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Etiquette at sites

Etiquette at sites

Rock paintings and engravings are a very fragile cultural heritage whose survival is threatened by natural elements, but frequently much more by careless visitors. Here are some guidelines adapted from a leaflet by the Southern African Rock Art Research Association (SARARA) and from a publication by South African investigators David Lewis-Williams and Geoffrey Blundell (1998) which apply to South American rock art sites as well:

It is important for people to realize that rock art is valuable and because of its antiquity it should be treated with respect. When entering a rock art gallery people should behave as they would in an art museum, that is moving slowly, standing quietly and admiring the work of the ancient artists.

  • Avoid touching the art.
  • Never pour water or other liquids over the images.
  • Avoid stirring up dust from a shelter floor which would settle on the art.
  • Never remove any stone tools or other archaeological artifacts from a site.
  • Take only photographs; tracings or rubbings can and do damage the art unless you have undergone specialized training.
  • If you see other people damaging the art, intervene.
  • Follow the wilderness motto of ‘Leave nothing but your footsteps behind’ (but not on the rocks, do not attempt to climb the carved or painted rocks)!

Tourists to the archaeological parks of Peñas, Calacala, Inkamachay or Samaipata are asked to pay the entrance fee to the guardians and register in the visitor book. You can also make any observations or comments to the Bolivian Rock Art Research Society by sending an e-mail to