Mystery surrounds the fate of a large number of Pre-Columbian statues kept so far at at San Agustín archaeological park in Colombia, 227 km. SW of the capital Bogotá. The statues, set to move to the capital for an exhibition commemorating 100 years since their discovery, have been replaced by replicas but it is unclear whether the originals are already in Bogotá or they are temporarily kept in an unidentified museum within the area near the park.
According to a report by the local NTN 24 television, the statues are kept in “a local museum”, showing an official from the park stating that the statues will be moved to the capital “later”.”This looks like a prank… and tourists are mad”, NTN 24 reports. “To me, it is a really big fraud,” says one visitor to the park, where signs already indicate that the statues are already in the capital.
A couple of months ago, locals and authorities based on San Agustín had made headlines due to their negative reaction of the prospect of moving the statues to Bogotá for the exhibition. Stating issues of safety but also cultural reasons, San Agustín’s inhabitants were fighting a battle against Colombia’s National Museum authorities, fearing that should the statues move to Bogotá, they would never return.
The exhibition had finally opened without the statues on November 28th 2013, inviting the visitors to to consider “the emptiness and silence that emerge when a few people claim exclusive right over our heritage, trampling the cultural liberties of all Colombians.”. Still, after the latest news, it seems that the locals might had a reason to protest.