A Special Purpose Room

A special purpose room was identified at the northern side of the main complex (Structure-15), perhaps dedicated to some form of private ritual. It was a small, elaborate, double-coursed rectangular room built with partially cut stone blocks that were j oined with mortar. This construction had an inner wall that further divided the space into a chamber and a corridor. Given its restricted size, access to the main chamber would have been rather difficult. In the northern wall was a trapezoidal niche (Figure 7.14).

Example of an excavated domestic residence (Structure 13) outside the Cuz- cotuyo plaza building complex. The graph also shows the western stratigraphic profile

Figure 7.13. Example of an excavated domestic residence (Structure 13) outside the Cuz- cotuyo plaza building complex. The graph also shows the western stratigraphic profile.

Detail showing a stone receptacle found in an isolated private rituals room (Structure 15) outside the Cuzcotuyo plaza building complex

Figure 7.14. Detail showing a stone receptacle found in an isolated private rituals room (Structure 15) outside the Cuzcotuyo plaza building complex.

Stratigraphy of the private rituals room (Structure 15) showing the western profile

Figure 7.15. Stratigraphy of the private rituals room (Structure 15) showing the western profile.

We decided to excavate the main chamber. Given its circumscribed size, one excavation unit (4 m2) proved to be sufficient to cover most of the inner floor. The construction was initiated by depositing an artificial brown clay layer on top of the sterile soil. In the center, a finely made quadrangular stone receptacle was set up (Feature 9). This basin had an inner paved surface with perfectly fitted semitriangular slabs, surrounded by a collar of stones with 10 cm of altitude. The masons had nicely framed the stone receptacle with a thick layer of yellow clay as the external floor, with no other associated features or artifacts. Considering that the stone basin was the dominant feature in the chamber, this space might have been the focus of specialized, perhaps privately oriented rituals.

Although we do not know the kinds of remains kept in the receptacle, judging by the two layers of clay as insulators, it is possible that it once held liquids or even a small statue. The chamber’s restricted size and access indicate that only a few people could have participated in these activities (Figure 7.14). To date, no similar architectural features have been reported at other Inka sites. At some point, the stone basin fell into disuse, as revealed by the deposition of a thick layer of yellow clay mixed with gravel that covered the stone receptacle and the entire floor. This renovation layer was solid and had the consistency of modern cement. Clearly, this event marked the functional change of the compartment. Afterward, the room was abandoned, and, eventually, the walls collapsed (Figure 7.15).

 
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