The Titicaca Lake basin, shared between Peru and Bolivia, is a high-altitude area: Lake Waters culminate at 3810 meters above sea level and cover a surface of more than 8,560 km2. This vast expanse of water did not represent a constraint; on the contrary it contributed to the development of a dozen of civilizations. It fostered population settlement on its shorelines and islands by generating a full-fledged ecosystem within a semi-arid land, and offered humans numerous “material opportunities” propitious to human settlement. The Lake played a prevailing role in the configuration and dissemination of religious, political and economic traits still characterizing today the identity of the population groups living near the Lake.
In the context of the Lake Project, financed by the Belgian Cooperation and executed by the BTC-Enabel, the « identification and inventory of the cultural heritage under water and on the shorelines of the lake basin » constitute one of the main project activities. As a matter of fact, for this unknown heritage to be studied, valorized and protected, the archeologist must first and foremost establish an inventory and make an expert evaluation of his/her findings. This first phase objective is achieved by implementing various actions that are jointly performed:
- R.1.2. Project of archaeological underwater prospection– mapping (ULB)
- R.1.3. Project of the shorelines archaeological prospection (BTC)
- R.1.4. Project of archaeological underwater excavations – probes (ULB)
- R.1.1. Creation of a school of underwater archaeology (ULB)
- R.1.5. Creation of a Center for the Management of the Lake Cultural Heritage(BTC)
These actions will not only allow for the characterization and mapping of this heritage but also for the training of national stakeholders that shall play a key role in the future “Regional Center for the Management of the Lake Cultural Heritage”, planned to become one of the important achievements of the Lake Project.