Saturday, October 19, 2019

Another Ancient Peruvian Site

The ancient site of Campanayuq Rumi, a fortress along a hillside in the south cenral highlands

Campanayuq Rumi is a large civic-ceremonial center located in the south-central highlands of Peru 225 miles southeast of Lima and 135 miles west of Cuzco. It is located at an ancient strategic crossroad of the Qhapaq ñan, between Andahuaylas and Ayacucho, on a hill side on the east and overlooking Vilcashuaman (Willka Waman, meaning “Sacred Hawk”).
    An ancient center itself, the building of Vilcashuamán reveals a fine architectural design and well preserved remains. The integrated architectural elements that make up the site are: the Trapezoidal Plaza, the Ceremonial Pyramid or Ushno and the Temple of the Sun. The city was home to 40,000 people, and located around a large plaza where ceremonies involving sacrifices were performed.
During the Inca period it was the most important administrative center in Tahuantinsuyo. Following the Inca’s conquest of the Chankas, who had dominated the entire area, and the Chankas’ ally, the Pocras (Pocora), an ancient Wari culture, who occupied the Andhuaylas in Ayacucho, the center was established. In fact, this Inca defeat of the Pocra-Chanca army in the territory adjacent to Cusco, brought about the existence of the Inca Empire, which after beating the neighboring chiefdoms into submission, strengthened their budding empire.
Cut and dressed blocks of Vilcashuamán are very similar to those found at Sacsayhuaman

However, the roots of Vilcashuamán stretch out long before the Inca, with stonework matching that found at Sacsayhuaman. Located at 11,450-feet elevation on the slopes of the Andes, it had two truncated pyramids, claimed to have been built anciently by the mysterious Pirhua and Viracochan, ancient pre-Inca megalithic builders referred to in legend, and occupied by the Inca many centuries later and considered by them as the geographical center of their Empire. Today it is a mere village adjacent to the Puya raimondii forest, containing the world’s largest, as much as 24-feet high, bromeliad—the family to which the pineapple belongs.
    Founded in the late Initial Period (1100–800 BC), Campanayuq Rumi became an important center within the Chavín Interaction Sphere in the Early Horizon (800–400 BC). In particular, Campanayuq Rumi is significant because of its geographical proximity to Quispisisa, the most important and widely circulated obsidian source during the Early Horizon.
Map of the various settlements and the location of their obsidian sites

Though obsidian from Quispisisa dominates the assemblage throughout the site’s history, diachronic analysis indicates that the diversity of obsidian sources increased markedly in the second phase of Campanayuq Rumi (700–450 BC). The data lead to conclude that this site was the locus of obsidian distribution to other locations in highland and coastal Peru within the Chavín Interaction Sphere, and functioned as a regional center of worship and interaction.
    In other words, research shows that the entire Chavín territory, which includes the coastal lands from Cajamarca and Chan Chan in the north to Nazca in the south, making up the bulk of Andean Peru from the central highlands to the coast.
    Significant amounts of obsidian were brought from Quispisisa to the site, where knappers made tools and traded them to other locations integrated into the Chain network, both in the highlands and along the coast. Large quantities of obsidian were found in ceremonial and residential contexts.
    The second phase of Campanayuq marked a substantial diversification of obsidian procurement at Campanayuq Rumi. Though obsidian from the Quispisisa source still made up the vast majority of the assemblage, it comprised a lower proportion (about 80%) than in the first phase of the Campanayuq. There is likewise a slight increase in obsidian coming from the Alca source (about 6%).
The building techniques, style and finished material of Vilcashuaman was very similar, if not exact, to that of Campanayuq Rumi

It was also during the second phase that obsidian from three or possibly four new sources appeared. About 5% of the obsidian sample came from Potreropampa, and 4% each from Jampatillaor and Lisahuacho.
    The site of Campanayuq Rumi itself is surrounded to the north and south by at least two residential sectors, though modern construction activity makes it difficult to estimate the full extensionof the residential areas. Recent recent investigations suggest that the settlement covered at least 30 acres. Initially the area was a small village that grew into one of the largest ceremonial and residential centers of its time in the south-central highlands, and based on material evidence and architectural style suggest that the site maintained close ties with Chavín de Huántar from its foundation to its abandonment (Yuichi Matsumoto, “Early Horizon gold metallurgy from Campanayuq Rumi in the Peruvian south-central highlands,” ResearchGate, Berlin Germany, June 2012).
    According to Yale Archaeologist, Richard L.  Burger, who has carried out excavations of Chavín sites in Peru since 1975, “the Early Horizon (800–400BC) was characterized by important socioeconomic changes in the Central Andes of Peru. During that time, much of ancient Peru was closely linked in a widespread exchange network referred to as the Chavín Horizon or Chavín Interaction Sphere. In addition, Chavín de Huantar has long been recognized as a site of pan-regional importance in the first millennium BC Central Andes. Multiple lines of evidence link the site to the coastal lands, the mountains, and the eastern slopes (Richard Burger, “Central Andean Language Expansion and the Chavín Sphere of Interaction (“In Archaeology and Language in the Andes,” The British Academy, Oxford, 2012; Burger, Chavín and the Origins of Andean Civilization, Thames and Hudson, New York, 1992, p240).
Campanayuq Rumi on top of the hill overlooking Vilcashuaman

It has long been hypothesized that the central Andes witnessed the emergence of complex societies under the impetus of an expansion of religious ideology from Chavín de Huántar during the late Initial and Early Horizon Periods. While large ceremonial centers and social stratification emerged during this period along the coast and northern highlands, the south central highlands had been regarded as a "backwater" because of the lack of large civic-ceremonial centers. However Mr. Matsumoto's research at Campanayuq Rumi suggests the need to radically alter this position. The new evidence indicates that Campanayuq Rumi probably emerged as the focus of the first complex society of the region through the interaction with the more complex society of Chavín de Huántar and that it collapsed in accordance with the latter's decline.
    Again, this shows a close relationship between two large areas working together and influencing one another. Hardly the separate cultures that archaeologist are always trying to claim existed.

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