Inca Land - Explorations in the Highlands of Peru
by Hiram Bingham
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On the rim of the Titicaca Basin is La Raya. The watershed is so level that it is almost impossible to say whether any particular raindrop will eventually find itself in Lake Titicaca or in the Atlantic Ocean. The water from a spring near the railroad station of Araranca flows definitely to the north. This spring may be said to be one of the sources of the Urubamba River, an important affluent of the Ucayali and also of the Amazon, but I never have heard it referred to as "the source of the Amazon" except by an adventurous lecturer, Captain Blank, whose moving picture entertainment bore the alluring title, "From the Source to the Mouth of the Amazon." As most of his pictures of wild animals "in the jungle" looked as though they were taken in the zooelogical gardens at Para, and the exciting tragedies of his canoe trip were actually staged near a friendly hacienda at Santa Ana, less than a week's journey from Cuzco, it is perhaps unnecessary to censure him for giving this particular little spring such a pretentious title.

The Urubamba River is known by various names to the people who live on its banks. The upper portion is sometimes spoken of as the Vilcanota, a term which applies to a lake as well as to the snow-covered peaks of the cordillera in this vicinity. The lower portion was called by the Incas the Uilca or the Uilcamayu.

Near the water-parting of La Raya I noticed the remains of an interesting wall which may have served centuries ago to divide the Incas of Cuzco from the Collas or warlike tribes of the Titicaca Basin. In places the wall has been kept in repair by the owners of grazing lands, but most of it can be but dimly traced across the valley and up the neighboring slopes to the cliffs of the Cordillera Vilcanota. It was built of rough stones. Near the historic wall are the ruins of ancient houses, possibly once occupied by an Inca garrison. I observed no ashlars among the ruins nor any evidence of careful masonry. It seems to me likely that it was a hastily thrown-up fortification serving for a single military campaign, rather than any permanent affair like the Roman wall of North Britain or the Great Wall of China. We know from tradition that war was frequently waged between the peoples of the Titicaca Basin and those of the Urubamba and Cuzco valleys. It is possible that this is a relic of one of those wars.

On the other hand, it may be much older than the Incas. Montesinos, [3] one of the best early historians, tells us of Titu Yupanqui, Pachacuti VI, sixty-second of the Peruvian Amautas, rulers who long preceded the Incas. Against Pachacuti VI there came (about 800 A.D.) large hordes of fierce soldiers from the south and east, laying waste fields and capturing cities and towns; evidently barbarian migrations which appear to have continued for some time. During these wars the ancient civilization, which had been built up with so much care and difficulty during the preceding twenty centuries, was seriously threatened. Pachacuti VI, more religious than warlike, ruler of a people whose great achievements had been agricultural rather than military, was frightened by his soothsayers and priests; they told him of many bad omens. Instead of inducing him to follow a policy of military preparedness, he was urged to make sacrifices to the deities. Nevertheless he ordered his captains to fortify the strategic points and make preparations for defense. The invaders may have come from Argentina. It is possible that they were spurred on by hunger and famine caused by the gradual exhaustion of forested areas and the subsequent spread of untillable grasslands on the great pampas. Montesinos indicates that many of the people who came up into the highlands at that time were seeking arable lands for their crops and were "fleeing from a race of giants"—possibly Patagonians or Araucanians—who had expelled them from their own lands. On their journey they had passed over plains, swamps, and jungles. It is obvious that a great readjustment of the aborigines was in progress. The governors of the districts through which these hordes passed were not able to summon enough strength to resist them. Pachacuti VI assembled the larger part of his army near the pass of La Raya and awaited the approach of the enemy. If the accounts given in Montesinos are true, this wall near La Raya may have been built about 1100 years ago, by the chiefs who were told to "fortify the strategic points."

Certainly the pass of La Raya, long the gateway from the Titicaca Basin to the important cities and towns of the Urubamba Basin, was the key to the situation. It is probable that Pachacuti VI drew up his army behind this wall. His men were undoubtedly armed with slings, the weapon most familiar to the highland shepherds. The invaders, however, carried bows and arrows, more effective arms, swifter, more difficult to see, less easy to dodge. As Pachacuti VI was carried over the field of battle on a golden stretcher, encouraging his men, he was killed by an arrow. His army was routed. Montesinos states that only five hundred escaped. Leaving behind their wounded, they fled to "Tampu-tocco," a healthy place where there was a cave, in which they hid the precious body of their ruler. Most writers believe this to be at Paccaritampu where there are caves under an interesting carved rock. There is no place in Peru to-day which still bears the name of Tampu-tocco. To try and identify it with some of the ruins which do exist, and whose modern names are not found in the early Spanish writers, has been one of the principal objects of my expeditions to Peru, as will be described in subsequent chapters.


A Potato-field at La Raya ———


Laying Down the Warp for a Blanket: Near the Pass of La Raya ———

Near the watershed of La Raya we saw great flocks of sheep and alpacas, numerous corrals, and the thatched-roofed huts of herdsmen. The Quichua women are never idle. One often sees them engaged in the manufacture of textiles—shawls, girdles, ponchos, and blankets—on hand looms fastened to stakes driven into the ground. When tending flocks or walking along the road they are always winding or spinning yarn. Even the men and older children are sometimes thus engaged. The younger children, used as shepherds as soon as they reach the age of six or seven, are rarely expected to do much except watch their charges. Some of them were accompanied by long-haired suncca shepherd dogs, as large as Airedales, but very cowardly, given to barking and slinking away. It is claimed that the sunccas, as well as two other varieties, were domesticated by the Incas. None of them showed any desire to make the acquaintance of "Checkers," my faithful Airedale. Their masters, however, were always interested to see that "Checkers" could understand English. They had never seen a dog that could understand anything but Quichua!

On the hillside near La Raya, Mr. Cook, Mr. Gilbert, and I visited a healthy potato field at an elevation of 14,500 feet, a record altitude for potatoes. When commencing to plough or spade a potato field on the high slopes near here, it is the custom of the Indians to mark it off into squares, by "furrows" about fifteen feet apart. The Quichuas commence their task soon after daybreak. Due to the absence of artificial lighting and the discomfort of rising in the bitter cold before dawn, their wives do not prepare breakfast before ten o'clock, at which time it is either brought from home in covered earthenware vessels or cooked in the open fields near where the men are working.

We came across one energetic landowner supervising a score or more of Indians who were engaged in "ploughing" a potato field. Although he was dressed in European garb and was evidently a man of means and intelligence, and near the railroad, there were no modern implements in sight. We found that it is difficult to get Indians to use any except the implements of their ancestors. The process of "ploughing" this field was undoubtedly one that had been used for centuries, probably long before the Spanish Conquest. The men, working in unison and in a long row, each armed with a primitive spade or "foot plough," to the handle of which footholds were lashed, would, at a signal, leap forward with a shout and plunge their spades into the turf. Facing each pair of men was a girl or woman whose duty it was to turn the clods over by hand. The men had taken off their ponchos, so as to secure greater freedom of action, but the women were fully clothed as usual, modesty seeming to require them even to keep heavy shawls over their shoulders. Although the work was hard and painful, the toil was lightened by the joyous contact of community activity. Every one worked with a will. There appeared to be a keen desire among the workers to keep up with the procession. Those who fell behind were subjected to good-natured teasing. Community work is sometimes pleasant, even though it appears to require a strong directing hand. The "boss" was right there. Such practices would never suit those who love independence.

In the centuries of Inca domination there was little opportunity for individual effort. Private property was not understood. Everything belonged to the government. The crops were taken by the priests, the Incas and the nobles. The people were not as unhappy as we should be. One seldom had to labor alone. Everything was done in common. When it was time to cultivate the fields or to harvest the crops, the laborers were ordered by the Incas to go forth in huge family parties. They lessened the hardships of farm labor by village gossip and choral singing, interspersed at regular intervals with rest periods, in which quantities of chicha quenched the thirst and cheered the mind.

Habits of community work are still shown in the Andes. One often sees a score or more of Indians carrying huge bundles of sheaves of wheat or barley. I have found a dozen yoke of oxen, each a few yards from the other in a parallel line, engaged in ploughing synchronously small portions of a large field. Although the landlords frequently visit Lima and sometimes go to Paris and New York, where they purchase for their own use the products of modern invention, the fields are still cultivated in the fashion introduced three centuries ago by the conquistadores, who brought the first draft animals and the primitive pointed plough of the ancient Mediterranean.

Crops at La Raya are not confined to potatoes. Another food plant, almost unknown to Europeans, even those who live in Lima, is canihua, a kind of pigweed. It was being harvested at the time of our visit in April. The threshing floor for canihua is a large blanket laid on the ground. On top of this the stalks are placed and the flail applied, the blanket serving to prevent the small grayish seeds from escaping. The entire process uses nothing of European origin and has probably not changed for centuries.

We noticed also quinoa and even barley growing at an elevation of 14,000 feet. Quinoa is another species of pigweed. It often attains a height of three to four feet. There are several varieties. The white-seeded variety, after being boiled, may be fairly compared with oatmeal. Mr. Cook actually preferred it to the Scotch article, both for taste and texture. The seeds retain their form after being cooked and "do not appear so slimy as oatmeal." Other varieties of quinoa are bitter and have to be boiled several times, the water being frequently changed. The growing quinoa presents an attractive appearance; its leaves assume many colors.

As we went down the valley the evidences of extensive cultivation, both ancient and modern, steadily increased. Great numbers of old terraces were to be seen. There were many fields of wheat, some of them growing high up on the mountain side in what are called temporales, where, owing to the steep slope, there is little effort at tillage or cultivation, the planter trusting to luck to get some kind of a crop in reward for very little effort. On April 14th, just above Sicuani, we saw fields where habas beans had been gathered and the dried stalks piled in little stacks. At Occobamba, or the pampa where oca grows, we found fields of that useful tuber, just now ripening. Near by were little thatched shelters, erected for the temporary use of night watchmen during the harvest season.

