Dan Anchorman | 12.09.2000 22:39
Locals and conservationists who collectively look after the revered ruuins expressed their dismay that the ad firm had converted the sacred space into a makeshift bar as part of the film set. The destruction of the Intihuatana stone is particularly symbolic as it is essential to Inca mythology and forms the centrepiece of the protected archaeological site. Furthermore, the site provides a vital source of income through tourism.
"Machu Picchu is the heart of our heritage and the Intihuatana is the heart of Machu Picchu. They've struck at our most sacred inheritance," said Federico Kaufmann Doig, a leading Peruvian archaeologist.
Gustavo Manrique, the director of National Culture Institute in Cuzco, said he felt "moral anguish" after the film crew allegedly sneaked their heavy equipment into the sanctuary at dawn, in violation of their permit.
Staff at the production company now face criminal charges and up to four years in prison.