The archaeological site of Pueblito is located in a 2.2 km area of the Tayrona National Park Biosphere Reserve, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia. Settlement developed there during the IX and XVI centuries, characterized by concentric housing terraces interconnected by stone trails that follow the topography and proximity to water sources. The terraces, retention walls, trails, bridges, stairs, and canals are sophisticated examples of stone architecture and engineering that were abandoned during Spanish conquest and rediscovered by 20th century archaeologists.
Pueblito excavations started in the 1920s. The site was recognized in 1947 by the national government and legal protection was established in 1964 with the creation of Tayrona National Park. In the 1980s and 1990s the settlement was restored and opened to visitors on foot.
The Unidad Administrativa Especial Parques Nacionales Naturales (UAESPNN) manages Pueblito. One park ranger and one indigenous family living in Pueblito control visitor access, maintain archaeological structures, and safeguard the site.
In 2006, the Management Plan of Pueblito (Alvarez et al, 2006) was done under supervision of the national archeological authority (Instituto Colombiano de Antropología e Historia, ICANH), which needs to be integrated into the Management Plan of Tayrona National Park. The plan was an opportunity to clarify restrictions on constructing large infrastructures the regional government wanted to build there. It also provided understanding of institutional operations and established the need for a better planning process.
The current state of the site outlined in the Management Plan describes some of the damaged archaeological structures. By 2007, some areas of structures III and XXIV collapsed. In 2008, a documentation and restoration project for these terraces found support from the Fundación para las Investigaciones arqueológicas Nacionales (FIAN) and conservation was carried out. The conservation process allowed better understanding of prehispanic stone construction and deterioration. Conservation procedures, tools, materials and structural monitoring were described.
For the coming year, Proyecto Patrimonio is looking for funds to continue management and conservation activities in the site, especially at terrace XXIV where a large area had collapsed.
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