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Ancient Cuzco

Ancient Cuzco
Heartland of the Inca

This landmark book undertakes the first general overview of the prehistory of the Cuzco region from the arrival of the first hunter-gatherers (ca. 7000 B.C.) to the fall of the Inca Empire in A.D. 1532.

Series: Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Endowment in Latin American and Latino Art and Culture

January 2004
This is a print-on-demand title. Expedited shipping is not available.
271 pages | 8 1/2 x 11 | 76 photos, 25 figures, 26 maps, 6 tables |

The Cuzco Valley of Peru was both the sacred and the political center of the largest state in the prehistoric Americas—the Inca Empire. From the city of Cuzco, the Incas ruled at least eight million people in a realm that stretched from modern-day Colombia to Chile. Yet, despite its great importance in the cultural development of the Americas, the Cuzco Valley has only recently received the same kind of systematic archaeological survey long since conducted at other New World centers of civilization.

Drawing on the results of the Cuzco Valley Archaeological Project that Brian Bauer directed from 1994 to 2000, this landmark book undertakes the first general overview of the prehistory of the Cuzco region from the arrival of the first hunter-gatherers (ca. 7000 B.C.) to the fall of the Inca Empire in A.D. 1532. Combining archaeological survey and excavation data with historical records, the book addresses both the specific patterns of settlement in the Cuzco Valley and the larger processes of cultural development. With its wealth of new information, this book will become the baseline for research on the Inca and the Cuzco Valley for years to come.

  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1. Introduction to the Inca
    • The Cuzco Valley at the Time of the Inca Empire: A Brief Overview
    • The Cuzco Valley and Its Natural Resources
    • Overview of Cuzco Archaeological Research
    • The Cuzco Valley Archaeological Project
    • The Cuzco Chronology
  • Chapter 2. The Inca Heartland
    • The Social Hierarchy of the Cuzco Region
    • Summary and Discussion
  • Chapter 3. Human Impact and Environmental History of the Cuzco Region (Alex Chepstow-Lusty, Brian S. Bauer, and Michael Frogley)
    • Ice Cores
    • Lake-Sediment Cores
    • The Cuzco Environment and Human Impact: 10,000-2000 BC
    • The Cuzco Environment and Human Impact: 2000 BC-AD 100
    • The Cuzco Environment and Human Impact: AD 100-1100
    • The Cuzco Environment and Human Impact: AD 1100-1490
    • The Cuzco Environment and Human Impact during the Little Ice Age: AD 1490-1880
    • Summary and Discussion
  • Chapter 4. The Archaic Period and the First People of the Cuzco Valley (9500-2200 BC) (Brian Bauer, Bradford Jones, and Cindy Klink)
    • The Cuzco Archaic Period
    • Summary and Discussion
  • Chapter 5. The Formative Period and the Emergence of Ranked Societies (2200 BC-AD 200)
    • The Early Formative Phase (2200-1500 BC) and the Beginnings of Ceramic Production
    • The Middle Formative Phase and the Establishment of Autochthonous Village Leadership (ca. 1500-500 BC)
    • The Late Formative Phase and the Development of a Valley-wide Chiefdom (500 BC-AD 200)
    • The Late Formative Phase in the Cuzco Valley
    • Summary and Discussion
  • Chapter 6. The Qotakalli Period: Time of Regional Development (AD 200-600)
    • Previous Research on the Qotakalli Period
    • Altiplano Influence in the Cuzco Region during the Qotakalli Period
    • The Cuzco Valley during the Qotakalli Period
    • The Distribution of Qotakalli Ceramics beyond the Cuzco Valley
    • Summary and Discussion
  • Chapter 7. The Wari Period (AD 600-1000) in the Cuzco Region
    • Indicators of Wari Influence
    • The Development and Expansion of the Wari Empire
    • The Site of Pikillacta
    • The Wari in the Cuzco Region
    • Dating the Period of Wari Influence in the Cuzco Region
    • Summary and Discussion
  • Chapter 8. The Development of the Inca State (AD 1000-1400) (Brian S. Bauer and R. Alan Covey)
    • Previous Research on the Development of the Inca Heartland
    • Archaeological Surveys in the Inca Heartland
    • Ceramic Styles of the Killke Period
    • Other Killke-Related Styles in the Cuzco Region
    • State Formation in the Cuzco Basin
    • The Region South of the Cuzco Valley
    • The Region West and Northwest of the Cuzco Valley
    • The Region North of the Cuzco Valley
    • The Region East and Southeast of the Cuzco Valley
    • Inca State Formation and Imperial Administrative Strategies
    • Summary and Discussion
  • Chapter 9. The Cuzco Valley during Imperial Inca Rule
    • Identifying Inca Sites
    • Distribution of Inca Sites in the Cuzco Valley
    • Storage Facilities in Cuzco and the Valley
    • The Site of Sacsayhuaman
    • Summary and Discussion
  • Chapter 10. Inca Cuzco
    • Important Documents
    • The Arrival of the First Europeans in Cuzco
    • The Fall of Inca Cuzco (1533-1536)
    • The Plazas of Central Cuzco
    • The Casana Compound
    • The Coracora Compound
    • East Side of the Plaza
    • The Amarucancha Compound
    • The Sondorhuasi Tower
    • The Acllahuasi Compound
    • The Hatuncancha Compound
    • The Pucamarca Compound
    • Cusicancha
    • Other Important Buildings in Cuzco
    • Summary and Discussion
  • Chapter 11. The Coricancha
    • Atahualpa's Ransom and the Gold of the Coricancha (1533-1534)
    • Other Early Descriptions of the Coricancha
    • The Coricancha and Inca Astronomy
    • The Coricancha as the Center of the Empire
    • The Coricancha and the Shrines of the Cuzco Ceque System
    • Summary and Discussion
  • Chapter 12. The Mummies of the Royal Inca
    • Polo de Ondegardo and the Inca Mummies
    • Ancestor Worship in the Andes
    • The Royal Panacas of Cuzco
    • Care for the Mummies
    • Representations of the Inca Kings and Their Huauques and Bultos
    • Discovery and Destruction of the Royal Inca Mummies
    • Polo de Ondegardo, Viceroy Hurtado de Mendoza, and the Fate of the Inca Mummies
    • Summary and Discussion
  • Chapter 13. Overview of the Inca Heartland
  • Appendix. Radiocarbon Dates from the Cuzco Region
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Brian S. Bauer is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the author or coauthor of four previous books on the Inca.


