Cultural Landscape of the Sondondo Valley

Peru
Date of Submission: 05/08/2019
Criteria: (iii)(iv)(vi)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Ministry of Culture
State, Province or Region:
Ayacucho Region, Lucanas Province, Districts of Aucará, Cabana, Chipao, and Carmen Salcedo
Ref.: 6417

Description

AREA 1. CABANA HIGH PLATEAU

EAST

592080.9926

LAT:

14° 19' 48"

SOUTH

NORTH

8415721.549

LONG:

74° 09'

WEST


AREA 2. SONDONDO TERRACES

EAST

616732.7688

LAT

14° 19' 12"

SOUTH

NORTH

8416468.808

LONG

73° 55' 12"

WEST


AREA 3. NEGRO MAYO TERRACES AND BOFEDALES

EAST

613261.247

LAT

14° 24' 00"

SOUTH

NORTH

8407762.2

LONG

73° 57' 00"

WEST

 
The cultural landscape of the Sondondo Valley belongs to a rural area of the Peruvian Central Andes, located at an altitude between 3,000 and 4,500 m above sea level. It has three interlinked special areas: the Cabana high plateau, the Sondondo terraces, and the Negro Mayo terraces and bofedales (cushion bogs).

The territory of the Sondondo Valley treasures a large history of occupation concentrated in this geographic space, which comprises the valley and puna ecological strata, located between 3,000 and 4,500 m above sea level.  The complex vertical organization —established by societies who have inhabited this area since ancient times, and managed water and soils for cultivation and cattle rearing through essential terrain transformations— has modelled a landscape that expresses the importance of this exceptional territorial construction.    

The outstanding values of this landscape are expressed in their various components as well as their complex interrelations with local communities. The guardian mountains or apus; bofedales and upland pasture; different types of corrals; and the vast systems of terraces and Andean platforms for cultivation stand out among these elements, to which a group of carved stones with representations alluding the landscape is added. Likewise, archeological monuments, villages of colonial origin, and road networks, such as the Qhapaq Ñan, which organize the territory and heritage components, are included.    

This cultural landscape reflects the identity of the inhabiting communities as well as the ones who have inherited, preserved, and transformed this area since ancient times. (Canziani: in press).

Overview

The valley’s geographic space is characterized by the dominance of puna high plateaus, which glacial and hydrographic erosion has created relatively boxed-in basins that channel Negro Mayo and Mayobamba rivers. These rivers converge into the Sondondo river, which gives the name to this valley. These erosive processes and the singularity of the existing geological formations shape scarps and marked rocky outcrops that frame the flow of the rivers and alluvial plains of the valley; thus, creating landscapes of outstanding beauty as well as vast grasslands. Above them all, high mountains crown the landscape, where high altitude wetlands extend. The diverse ecological spaces created are home to a rich flora and fauna, including flamingos, Andean geese or huachuas, exceptionally large colonies of condors, as well as deer and herds of vicunas.   

The geography, history and cultural development of this territory have been brought together since pre-Hispanic times. An evidence of this interaction is a network of roads which origins are probably related to the Wari period (Middle Horizon: 500 A.D. – 900 A.D.), and had its best manifestation during the Inca period with the Qhapaq Ñan (Late Horizon: 1450 – 1532 A.D.). These road systems do not only interconnect the different ecological strata of the valley, but also interlink it to the road network going towards the coast and Cusco. Standing out among them, the main Inca road —coming from Nazca (coast)— crosses Pampa Galeras and, passing by Cerro Osjonta (Osjonta hill) (district of Cabana), descends to Aucará and continues towards Ccecca (district of Chipao) and, from there, to Soras and Sondor (Andahuaylas) on the way to Cusco.

