By Samuel Archer (’16), Erin Dea (’16), Kristan Griffith (’16), Hans Mantor (’16), Jonathan Wu (’16)
The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA, along with Dr. Charles Stanish (Cotsen's director for 15 years, now on sabbatical), tasked UCLA Anderson Applied Management Research Team 10 with creating a sustainable preservation strategy for a recently discovered mound and geoglyph complex known as the “Carmen Lines.” The Peruvian Carmen Lines are situated in the heart of the Chincha Valley, about 200 kilometers south of Lima. Our team traveled to Peru primarily to visit a variety of archaeological sites throughout the country.
The Carmen Lines were created roughly 2,300 years ago by the Paracas people. Consisting of 71 lines and 353 non-geoglyph features (e.g., circular rock features, ceremonial mounds, settlements) across a 40-square-kilometer area, this complex is meaningful because it refines our understanding of human social evolution before the development of archaic states. We can learn how people in stateless societies went about the economic, political and social aspects of their lives. Unfortunately, the Carmen Lines have been damaged over time, so we set out to formulate a preservation strategy to save them.
Our proposal sets to develop a heritage park that will attract visitors and generate enough revenues each year to cover its costs. Much of our research on the ground in Peru was spent visiting comparable sites that attract both domestic and international tourists. We needed to see and experience where people went, including how many people traveled to the various archaeological ruins throughout the country.
We had the amazing opportunity to travel to Machu Picchu, which was a breathtaking site to behold. We spent time in Lima, where we surveyed international travelers. We then visited Chincha, where the Carmen Lines are located. We loved learning the history of the site directly from our client, Dr. Stanish. We also enjoyed exploring the neighboring district of El Carmen, which is known for its Afro-Peruvian culture. We saw another comparable site in Chincha: Huaca la Centinela. After our time in Chincha, we headed south to the Paracas region. We toured Huacachina and Ica to observe other places that many Peruvians and internationals visit. Much data was collected on this trip and we are now in the middle of synthesizing our findings.
We learned a lot from this experience and became better friends with one another. Though our team does not have a background in archaeology, we were enthusiastic to dive into this project and expand our knowledge. We are taking away a unique experience that we will all fondly remember from our second year of business school. Our hope is that someday the Carmen Lines will be a place that countless global citizens will visit.