The Inca Empire was the largest state to develop in the Americas. Last in a series of complex Andean societies, it emerged in the south-central mountains of Peru, expanded across the western highlands and coast of South America, and ultimately encompassed a territory that stretched from modern-day Colombia to Chile. By the time of European contact in 1532, the Inca ruled a population of at least eight million from their capital city in the Cuzco Valley.


The Cuzco Valley was the sacred center of the empire and the royal seat of the dynastic order that ruled the realm. Despite the importance of the Cuzco Valley in the prehistory of the Americas, it has been one of the last great centers of civilization in the Americas to be systematically studied. As the heartland of the Inca, the Cuzco Valley has frequently been discussed in the literature, and anthropologists, historians, and archaeologists have long speculated on the locations and importance of its numerous archaeological sites. Yet there has been a surprising lack of archaeological field research in the Cuzco Valley itself


Until recently, there had been no attempt to systematically survey the Cuzco Valley or to document all of its archaeological sites. As a result, critical issues concerning the cultural history of the valley and the development of the Inca Empire have remained unexplored. Furthermore, we know little about the social complexity of groups that occupied the region before the Inca Empire developed and how the achievements of these earlier people helped to form the foundations upon which the Inca built their great state.


Witnessing the recent rapid urban growth of the city and realizing the need for a systematic regional survey of the Inca heartland, I began the Cuzco Valley Archaeological Project in 1994. The project was designed as a multistage regional study of the Inca heartland, dedicated to documenting and interpreting the distribution of its archaeological sites. The systematic documentation of site types, locations, sizes, and ages in the region has yielded new information on the ancient cultures of this important area. The overall objective of the project was to reconstruct the settlement history of the Cuzco Valley by combining the results of a systematic survey of the valley with data gathered from excavations at a number of sites and information recovered from various historic documents.


In this book I present the major results of that project and offer an overview of the cultural developments that occurred in the Cuzco Valley from the time of its first occupants, soon after the retreat of the Pleistocene glaciers, to the arrival of the Spaniards and the subsequent collapse of the Inca Empire. The goal of the book is to extend our knowledge of the area well beyond the generalized descriptions currently available for the prehistory of the region and to address a series of research questions concerning both the general processes of cultural development and the specific historic patterns of the region. In the first half of the book, I attempt to answer several basic questions: How has the climate of the region changed over time (Chapter 3)? When was the valley first occupied (Chapter 4)? How did settlement strategies change with the establishment of the first villages (Chapter 5)? What effects did the conquest of the region by the Wari Empire (ca. AD 600) have on the indigenous populations (Chapters 6 and 7)? and When did the Inca state first develop in the Cuzco Valley (Chapter 8)?


Detailed descriptions of the Cuzco region at the height of Inca rule are also presented. Issues addressed include: How is the heartland of the Inca defined (Chapter 2)? What was the valley and the imperial city of Cuzco like during Inca times (Chapters 9 and 10)? and finally, What do we know about the most famous sanctuary of the Inca (the Coricancha) and about the Inca practice of mummifying and worshiping their dead kings (Chapters 11 and 12)?


