High Altitude Ushnu Platforms in the Department of Ayacucho Peru, Structure, Ancestors and Animating Essence
This study is based on a pilot project that was launched to test the validity of a series of hypothesis about the nature, structure, function and role of ushnu platforms in the Late Horizon Inka landscape of the Peruvian Andes. The theories to be tested were firstly whether ushnu platforms were constructed to a precise form that closely resembled the geological, geomorphological and hydrological characteristics of nearby mountains and the surrounding landscape. Secondly, whether the structures adhered to a system of interconnected ‘sight lines’ linking landscape features in remote and widely dispersed parts of the Inka Empire. Thirdly, whether children (Capac Hucha), were selected to be brought to the ushnu, and to be sacrificed there, and placed in, under, or in close proximity to the structure. A collaborative research project was organized involving the Universidad Nacional de San Cristobal de Huamanga and Royal Holloway of the University of London with British Academy funding. The project involved the exploratory excavation of two high altitude ushnus in the department of Ayacucho. In addition, the sampling of lake sequences in close proximity to these structures was to be completed in order to facilitate the contemporary landscape reconstruction of areas around the ushnus. Aspects of mutual visibility between ushnus and other landscape features were to be investigated using GIS facilities available at Royal Holloway.
KeywordsOccupation Site Sacred Place Middle Horizon Horizon Profile Late Intermediate Period
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