How are tourists causing damage to ancient sites?
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Richard Nowitz/National Geographic/Getty Images.
Are We Ruining Ruins?
Historic sites offer cultural value. But does visiting them do more harm than good?

Chichén Itzá (chee-CHEN eet-SAH) is one of the most visited ancient sites in the world. Approximately 1.2 million people visit each year. Located in present-day Mexico, the ancient city was the center of the Mayan Empire from 750 to 1200 A.D.

Government authorities and historians have concerns about the growing number of tourists in places like Chichén Itzá. When people visit, they spend money, helping local economies. But tourists expect to see the sights, which often include fragile ruins that weren’t built for the large numbers of people visiting them today.

The Temple of Kukulkan (koo-kool-KAHN) is the centerpiece of Chichén Itzá. Visitors were allowed to ascend the temple’s legendary 365 steps until 2006. Then site officials banned people from climbing the structure. They say that the massive numbers of people using the stairs each year were causing irreversible damage. Chichén Itzá is not the only historic site suffering from this problem. Following an increase in tourists, authorities at the Peru Ministry of Culture decided that a maximum of 2,500 people could visit the Incan city of Machu Picchu each day.

Authorities are trying to keep tourists at other sites out entirely. La Mosquitia (mohs-KEY-schah) is the largest rainforest in Honduras. In 2015, explorers on an expedition came upon an ancient city hidden deep in the rainforest. A story published in National Geographic about the “discovery” angered locals. They pointed out that the archaeological site had been discovered long before but was kept secret. The people who first “found [the site] were not interested in attracting tourism,” says Dario Euraque, a historian and a former head of the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History.

What do you think? Should people be allowed to visit sites like Chichén Itzá, Machu Picchu, and La Mosquitia? Why or why not?

CRAFT AN ARGUMENT
1. What are the benefits of visiting a historic site?
2. Why are visitation rules imposed on historic sites?
3. Should there be limits on the number of people allowed to visit ancient ruins? Why or why not?