In sum, this book provides a regional context within which we can study the development of social complexity in the Cuzco Valley for the first time. By combining systematic survey data with information collected from excavations as well as historic documents, we are able to reconstruct the settlement history of the valley from preceramic times to the fall of the Inca Empire (Map 1.1).


The analysis of the data takes place within the confines of a cultural evolutionary model that anticipates that with strong population growth, there will be a greater dependence on domesticated foods, larger settlements, and increased specialization over time. In this way, the populations of a region are seen as transitioning from being hunter-gatherers living in seasonal camps to agriculturists and herders living in hamlets and small villages. In time, these villages grow larger, and hierarchical differences may develop between individuals. The appearance of two-tiered societies (also called ranked societies), composed of a small number of elite families and a large number of commoners, in the archaeological record is generally interpreted as marking the formation of chiefdoms in a region. Especially successful chiefdoms may in time incorporate other nearby societies into their sphere of influence and emerge as states. Through the use of this cultural evolutionary model, the results of this investigation can be compared with those of other regional studies that have recently been completed in Peru, such as those conducted by Timothy K. Earle et al. (1980) and Jeffrey R. Parsons et al. (2000a, 2000b) in the Upper Mantaro region, by Charles Stanish (2003) in the Lake Titicaca region, by Helaine Silverman (2002) in the Nazca region, as well as by Brian Billman (1996) and David J. Wilson (1988) on the north coast. The results of the work also provide comparative information for the study of chiefdoms and states elsewhere in the ancient Americas (e.g., Marcus and Flannery 1996; Marcus 1998; Blanton et al. 1999).


The Cuzco Valley at the Time of the Inca Empire: A Brief Overview


The large and agriculturally rich Cuzco Valley emerged preeminent in the fifteenth century AD as the heartland of the Inca. Near the north end of the valley lies the sacred city of Cuzco. The region immediately surrounding the Cuzco Valley was occupied by a number of different ethnic groups that were absorbed into the Inca state during an early period of state formation. By about AD 1400, the Inca had united the region under their rule, and the city of Cuzco had emerged as their capital (Bauer 1992a; Bauer and Covey 2002). The Inca then expanded from this well-integrated heartland and quickly formed one of the greatest polities to develop in the Americas. Within three generations, the Inca Empire grew to control a vast area of South America. Yet, as a result of regional and ethnic conflict, conquest by the Spaniards, and the spread of deadly European diseases, the last and largest of the indigenous states of the Americas collapsed even more quickly than it began. By 1572, thousands of Spaniards occupied the important cities of the former empire, and the last direct heir to the Inca crown, Tupac Amaru, had been executed. In 1650 an earthquake flattened the city of Cuzco, and in its aftermath the city was rebuilt following norms of European architecture. By that time, the Inca Empire had long since fallen, and Lima had come to dominate the social, political, and economic spheres of the land. The Cuzco region, home to thriving local societies for thousands of years and the former capital of the Inca Empire, began to fade from the world's view.


Inca Cuzco


At its height, the city of Cuzco was home to more than 20,000 people (Valverde, cited in Porras Barrenechea 1959: 312-313 [1539]), with many thousands more located in numerous large villages scattered across the valley. Besides being the royal seat for the ruling dynasty and the political heart of the Inca polity, Cuzco represented the geographical and spiritual center of the empire. At the center of the city stood the Coricancha (Golden Enclosure) or what the Spaniards later referred to as the Templo del Sol (Temple of the Sun). This elaborate complex, built with the finest Inca stone masonry and metalwork, was the focal point for the major imperial religious rites that were staged in the city. After the conquest, the church and monastery of Santo Domingo was built on this site. Nevertheless, many of the former structures and the superb Inca stonework of the temple complex can still be seen.


The central plaza of Cuzco was also an important ceremonial area in the city. During major rituals, the mummies of the dead Inca rulers were placed in the plaza, and thousands of people gathered to see them. The city center also held temples for various gods, several palaces, numerous royal storehouses, and a wide range of other state institutions and facilities. For example, the large complex of the Acllahuaci (House of Chosen [Women]), which housed hundreds of women who dedicated their lives to serving the state, stood near the center of Cuzco.


Just outside the city was the monumental structure of Sacsayhuaman. World famous for the massive stones that form parts of its walls, Sacsayhuaman is frequently referred to as a "fortress." Some early accounts of Cuzco (Cieza de León 1976: 154 [1554: Pt. 2, Ch. 51]) indicate that Sacsayhuaman contained a sun temple, suggesting that it was the focus of ritual activities. Further outside the city, but still within the valley, were other state facilities, royal estates, and a large number of villages and towns.


