Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Neal Bierling, Archaeological Adventures: Getting High (and Low) in Peru, Year 2: Archaeolog...: Getting High (and Low) in Peru, Year 2. Visiting Nasca (Lines), Ica, Paracas, and Ayacucho Nasca Lines: Astronaut or Owl Man? ...
Getting High (and Low) in Peru, Year 2.
Visiting Nasca (Lines), Ica, Paracas, and Ayacucho
|Nasca Lines: Astronaut or Owl Man?|
Sunday afternoon, October 12, we returned from a 10-day trip to Nasca, Ica, Paracas, and ending in Ayacucho. We began at the Pacific coast, our low. As last year, the focus was on the archaeology of Peru, both pre-Inca and Inca. But, I also flew over the Nasca lines (yes, I know, this too was archaeology related), took a boat to the Islas Ballestas (Ballestas Islands) sometimes nicknamed the ‘poor man’s Galapagos,’ and we went to Huacachina, an oasis in the desert where we had an exciting dune buggy ride and went sandboarding.
While staying in Ica, our hotel also was a bodega making Pisco and wine (we sampled, of course). We hired a taxi and visited a couple of other nearby bodegas sampling their Pisco and wine as well.
|Our hotel's bodega|
A few miles outside of Ica and in the desert is the Chauchilla Cemetery. What makes this site unique is not just that the burials date back one thousand years, but you see 1000s of holes dug by huaqueros, grave robbers digging for burial goods and scattering the bones of the formerly buried individuals. The site is now protected, and you are able to see dozens of mummified burial bundles; however, human bones continue to be scattered about this huge site. If you watch for tracks, you will find that foxes continue to visit as well.
Lastly, we ascended back up into the Andes and spent 3 complete days in Huamanga, better known to us as Ayacucho. These last 3 days were dedicated to learning more about the Wari and Inca cultures, and I was not disappointed (well, maybe a little bit, but I explain below). South of Ayacucho, we visited one Inca site only recently being excavated, and I truly believe that if the Inca could return, they would reoccupy Pomacocha, a site without the 1000s of daily visitors as at Machu Picchu. Even their ‘bano’ (bathing area) continues to function.
Further south of Pomacocha is Vilcashuaman believed to have been a regional center for the Inca once they expanded north from Cusco. It too does not have many visitors since the dirt road and the numerous switchbacks entail an average of 15 mph for several hours. This site is unique since it has a pyramid-shaped temple and the nearby Catholic Church is built over a vast Inca platform.
|The basalt 'throne' said to hold the Inca and his sister wife--once gilded with gold|
|Plaza: Inca statue with church on Inca platform in back|
|Basalt 'sacrificial' stone right with local women left|
|Inca Platform with Catholic Church on top. Another basalt throne in foreground|
|This girl was snacking inside the sacrificial stone. I did ask her mother for permission.|
On our final day in Ayacucho, we visited the Wari Capital city of “Wari” just a few miles north of Ayacucho. Since we visited (and I reported on) Cerro Baul, the southern extent of the Wari Empire, I wanted to come to their HQ. The museum was small but informative, but the site itself was not visitor friendly. The extensive barbed wire and even “no photography” signs on the site (?) told me that they really do not welcome visitors. Too bad.
|Wari: Templo 'D'|
I plan to show and explain more on the specific sites in the near future on this blog site.
|Idea for the 'crystal' skull Indy Jones movie?|
The museums and the staff at the various sites were cooperative once I explained that I am an archaeologist researching the Wari, for example. I will credit them on my future blogs. Without their cooperation, it would be very difficult to make sense of the pre-Spanish cultures. I was able to photograph dozens of mummy bundles, and dozens of skulls including the deformed ones that may have led to the Indiana Jones movie number 4 with the crystal skulls—a very historically inaccurate movie. (I have a better plot for Steven Spielberg.) In the museums I was able to photograph dozens of ceramics from the various cultures. Ceramic typology is a very important dating tool. Paz.