I think people should keep visiting the place. They shouldn't ban people, they want to see it in person. If it getting damage it probably just to old to withstand the weight of the tourist. Those people or tourist want to the ancient place in person. They want to feel the history of past people that worked on it. I think people not ruining the ruins its just getting old and worn down. Because people want to see the things that were made. People want to see the crafts and other things they made. No. They shouldn't be a limit. Its stupid. That's why the ruin is there, to make people come to visit.
Posted by: Tyree D. | January 24, 2018 at 11:27 PM
Some of the benefits of visiting these historic sites you to see how it looks, how long been there how it was made who build it.I think there should be a limit because it can get crowded. there might be a lot of people and serein areas could be to small for everybody to see. The reason they put the visitation rules is because there might be a certain amount of people that can be there.
Posted by: Dante.L . | January 24, 2018 at 11:27 PM
People should be able to visit important sites such as the ones listed above, so long as they do not come into physical contact with anything that is precious, rare, unique, sacred or ancient. The benefits of visiting a historic site is one would find personal enjoyment in it, as well as perhaps learn about the topic. Visitation rules and regulations are in place to avoid and prevent contamination, deterioration and defilement of the sites and objects. There should be no set limit on the amount of people, if what the people can do are limited properly, such as not being able to touch, mount, climb, or come within a certain distant of certain things. Or even, take photographs of things that are light-sensitive, like pre-historic cave wall paintings.
Posted by: Tyler W. | January 24, 2018 at 11:28 PM
The benefits of visiting a historic sites because you get to learn your history. The visitations rules are imposed because they don't want people messing things up because the tings that they have at sites like this is very old and if something does happen they could get sued. I think there should be limits of people who go there because there is going to be a lot of people so I would make different groups at different times.
Posted by: Jimmy R. | January 24, 2018 at 11:28 PM
I think people should be allowed to visit these historical sites, but I don't think they should be allowed to climb or go on the sites. I think this because eventually, there would be nothing to visit. With all the tourists going on it, it could eventually break, after hundreds of years, it would all just be gone, and other people in the future won't be able to see it.
Posted by: Doris S. | January 24, 2018 at 11:29 PM
I think no. The Ruin could be ruined one day because of tourists walking on such a historic structure. Also, tourists could have destroyed the piece by having multiple people walk on the structure and have it crumble while walking on it. The safety for the people and the structure itself is not safe at all. So regardless the structure would be in millions of pieces because some people made the building worse than it is now.
Posted by: Ethan T. | January 24, 2018 at 11:30 PM
I think people should be able to visit different historical sites, but with certain restrictions. From a distance, people should be able to visit certain sites, but due to safety and historical reasons, people shouldn’t be allowed to walk on certain sites. For historical sites like the ruins in Mexico which are facing irreversible damage, people should not be allowed to walk on the temples. Tourists however, should be allowed to visit and tour different sites. If people are touring different historical sites for school, or even just for fun, they should be able to visit different sites, maybe just not as much as before.
Posted by: David C. | January 24, 2018 at 11:30 PM
We should be allowed to visit sights like Chichen Itza, Machu Picchu, and La Mosquitia because it is a great thing to explore and learn about, while they are still around. But people should not be allowed to go on it. There should be pictures hung up of the inside. I think there shouldn't not be able to go inside because it is ruins and there old so they could break and fall apart so it's not very safe.
Posted by: Chloe.S . | January 24, 2018 at 11:31 PM
People should be allowed to visit many of the tourist attractions, but they should be kept from distance so the sites don’t get ruined. If people were allowed to interact with tourist sites directly, these would ruin the sites and then government officials could possibly close them off to the public, not allowing many people to not experience the trip to see these historic sites. People could maybe interact with these tourist attractions, but it could come with strict regulations and fees. Allowing people to interact with these sites can damage the attractions permanently or temporarily. This is my opinion on if people should be able to visit tourist attractions.
Posted by: Harrison M. | January 24, 2018 at 11:31 PM
I think that people should visit ruins but to not enter them, because every time people run or walk up and down the stairs because they destroy them over time and they touch thing that they shouldn’t but that’s my opinion.
Posted by: Jacob b. | January 24, 2018 at 11:31 PM
We shouldn't be allowed on ancient ruins that weren't meant for tourism. When we go on ancient ruins we cause damage that we can't fix. The people who built those ruins didn't intend on massive amounts of people to go on it and ruin their fragile structures. We want to preserve these great structures so that the legacy of those great ancient civilizations.
Posted by: T. M. | January 24, 2018 at 11:31 PM
There are many benefits of visiting historic sites because experiencing history is a fun way to learn about history than just reading it in our textbooks. Visitation rules are imposed on historic sites because everyone wants to preserve the different sites so they will stay up as long as possible. I think that no tourists should go on the sites because if they have to limit the visitors and not all visitors can it's not fair. I think only scientists can go on it and research in it.
Posted by: Alyssa B. | January 24, 2018 at 11:32 PM
People shouldn’t be allowed to visit any ancient structure because you can easily damage the structure. They have been ruined before the modern age. For example, the Cichén Itza, it has exists during the time of the Aztec empire, and it was ruined in 1521. Until now, which is 2018, it is 475 years old and the tourists shouldn’t climb up the ancient structure.
Posted by: RobertH . | January 24, 2018 at 11:32 PM
Personally, I’m kind-of neutral. I liked how it said that “authorities at the Peru Ministry of Culture decided that a maximum of 2,500 people could visit the Incan city of Machu Picchu each day.” That makes it so that people can still visit the ruins, but for example, the temples may need to let fewer people on the steps at a time. Eventually though, they probably will have to ban everyone from seeing these ruins for several reasons.
Posted by: Kendall M. | January 24, 2018 at 11:32 PM
The benefits are learning interesting history that can be contributional to someone's knowlede and an enjoyable trip but the rules are put thee to keep others safe and to keep the ruins or temples intact and in best shape possible. There can be an alternative such as reading about it, the satellite images our space stations provide of the ruins and other activities are available to learn about these ruins but if people were to see these ruins there should be a limit of people who go that there are less injuries and accidents plus the ruins are preserved.
Posted by: L. P. | January 24, 2018 at 11:33 PM
People should be allowed to visit sites like Chichén Itzá, but there should be restrictions. People should get to see cultural history, but it doesn't mean they should actually touch or climb it. Ruins have been here for generations and are fragile; we don't want it to break so even more generations could see it. Generations should be able to continue to see and learn more knowledge. Restrictions are already set, so there is no need to stop people from going unless they break the rules. Don't stop people from visiting ruins to gain more cultural history since there already restrictions.
Posted by: I T. | January 24, 2018 at 11:33 PM
People should not be allowed to visit historical ruins because we could potentially ruin the ruins. It has been proven that even just walking on the stairs of a site like Chichén Itzá causes irreversible damage. We should keep tourists out of these sites completely because even if just one person were let in each day, eventually, the ruins would collapse, and all of that history would be lost. We should work together as a community to preserve sites such as Machu Picchu and La Mosquitia. These sites show so much of our world’s history. Without them, the memories of our history would be just that, memories with no proof.
Posted by: Valerie S. | January 24, 2018 at 11:33 PM
I believe that people should not be allowed to interact these historic sites but they should be able to get close and take images of them. These sites have stood for a long time and we should preserve it so it can stay for those that come after us. Tourists come to see those sites and they should be able to just not touch the ancient buildings. The sites should not be ruined by us and if we follow this compromise then these ruins will stay for much longer. I believe that if we can follow these rules than we can share these structures with our descendants.
Posted by: Diego M. | January 24, 2018 at 11:33 PM
Yes of course we should be able to visit ancient ruins. These ruins are history and beautiful feats of architecture that have influenced society in countless positive ways. They weren’t made to be seen from a distance or forgotten they were made to be capitals of empires and places of human commerce. They should not be forgotten and the only way to keep their memory alive is to visit them and learn from them. What would the point be of them taking up land if they can’t even be visited. Yes this could and probably will speed up their destruction and maybe our children’s children’s children won’t be able to see them in the future but if we aren’t allowed to visit them then they couldn’t see them anyway. Yes there should be boundaries and rules but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t ever see them.
Posted by: Ethan H. | January 24, 2018 at 11:34 PM
I think that people should not be allowed to touch or interact with these ancient ruins, but they should be to visit or see them in person. The sites have so much history and culture behind them that it would be a crime not to allow tourists to visit. However, if the fragile ruins will be ruined by human interaction, future generations will not be able to see these wonders. Although we have many pictures of these various structures, nothing will compare to seeing them in person. For this, I think a sort of compromise should be made. Not only will everyone be able to visit and enjoy these marvelous sights, the structures can stay intact for hundreds of years to come.
Posted by: Gabe M. | January 24, 2018 at 11:34 PM
No. People should not be allowed to visit sites like Chichén Itzá, Machu Picchu, and La Mosquitia for several reasons. It's been proven that having a mass amount of tourists visit each day and venture onto these fragile ruins is causing unfixable damage for structures that were not not made for these purposes. Though they're historical sites that deserve to be shared with the world, the damage that visitors cause could also potentially make the structure unstable and unsafe to be in. It's understandable if they limit the amount of people who visit, but tourists should not be allowed to go on or inside any of the ruins. These places hold great history and without them the origins of our world would be lost. They deserve to be preserved.
Posted by: I. K. | January 24, 2018 at 11:34 PM
I say yes. I say yes because we are arrogant, big, selfish humans. There are many reasons why we are arrogant, big, selfish humans. We often don’t know how precious and fragile things are, most of the time we try to be extra careful but end up breaking or damaging ancient sites. When tourists come and visit popular sites the first thing they think about bringing is their camera. When people take pictures or videos it is often on flash mode, this can make the color fade and ruin the special ancient sites. Also, since there is no gift shop people tend to break off a piece of an ancient object to keep as a ‘souvenir’ which is basically stealing. There are many other reasons why tourists ruin ruins but these are just the main problems people face.
Posted by: M.Su’a g. | January 24, 2018 at 11:35 PM
Visiting historic sites allows more people to learn about the past. People can learn about their heritage and what life was like in the past. In areas like Chichen Itza and Machu Picchu, government authorities are restricting tourist access to them. This is because they are afraid of tourists destroying the ruins. They want these ancient buildings to be around for generations. I agree with what the officials are doing because I want future generations to get to see these important parts of the past. If we allow tourists to continue trampling over these ancient buildings, they may not be around for future people to enjoy.
Posted by: Anna F. | January 24, 2018 at 11:35 PM
These ancient ruins, from Mesoamerica to Africa, are important cultural sites and gateways to the past, and should be preserved for future generations. We should close these sites until a less damaging, yet still immersive alternative is reached. While it may seem farfetched at the current moment, VR could possibly be this compromise. It would allow tourists to feel as if they were at their desired ruins, yet not have a chance of damaging or defiling them. However, this option would be costly, far off in the future, and could hurt the local economy around the sites. Whether VR or another option however, we must find a way to keep these gold mines of history in pristine condition.
Posted by: -Nick H. | January 24, 2018 at 11:35 PM
I think that people should be able to visit these sites because tourists enjoy visiting and looking at really cool places. People travel a thousand of miles just to visit ancient ruins and look at them. It is a nice feeling to look and climb on top of ancient structures. People should have a free will to come and spend their time looking at marvelous things.
Posted by: Sergio M. | January 24, 2018 at 11:35 PM
The benefits of visiting a historic site is learning about the past and sometimes can be very useful, like if you're having a conversation with somebody and they want knowledge of this certain you know exactly what to say. Visitation rules were implied because the bigger the crowds the greater the damage was causing to the structures. I think there should be limits because the locals want to keep the sites as Historic as possible and I find nothing wrong with wanting that.
Posted by: Hannah D. | January 24, 2018 at 11:36 PM
people visit the ancient ruins because there still a lot to learn about also people spend a lot of money when they visit the people who first found the site were not interested in attracting tourism. they impose because they wouldn't like nothing damage falling apart. I think it should be a limit on how many people enter the ancient. when it get over crowed anything could happened. I might cant carry that many people .
Posted by: Leantre F. | January 24, 2018 at 11:36 PM
I think the benefits of visiting a historic site if someone asks benefit you by learning history. I think that rules Are on the historic sites because people are getting hurt. Yes it should be a limit of people because its to many people that come there and somebody can get hurt.
Posted by: Aleesha J. | January 24, 2018 at 11:36 PM
I think that people should visit ruins but to not enter them, because every time people run or walk up and down the stairs because they destroy them over time and they touch thing that they shouldn’t but that’s my opinion.
Posted by: Jacob b. | January 24, 2018 at 11:36 PM

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