Dynastic Order of the Inca


At the time of the European invasion, the royal Inca traced their ancestry back eleven generations from the last undisputed ruler of the empire, Huayna Capac, to the mythical founder of Cuzco, Manco Capac (Table 1.1). Traditionally, the Inca are thought to have expanded their state beyond the limits of the Cuzco region under Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, the ninth ruling Inca. A warrior king of legendary proportions, Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui is frequently credited with having reorganized the economic, social, and calendric systems of the empire. According to oral tradition recorded by the Spaniards, Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui's eldest son, Amaru Topa, was passed over as heir to the throne, and the rule was given to his younger son, Topa Inca Yupanqui. Decades later, Huayna Capac, a son of Topa Inca Yupanqui, inherited the rule from his father and continued expanding the empire until his sudden death in an epidemic that swept the empire in the 1520s, shortly before European contact. Following the death of Huayna Capac, the rule of Tahuantinsuyu was disputed between two half brothers, Atahualpa and Huascar. The Spanish forces of Francisco Pizarro arrived in Peru in 1532, just as Atahualpa defeated Huascar. Pizarro captured Atahualpa in the highland city of Cajamarca and, after holding the ruling Inca hostage for most of a year, executed him.


For some forty years after the execution of Atahualpa, the Spaniards established and supported a series of puppet Inca kings in Cuzco. During this period the Spaniards fought a protracted war against Manco Inca (a half brother of Atahualpa) and his descendants, who attempted to maintain an independent Inca state with a capital in the remote area of Vilcabamba. The end of indigenous rule came in 1572 with the capture and execution of Tupac Amaru, the last surviving son of Manco Inca, by the Spaniards.


The Cuzco Valley and Its Natural Resources


The Cuzco Valley is defined in this work as the area drained by the Huatanay River (Map 1.2), which flows southeast from above the modern city of Cuzco, through the area of the Angostura (the Narrows) at approximately mid-valley, and into the Lucre Basin, where it turns northeast and enters the Vilcanota River. So defined, the Cuzco Valley is about 40 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide at its maximum (Photo 1.1). For analytical purposes, the Cuzco Valley is frequently divided into three parts or basins: the Cuzco Basin, the Oropesa Basin, and the Lucre Basin.


The Cuzco Basin represents the northwest end of the valley and is defined as the region between the headwaters of the Huatanay on the mountain of Huaynacorcor, northwest of Cuzco, and the distinct narrowing of the valley below the modern-day town of San Jerónimo called the Angostura, southeast of Cuzco. The Oropesa Basin represents a long and narrow stretch of the river valley between the Angostura and a second constriction of the valley just southeast of the town of Oropesa. The Lucre Basin entails the drainage area for Lake Lucre near the conjunction of the Huatanay and the Vilcanota Rivers. The southeast end of the Cuzco Valley, in the Lucre Basin, lies at 3,100 m, while Cuzco rests at 3,400 m. The highest mountain surrounding the valley is Pachatusan, which rises to 4,842 m. A series of diverse climatic zones are located along the slopes of the Cuzco Valley. During Inca times, the lowest-lying areas were inundated from January through March by annual flooding. Thus, although the valley bottom supported a wide range of faunal and floral life, it was unsuitable for permanent human occupation.


The most agriculturally productive and intensively occupied environmental zones in the Cuzco Valley are the large alluvial terraces that rest some 20-50 meters above the valley floor. Being flat and relatively easily irrigated, these regions are excellent for maize cultivation. It should be noted, however, that the alluvial terraces are not distributed evenly across the valley. For example, the north side of the Cuzco Basin is characterized by steep mountain slopes, entrenched streams, and small areas of alluvial terraces. In contrast, the southern side of the Cuzco Basin contains broad expanses of alluvial terraces, wide tributary valleys, and gentler slopes. For these reasons, the first agriculturists focused their settlements on the south, rather than the north, side of the basin. It was not until the Killke Period (AD 1000-1400), and the advent of large-scale irrigation systems built as public works projects, that the agricultural potential of the north side could be fully and effectively exploited. The settlement preference for the south side of the valley was immediately clear to us while conducting the survey, and it is even notable in the first archaeological map of the basin, made when the locations of only a handful of sites were known (Map 1.3).


A variety of Old and New World crops, including wheat, broad beans, and potatoes, are currently grown on the valley slopes (3,500-3,900 m). Daniel Gade (1975: 105-106), working in the nearby Vilcanota Valley, notes that in Inca times this zone was characterized by the cultivation of tubers (such as oca, añu, and ullucu) and native seed crops (such as quinoa and tarwi). Harvests on the valley slopes vary greatly from year to year because of frost and hail damage.


