Wednesday, February 23, 2011

City of Bountiful in the Land of Bountiful, Part III

Continuing with the last two posts regarding the possible location of the city of Bountiful in the northern Peruvian highlands, a discussion of the capital parts of the Peruvian agricultural lands has been shown. Starting just south of Lima, the Ica valley has abundant vineyards, and agriculture extends up these capital parts of the central Peuvian mountains to the Bay of Guayaquil. The land of the sierra is generally poor, but the quebradas or valleys between grow crops such a potatoes, corn, beans, quinoa and aji (hot peppers), and where sheep, llamas, and alpacas are raised.
Sacsahuaman is the City of Nephi; Pachacamac is Zarahemla; Cajamarca is Bountiful. Solid yellow line is the path Coriantumr took up the capital parts of the land; faint yellow line, the path he took from Nephi down to Zarahemla; the two circles are the areas of previous attacks along the seashores.

Continuing north, these capital parts of the land progress to the very highlands where Cajamarca is located. This is a very special city. Its historical value is second to none, its setting is most ideal, and its people unique. Toss in the fact that there are some pretty amazing archaeological sites nearby, as well as the world’s second largest gold mine, and you have yourself the kind of place that surely deserves recognition.

In relation to the Inca Empire, Cajamarca was a very sacred place. However, even before the Inca came to rule the land, Cajamarca had been the center of the Caxamarca people, which had its roots in the Chavin and Huari cultures, and its zenith of prosperity lasted approximately 500 years, beginning around 200 B.C. Before the Chavin and Caxamarca civilizations laid their claims to the area, prior cultures had been operating successfully for a thousand years. Two ancient attractions near the city are Cumbe Mayo (12 miles away), a pre-Columbian aqueduct which may just be the continent’s oldest man-made structure, and Kuntur Wasi (70 miles away), an important religious center with ruins that date back to around 1000 BC.

Cajamarca Peru rests at an elevation of around 8,900 feet in the northwestern province that bears the same name. It is relatively close to the cities of Chiclayo and Trujillo, its equatorial climate has long made it a coveted location. As the Inca Empire extended its reign throughout the Andean area, the agreeable climate and area hot springs of Cajamarca helped to make it a favored center of importance. The Inca established their rule of Cajamarca between 1463 and 1471 under Tupac Inca, who at the time was the head ruler of the Inca Empire. In the end of the 1400"s, and the beginning of the 1500"s, the Inca were undergoing a civil war. Half-brothers Atahualpa and Huáscar fought for control after the death of their ruling father, Huayna Capac. The arrival of Francisco Pizarro and his band of 160 troops in November 1532 would only help to attribute to the downfall of the Inca Empire. The Battle of Cajamarca that ensued is among the most significant occurrences in all the history of the Americas.

Nearby in these highlands are the remains of a ceremonial structure that is more than 3,000 years old called Huacayloma. Evidences of complex social organization have also been found, heavily based on agriculture with the presence of abundant local ceramics. Another ceremonial center, Layzon, is also very close, however, its earliest monuments were destroyed. Cumbemayo is a very important archaeological complex containing several buildings, among which is the "Cumbemayo Channel"—a prodigious feat of engineering at an altitude of 12,336 feet above sea level, featuring a hydraulic system consisting of a 25,000 feet long channel, of which 15,000 feet are carved out of the rock. All this was done around 500 B.C., transferring the waters from the Pacific basin to the Atlantic one; The channel collects the condensation water from the high Cordillera grassland, that acts like a huge sponge, collecting mist water. This area possesses several ancient ritual edifices.

This temple site in the highlands near Cajamarca Temple is called Kuntur Wasi (House of the condor), the name given the ruins of a religious center with complex architecture and stone sculptures, located in the Andean highlands of Peru. It is believed the inhabitants had a link with the Chavín culture, and dating to about 200 B.C.

Kuntur Wasi is located in the Northern Mountain Range of Peru, specifically at the headwaters of the Jequetepeque River, in the region of the city of Cajamarca near the small town of San Pablo. The Jequetepeque valley provided a transportation corridor between the coastal region and the highlands. Kuntur Wasi was a center where people congregated. The site consists of a hill-top temple, quadrangular platforms, a sunken courtyard (like that at Tiwanaku), and series of rooms. There are also stepped platforms and funeral structures. Lithosculptures have been found, similar to the Chavín style. Dating to B.C. times, four tombs contained valuable items, such as pectoral necklaces, decorative breastplates, gold crowns, ornamental stone beads, earrings, sets of dishes and iconographies of people.

(See the next post, “City of Bountiful in the Land of Bountiful, Part IV,” for the final installment of locating the city of Bountiful)

1 comment:

  1. Cajamarca, with its cool, dry climate, grows all types of grains and fruits, has numerous artifacts and archaeological findings that date into B.C. times, and has plenty of gold, silver, and copper, which is now being mined there. Based on its location and ancient history, seems like a good match for the city of Bountiful.