The organization of the landscape is not only on a territorial or productive, but also symbolic basis. Cosmogonic connections with landscape are recurrent. The apus are guardian mountains which represent a duality venerated since ancient times by local communities, incarnating the connection between heaven and the territory as well as water and land; and highlighting their prominence against other minor mountains that assume the protection of different villages settled in the valley (Schreiber, 2005). The writer José María Arguedas in his novel Yawar Fiesta (2011) describes the apu Qarwarazu as follows: “…The auki K’arwarasu has three snowy peaks; he is the father of all the mountains of Lucanas. From the Ayacucho road, from the top of Wachwak’asa, just as one is starting to go down to Huamanga, K’arwarasu can be seen. Through the cold air of the great puna, forty leagues away, summit after summit come into view in the blue distance, as if at the end of the world, the three snow peaks glowing in the sunlight amid lightning flashes and the darkness of the storms.”[1]

The cosmogonic connection of the apu Osjonta with the upland pastures and wetlands allows not only to presume the strategic relevance assigned by the Incas to the region, due to the importance of its livestock resources, but also the symbolic consecration of the territories of this large puna. A clear example of this is the presence of the ushnu (Inca ceremonial platforms) associated with mountains or apus. The apu Warmitaclla, at its side, embodies its female pair. This context takes on a greater significance if we consider that the region was one of the first to be occupied upon the beginning of the Inca empire expansion, and the most proximate cross road was opening since then from Cusco to the coastal territories and the sea (Canziani: in press).

This territory of puna is outlined by pre-Hispanic corrals for livestock use, which are made of stone and with a prominently concentration pattern. These are especially found in the area of Quilkatapampa, district of Cabana. This corral is one of the largest structures of the whole region of Ayacucho; and might have reached its peak during the Inca period (1450 – 1532 A.D.). To date, a part of these corrals are currently used by shepherds from the district of Cabana; some of them are related to the practice of chaccu (chaku) and the annual management of numerous herds of wild vicunas for seasonal herding and wool shearing. Besides, the varied typology of corrals observed —in terms of organization and dimensions— expresses the complexity that entails raising and conducting the herds, even if corrals are reduced to its tangible components.

Both wetlands and bofedales are the spaces preferred for grazing, and constitute important components in the reserve and underground infiltration of water, which later rises and nourishes springs and lagoons or cochas down the valley. Consequently, a water collecting system is established, and improved through dikes and reservoirs, entailing the design of channels for transporting water towards terrace systems and crops settled throughout the hillsides and alluvial plains of the valley.

Two of the main areas of the valley stand out for their pre-Hispanic agricultural systems of more than 5,600 ha. The modelling expressed in terraces and platforms constitute the most beautiful areas of the valley in terms of landscape, due to their remarkable plasticity and complex composition (Canziani: in press).

The construction of agricultural platforms and terrace systems might have started during the Huarpa period in the Early Intermediate (100 B.C. – 600 A.D.). Then, these systems were expanded during the Wari Period (600 – 1000 A.D.) and maintained during the Rukana period in the Late Intermediate (1000 – 1450 A.D.). These agricultural systems are formalized and substantially extended during the Inca period (1450 – 1532 A.D.).

The cultivation terraces mostly found on the high slopes of the Valley are made of rainfed land; i.e., the crops grown on this land depend on the rainy seasons. Most of the platforms are found on the middle and lower parts of the valley hillsides, and are associated with irrigation systems. The adaptation of the platforms to the topographic structure and the variations in the land gradient —passing through the riverbed up to the alluvial plains of the valleys, until they find their limits in the rocky scarps of the mountains— turns out to be a special land modelling of featured landscape values.

The agricultural technology represents a continuity in the sustainable management of soil since both traditional technologies and community organization systems continue to be used for its exploitation and irrigation.

Besides being a territory which experienced an intensive human occupation due to the transformation of the environment, the Sondondo Valley has turned into a setting where the collective imagination of past and present populations has created very important sacred spaces and elements in their world view, which continue to be alive and used in daily practices. A good example of this is the acknowledgement of the danza de tijeras (scissors’ dance) as World’s Intangible Heritage.

The sectors proposed for registering the Sondondo Valley in the list of World Heritage are mentioned below:

Sector 01 - The terraces of Sondondo:

The terraces of Sondondo are set out over the Mayobamba river, one of the tributaries of the Sondondo, up to the Aucará district area. Over the hillsides of the valley, large agricultural areas composed of a pre-Hispanic terrace system can be seen. This technology has enabled the expansion of the agricultural border, turning this area into the greatest terrace complex of the Sondondo valley.  This landscape is complemented by the presence of carved stones with representations of the agricultural landscape, as well as outcrops and sheer scarps that do not only create a singular scenic beauty, but serve as a condor sighting spot.