The highest environmental zone in the Cuzco Valley is characterized by rounded ridges and scattered rock outcroppings. The lower reaches of this zone are occasionally used for tuber cultivation (3,900-4,000 m.) while the upper parts are covered with the hearty Andean ichu grass used extensively for pasture. Gade (1975:104) writes of this zone: "Undoubtedly the most important single grass species is Stipa ichu, the basic food of llamas and alpacas, as well as a plant used directly by man in a number of ways. The low temperatures and short growing season rule out full-scale agriculture, and in this zone one finds the uppermost limits of crop cultivation." A variety of frost-resistant tubers, including various "sweet" and "bitter" potatoes, are cultivated in the Cuzco region. From June to August, when the nights are cold and frosts frequent, chuño and moraya, two different forms of freeze-dried potatoes, are produced in this zone.


Rising above the upper limits of crop cultivation are several important mountain peaks, most notably Pachatusan, where snow survives year-round in the deeply shaded spots near its summit. Other important mountains adjacent to the valley include Huanacauri (4,089 m), Anaguarque (4,000 m), Picchu (4,050m), and Huaynacorcor (formally known as Sinca [4,400 m]), which were all considered sacred by the Inca (Sarmiento de Gamboa 1906: 69 [1572: Ch. 31]). Evidence of Inca offerings has been found at the summits of most of these mountains.


It is also important to note that although the Cuzco Valley is now greatly deforested, during late prehistoric times this was not the case. Garcilaso de la Vega witnessed the rapid deforestation of the valley that occurred soon after the arrival of the Spaniards:


I remember that the valley of Cuzco used to be adorned with innumerable trees of this valuable variety, but within the space of a very few years it was almost stripped of them, the reason being that they provide excellent charcoal for braziers. (Garcilaso de la Vega 1966: 504 [1609: Pt. I, Bk. 8, Ch. 12])


Perhaps the largest concentration of forest lay to the northwest of Cuzco, in a vast and rolling area between the city and the slope of Huaynacorcor. Based on the large number of projectile points found during our survey work in these hills, it seems that the northwestern end of the valley continued to be a favored hunting region throughout prehistory. This remained true even in Inca times, as we know that the Inca maintained a royal hunting lodge there (Cobo 1990: 63 [1653: Bk. 13, Ch. 14]).


Salt springs are common features of the Andes, and when the concentration of salt in the water is high enough, the streams are exploited for their minerals. During the dry season, wide, shallow basins are dug into the earth and repeatedly filled with the saline water. Through numerous evaporation and refilling events, deposits of salt develop on the basin floors which are then harvested at the end of the dry season. Such salt production continues today in the area of Maras, some 30 kilometers northwest of Cuzco, and there were once similar, although much smaller, salt pans just outside the village of San Sebastián in the Cuzco Basin. Various early colonial writers note the production of salt at this location, and it was at this spot that Hernando Pizarro defeated Diego Almagro in 1538 in what is called "the Battle of the Salt Flats." Bingham recorded the salt pans in a 1912 photograph, and a few survived until the early 1970s, when they were finally destroyed by urban growth (Photo 1.2).


Overview of Cuzco Archaeological Research


Following Peru's independence from Spain in 1824, Cuzco became a mecca for those interested in the Inca. American and European explorers began arriving and subsequently publishing accounts of their travels. At the same time, Peruvian educational and research institutions began to develop, and their members also journeyed to the former imperial capital to report on its antiquities.


Nineteenth-Century Works


With the publication of William Prescott's History of the Conquest of Peru (1847), interest in the Inca was renewed worldwide. Building on the success of Alexander Humboldt's explorations into Ecuador at the turn of the century, the French were especially active in explorations. In 1847 Léonce Angrand (1972) traveled from Lima to Cuzco, recording his journey in a series of fine-line drawings. Peruvian-born Mariano Eduardo de Rivero and his colleague Johann Jakob von Tschudi described the general antiquities of Peru, first in Spanish in 1851 and then in English in 1854, and included a discussion of Cuzco. Their work contains a rough but early illustration of the Dominican church that was built upon the Coricancha as well as a crude drawing of a stone wall in the city. British explorer Clements Markham arrived in Cuzco in 1853 and spent several weeks visiting the city and the nearby countryside (Markham 1856). He, too, provides a number of rough drawings of the city and its ancient monuments (Blanchard 1991). Charles Wiener was commissioned by the French government to travel through and report on Peru and Bolivia in 1877. His book contains many engravings of Cuzco and various artifacts that he saw while in the city (Wiener 1880). Peruvian researchers were also active during this time. Among the most important was Antonio Raimondi, who recorded his impressions of the Cuzco countryside in his multivolume work El Perú (1874-1879).