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Neal Bierling, Archaeological Adventures: Getting High in Peru, Year 2: The Wari, Lords of t...: The Wari: Lords of the Andes long before the Inca. Getting Close to the Mountain God (Apu) Picchu Picchu Moquegua: Poster at the M...
The Wari: Lords of the Andes long before the Inca.
|Moquegua: Poster at the Museum|
|Sign at the Site|
|Our taxi driver Socrates. He was all covered up the entire trek.|
|Climbing, Note the switchbacks above and below|
|All supplies needed to be carried up|
Both the Wari and the Tiwanaku were at their peak of power and influence from AD 600 -1000. The Wari expanded approximately 800-1000 miles north to south but remained centered in the Ayacucho area in Wari just seven miles distant from Ayacucho and 600km north of Cerro Baul. Wari, at its height, may have had a population of 70,000. Tiwanaku, as its capital city is known, at its height may have had a population of 60,000. In contrast, the population of Cerro Baul was less than 1000. The much later Inca claimed a “spiritual” relatedness with the Tiwanaku and that they, the Inca, had moved from Lake Titicaca around AD 1200 to Cusco. Extensive drought in the 12th century may have ended both the Tiwanaku and Wari empires. In the north, the Chimu succeeded the Wari, and four centuries later, the Inca succeeded the Chimu to grow an empire spreading out from the Sacred Valley due to its sufficient water resources succeeding also both the Wari and Tiwanaku empires. Note that neither the Wari nor the Tiwanaku nor the Inca (4 centuries later) had a writing system, so how did they administer their empire and keep records?
One clue is the khipu. It is a stringed device (few Wari examples exist) that may have been used to keep records involving numbers. It has a primary string from which other cords dangle. Some of these cords have supplementary cords in different colors dangling from them. The example I studied actually did not come from an excavation but is in someone’s private collection (owner unnamed); therefore I’m cautious of saying more until I check out additional sources for Wari examples. So, a future date to continue talk of the khipu. The Incas also used the khipu and there are excavated Inca examples that I plan to use in the near future.
Based on the recovered artifacts, the excavators suggest that Cerro Baul was where the Wari and the Tiwanaku did meet and gather in peace. No artifacts or skeletal remains relating to battles, and with only one exception, no structures were destroyed or fired. The one exception will be explained below. The site is some distance west of Lake Titicaca (HQ for the Tiwanaku) in southern Peru, a 4-hour bus ride south from Arequipa. According to co-director Williams and his colleagues, Cerro Baul was the southern extent of the Wari Empire. As mentioned above, Cerro Baul, had no defensive walls. It was not constructed as a fortress nor did they have a water source or canal on the mesa top.
The excavators believe that Cerro Baul was
|First signs of offerings above and below|
|The Cave with its offerings above and below|
|Real Soles and Dollars?|
|They are almost at the summit. Mt. Picchu Picchu was visible to the north on some shots.|
|The crosses below which are offerings|
|The "Juan" offering|
|The Brewery today|
|Museum Model of the Brewery. My onsite shots are from upper left shooting right.|
|Brewery: Left is where brewed, middle is fermentation room, right where the grain was milled.|
|Museum Model: Brewery, left (colored), Temple D (shaped as a D) center & colored|
|Museum Model: Brewing room top, fermentation room middle, and milling room bottom|
|Grinding/Mill stone now broken|
|Pot Sherds still are scattered about|
|Temple D with entrance upper left|
|Temple D with me shooting from the entrance|
|Another temple with plaza in foreground|
|Temple View with interior rooms|
|This rock is said to be part of the Arundane Temple and its long axis is said to point to the Apu Arundane.|
|Chronological Chart showing the Wari and how they relate to other cultures|
|The model and other displays|
|A Wari holding his drinking mug|
*PNAS is the scholarly journal entitled Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. I used their November 29, 2005 issue which has an article entitled: “Burning down the brewery: Establishing and evacuating an ancient imperial colony at Cerro Baul, Peru.” It was written by Michael E. Mosely, Donna J. Nash, Patrick Ryan Williams, et al.
|The Wari and the Tiwanaku settled below|
|A final shot as we left.|