In March 2022, The World Monuments Fund (WMF) nominated Monte Alegre State Park (PEMA), in the Amazon state of Pará, to the 2022 World Monuments Watch, a selection of 25 historic sites of world importance whose preservation is urgent and vital for the communities that surround them.
PEMA’s nomination for WMW 2022 was articulated by CIPÓ in collaboration with the archaeologists based in the Amazon region, including Edithe Pereira (Researcher at the Emílio Goeldi Museum of Pará) and Claide de Paula Moraes (Professor of Anthropology and Archeology program at the Federal University of Western Pará – UFOPA), who have been working directly at PEMA for several years.
The Monte Alegre State Park, located on the North bank of the Amazon River, is home to one of the largest and oldest concentrations of prehistoric rock art in the Amazon Basin. There are several caves and rock shelters throughout the Park, including Pedra Pintada, which was first occupied by humans over 12,000 years ago, making it one of the oldest inhabited places in the Americas. The first occupants painted symbols in vivid red and yellow colours on the walls of the cave, using pigments whose chemical composition matches other rock arts from the site that can be reliably dated.
Over the next two years, CIPÓ, together with archaeologists from the Anazib and the WMF, will develop projects in partnership with local stakeholders. Those will be planned in accordance to local needs with the aim of protecting, conserving and enhancing local, national and global attention to PEMA.
“Promoting the preservation of Monte Alegre sites with the full engagement of local communities and institutions is a way of drawing attention to the risks, but also to the opportunities that come from valuing cultural heritage,” says Adriana Erthal Abdenur, CIPÓ’s Executive Director.
Read the press release PEMA’s nomination to the WMF here.