Ephraim George Squier, perhaps the most celebrated nineteenth-century explorer of the Andes, visited Cuzco in 1865 and lived for two weeks with the Dominican monks within the confines of the former Coricancha. He traveled to Peru as part of a special negotiating commission appointed by President Lincoln to settle a variety of issues with the Peruvian government. After completing his official work in Lima, Squier spent over a year (1864-1865) exploring the Andes. On returning from South America, Squier wrote his classic study Peru: Incidents of Travel and Exploration in the Land of the Incas. His book is filled with detailed discussions of the places he saw, maps of many of the sites he visited, and numerous engravings of the lands, ruins, and peoples he encountered. In all, Squier provides three maps (including the earliest map of the Coricancha) and more than twenty engravings related to the city of Cuzco and its surrounding ruins.


An equally significant contribution by Squier, although largely unpublished, is a collection of photographs that he took during his travels. His pictures of the coast are of extremely high quality and represent the earliest photographs of many important archaeological sites. Unfortunately, Squier's photographer died as soon as they arrived in the Bolivian highlands, so he was forced to take his own pictures during the later months of his trip. But Squier had little photographic experience, and his pictures of the Lake Titicaca Basin and Cuzco region are of poor quality. Nevertheless, they preserve important architectural information, and several are published for the first time in the second half of this book.


Early-Twentieth-Century Works


One of the "fathers" of Andean archaeology, Max Uhle, conducted active fieldwork in Peru for several decades after his first visit to Peru in 1892. He spent time in 1905, 1907, and 1911 in the Cuzco region, where he conducted excavations (Uhle 1912; Valencia Zegarra 1979), as well as in the city itself, where he produced an early map of the Coricancha (Uhle 1930). The great turning point in Cuzco archaeology occurred, however, with the work of Yale University's Hiram Bingham. Although Bingham was a Latin American historian rather than a trained archaeologist, he led a series of three archaeological expeditions over the course of five years (1911-1916) that brought Machu Picchu to the world's attention. This spectacular find placed Cuzco in the limelight for world travelers, where it has remained ever since. Bingham's numerous publications and those produced by other members of the expeditions also marked the beginning of scientific literature for the Inca heartland.


By 1920 the Cuzco region—with the imperial city of the Inca, the so-called Sacred Valley of the Vilcanota, and the newly cleared site of Machu Picchu—was established as a world-famous tourist destination. Guide books (Zirate 1921; García 1922), postcards, and images for lenticular stereoscopes showing the ancient monuments of the region were being produced on a large scale. In 1934, to increase tourism and to mark the fourth centenary of Spanish Cuzco, the Peruvian government began a series of large-scale restoration projects at the largest and most famous sites of the region, such as Sacsayhuaman, Kenko, Tambomachay, Pikillacta, and Pisaq. Unfortunately, with the exception of a few brief accounts by Luis E. Valcircel (1934 1935) the results of these massive projects have not been published. However, other studies conducted in Cuzco over the course of the 1930s, particularly those supervised by Luis Pardo, director of the Archaeological Museum in Cuzco (1938, 1939, 1941, 1946, 1957), were completed and published.


The 1940s brought many advances to Cuzco archaeology, which was at that time still largely focused on studying Inca remains. Starting in 1941, John H. Rowe began an investigation of the region to identify its pre-Inca materials (Rowe 1944). Working closely with local archaeologists, Rowe (1956) produced the first ceramic sequence for the region, which spans the time between the appearance of large agricultural villages (ca. 500 BC) to the fall of the Inca Empire. In the post-World War II period, there has been a steady increase in research interest in the Inca and pre-Inca remains of the region. Much of this more recent research is discussed in detail in later chapters of this book that present the various historic periods of the Cuzco region in chronological order.


The Cuzco Valley Archaeological Project


With the rapid population growth of Cuzco, dozens of its archaeological sites are being destroyed each year, and there is little time left to collect information on the heartland of the Inca. In the early 1980s, the National Institute of Culture (INC, Instituto Nacional de Cultura) in Cuzco funded a project to document the largest sites of the area. In the course of this project, the INC produced a series of outstanding maps that have successfully been used to defend many areas of cultural importance against the advancement of urban growth. Nevertheless, with the construction of new homes, roads, sewer lines, and other support facilities for Cuzco, many sites are destroyed each year. In 1994 I began the Cuzco Valley Archaeological Project, which included both a regional survey and an excavation program, to understand the settlement history of the valley before much of the evidence was destroyed by urban growth.


