Funded! This project was successfully funded on February 23, 2013.

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A half-hour documentary about ancient rock art in Paraguay and the rich culture of its guardians, the Pai Tavytera Indians.

                         Our Project Goals:


  • We will not profit financially from this project. Our documentary will be made Creative Commons and available to all for free download online. Anyone in the world with internet access will be able to view and share it. 
  • We are telling an untold story that has been muted for millennia, the story of the rock art of the Amambay hills. Most information from past investigations has not made it to the general public. We hope to spread the story beyond academic circles to a larger audience. 
  • The Pai Tavytera indians will finally have a voice to tell us about their traditions, the struggle they currently face, and their hope for the future. Sadly, their story has often been over looked. 
  • We will be preserving Pai Tavytera culture by promoting their crafts as rewards for donating to this campaign.
  •  We want to help Paraguay make a good case for why the inscriptions should be UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 
  • We will make it possible for people all over the world to virtually explore these sites through 360-degree panoramas, photos, videos, and sounds.

                   Articles about our Project:

                        Project Supporters:


In the Amambay Department of northeastern Paraguay, near the border with Brazil, a collection of enigmatic carvings grace the faces of several rock shelters rising out of the subtropical forest. Over the years, a few teams of archaeologists have visited these sites in an attempt to determine when the rock art may have been made, who created it, and what purpose it served. 

 Until now, one primary voice that’s been largely absent from the discussion is that of the Pai Tavytera, the area’s indigenous people who live near the rock art and regard it as sacred. The Amambay petroglyphs are sometimes reproduced on the Pai Tavytera crafts and the carvings are thought to be a component of the local people’s spiritual identity. If any source can help provide a more rounded picture of the petroglyphs, it is the Pai Tavytera. 

But while the inscriptions themselves are set in stone, they, like everything else, are not permanent. Although the rock art has long been safeguarded by its relative isolation and the protection of surrounding trees, we believe the encroaching modern world is leaving them increasingly exposed and vulnerable to vandals and damage from the elements. 

 Our international team will travel to the Amambay Hills to create a half-hour documentary about the inscriptions, the special place they hold in the lives of the Pai Tavytera, and the struggle the people face at the confluence of economic progress, environmental conservation and cultural preservation. In addition to the documentary, we will also use the Xbox Kinect to scan the inscription sites to create a virtual model to be studied and explored virtually by people all over the world.

"The Solar Map"
"The Solar Map"
"The eye"
"The eye"

Our Approach and Itinerary

We want to travel to Paraguay before the burning season begins in August. From our base outside of Pedro Juan Caballero, we will make trips to the three major rock art sites and also to a small tribe of the Pai Tavytera named the Panambi’y. 

We will then return to United States to review and edit the footage and donate some of our images to creative commons. In the fall, we will return to Paraguay for pick-up shots, filling in holes left after the first shoot and completing our story.

We will visit with a local Pai Tavytera tribe called the Panambi'y
We will visit with a local Pai Tavytera tribe called the Panambi'y
Most of the Pai Tavytera still live in traditional thatch roof huts.
Most of the Pai Tavytera still live in traditional thatch roof huts.
The Pai Tavytera believe God created the whole Universe from the Amambay hills, that is why they revere the hills.
The Pai Tavytera believe God created the whole Universe from the Amambay hills, that is why they revere the hills.
The Pai Tavytera consider the inscriptions sacred. They believe that damaging or even touching them will disappoint God.
The Pai Tavytera consider the inscriptions sacred. They believe that damaging or even touching them will disappoint God.
Slash and burn agriculture have removed the protection that was once given by the shade of trees, making the inscription vulnerable to the elements.
Slash and burn agriculture have removed the protection that was once given by the shade of trees, making the inscription vulnerable to the elements.
We believe that once the protection from the shade of trees is removed, fungus starts to grow and break down the rock, destroying the inscriptions.
We believe that once the protection from the shade of trees is removed, fungus starts to grow and break down the rock, destroying the inscriptions.
Although the rock art sites have been visited by teams of scholars, we have noticed how very little of this information ends up reaching a larger audience. The importance of making this project creative commons is to ensure that scientists and citizen scientists from around the world will now have access to this information with supporting oral history from the indigenous people.
We truly believe that the people who made these inscriptions would have liked for their legacy to be accessible to anyone around the world and not studied and copyrighted by a only a few individuals.
This is why we are making this project creative commons, so that you can see and freely share this information. All we’re asking is for a simple credit to our crew whenever you pass it along. Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

CC BY-NC 3.0

How the Funds will be Utilized

Your backing will be essential to make this project a reality. 

Most of the funds will be used to covering filming equipment cost, transportation and accommodations in Paraguay.

The rest will be used to pay guides, ancillary expenses (food, drink, other small costs), Kickstarter rewards (rewards will be bought from local artisans), and Kickstarter + Amazon processing fees.

By donating to this project, you’ll be helping in more ways than one. You will not only be supporting public education by helping produce a documentary on a beautiful and fragile culture, you will also be helping to support it. We are offering one-of-a-kind sculptures made by artisans from the local Indian communities. 

These pyrography sculptures  will be made especially for this project and you won’t be able to find them anywhere else in the world. The money will go directly to the people who need it the most—the native artists.

A hand carved wood sculpture by artisan from the Panambi'y tribe.
A hand carved wood sculpture by artisan from the Panambi'y tribe.
A hand carved wood sculpture by artisan from the Panambi'y tribe.
A hand carved wood sculpture by artisan from the Panambi'y tribe.
Digital download.
Digital download.
Caraguata Bracelets!
Caraguata Bracelets!
Close up on Bracelet
Close up on Bracelet
Medicine Pouch.
Medicine Pouch.

