Specialized Activities

In both centers there were elaborate rooms around the main enclosed plazas. Despite the architectural investment, including well-prepared clay floors, cultural remains or associated features were nearly absent. Thus, it is unlikely that these rooms were used in domestic activities. Rather, they served for more specialized activities, perhaps involving the storage of valuable goods or even ritual. Similar special-purpose rooms were found in other Inka centers of the capital and the more remote provinces.

Comparison of architectural spaces dedicated to distinct kinds of activities in the Oroncota and Cuzcotuyo Inka centers

Figure 8.1. Comparison of architectural spaces dedicated to distinct kinds of activities in the Oroncota and Cuzcotuyo Inka centers.

For example, near Cuzco, the central court of Maukallaqta, an important installation linked to Inka cosmogony, held a set of elaborate rooms practically empty (Bauer 1991, 1992).

Altogether, the six activities discussed here—production, defense, storage, residence, feasting, and specialized storage (or ritual)—are those associated with any Inka center, whether in the distant provinces or at the frontier margins. However, these activities varied in scale. Oroncota, within the frontier zone, emphasized ceremony and feasting, along with limited grinding and storage, whereas defense was procured by support installations (Figure 8.1). In contrast, Cuzcotuyo had a heavy emphasis on defense, but regulated feasting and ceremonial activities, storage, and even residence (Figure 8.1).

 
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