The Regional Survey Program


A research methodology based primarily on systematic survey data was selected for this project in the belief that the developmental processes of culture change are best investigated through regional archaeological investigations (Hutterer and MacDonald 1982). Regional archaeological surveys suppose that the spatial distribution of the sites of a prehistoric society will reflect fundamental organizational features of that society, and that a systematic examination of settlement patterns is a logical beginning point in the investigation of prehistoric social and economic systems. Assuming that the settlement patterns in a region reflect indigenous patterns of resource use, subsistence procurement, and social organization, archaeological surveys are now widely conducted in the Andes (Browman 1970; Earle et al. 1980; Schreiber 1987a; Wilson 1988; Bauer 1992a; Billman 1996; Stanish et al. 1997; Parsons et al. 2000a, 2000b; Stanish 2001, 2003; Silverman 2002). By comparing the regional settlement patterns obtained for each period of the valley's history, we can view regional changes over space and time and model the kind of changes brought about by a number of important processes, such as the formation and expansion of a centralized state.


The archaeological survey of the Cuzco Valley was designed as a 100 percent coverage survey, which was necessitated by the fact that the survey data were to be analyzed in conjunction with historic information concerning the distribution of kin groups and their landholdings in the valley at the time of the Spanish Conquest. The combination of archaeological survey data and extensive historic information provides the database to document the social organization of the valley on the eve of European conquest and to analyze the changes that occurred in its social organization through time.


The study area encompassed approximately 350 km2. It ran from the area of Cachimayu in the west to the town of Oropesa in the east. In the north it extended to the Cuzco-Chit'apampa ridge and in the south to the ridges ofAnaguarque and Huanacauri (Map 1.4). In 1994, while holding a Fulbright-Hays Teaching/Research Fellowship, I covered approximately 10 percent of the valley. This pilot project allowed me to test the survey methodology and to develop time estimates for the coverage of the entire valley. In 1997, with the aid of a Campus Research Board grant from the University of Illinois at Chicago and with funds from the Heinz Foundation, Alan Covey and I then extended the survey to cover an additional 30 percent of the valley. With support from the National Geographic Society, the National Science Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, we completed the entire survey during 1998 and 1999.


The goal of the fieldwork was to identify the locations of all prehistoric occupation sites and support facilities in the research zone (including terraces, canals, roads, bridges, and storehouses). To conduct the survey, teams of three to four persons, spaced at 50-meter intervals, walked assigned areas identifying the locations of prehistoric sites (Photo 1.3). When a site was found, its location was marked on aerial photographs (approximate scale 1: 10,00o) and on topographical maps (scale 1: 10,000) that the surveyors carried in the field. Its location was also plotted with a Global Positioning System. Standardized survey forms were completed and photographs taken of each site. The Inca divided the Cuzco region into four geopolitical parts (or suyus): Chinchaysuyu (Ch.), Antisuyu (An.), Collasuyu (Co.), and Cuntisuyu (Cu.). During the Cuzco Valley Archaeological Project, sites were assigned numbers according to the Inca suyu divisions of the valley. For example, the site of Kasapata, which lies within the area of Antisuyu, was given the number of An. 309, and the site of Pukacancha, located in Collasuyu, was labeled as Co. 141.


One of the most challenging aspects of regional survey work is estimating the dimensions of specific components within multicomponent sites. That is to say, if a site was occupied during two or more time periods, it may be difficult to estimate site sizes for each of the occupations. To address this problem, we implemented an additional step, which we simply called second collections. Second collections involved revisiting sites larger than 100 x 50 m and all sites that had evidence of two chronological components. The goal of the second collections was to gather additional information on the distribution of artifacts at the sites.


We timed the second collections so that at least one year had passed between visits to the site. This was so that agricultural work and natural forces would bring new artifacts to the surface. During the second collections, the surveyors walked the sites marking the locations of certain styles of ceramics with small flags. The flag distributions were then used to help estimate the size and density of the various components of the site. The second collection also provided an opportunity to recheck other important information recorded on the survey forms. Although this additional procedure—which involved revisiting hundreds of sites—required additional time and resources, it enabled the survey teams to check, improve, and further strengthen previous observations, and it has greatly increased our ability to model prehistoric change in the Cuzco Valley through time.


After the surface materials were collected from the sites, they were brought to Cuzco to be washed and processed. In the laboratory, the diagnostic sherds from each site were separated into homogeneous groups based on wares, design elements, pigment colors, and surface treatments. These groups were then further subdivided according to vessel forms. Pottery samples were then analyzed to determine the periods of site occupation. At the close of the project in 2001, the artifacts were deposited in the Institute of Culture in Cuzco in specially constructed wooden containers for permanent storage.


