Photo of the Week

7730597992_ee6d807c0d_cAncient monumental architecture at the archaeological site of Bandurria, Peru, site of one of two new SPI “People Not Stones” projects. By investing in local businesses in artisanal and touristic development, our project will create jobs, bring sustainable income to the community, AND preserve its cultural heritage.

Support SPI Local Artisans: Free Shipping on NOVICA Today and Tomorrow!

The holiday season has begun and it’s Artisan Monday on!

Today and tomorrow purchase the handcrafted ceramics and gourds of SPI-sponsored local artisans, Julio Ibarrola and the San Jose de Moro Association at San Jose de Moro, Peru, and Ivan Cruz and his trainees at Pampas Gramalote, Peru, and receive FREE SHIPPING!

SPI’s unique paradigm of economic development empowers poor communities by creating sustainable entrepreneurial business opportunties.  By investing in artisans like Julio and Ivan, whose local businesses depend on the preservation of their community’s archaeological site to attract visitors, SPI’s projects both generate sustainable income for the community and preserve precious cultural heritage for future generations.

It’s the perfect gift idea for family and friends: a gift that keeps on giving in a multitude of ways. Enjoy free shipping (and $7 or more off your purchase) of our artisans’ work on Novica today and tomorrow!


Photo of the Week

Finds from a recent discovery of an elite tomb built to be flooded periodically in ancient times in order to ensure the region’s agricultural fertility. Photo courtesy of Carlos Wester La Torre, Bruning National Archaeological Museum. Also used at:

Chotuna-Chornancap, Peru, one of SPI’s newest project sites, is a stunning 235-acre monumental temple and pyramid complex that spans nearly 1,500 years of history. Just this past August, archaeologists discovered a remarkable burial over 1,000 years old containing such precious items as pearl and shell beads and gold earspools amongst four corpses, the face of one covered with a copper sheet. Unlike any other tomb of a revered person in the region, this one was likely built by an ancient water cult and meant to be flooded periodically, perhaps as a means of ensuring the region’s agricultural fertility (see National Geographic article here).

The community living near the archaeological site of Chotuna, Peru, is very poor, with no electricity, sewer system, or even clean water. Our project empowers local entrepreneurs as it invests in local cotton textile artisans, constructing a facility for artisan training and production as well as a small picnic and sales area for their work near the archaeological site. The project will also build a store and showroom for these handicrafts in the Bruning National Archaeological Museum in the nearby city of Lambayeque, as well as guidebooks and brochures for the site.

This Black Friday, consider starting your holiday giving with a contribution to SPI! Help us transform lives and save the site of Chotuna-Chornancap by donating here.

Celebrating Cultural Heritage through Education: SPI Inspires More Work in San Jose de Moro, Peru

by Yasmin Hamed

SPI’s initiative at San Jose de Moro is inspiring other work in the community! In recent months, Claudia Vargas Ortiz de Zevallos, educator at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, has been conducting research into the strategies used in primary education to develop Mochica cultural identity in local students. Seeing local entrepreneurs embrace their cultural heritage through SPI’s unique paradigm of economic development and preservation, Claudia was inspired to study the relationship between the local community’s schools and their cultural heritage.  The results of her work will hopefully allow schools to diagnose the type and variety of activities needed by the teachers to promote the cultural identity of their students. We are proud to announce that San José de Moro’s own primary center will be the pilot school for the province, and Claudia plans to extend her work to the community of Chotuna-Chornancap, one of SPI’s newest “People Not Stones” project sites.

Educator Claudia Vargas presenting her research to Carlos Wester La Torre, head of excavations at Chotuna-Chornancap, Peru.

Here at SPI, we have seen the real effects of a change in attitudes toward cultural identity through embracing local cultural heritage. We are delighted that our work in this community has prompted even more research into the area of cultural heritage and refocused attention on San Jose de Moro as a result. We can’t wait to see the results of Claudia’s work, which will hopefully see future generations of local residents preserving their archaeological site and promoting their cultural heritage through traditional artisan crafts.

Photo of the Week

Panoramic view of Bandurria, Peru, an archaeological site with some of the earliest monumental architecture of the Americas: four pyramids rising to heights of 26 – 40 feet that are nearly 5,500 years old. It is also home to an impoverished community of 23 families. We are happy to announce that SPI’s Board of Directors just approved a proposal for a new SPI project at the site! Stay tuned for more details!

Photo of the Week

Ancient Moche ceramics from the archaeological site of El Brujo. Local artisans create pieces inspired by these ceramics excavated at SPI-sponsored sites. The sustainable income generated from their sale gives the local community an economic incentive to preserve their cultural heritage.

Photo compliments of John Crary.

Photo of the Week

Daughter of master gourd artisan Ivan Cruz in costume for a film promoting tourism in Pampas Gramalote and Peru! Increased tourism to the site will increase the community’s sustainable income, simultaneously celebrating and preserving their cultural heritage!