Andean Archeology

Today we had a break from language class and took a hike through a few archeological sites above Huaraz with Steve Wegner, who has worked in the department of Ancash since the 80s. We started at an unnamed site that Steve excavated about five years ago. It was a huaca, which indicates that it’s a sacred site, potentially for burials, and it was structured with a number of large rocks and one very big boulder. Here’s a picture of Steve in front of the huaca talking to us about the site and the practice of ancestor worship.

 Steve

After we left this site, we took a (long) hike to Ichik Wilkahuain, which is known as a Wari/Huari site. However, Steve explained that the architecture and ceramics indicated that it demonstrates Recuay patterns as well. Ichik means small in Quechua, though the site had a number of large chullaps, which are above ground burial structures.

Next, we hiked down to Wilkahuain, which only had one major chullpa structure, but it had three different levels, each with 5-7 rooms. The ceiling of each level was constructed with huge boulders, and there is an extensive ventilation system that runs through all three levels to keep air flowing through the chullpa.

 Wilka

 

At both sites, no burial remains were found during official excavations, but it’s understood that they were burials sites based on analogous findings in other areas. Steve explained that the bodies were likely looted and burned during the Spanish conquest as an avenue for destroying local culture and ancestral ties and worship.

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