The Excavation Program


As recently pointed out by Stanish (2001), it is a common misunderstanding that regional studies confine themselves to survey data and do not include excavation components. On the contrary, many of the most successful regional studies actively incorporate excavations as a critical research tool within their multiphase research programs. The primary purpose of survey work is to locate, describe, and date all archaeological sites. Such survey data are inherently important as a means to characterize the settlement history of a research area. They also serve as a database for additional stages of research. That is, once a settlement history is defined, strategically important sites can be chosen for excavations based on the anthropological and historical problems researchers consider most important (Stanish 2001). In other words, once the full range and number of sites in a region are known, investigators are able to select particular sites to answer very specific research questions, rather than simply conducting their work at the largest or at the best-known sites of the area.


Building on the results of our systematic survey (1994, 1997-1999) of the Cuzco Valley, which documented the locations of more than 1,200 archaeological sites, we chose three small- to medium-sized sites for test excavations in 1999: Peqokaypata (Co. 31), Pukacancha (C0. 141), and Tankarpata (Co. 195). These three sites were selected for excavation because they contained different combinations of ceramic styles dating from AD 200 to AD 1000 (Map 1.4). By conducting test excavations at multiple small sites, we hoped to isolate and date the various ceramic styles used in the Cuzco Valley during this era (Bauer and Jones 2003).


During the course of our systematic survey of the Cuzco Valley, we also recorded the surface remains of numerous lithic sites. Accordingly, the results of the survey challenged the long-held view that there were no preceramic cultures in the valley and that the area was occupied relatively late in prehistory. A tentative comparison of the surface remains from these newly discovered sites with projectile points found elsewhere in the Andean highlands, especially in the Lake Titicaca Basin, pushes back the date of the first occupants of the valley from around 1000 BC to 7000 BC, a time when much of the southern Andean highlands was being colonized. Thus, systematic identification of and collection from lithic sites in the Cuzco Valley provided the opportunity to define a new lithic tradition for the region and to study the lifeways of its earliest inhabitants. Building on this new data, we conducted excavations at the preceramic site of Kasapata (An. 309) in 2000. This site was selected for excavation because it was the largest and the bestpreserved lithic site in the Cuzco Valley.


The Cuzco Chronology


In the 1950s and early 1960s, through a series of excavations in the Ica Valley on the south coast of Peru, John Rowe and his colleagues developed a "master ceramic sequence" that divides Peruvian prehistory into a series of temporal periods based on absolute dates (Rowe 1962; Rowe and Menzel 1967). The beginning date for each period is defined by the appearance of specific ceramic types in the Ica Valley. Divisions within each period are defined by more subtle changes in local pottery styles. For example, Rowe (1962: 50) writes "...the Early Intermediate Period represents the time covered by Phases 1 to 8 of the Nasca style at Ica. We can therefore divide the Early Intermediate Period into eight subdivisions (`epochs'), each corresponding to one of the Nasca Phases." Some scholars have attempted to use the Ica sequence to organize archaeological settlement data recovered in the Cuzco region (Kendall 1997); however, the sequence proves to be problematic in discussing cultures and events that occurred before the arrival of the Wari (ca. AD 600). This is not a problem unique to the Cuzco region. Stanish et al. (1997: 9) describe similar circumstances in the Lake Titicaca region: "The basic problem with using this framework (i.e., the Ica sequence) is that the cultural history of the south coast is simply too different prior to the Middle Horizon to be directly applicable to the Titicaca Basin in any but the most general manner. Our research indicates that a modification of the existing chronologies for the Titicaca Basin is warranted."


Because this book is about the development of cultures in the Cuzco region, I use a Cuzco-based chronology to organize the archaeological materials rather than the Icaderived sequence (Figures 1.1 and 1.2). The temporal periods used in this book are largely defined by the appearance of specific artifact styles in the Cuzco region. The projectile-point styles used in this book are derived from examples recovered in our survey and excavations in the Cuzco Valley as well as from known styles of the Lake Titicaca region. The ceramic classifications are based on an updated ceramic sequence for the Cuzco region (Bauer 1999, 2002; Bauer and Jones 2003). The calendar years assigned to each period are based on the most recent radiocarbon dates and are open to reassessment as more information becomes available (Appendix). As noted above, the latter periods of the Cuzco Chronology are very similar, though not identical, to those defined in the Ica sequence, but the early periods are distinctly different.




“This book is a major, up-to-date synthesis of a large mass of empirical archaeological information, much of it collected during the past ten-to-fifteen years by Bauer and his associates. It also presents a full synthesis of historic and ethnohistoric sources bearing upon Cuzco and its inhabitants, including many previously unpublished photographs from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that add greatly to the book’s overall importance and appeal.”
Jeffrey R. Parsons, Professor of Anthropology and Curator of Latin American Archaeology, University of Michigan