Sector 02 – Terraces and bofedales over the Negro Mayo river:

Sector 02 presents vast cultivation areas which are close to the city of Andamarca, capital of the district of Carmen Salcedo, and denote the optimization of lands of the valley in Negro Mayo river, tributary of Sondondo. From the depths of the valley to the steep slopes, a diversity of elements of ancestral origin can be seen, providing the landscape with a very singular characterization. This scenery is mainly covered by a complex pre-Hispanic road network that reflects an agricultural significance throughout the environment of the basin, including the upper part of the valley, in the sector of Huaylla Warmi, where the waters of the Vistac river (tributary of Negro Mayo) flow. Its large watered terraces, covered by bofedales, favor the raising of vicunas and alpacas, offering a high-quality visual experience.

Sector 03 – The high plateau of Cabana:

The high plateau of Cabana, located at the northwesternmost side of the district of Cabana, is characterized by being part of the high Andean plain, where various bodies of water hydrate the soils in conditions where bofedales can emerge. Bofedales are ideal for livestock activity of vicunas, llamas, and alpacas which have settled in this territory jointly with the first human groups.  Nowadays, they coexist in a sustainable way through technification in water management and the construction of corrals for properly managing livestock. The singular morphology of the Apu Osjonta —venerated since the first societies settled in this region— is added to this relatively uniform landscape.

History and Evolution

As other similar zones of the Central Andes, the first groups of hunter-gatherer inhabitants (10000 – 2500 B.C.) were sustained by the natural conditions of the puna territories, which favor the presence of herds of vicunas (Vicugna vicugna) and guanacos (Lama guanicoe), thus assuring their main source of sustenance.

Sometime after, when the llamas (Lama glama) and alpacas (Vicugna pacos) taming process had started, together with the stockbreeding development, the territory underwent social transformations in certain areas. The first transformation was developed by the growth of bofedales through the artificial flooding of pasture areas, thus fostering a greater abundance and diversity of grazing for livestock. The second transformation was caused by the progressive construction of various types of corrals, usually associated with small structures to provide temporary shelter to the shepherds who managed the livestock (Canziani: in press).

Additionally, domestication and cultivation of a variety of plants, suitable for these ecological contexts, should have marked the starting point of the occupation of the most temperate strata of the regions of the valley as well as the first farming transformations of the territory. However, there are not many vestiges of these ancient periods in which the Sondondo valley was being occupied; the earliest occupations registered in the region of the valley are the sites of Pikimachay (Gonzáles Carré, 2007) and Qishuarchayoq (Cavero and Pareja, 2003).

There is also evidence of pottery made out of incised ceramic with pre-Chavinoid features, indicating the beginning of the Initial period in the middle basin of the Sondondo river (Aramburú, 2003), taking place between 1500 B.C. – 100 A.D.

Tangible evidence of territorial transformations in the Valley is documented since the period of the Huarpa culture (Early Intermediate: 100 – 600 A.D.), and reflected in the construction of the first terrace systems (Aramburu, 2003 and PRODERN Project, 2011), although this transformation was especially patent during the Wari occupation (600 – 1000 A.D.). With a strong presence in the Valley, the Wari occupation favored its territorial development during this period, initiating the configuration of cultivation platform systems and establishing the Jincamoqo complex as administrative center of regional relevance, in the vicinity of the place where the Cabana village is found to date (Schreiber, 1987).

During the period subsequent to the dissolution of the Wari state in the Late Intermediate, inter-ethnic conflicts were expressed in settlement patterns set in naturally protected and defensible sites; this practice is equally usual in many high Andean regions of the central Andes. The villages are located at the top of the hills or in sheer areas of difficult access, which are reinforced by building defensive walls (Canziani, 2009: 424-432).

During the Inca empire, the region acquired a substantial relevance since it was strategically located in the territorial connection between the city of Vilcashuamán and the route to the coast; in this case, towards the oasis valleys of Nazca and the Inca administrative center of Paredones, located within this region.

