Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Peruvian government agency said Friday it has filed a lawsuit against a Mexican telephone company for allegedly damaging part of a large pre-Incan cemetery while laying fiber-optic cable.

Telefonos de Mexico SA, or Telmex, damaged 720 square feet of the Paracas culture's site - including the funeral wraps of 2,000-year-old mummies, according to local officials.

Alfredo Gonzalez, director of the National Institute of Culture in the department of Ica, where the desert burial site is located, told The Associated Press that the agency is seeking monetary compensation or another arrangement, such as public works for the archaeological area, from Telmex.

Telmex officials in Lima were not immediately available for comment. The company had been given permission by the institute to lay the cable in the area, but no further details about the work was available.

The Paracas culture, dating to between 600 and 100 B.C., thrived on Peru's southern coast and is known for its intricate and colorful wool weavings. Two years ago in the same area, archeologists attributed about 50 giant figures etched in the ground - including those of humans and animals, including birds, monkeys, and felines - to the Paracas. The designs predate Peru's famed Nazca lines.