Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Little Sight-Seeing Close to Home

Dad, Gabriela, our driver, Luis Cedeno, our medical connection in the Chile Vina del Mar Mission office who was visiting us from Ecuador, and I are standing on the patio outside the cocina or kitchen of the 15th Century estate of a Quechua noble.

Pots like this one were used for burial "caskets" and for hauling all kinds of grain, water and seeds. In La Molina pots like these are used for planters. We have been told some of them come from excavations of ancient tombs. The clay pot industry here is quite lucrative. We have yet to find where they are sold.

These first three pictures are random. I added them after I had created the blog. This room shows one of the bedrooms or living quarters. There is no evidence of a roof. There are windows for light and air, and the triangular shaped cut out on the left is a niche for placing some kind of object.

Not quite five miles from our apartment building is the 15th Century estate of Purochuco, the estate of a noble, one of the Quechua people. At the time the Inca was the most powerful ruler in all of South America. The Inca's empire stretched from Ecuador to Chile. Cuzco was the seat of the empire. We have been wanting to visit this site since we first heard of it early in our mission. When Luis Cedeno, a friend from Ecuador came to visit us, we decided to ask our driver to take us. We were greeted by a Peruvian hairless dog.

I included the picture below to show where the archeological site is located. We are looking east from our apartment study window. The hill in the background is about where the site is located.

The ancient Quechua people were advanced in science--harnessing water, telling time, and telling the seasons by how the light hit these niches. In a sense this is an Inca calendar.

This is the parade ground, a place for the noble to receive goods for trade, to address his people, to hold large gatherings--a town square.

The noble had slaves to work the cotton fields and take care of the llamas. There is evidence they grew the cotton which they made into clothing which they sold and traded. The woman knew the arts of carding, spinning, and weaving, using various looms which were on display in the visitors' center. There were pictures depicting the sheering of the llamas.

The picture below shows the natural colors of the cotton grown on the land. There were also pictures of the estate, the farmlands, the cotton fields, and the llama pens.

This room, an outside patio, is just off the kitchen. Dad and Graciela, our driver and friend from the LaMolina Ward, are looking down into a deep granary. The holes indicate a roof covered the grain to protect it from the elements.

This room was the kitchen. The people used a mortar and pestle to crush the grain, but it was also used as a blender. Liquids were added to the corn.

In the picture below we are standing outside the kitchen on the patio used for gatherings and meals. Our guide told us there is evidence cooked food was brought in. Interesting! From here the noble could look out onto his farmlands, the workers, and he could see anyone approaching for miles.

This picture shows the platform or stand from which the noble would address those who gathered for meetings, bartering, buying and selling.

Guinea Pig is the national dish of Peru. The traditional meal dates back to the ancient people of the Inca. This was the pen for the live guinea pigs.

This was the stable for the llama and vicuna. There are artist's interpretation of spring shearing. The artist shows a man covering the face of the llama so he won't be spooked.

This picture shows the estate from the outside. The lighter stone shows the restoration or patching which takes nothing away from the beauty of the estate. The climate and lack of rain serve to protect the site. We were interested to note that the outside walls are not part of the living quarters not unlike today's Peruvian construction of homes behind heavy stone walls with iron gates and heavy wood or metal garage doors and front doors which hide the home and lead into a courtyard in front of the actual home. Someone told us most of the heavy protective walls were constructed during the years of terrorism in the 1980s.

This is a family burying site or tomb outside the estate. Several bodies were found here along with artifacts. Some bodies were buried inside huge clay pots. These last few pictures show the black rock and dirt hills so typical here. These hills remind Dad and me of the badlands of the Wild West lore, rough, hot, dry, stony, inhospitable, but the Inca found the hills great places for strongholds.

This picture is a close up of the family tomb. Only the rock wall has been partially restored. The early Inca did not use mortar in their structures. In Cuzco Dad and I saw massive walls of rocks as big as trucks so tightly fit or constructed that a piece of paper could not be inserted between the rocks. Mortar was used in the 14th and 15th Century dwellings.

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