Inter-institutional project without special funding (2003-2012): Management of the archaeological cultural resource “La Ciudacita” (research, conservation and dissemination). Campo de Los Alisos National Park (Province of Tucumán). Administration of National Parks – Secretariat of Culture of the Province of Tucumán – National University of Tucumán.

Directors: PhD. Verónica Williams and BA. Carlos A. Aschero.

Co-Director and team coordinator: PhD. Alejandra Korstanje.

Field Coordinator: PhD. Alvaro Martel


The Inca ruins of the archaeological site called «La Ciudacita», «Nevados del Aconquija» or «Old Town of Aconquija», located at 4,400 meters high in the Sierra de Aconquija, jurisdiction of the Campo de Los Alisos National Park (Province of Tucumán ), constitute a cultural resource of great magnitude and importance, represented by a numerous set of stone-built structures, making up one of the largest settlements of the Inka Empire in northwestern Argentina. Its high heritage value contrasts with the conditions in which it is with respect to the current state of archaeological knowledge and the state of conservation of its units and the complex. The present management approach aims to recover and maintain its physical integrity and its meaning, highlighting the set of interests included in its potential cultural, historical, social, scientific, educational and economic values, in short, it focuses on its conservation and development. These aspirations revolve around three interrelated and interdependent lines of action: its systematic investigation, the preservation of its integrity and constituent parts, and the public use that will generate and ensure such treatment conditions (APN 2001). La Ciudacita is part of the settlement system of Kollasuyu, the largest province of the Inca empire, whose conquest began in 1430 and came to cover the extension from Lake Titicaca (Bolivia) to the province of Mendoza (Argentina) and the northern half of Chile. Throughout that territory, the establishments are connected through the Qhapaq Ñan – Andean Main Road, a road system that as a “corridor” reflects the complex, effective and global organization of the imperial state. In this regard, «La Ciudacita» is one of the sections selected as part of the set of resources proposed by Argentina to integrate the Cultural Landscape of the Qhapaq Ñan – Main Andean Road in the process of nomination before UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The magnitude of the ruins, its high altitude location and its relationship with the Inka trail, its “pure” Inca character (Raffino 1991), as well as the beauty of the environment, make it a site of interest for the visit of mountaineers, students and tourists, who come to the place with progressive frequency over time.


The general objective of this project is to recover a cultural asset of high heritage value, which in turn is part of the set of assets associated with the Qhapaq Ñan – Main Andean Road. This action is understood as its systematic management and integration into the active conservation of the resources that make up the heritage of the Protected Area, its zones of local influence (Tucumán and Catamarca) and the Northwest Argentine region, taking into account that such maintenance and the projection of its value constitute a viable factor for conservation and development. The particular objectives of the proposal point to the lines of action of the Management of Cultural Resources considered interrelated and interdependent, because knowledge of the resource and its meaning will guide conservation, and both the information available and the stability of the place will allow its dissemination and the opportunity for the socio-economic development of the associated communities:

  • Systematize the investigation of the site to account for the cultural information (material and immaterial) that it possesses through anthropological and archaeological knowledge, establish its associations and relationships with other sites and also contribute to regional archeology. These research objectives are specified in detail later, in the corresponding section of the proposed activities.
  • To develop research also in the field of community identity processes regarding the perception and empowerment / current social use of the cultural resource and / or its access routes / environment. Also elaborate a participatory diagnosis of both the socio-productive structures, as well as those institutional ones that exercise state / official authority and / or traditional leadership as well as the capacity of the grassroots organizations for the resource co-management.
  • Preserve site integrity and its environment -the set of ruins and the surrounding natural environment- as constituent parts of the same unit, taking into account that the existing relationships between the various natural and cultural elements of the place are those that determine the degree of stability of the complex and establish the link between cultural wealth and biodiversity both in the Protected area and in its buffer and influence zone.
  • Disseminate the cultural resource by proposing the ordering of a sustainable public use, through educational, interpretive and tourist recreational activities, guaranteeing society’s access to heritage, the preservation of the property and the safety of the visitor.
  • Promote social participation of communities in the area of ​​influence of the protected area in the different stages and lines of action of the cultural resource management project, contributing to the revaluation of heritage and social / spiritual and economic development (including, among other things, searching for solutions to the difficulties of connectivity and regional relations). Contributing, in synthesis, to the improvement of the quality of life of the populations, the conservation and promotion of the cultural, social and natural capital associated with La Ciudacita and the Qhapaq Ñan, retaking the original principles of their construction: economic development, integration and communication.


The interrelated lines of the project, research (archaeological / anthropological and socioeconomic), conservation, communication / interpretation (dissemination) and community participation will be carried out by a technical team of thirty (30) members, whose general coordination will be in charge of the National Directorate of Conservation of Protected Areas of the Administration of National Parks: Director Lic. Roberto Molinari and from the Program Management of Cultural Resources, Responsible: Lic. Lorena Ferraro. The specific activities will be directed and coordinated by the various agencies and specific institutions that make up this project:


The archaeological research activities team will be made up of professionals and auxiliary students belonging to the following institutions: CONICET, Institute of Archeology and Museum (UNT); and other departments of the UBA. Directors : Dra. Verónica Williams (CONICET, UBA and Lic. Carlos A. Aschero (CONICET, IAM-UNT) Co-director and Team Coordinator : Dra. Alejandra Korstanje (IAM-UNT) Field Task Coordinator: Arql. Álvaro Martel (IAM-UNT)


Director: Lic. Lorena Ferraro (APN); Co-director: Prof. Natalia Spaggiari (APN)


The archaeological conservation activities team will be made up of five (5) members, including professionals and assistants from the Northwest Regional Delegation and the APN’s Cultural Resources Management Program. Director: Gpque. Antonio Temporetti; Field and Cabinet Coordinator: Architect Mario Lazarovich; Logistics Coordination: Gpque. Daniel Vega; Team: Staff of the Campo de Los Alisos National Park. The activities corresponding to logistical support and communications will be carried out by the National Parks Administration (Northwest Regional Delegation, Directorate of Works and Campo de los Alisos National Park) and a team of personnel belonging to to the Secretary of Culture of the Province of Tucumán. Director: Gpque. Antonio Temporetti; Technical Direction and Cabinet: Architect Mario Lazarovich; Technical Assistance: Ing. Jorge E. Mercado; Logistics: Gpque. Daniel Vega.


The communication and interpretation activities team will be made up of: A) for audiovisual recording and communication tasks, three (3) technical and professional members of the Interpretation and Environmental Extension Directorate (Audiovisual Program and Website). Director: Florencia Lance; Director and field and cabinet coordinator: Rómulo Carpinetti B) for the tasks of Interpretation, Interrelation with the communities and Environmental Education (training for conservation and development), five (5) technical and professional members belonging to the Directorate of Interpretation and Environmental Education, the Resource Management Program Cultural and the Northwest Regional Delegation (APN), and the Institute of Archeology and Museum of the Faculty of Natural Sciences and the Miguel Lillo Institute of the National University of Tucumán. Coordinators: Lic. Lorena Ferraro (APN), Amb. Susana Pataro (APN), Lic. Jorgelina García Azcárate (IAM-UNT)


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