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Skip to main content. You're using an out-of-date version of Internet Explorer. Log In Sign Up. Contributions to New World Archaeology, ed. Due to the difficulty in conducting long term studies at such altitudes, no complete scientific excavation has been made of an intact ceremonial platform above.
This essay describes the excavation of an artificial Inca platform at 6,m on the summit of the volcano Copiapo in central Chile and interprets tlie site and artifacts uncovered utilizing ethnographic, historical and archaeological data from the region and from Peru. Since the platform was undisturbed, this a llowed a study of the relationships of the artifacts to each other, and thus the development of a model with which to compare data from other high altitude ritual sites.
Artifacts encountered include rare Inca statues with m iniature clothing perfectly preserved. Introduction Kew Inca ceremonial sites escaped destruction by the Spanish. Those constructed at great heights in the Andes managed to do so until recent times when mountain climbers began to pillage them. This has been a great loss to archaeology since many artifacts, and even human sacrifices, have been kept so well preserved at such sites that they appear as if they were buried only recently.
The ruins are themselves of no small interest for they exist up to 6,m, constituting by far the world's highest archaeological sites, and together they make up one of the most impressive accomplishments known from ancient times. Such heights were not even reached — let alone structures built — until some years after the Incas. The sites also contain among the few prehispanie religious structures found in large areas of the southern Andes, and indicate Inca expansion throughout the region. Since the Incas clearly continued with traditions already held by the peoples they conquered, the structures provide evidence of pre-Inca religious beliefs Reinhard In a previous article I examined the reasons for which high altitude ritual sites were constructed Reinhard A compendium of the sites known up to , along with plans anil artifact descriptions, has been presented by Bcorchia Several further publications have dealt with particular sites and major finds made at them e.
However, complete scientific excavations of undisturbed sites have been lacking. Since sites above 5,m have climatic conditions and a lack of oxygen which made working conditions difficult, treasure hunters and scientifically orientated climbers alike usually could only dig into ruins rapidly and in limited places.