Important testimonies from this period are the different sections of the Qhapaq Ñan that go across the Sondondo valley, as well as the outstanding buildings intrinsic to the imperial architecture. Such is the case of the great platform of Huayhuay, which apparently corresponds to a temple located very close to the plaza of the village of Aucará. The structure preserved to date has a lithic polygonal bond typical of the style of the Inca empire, and an exceptional nature due to its unusual curved and concave lines, which design apparently was aimed at framing the space where the spring was located, with this singular encircling outline. 

Besides this settlement and the ushnus of the Puna that were set against each other, the largest-scale transformation corresponds to the complex terrace and irrigation systems, which modelled an agricultural landscape, demonstrating the power of the Empire and the strength of the political and technological connections at that time. 

The Sondondo valley, registered under the colonial administration of the provinces of Andamarca and Lucanas, undergoes a complex process of resettlement, jointly with two critical situations that confront the colonial power. The first situation consisted in the indigenous resistance movement which took place in the region, against the mining mita, since this system severely affected the local population, not only through forced labor in the mines but also due to the high mortality that this kind of work entailed. The second one, apparently related to the first situation, refers to the Taki Onkoy movement, also known as the “disease of the dance”, through which the natives rejected the imposed western customs and Christian religion by defending the return of the huacas (Millones, 1990; Villegas, 2011).

So, at the beginning of the occupation by the Spaniards, the rucanas-antamarcas inhabited a large part of the Sondondo valley, and were divided into four ayllus: Apcara, Omapacha, Antamarka, and Uchuc Ayllu (Ossio, 1992: 65). Additionally, halfway through the 16th century, the ethnic groups of Huangas, Angaraes, Antamarkas, Quichuas, and Choques still exist. All this context reflects a very advanced social organization at the dawn of the Colonial period (Galdo, 1992).

Likewise, it can be deduced that, within the tension existing between the resettlement policies and the resistance to the possible territorial uprooting, the result of the compromise, in many cases, might have been a displacement a short distance away from the preexisting pre-Hispanic settlements, opting for preferably plain pieces of land for the location of the new villages and reductions, since these were more suitable for grid design (Canziani: in press).

Public and religious architecture as well as town planning of urban designs reflect the resilience existing in this background.


Area of the property proposed for registration (ha) and its buffer zone (ha):

PROPOSED AREA (SERIAL PROPERTY)

NAME

AREA (ha)

AREA 1: HIGH PLATEAU OF CABANA

5,227.75

ÁREA 2: TERRACES OF SONDONDO

6,943.46

ÁREA 3: TERRACES AND BOFEDALES IN NEGRO MAYO

4,571.26

TOTAL AREA (ha)

16,742.47

 

[1] TN: Translation into English of an excerpt from the novel “Yahuar Fiesta” written by José María Arguedas, made by Frances Horning Barraclough. Extracted from: Yawar Fiesta. Waveland Press, Inc. Long Grove: Illinois, 1985.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

The Sondondo Valley is an example of the best preserved agro-pastoral Andean landscape in Peru. 

This cultural landscape is the result of continuous occupation for over a millennium. Throughout its area, a variety of agricultural production technologies have been developed, having barely changed over hundreds of years.  Agricultural and livestock management techniques as well as the structures of different cultural occupation periods —such as the Wari or Inca period— are reflected, and can be read and studied in the populations living in the Valley these days. These societies preserve the agricultural Andean world view.

 As other few spaces in the Andean region do, the Sondondo Valley exemplifies the processes of adaptation to the mountain ecosystems, which are evidenced in the location and arrangement of the administrative centers and pre-Hispanic populations, as well as in the network of irrigation channels and systems; thus integrating two differentiated ecosystems: the puna, over 4,000 m above sea level, and the valley, below 3,800 m above sea level.

 With respect to the high plateau, unique processes of rearing South-American camelids are evidenced in their complexity and scale through a series of corral systems, which mark in the landscape represent a dimension few times accomplished in the Andean region. The spiritual bond still maintained by the indigenous people with their territorial landscape, can be also recognized in this ecosystem; this is reflected in a complex world view that integrates various elements of nature, such as the sacred mountains or apus, lagoons, springs, and waterfalls, into their religious imaginary.

Criterion (iii): The Sondondo Valley, through its cultural landscape, reflects the technological processes and preserves the cultural traditions of the Andean civilizations inherent to this geo-cultural region.

The preservation and continuity of use of the pre-Hispanic Andean societies’ production structures — such as livestock corrals, terraces, platforms and channels— constitute a remarkable testimony not only due to the large-scale architectural transformations of the landscape, but the preservation of the symbolic uses, technologies, and values.

The agricultural festivities as well as their symbols and rituals continue defining the agrarian seasons. The history and development of the region has allowed these traditions to continue being alive.

Sondondo is an exceptional testimony of representation and operation of technological, social, and symbolic Andean mechanisms that have totally disappeared in other Andean regions. It is true that terrace systems of outstanding beauty are preserved in other Peruvian regions as well, though the Andean traditions inherent to them are not; thus, Sondondo also represents an unusual area for research. Rituals are intangibly expressed in the agricultural festivities, and tangibly, in the scale models carved in stone as representation of said transformations and as material expression of the territorial modelling, such as carved platforms, channels, and lagoons, proving in this way the existence of this tradition.

Criterion (iv): The Sondondo valley has a landscape that illustrates the changes occurred during the main historical periods of the Andean world. The valley also shows the political strength of this society; idea reinforced by the development of the Inca empire, the design of the Andean platforms, the territorial planning of these terraces jointly with villages and roads. The landscape transformed by the Andean populations today reflects a significant period of the pre-Hispanic politics and societies, both in the Wari period and the Inca period. The preservation and use up to date of these agricultural and livestock systems of traditional technology is undoubtedly representative of the Andean region.

The agricultural landscape appears as a result of a transformation process occurred throughout a millennium at least, where a technology capable of sustaining the agricultural production was designed and created. Nowadays, it is applied with the same techniques and patterns used since pre-Hispanic times. The puna of Sondondo also represents the domestication process of South-American camelids by Andean populations through a network of channels and corrals, which is considered one of the most complex pre-Hispanic systems in the Peruvian Andes. 

Criterion (vi):The symbolic nature of the cultural landscape of the Sondondo Valley is reflected up to date in the presence of the world view and its related symbolic practices. The ideas and beliefs of the valley’s collective imagination resulting from these symbols are related to the daily life, the agricultural technologies, its community organization, its irrigation practices, as well as the territorial planning.  The scale models carved in stone are the physical proof of the allusive and symbolic representations of the landscape. (Canziani: in press).

The festivities and dances are part of the living traditions. The Danza de Tijeras (Scissors dance), which came into existence in the Valley, incorporates elements of the landscape, such as waterfalls, where initiation rituals were performed. In order to demonstrate the ideas previously set out, this practice is registered by UNESCO in the list of the World’s Intangible Heritage.

In addition, and as mentioned before, the technology and tradition of using Andean platforms and livestock systems have been preserved for centuries; and it is essential that these practices continue to be alive.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

AUTHENTICITY

The spatial organization and distribution of the agricultural and pastoral infrastructure, as well as the settlements located throughout the Valley, constitute one of the best examples of adaptability and planning of the Andean landscape. The terraces, irrigation channels, and corrals for livestock raising preserve the use of native materials, such as stone, clay or sod. Materials such as adobe, wood or straw are also incorporated to the religious and civil architecture of the villages.

It is clear that the region has an agro-pastoral purpose. The population of the Valley has an economy mainly consisting of farming activities, though it is nowadays complemented with other activities. The agricultural and pastoral production reflects an economic Andean landscape during pre-Hispanic times. The strength in modelling these landscapes makes us infer the power that this kind of economies had in former times. Its uninterrupted use expresses, as few others do, the space dynamic in the Andes.  The diversity of irrigation and farming techniques and solutions, which have been adapted since pre-Hispanic times, is inherited by present-day societies.

The distribution of the villages within the cultural landscape has not underwent changes at all; the location and siting of the settlements are of pre-Hispanic origin, and still preserve the urban design of the Colonial period. They constitute a unique evidence of a history period that has been scarcely studied out of the field of historical documentation. Traditions of the Sondondo valley are strongly related to the agricultural and pastoral culture; a calendar of festivities associated with growing and harvesting seasons is still used, as well as a series of rituals linked to the fecundity of the livestock.

The landscape contains spiritual and religious elements that still are considered objects worth of veneration and respect. The reverence to the earth is evidenced in daily life, and treasures a syncretism of significant value.

INTEGRITY

The area proposed for registration as World Heritage covers the majority of the 16,742.47 hectares of terraces and Andean platforms existing in the Sondondo valley, as well as the territories of puna and the irrigation and hydric distribution systems related to them. It also includes all the architectural and archeological property that have been identified by the Ministry of Culture of Peru.

The protection of the cultural elements in the Sondondo valley is specific to some real properties; however, the territory is managed under the indigenous administration (peasant communities), which maintain the use and integrity of the production infrastructure.

PROTECTION AND MANAGEMENT

The national legal standards that protect the preservation and conservation of the Cultural Landscape of the Sondondo Valley is detailed below:

  • Political Constitution of Peru, Article 21 (1993)
    It establishes that the movable and real property declared as cultural property are considered Cultural Heritage of the Nation; consequently, they are protected by the State.
  • Law No. 28296, General Law of the Cultural Heritage of the Nation and its regulations (2004).
    It establishes the national policies of defense, protection, promotion, property, and legal framework, as well as the destination of the movable and real property belonging to the Cultural Heritage of the Nation.
  • Supreme Decree No. 002-2011-MC, Regulations of the Declaration and Management of Cultural Landscapes as Cultural Heritage of the Nation (2011).
    It establishes the mechanisms and procedures to identify, declare, protect, and manage Cultural Landscapes as an integral property of the Cultural Heritage of the Nation.

The Sondondo Valley is managed on a local basis. The outline of a community-based and participatory management —involving the local wisdom, memory, and traditional practices of the communities inhabiting the territory— is planned as well. Thus, it seeks to foster, by means of the acknowledgement of the heritage, the application of adequate strategies for turning it into a powerful tool that favors its sustainable development and the improvement of its residents’ quality of life, as well as enabling the preservation of the vigorous cultural identity that supports it and makes it exceptional. (Canziani: in press).

Comparison with other similar properties

Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands (Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto. Italy)

Type of Property: Cultural Landscape. Criteria for Registration: (ii)(iv)(v)

Located at the Ligurian coast, between Cinque Terre and Portovenere, this site has a landscape of outstanding panoramic beauty and high cultural value. The design and distribution of the small towns, as well as the conformation of the natural environment, not only demonstrate how humans have overcome difficulties inherent to a steep and uneven terrain, but also constitute a whole summary of the uninterrupted history of human settlements in this region over the last millennium. Terraces for growing olives and vines are preserved by the community; without this maintenance, farming would not have been possible.

This cultural landscape expresses how Sondondo, has attained an exceptional integration between society, organized on a community basis, and the exploitation of the territory. The whole landscape is harmoniously designed: architecture, agricultural landscape, and culture are connected and fit together, making it possible to be preserved up to these days.

Agave Landscape and Ancient Industrial Facilities of Tequila. (México)

Type of Property: Cultural Landscape. Criteria for Registration: (ii)(iv)(v)(vi)

It consists of a vast landscape of crops of blue agave, a plant used since the 16th century to prepare tequila and, for 2.000 years at least, to produce fermented beverages and make clothing due to its textile fibers. Within this landscape environment, there are working tequila distilleries, which represent an example of the international consumption increase of this alcoholic beverage throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The agave crops are considered nowadays an intrinsic element of the Mexican national identity. The site includes the landscape comprised by fields where the blue agave is grown, and the urban settlements of Tequila, Arenal and Amatitlán, where large distilleries can be found. In these distilleries, the plant’s ‘pineapple' is fermented to produce alcohol. It also comprehends areas of archeological vestiges and plantations in terraces, dwellings, temples, ceremonial mounds, and ball courts, which are a testimony of the Teuchitlán culture, which prevailed in the region of Tequila between the years 200 and 900 A.D.

The cultural landscape inherits the historical changes undergone from the pre-Hispanic period to the 16th century, and integrates them all. Likewise, for Sondondo, the ancient fabric integrates the changes experienced over time, various cultures, and territorial transformations for agricultural development. Similarly, Sondondo modifies its terrain, being these landscape an agricultural heritage, which territorial manifestations provide the site with identity.

Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu (Perú)

Type of Property: Mixed. Criteria for Registration: (i)(iii)(vii)(ix)

The Sanctuary of Machu Picchu was probably the most stunning architectural work of the Inca empire at its peak. Its giant walls, terraces, and ramps seem as if they have been cut naturally in the rock escarpments, as if they were part of the environment. The natural setting, on the eastern slopes of the Andes, encompasses the upper Amazon basin with its rich diversity of flora and fauna.

We have not found any terrace system in the World Heritage List, and there is not such a notable sample as the Sondondo Valley, with respect to pre-Hispanic territorial transformation, in the Americas.  

The terrace system of Machu Picchu is included as part of the site, but it has not been declared independently; and this is not because of its agricultural system. Since the site was abandoned, the agricultural aspect has been neglected. The terraces, usually identified by the Incan agrarian system, have a former origin; thus, these structures have changed over time and the ones made by the Incas were the refined, optimized, and spread form. The Sondondo Valley has all the typologies from a temporal and functional viewpoint.

Cultural Landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana (Spain)

Type of Property: Cultural. Criteria for Registration: (ii)(iv)(v)

The Cultural Landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana is a remarkable example of an agricultural Mediterranean landscape due to its singular combination of water supply systems applied to irrigation, from Islamic origin; and the vine cultivation systems, from Christian origin. Both networks were largely conditioned by the scarce resources of the environment of the region because of its climate, the orography, and insularity. 

We highlight the existing similarity with this property, specifically regarding certain ancient technologies that remain in existence, preserving and inheriting the systems that are lost in other regions.

Lavaux Vineyard Terraces (Switzerland)

Type of Property: Cultural. Criteria for Registration: (iii)(iv)(v)

Outstanding testimony of the development of viticulture along solid mountainsides and terraces, with a gradient of several hundreds of meters, and a length of about fifteen kilometers. This constructed landscape is highly representative of a complex human work totally integrated into its natural environment.

The Sondondo Valley preserves and gives evidence of a landscape built in this same way; it is also representative of the agrarian labor integrated into its natural environment. In addition, its world view is associated with these types of production activities.

The Causses and the Cévennes, Mediterranean agro-pastoral Cultural Landscape (France)

Type of Property: Cultural. Criteria for Registration: (iii)(v)

The landscape of Causses and Cévennes is the result of the interaction between natural environments and agro-pastoral systems over millenniums. The Causses and Cévennes demonstrate almost every type of pastoral organization to be found around the Mediterranean (agro-pastoralism, silvi-pastoralism, transhumance, and sedentary pastoralism). The area is characterized by a remarkable vitality as a result of the substantial development of the agro-pastoral activity.

The Sondondo Valley is a landscape resulting of the interaction over a long period of time between natural environments of extreme complexity for natural life and an Andean agro-pastoral system of exploitation and adaptation. The puna landscape of Sondondo enables the study of the livestock activity dynamics, the importance of this practice in pre-Hispanic and historical periods, and its interaction and complementarity with agrarian systems.

Kuk Early Agricultural Site (Papua New Guinea)

Type of Property: Cultural. Criteria for Registration: (iii)(iv)

Kuk Early Agricultural Site has a universal value since it reveals a significant period of mankind’s technological development around the world. The human-environmental interactions in Kuk demonstrate a traditional land-use that has developed since at least 10.000 years. The agricultural chronology of Kuk gives proof of the development of the Pacific agriculture, in terms of plants and technologies.

The Sondondo Valley has an outstanding relevance for the study of Andean crops. The new techniques and researches upon declaring the property may underpin new theories on farming and the agri-food sector in pre-Hispanic times.

Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces (China)

Type of Property: Cultural. Criteria for Registration: (iii)(v)

The Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces is located on the south bank of the Hong River, in the southwestern border of China within the county of Yuanyang, Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture, province of Yunnan. The people of Hani has created on a large scale a harmonious lifestyle and a unique culture, characterized by the four-fold system (water, system of forests, villages, and terraces), in this rough mountainous region.

These terrace systems have an unusual beauty, such as the Sondondo Valley. However, the latter does not present a single crop farming; its technological developments and adaptations are carried out based on the agricultural exploitation of various flora species. This agricultural exploitation is interrelated with complex livestock systems.