A strategic alliance between the Undersecretary of Tourism, Sernatur, the Chilean Port Company EMPORCHI, the University of Tarapacá, the Municipality of Camarones, the National Monument Council, the Regional Secretary for National Heritage and the Regional Government, hopes to have the Chinchorro Mummies officially recognized as a Cultural World Heritage.
The project’s purpose is to highlight the archaeological and cultural worth of what has been left behind by the Chinchorros in the Camarones area, located in the Arica and Parinacota Region. The additional hope is that the initiative will contribute to and strengthen cultural tourism by exposing the area’s unique identity. It’s a venture that has the potential to encourage socio-economic development and protect regional heritage at the same time.
Chinchorro Culture Chile can already lay claim to six officially-declared Cultural World Heritage sites. The Arica and Parinacota Region hopes to celebrate the naming of the seventh site from the success of the Chinchorro petition. According to Unesco, Outstanding Universal Value is one of the fundamental elements when submitting a national treasure onto the World Heritage list and it’s the most important element when preparing the dossier for nomination.
Outstanding Universal Value, according to the Practice Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, is defined as “…a treasure of cultural and/or natural importance, so extraordinary that it transcends national borders and plays an important role in the lives of both present and future generations across the world. Therefore, permanent protection of this heritage, across the international community, is paramount. The Committee defines the criteria used to decide which treasures are added to the World Heritage List”.
In general terms, the Chinchorro Culture complies with two of the established criteria, as laid out by Unesco, that justify its Outstanding Universal Value. The first is that it represents a masterpiece of human creative genius and the second is that it supports an exceptional, if not unique, testimonial of a cultural tradition or civilization that is either lost or living – the Chinchorro Culture has been submitted to the Committee based on the value of its very particular mummification process.