Sunday, November 25, 2018

Fortress Guarding Cuzco or the City of Nephi – Part III

Continued from the previous post, regarding the temples in the Cuzco area and their antiquitous origin and purpose and the guarded entrance into Cuzco and the likelihood Nephi set up some early warning site south of the city of Nephi.
The temple locations in Sacsayhaman and within Cuzco at the Coricancha; Q’enqo and San Jerónimo are also shown

As previously mentioned, there was an ancient temple built in the valley below  Sacsayhuaman and Q’enqo in the center of Cuzco, now called the Corincancha. This temple, obviously served as a place of worship, while the one on the hill next to the fortress of Sacsayhuaman was just as obviously connected to a defensive resort (Mosiah 11:13). Much later in time, the Inka considered the temple in the valley as the “Golden Enclosure,” and the most sacred of all Inca sites and considered the very center of their world.
    Both temples in Cuzco were built with exemplary masonry skills, the massive walls of the complex shaped into large Andesite stone blocks perfectly cut and fitted together without mortar. The interior buildings were one story and had thatched roofs interwoven with gold “straws” that glittered in the sunlight, with the doors of the buildings covered in gold and silver sheets, as were the interiors and exteriors of the various temples, and the inner side of the perimeter wall that chronicler Garcilaso de la Vega claims were studded with emeralds.
    In fact, the temple to Inti, also called the Temple of the Sun (or more likely, the Temple of the Son), had a large gold statue encrusted with jewels, and the walls were lined with 700, 4½-pound sheets of beaten gold, while a nearby building was similarly lined with silver. The temple courtyard and grounds, called the "Golden Garden" contained life-size gold replicas of the animals and plants of the kingdom. Much later, this entire area was inhabited by the Inca starting about 1400 AD until 1534 AD when they were conquered by Pizarro and Spanish conquistadors.
The mountain plateau complex of Tipón, with Qolcas, and Sinkunascancha, and Intiwatana on a peak overlooking Tipón and the valley through which the ancient road ran the last few miles into the Huatana River Valley and Cuzco

In the South Valley of Cuzco, close enough for an early warning outpost to have been established, is today called Tipón, an ancient settlement 13½ miles south of the city of Cuzco in the prominent Pachatusan (Pacha Tuan, Quechua meaning ”one that sustains or props up the earth”) mountain, whose height is 15,885 feet and overlooks the Sacred Valley, with the site located between two streams and above the Urubamba River.
    While this perch has a commanding view in all directions, archaeologists readily admit today “that the true purpose of Tipón is not known, and even the original name of the site is lost.” What is known is that the ancient settlement was built with high retaining or defensive walls, thirteen terraced fields for the growing of many crops, and an irrigation system that was both ingenious and would have proven vital to a defensive compound.
    There are three distinct areas besides the site itself, one is called Qolcas, considered to be a storage facility for both food harvested in these terraced fields and for equipment, supplies and weapons for the occupants of this site; another area is Sinkunascancha, which evidently served as a barracks for either military troops, or a large concentrated population.
The Qolcas ruins, sitting above Tipón and overlooking the terraces, to the left or west on the plateau, is Sinkunascancha, and behind and above to the northwest of Qolcas is the Intiwatana outpost

The third area of Tipón is that of Intiwatana overlooking it all, from its 12,992-foot perch atop the mountain peak, called Cerro Cruzmoqo, above Tipón, which sits at 10,990 feet. The qolcas, colcas, or qollqas, were buildings or spaces built for the storage of goods, and were typically found at early Peruvian settlements, towns and villages.
    The name Cosqo Qhawarina, which means “from where Cuzco can be seen,” suggests that there was a line-of-site through the valley where a signal device could have been used—such as mirrors on sunlight or some type of smoke sign or signal.
Mt. Pachatusan and the Intwatana above Tipón shows a direct line-of-site into the Cuzco Valley, as well as perfect observation to the south of any approach up the narrow valley

The construction and habitation of these Qolcas were one of the central points of early Peruvian building long before the time of the Ina, and allowed each settlement to be independent and have sufficient food on hand, as well as clothing and supplies for artisanal production or war, and to supply the deficiencies that could be derived from natural or social events that affected the food balance.
    In this area a handful of miles south of Cuzco is the mountain top fortress, today named Intiwatana (Inti Watana, meaning “connected to God,” or “where God is”), on the northeast side of the road, while the Wanakawri fortress sits back from the road on the southwest side. Intiwatana is actually part of the overall Tipón Complex, which was discussed in the previous set of articles about the early settlements along this road. While Tipón, an ancient multi-terraced site of canals, platforms, plazas, aqueduct, and fountains that transformed a mountainside into a true engineering marvel, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers, sits at 10,990 feet, covering 590 acres, and called “the most beautiful place in Peru.”
    This most sacred site of the entire complex, Intiwatana sits atop a small hill at a higher elevation, overlooking Tipon, Qolcas and Sinkunascancha. The structure has numerous rooms with trapezoidal niches from where one can see everything below. The entire site is built with megalithic blocks of stone, with beautiful fountains and small channels where water continues flowing to this day. In fact, there re mysterious and secret underground channels that can now be seen
    And an ovoid or egg-shaped tower located at the front of Tipón provides an excellent view to the south where all the gorge can be seen.
Tipon’s terraces took advantage of all available land for seeding, even to the extent of placed stairs from one level to the next in positions to not take up any available land for planting

An interesting part of Tipón, as well as numerous other ancient Peruvian terraced sites, is the conservative use of land for planting. These terraced walls almost always included zurnas, or overhanging steps that appear on the terraces' walls and that were like enormous lithic cloves distributed as stairs, and were built in order to avoid taking planting space with the stairways. This archeological site belongs to the Inca period where an irrigation system can be seen with extraordinary vertical and horizontal channels on overlapped terraces. Water flows from underground to a fountain that distributes water through those channels. It was an important agricultural center.
    While elsewhere these ancient terraces followed the general shape of the land up hillsides and mountain slopes, Tipón’s terraces are precise and right angled, a deliberate deviation that creates a unique, captivating aura, and were obviously built to channel natural resources right into the fields and crops. In fact, every verdant valley has been terraced and planted to take advantage of available crop growing land. Often settlements were placed on the slopes and hillsides to conserve valley land for planting. Depending on where these settlements were located, many were actual fortresses, for their own protection, and some served the purpose of warning outposts with excellent views of approaches over which they guarded, typically from the south.
    Since archaeologists talk about this complex as being an important shrine and an agricultural center, because of the irrigation involved, but offer no firm conclusions about the overall purpose of the site, others have suggested the obvious. As stated by CuzcoPeru, “It is possible that Tipón was occupied by people that fought wars during many years and to ensure their protection, they built colossal and vast defensive walls that surely took many years of work. Of course later, the walls were useless when the Inca conquered all the regional kingdoms who then became part of Tahuantinsuyo great empire. Nor were they helpful against the Spanish with their firepower.”
(See the next post, “Fortress Guarding Cuzco or the City of Nephi – Part II,” for additional information on the outpost that guarded the entrance into Cuzco, or the city of Nephi)

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