Spiritual Seeker.
Spiritual Seeker.
Mimby, musical instrument made by local Shaman.
Mimby, musical instrument made by local Shaman.
Giant hand carved pyrography wood statue.
Giant hand carved pyrography wood statue.

          Thank you for checking out our project. 

                  We hope that you will join us!

Follow us on Facebook!
Follow us on Facebook!
      Please feel free to contact me at: frankoweaver@gmail.com

Myself with local Shaman Galeano Suarez and his wife, very good people.
Myself with local Shaman Galeano Suarez and his wife, very good people.
On a recent visit, I noticed that a lot of the Pai Tavytera indians were leaving the reservation to seek better opportunities in the city.
On a recent visit, I noticed that a lot of the Pai Tavytera indians were leaving the reservation to seek better opportunities in the city.
The Pai Tavytera have a unique perspective on what the inscriptions might mean, and this knowledge must be recorded before it is lost.
The Pai Tavytera have a unique perspective on what the inscriptions might mean, and this knowledge must be recorded before it is lost.
Lack of awareness about the importance of the inscriptions leads to vandalism by local people.
Lack of awareness about the importance of the inscriptions leads to vandalism by local people.
In a battle against time to save the culture of the Pai Tavytera, and bring awareness of the value of the inscriptions, we turn to Kickstarter.
In a battle against time to save the culture of the Pai Tavytera, and bring awareness of the value of the inscriptions, we turn to Kickstarter.
We will use crafts made by the local Indians, such as the wooden animal sculpture, as rewards. This is economically beneficial to the Pai Tavytera, and it helps them cherish and value their culture.
We will use crafts made by the local Indians, such as the wooden animal sculpture, as rewards. This is economically beneficial to the Pai Tavytera, and it helps them cherish and value their culture.
With a successful kickstarter campaign we will be able to explore and document the mysterious Amambay hills...
With a successful kickstarter campaign we will be able to explore and document the mysterious Amambay hills...

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Securing permission at each stage of production is essential to ensuring our safety. Last year, a well-intentioned Argentinean archaeologist who wished to explore the sites at Cerro Guazu made it all the way there but went to one of the sites of the inscriptions without first getting the permission from the tribal chiefs. The natives proceeded to detain him and intended to try him according to their own traditions. Paraguayan police were called in to free the intruder, and there was a brief standoff between the authorities. Fortunately it was resolved peacefully, and the naive explorer was freed.

I am confident I will get the permission to film the sites for many reasons. My father was among the pioneers who lead explorers to those archaeological sites. Through repeated contacts we have established a relationship of trust with the guardians of the sacred hill. Also, in 2005 I was initiated into the Panambi-y tribe, and have developed a close relationship with the Shaman of the tribe, who has pledged his support.
All the same, it will still require effort using all my knowledge, contacts, and savvy, as well as time and money. Political developments in the region could delay our trips to ensure the safety of our team. All donors will be updated on any delays accordingly. We are confident that despite the obstacles, our passion and determination will see the project through to its completion.

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    Virtual Explorer. You will be among the first ones to receive a download copy of the documentary. Bragging rights for funding a creative commons documentary about Ancient inscriptions in a remote part of South America, and the culture of the Indians who are their guardians!

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    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL! Adventure Seeker. An awesome Caraguata Bracelet hand made by the Guarani Indians! Documentary Download + Bragging rights for funding a creative commons documentary about Ancient inscriptions in a remote part of South America, and the culture of the Indians who are their guardians!

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    Spiritual Seeker. A medicine pouch made by the Guarani Indians! Documentary Download + Bragging rights for funding a creative commons documentary about Ancient inscriptions in a remote part of South America, and the culture of the Indians who are their guardians!

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    Adventure and Glory. Caraguata bracelet, PLUS your name on the film ending credits under Special Thanks! Documentary Download + Bragging rights for funding a creative commons documentary about Ancient inscriptions in a remote part of South America, and the culture of the Indians who are their guardians!

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    Cultural Discovery. A hand carved wood sculpture by artisan from the Panambi'y tribe. Sculptures are made from native wood specially planted to be used for crafts. After crafted the sculpture are given detail by pyrography. Artisan get their inspiration from nature, that is why sculptures depict animals found in the region. Documentary Download + Bragging rights for funding a creative commons documentary about Ancient inscriptions in a remote part of South America, and the culture of the Indians who are their guardians!

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    Cultural explorer. "MIMBY" a hand made wood whistle made by Shaman from the Pai Tavytera of Cerro Gasory. The whistle is used to announce changes in ceremonies or alerts doing hunting. Documentary Download + Bragging rights for funding a creative commons documentary about Ancient inscriptions in a remote part of South America, and the culture of the Indians who are their guardians!

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    Cultural Promoter. A giant wood sculpture made by the Pai Tavytera indians of Cerro Gasory. Sculptures are made from native wood specially planted to be used for crafts. After crafted the sculpture are given detail by pyrography. Artisan get their inspiration from nature, that is why sculptures depict animals found in the region. Documentary Download + Bragging rights for funding a creative commons documentary about Ancient inscriptions in a remote part of South America, and the culture of the Indians who are their guardians!

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    Authentic Experience: We will pick you up at the Pedro Juan Caballero airport and take you to the rock art sites. This will include five days of rustic lodging at Cerro Cora National Park. Please contact us for more details.

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    Pai Tavytera Experience: We will pick you up at the Asuncion airport and take you to visit rock art sites and to a Pai Tavytera indian ceremony. This will include five days of rustic lodging at Cerro Cora National Park. Please contact us for more details.

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