Southeastern Inka Fortifications

A set of defensive installations formed the Southeastern Inka frontier region in what is today Bolivia (Figure 3.1). Altogether, at least three fortified segments are archaeologically documented, all distributed along strategic nodes of transportation in the frontier region, such as mountain peaks, roads, and rivers. The first segment comprised the installations between the Inka centers of Inkarracay and Samaipata. To the west was Inkarracay in the valley of Cochabamba, and the facilities of Cotapachi and Colca- pirhua sat to the east (Figure 3.1) (Gyarmati and Varga 1999). Cotapachi, with an impressive concentration of at least 2,500 circular warehouses, is particularly important (Gyarmati and Varga 1999). Farther east along the imperial road, and strategically protected by sheer hills and zigzagging defense walls, was the administrative center of Inkallajta in the Pocona valley (Nordenskiold 1956-1957). Inside were a sizable number of rectangular kancha residential compounds, watchtowers, and an enormous kallanka hall with multiple entries, niches, and windows, adjacent to the main plaza (Munoz 1997:263; Querejazu Lewis 1998).

Farther east, also along the imperial road, were the outposts of Pu- cara de Pulquina Alto and Pulquina Bajo, and Batanes near Samaipata (Nordenskiold 1956-57). These support installations served Samaipata, a sizable Inka frontier center on the eastern edge of the Andean foothills (Meyers 1998, 2007). To the south, also following a west-to-east direction, was the second string of Inka facilities. Near the Pilcomayo River sat the Oroncota center, whereas the fortification of Cuzcotuyo in the Khosko Toro mountain was to the east; both are part of this study. Supplementing defense was the walled hilltop of Inkapirca and the adjacent fortifications of Inao and Inkahuasi de Caraparicito (Figure 3.1) (Alconini 2004, 2005; Nordenskiold 1917, 1924, 2001; Parssinen and Siiriainen 1998, 2003; Siiriainen and Parssinen 1997).

The last defensive segment stretched along the southern valleys of Tarija. It was constructed to protect the region against the intrusion of tribes from the eastern Tucuman-Bolivian jungle. This protective shield was formed by a set of fortifications: Chuquiago de Suipacha to the west; Condor Huasi and Canasmoro to the east; and Esquile, Lecoya, Tolomosa, Antigal de Alisos, and Saire slightly to the south (Figure 3.1) (Oliveto and Ventura 2009; Presta 1997; Raffino 1993a, 1993b; Raffino and Stehberg 1999; Ventura 2001). Although most installations were defensive in nature, others fulfilled additional functions. This was the case of Tolomosa. Excavations revealed that the site served as a storage depot for the specialized production of projectile points, textiles, and sumptuary adornments. As an example, around 4,000 arrowheads and 600 spinning whorls were

The Southeastern Inka frontier facing the eastern Guarani-Chiriguano. Location of the Oroncota west and Cuzcotuyo installations in relation to other Inka installations in Bolivia

Figure 3.1. The Southeastern Inka frontier facing the eastern Guarani-Chiriguano. Location of the Oroncota west and Cuzcotuyo installations in relation to other Inka installations in Bolivia: 1, Calahoyo, Chagua (Mauqallajta, Chipihuayco, Alameda de Tupiza); 2, Charaja; 3, Chuquiago de Suipacha; 4, Ramadas and Mochara; 5, San Lucas; 6, Oroncota; 7, La Guardia; 8, Samaipata; 9, Inkallajta; 10, Inkahuasi de Carapacito; 11, Cuzcotuyo; 12, Inkarracay; 13, Condorhuasi; 14, Inkapirca; 15, Batanes; 16, Pulquina and Pucarilla; 17, Sevaruyo; 18, Rio Marquez and Tambo Jaruma; 19, Omaporco; 20, Soraya; 21, Urmiri de Quillacas; 22, Khapa Kheri; 23, Isla del Sol, Isla de La Luna, Aqllahuasi; 24, Kopacati; 25, Fuerte de Sacambaya; 26, Huarco Maya; 27, Mallco Hanalaya; 28, Turco; 29, Tomina; 30, San Buena Ventura, Rio Beni (only cultural remains); 31, Fortaleza de Inao; 32, Saipuru; 33, El Fuerte S-I; 34, Site GBB4 (only cultural remains); 35, Las Piedras; 36, Paria. Sources: de Mesa and Gisbert 1973; Gasparini and Margolies 1980; Gisbert 1988; Gonzalez and Cravotto 1977; Ibarra Grasso and Lewis 1986; Lee 1992; Marulanda 2006; Meyers 2007; Nordenskiold 1924; Parssinen and Siiriainen 1998; Pifarre 1989; Raffino 1993a; Saavedra et al. 2001; Siiriainen and Korpisaari 2002; Walter 1959a.

recovered from the excavations, revealing a significant scale of specialized production (Oliveto and Ventura 2009; Rossen 1990 [1916]; Ventura 2001).

Altogether, this distribution reveals the nature of this frontier region. On the one hand, the communicational routes in a west-to-east direction were protected with defensive installations. On the other hand, those fortifications at the frontier margin also served as strategic protective nodes in a north-south axis. Despite these efforts, the invading tribes reportedly destabilized the security of the Southeastern Inka imperial borders. But what do we know about them, and how can ethnohistory help us elucidate their origins?

 
Source
< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >