Saturday, December 06, 2008

Unlooted Chachapoyan city discovered in the Andes

http://lh5.ggpht.com/nomadextraveler/RjDFPFrYWxI/AAAAAAAAAaU/zb6BHWd1gM4/JCP+148.jpgArchaeologists are examining a recently discovered, exceptionally
well-preserved city carved into the Andes mountains by the ancient
Peruvian Chachapoya tribe.According to the Daily Telegraph, local hikers were the first to
stumble upon the city ruins, covering close to 12 acres of a
mountainside in Peru’s northern Amazon.
When the hikers arrived, they found a nearly 500-meter high waterfall
surrounded by lush jungle scenery, and buildings set upon the face of a
cliff. The city’s remoteness has protected it from looters,
leaving “ceramics and undisturbed burial sites” intact.


“We suspect that the ancient inhabitants used this as a lookout
point from where they could spot potential enemies,” said
Archaeologist Benedicto Pérez Goicochea to the Daily Telegraph. - Finding Dulcinea

The Chachapoyas, also called the Warriors of the Clouds, were an Andean people living in the cloud forests of the Amazonas region of present-day Peru. The Incas conquered their civilization shortly before the arrival of the Spanish in Peru. When the Spanish arrived in Peru in the 16th century, the Chachapoyas were one of the many nations ruled by the Inca Empire. Their incorporation into the Inca Empire had not been easy, due to their constant resistance to the Inca troops.

Since the Incas and the Spanish conquistadors
were the principal sources of information on the Chachapoyas, unbiased
first-hand knowledge of the Chachapoyas remains scarce. Writings by the
major chroniclers of the time, such as El Inca Garcilaso de la Vega,
were based on fragmentary second-hand accounts. Much of what we do know
about the Chachapoyas culture is based on archaeological evidence from
ruins, pottery, tombs and other artifacts.

The chronicler Pedro Cieza de León offers some picturesque notes about the Chachapoyas:

"They are the whitest and most handsome of all the people that I have seen in Indies,
and their wives were so beautiful that because of their gentleness,
many of them deserved to be the Incas' wives and to also be taken to
the Sun Temple (...) The women and their husbands always dressed in woolen clothes and in their heads they wear their
llautos, which are a sign they wear to be known everywhere."

Cieza adds that, after their annexation to the Inca Empire, they adopted customs imposed by the Cuzco-based Inca.

The name Chachapoya is in fact the name that was given to
this culture by the Inca; the name that these people may have actually
used to refer to themselves is not known. The meaning of the word Chachapoyas may have been derived from sacha-p-collas, the equivalent of "colla people who live in the woods" (sacha = wild p = of the colla = nation in which Aymara is spoken). Some believe the word is a variant of the Quechua construction sacha puya, or people of the clouds. - Wikipedia