palancho han dificultado las medidas necesarias de resguardo y, hasta el momento, no se ha podido erradicar completamente la visita de inescrupulosos (en general procedentes de lugares cercanos) que producen daños a los grabados rupestres. Por consenso de los organismos antedichos, se ha tenido gran cuidado en evitar la difusión de la localidad (más allá de las publicaciones científicas) para no atraer visitas de turistas ajenos a la región que pudieran agravar aún más la situación de Palancho, hasta tanto se efectivicen las medidas de protección planificadas. El sitio cercano, Los Colorados, que cuenta con una pequeña población comprometida con la protección de los sitios con arte rupestre que allí también se emplazan, concentran los esfuerzos de estos organismos para que el visitante, local o extranjero, conozca el patrimonio rupestre de este rincón de la provincia riojana (Falchi y Torres 2008; Rolandi et al. 2009).

Vistos estos antecedentes sobre la localidad de Palancho, huelga decir que el video sobre esta localidad del señor van Hoek es por demás inoportuno y poco deseado. ¿Desconoce el mencionado señor, que todo extranjero que desee realizar trabajos arqueológicos en territorio nacional debe solicitar la debida autorización al RENYCOA (Registro Nacional de yacimientos, Colecciones y Objetos Arqueológicos) que funciona en el INAPL y que, si no lo obtuviere, tiene la prohibición de realizar dichas tareas en el país? (Ley Nacional Nº 25.743/03). No obra ningún pedido de autorización de dicho señor en dicho registro (ni para trabajar en Palancho ni en Banda Florida). ¿Desconoce el señor M. van Hoek que es un criterio común y aceptado entre la comunidad de arqueólogos no dar a conocer por ningún medio de difusión sitios arqueológicos que no estén eficazmente protegidos para evitar los daños que suelen ocasionarse en estas condiciones de desamparo? El señor van Hoek incluye en sus videos la localización precisa de los sitios (Palancho y Banda Florida) en mapas confeccionados a partir de imágenes de Google Earth. ¿Desconoce el susodicho señor que es aconsejable estar al tanto de los antecedentes de un sitio arqueológico, ponerse en contacto con los profesionales que en él actuaron y respetar las determinaciones que ellos (avalados por sus organismos de aplicación de la ley) tomaron antes de intervenir en un sitio arqueológico? De más esta decir que la “intervención” de este señor en Palancho ha sido, para colmo de males, carente de todo valor científico. El video es una mera filmación de la localidad acompañada de música pero -“eso sí”- con toda la información geográfica necesaria para que los miles que accedan a su video vía internet puedan alcanzar este lugar desprotegido sin mayores dificultades.

Parece una paradoja que el señor van Hoek esté tan interesado en la protección de los sitios con arte rupestre y cometa este tipo de acciones. En el reciente artículo sobre Pampa de Motocachy, antes citado, se muestra preocupado por la cantidad de casos de vandalismo que se suceden en Perú y en sus videos sobre Palancho y Banda Florida denuncia una serie de casos vandálicos. Varios de los casos de vandalismo denunciados en Palancho están registrados en nuestras fichas de monitoreo del sitio y podemos asegurar que el señor van Hoek confunde varios de ellos en los que acusa motivos vandalizados sin serlos (por ejemplo algunas diferencias de pátina de los grabados lo llevan a creer que son rayados modernos o ciertos puntiformes antiguos altamente patinados que confunde con picados modernos). Y sí…, estos errores de observación suceden con los trabajos a “vuelo de pájaro”.

Queda de manifiesto claramente que deploramos este tipo de acciones. Si bien quedamos abiertos a la respuesta del señor van Hoek, solicitamos el inmediato retiro del video sobre Palancho de YouTube.

M. Mercedes Podestá, Diana S. Rolandi y M. Pía Falchi
(Instituto Nacional de Antropología y Pensamiento Latinoamericano. Ministerio de Cultura, Argentina)

Mercedes Podestá, Diana Rolandi and Pía Falchi