The Growing Threat of Archaeonudists*

20 Mar

Machu Picchu from Wikipedia.

Machu Picchu from Wikipedia.

I spend a lot of time thinking about threats to the global archaeological record, but, until today, I was unaware that public nudity at famous sites is such a threat. Granted, naked people don’t damage the physical integrity of the sites. It just, understandably, makes other visitors uncomfortable. And, evidently, it has gotten to be a serious enough problem at Machu Picchu that an official from Peru’s Ministry of Culture publicly commented:

“There are places in the world that people can get naked, but not all places are (appropriate) for getting undressed” (Alfred Mormontoy Atayupanqui to CNN).

I think we can get considerable cross-cultural agreement with that statement. But then Atayupanqui adds, “Tourists should comply with local rules and regulations when they are traveling, otherwise there will be thousands of problems.” As if traipsing naked through archaeological monuments is accepted in Canada and Australia (where the most recent violators were visiting from)!

Worse, CNN ends their post with the prompt: “Where do you stand on ‘naked tourism’? Share your thoughts in the comments.Β Who has a formal stance on “naked archaeo-tourism”? I guess I’m against it, but laughing, and not too worried about those archaeonudists* who are for it. At least they’re excited about archaeology!


*If the term “archaeonudist” takes off and starts appearing on t-shirts, bumper stickers, and coffee mugs, I want credit for coining it πŸ™‚

4 Responses to “The Growing Threat of Archaeonudists*”

  1. thelostkerryman 03/20/2014 at 7:04 pm #

    it might stimulate more tourist interest – in more ways than one. if nothing else, tourists should be warned about exposure to sharp objects, rough surfaces, and possibility to hypothermia.

  2. therockstaranthropologist 03/23/2014 at 11:42 am #

    Reblogged this on The Rockstar Anthropologist and commented:
    I’ve dreamed of visiting Macchu Picchu, but never once have I thought to myself, “I can’t wait to get to Macchu Picchu to unleash my breast!” What are some other sites that you know of that are addressing this issue?

    • jayfancher 03/24/2014 at 11:42 am #

      This is the first I’ve heard of it. Presumably, Stonehenge gets its share on “naked crazies.” Thrill-seeking behavior πŸ™‚

      • therockstaranthropologist 03/25/2014 at 11:07 am #

        Could you imagine the grant proposal to study this?! “Dear NSF, I would like money to better understand why people wanna get naked next to really old things.” πŸ™‚

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