Ottawa, Dec 19 (ANI): A top archeologist has said that the upcoming Dakar Rally, which has been relocated to Argentina and Chile because of security fears, could damage important archeological sites.
According to a report by the Canadian Press, the rally, which this year will feature more than 500 vehicles, was transferred from Africa because of terrorism concerns and will be held in South America from January 3-18.
Five hundred and thirty teams will participate in the rally, with 82 trucks, 188 cars, 30 4x4s and 230 motorcycles racing over 9,000 kilometers and cross over the Andes mountain range separating Argentina and Chile.
"It will be an avalanche of metal, smoke and roar of motors," said Norma Ratto, head of the Argentine Association of Archeologists.
Ratto said that the rally will speed through burial sites and other sacred areas in Patagonia, and in the northern province of Catamarca past "Palo Blanco," an archeological site that contains remains from 2,000-year-old villages.
"All of Argentina is a great archeological reserve, dating from 10,000 years ago through to the expressions of the conquest of the Incas 500 years ago," she added.
However, Leonardo Alvarez, an official with the Argentine Tourism Secretariat, said that "the last thing we would do is pass through protected or archeological areas."
"The company that's organizing the rally, Amaury Sports Organization, presented an environmental study that included archeological risk and was approved by all the state governments," he explained.
But, Ratto was skeptical.
"I don't believe what they say. If they have reports, they should make them public," she said. (ANI)