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06 January 2013

Solar Map Project | Paraguayan Petroglyphs

Inscriptions Happy 2013! I've been much occupied elsewhere and have neglected this blog in recent months, but just discovered a brilliant project. The Solar Map Project is documenting petroglyphs in the Amambay hills of Paraguay and will produce a 30-minute documentary about them.

Carved into natural rock shelters, these ancient petroglyphs are founds throughout the jungles where Paraguay borders Brazil. They are not well known, even within Paraguay, and survived for so long because of the remoteness of the region; however, logging and large-scale agriculture in growing rapidly in the Amambay Department. Deforesting exposes the petroglyphs to the elements and vandalism is on the rise.

Frank Weaver is the driving force of the Solar Map Project. He was born in Pedro Juan Caballero, Paraguay and currently lives in Florida. He's passionate about environmental and social justice, particularly for the indigenous peoples of eastern Paraguay. In the 1980s, Weaver's father and grandmother founded the one of the first environmental NGOs in Paraguay. A camera was donated to the NGO, and eight-year-old Weaver became the organization's cameraman. He has visited the petroglyph sites with Paï-Tavytera people since he was a child (Solar Map Project).

In addition to the documentary, the Solar Map Project is photographing the petroglyphs and interviewing Paï-Tavytera people about their oral history. In discussing petroglyphs with different anthropologists, Weaver noticed they did share their information much with the public. To bring global awareness to the dangers facing the petroglyphs and the Paï-Tavytera, Weaver has been releasing his photography to the public through Creative Commons (Solar Map Project).

For the Paï-Tavytera people the Amambay hills are where "God Created the Universe" (Weaver). Members of the Guaraní people, Paï-Tavytera live in eastern Paraguay and southwestern Brazil. The Paraguayan Paï-Tavytera resisted assimilation, enslavement, and forced conversation by Jesuit missionaries in the 19th century. They have been able to maintain their traditional hunting and farming lifestyle, although this is increasingly difficult with the current settlement and deforestation of their lands (Flowers). Popular arts include featherwork and body painting. Basketry is commonly made by men and ceramics by women (Flowers).

Works Cited

Links

Photo taken by the Solar Map Project, in Pedro Juan Caballero, Amambay, PY.

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