The Peruvian highlanders whom we met by the roadside were different in feature, attitude, and clothing from those of the Titicaca Basin or even of Santa Rosa, which is not far away. They were typical Quichuas—peaceful agriculturists—usually spinning wool on the little hand spindles which have been used in the Andes from time immemorial. Their huts are built of adobe, the roofs thatched with coarse grass.

The Quichuas are brown in color. Their hair is straight and black. Gray hair is seldom seen. It is the custom among the men in certain localities to wear their hair long and braided. Beards are sparse or lacking. Bald heads are very rare. Teeth seem to be more enduring than with us. Throughout the Andes the frequency of well-preserved teeth was everywhere noteworthy except on sugar plantations, where there is opportunity to indulge freely in crude brown sugar nibbled from cakes or mixed with parched corn and eaten as a travel ration.

The Quichua face is broad and short. Its breadth is nearly the same as the Eskimo. Freckles are not common and appear to be limited to face and arms, in the few cases in which they were observed. On the other hand, a large proportion of the Indians are pock-marked and show the effects of living in a country which is "free from medical tyranny." There is no compulsory vaccination.

One hardly ever sees a fat Quichua. It is difficult to tell whether this is a racial characteristic or due rather to the lack of fat-producing foods in their diet. Although the Peruvian highlander has made the best use he could of the llama, he was never able to develop its slender legs and weak back sufficiently to use it for loads weighing more than eighty or a hundred pounds. Consequently, for the carrying of really heavy burdens he had to depend on himself. As a result, it is not surprising to learn from Dr. Ferris that while his arms are poorly developed, his shoulders are broader, his back muscles stronger, and the calves of his legs larger and more powerful than those of almost any other race.

The Quichuas are fond of shaking hands. When a visiting Indian joins a group he nearly always goes through the gentle ceremony with each person in turn. I do not know whether this was introduced by the Spaniards or comes down from prehistoric times. In any event, this handshaking in no way resembles the hearty clasp familiar to undergraduates at the beginning of the college year. As a matter of fact the Quichua handshake is extremely fishy and lacks cordiality. In testing the hand grip of the Quichuas by a dynamometer our surgeons found that the muscles of the forearm were poorly developed in the Quichua and the maximum grip was weak in both sexes, the average for the man being only about half of that found among American white adults of sedentary habits.

Dr. Ales Hrdlicka believes that the aboriginal races of North and South America were of the same stock. The wide differences in physiognomy observable among the different tribes in North and South America are perhaps due to their environmental history during the past 10,000 or 20,000 years. Mr. Frank Chapman, of the American Museum of Natural History, has pointed out the interesting biological fact that animals and birds found at sea level in the cold regions of Tierra del Fuego, while not found at sea level in Peru, do exist at very high altitudes, where the climate is similar to that with which they are acquainted. Similarly, it is interesting to learn that the inhabitants of the cold, lofty regions of southern Peru, living in towns and villages at altitudes of from 9000 to 14,000 feet above the sea, have physical peculiarities closely resembling those living at sea level in Tierra del Fuego, Alaska, and Labrador. Dr. Ferris says the Labrador Eskimo and the Quichua constitute the two "best-known short-stature races on the American continent."

So far as we could learn by questions and observation, about one quarter of the Quichuas are childless. In families which have children the average number is three or four. Large families are not common, although we generally learned that the living children in a family usually represented less than half of those which had been born. Infant mortality is very great. The proper feeding of children is not understood and it is a marvel how any of them manage to grow up at all.

Coughs and bronchial trouble are very common among the Indians. In fact, the most common afflictions of the tableland are those of the throat and lungs. Pneumonia is the most serious and most to be dreaded of all local diseases. It is really terrifying. Due to the rarity of the air and relative scarcity of oxygen, pneumonia is usually fatal at 8000 feet and is uniformly so at 11,000 feet. Patients are frequently ill only twenty-four hours. Tuberculosis is fairly common, its prevalence undoubtedly caused by the living conditions practiced among the highlanders, who are unwilling to sleep in a room which is not tightly closed and protected against any possible intrusion of fresh air. In the warmer valleys, where bodily comfort has led the natives to use huts of thatch and open reeds, instead of the air-tight hovels of the cold, bleak plateau, tuberculosis is seldom seen. Of course, there are no "boards of health," nor are the people bothered by being obliged to conform to any sanitary regulations. Water supplies are so often contaminated that the people have learned to avoid drinking it as far as possible. Instead, they eat quantities of soup.


The Ruins of the Temple of Viracocha at Racche ———

In the market-place of Sicuani, the largest town in the valley, and the border-line between the potato-growing uplands and lowland maize fields, we attended the famous Sunday market. Many native "druggists" were present. Their stock usually consisted of "medicines," whose efficacy was learned by the Incas. There were forty or fifty kinds of simples and curiosities, cure-alls, and specifics. Fully half were reported to me as being "useful against fresh air" or the evil effects of drafts. The "medicines" included such minerals as iron ore and sulphur; such vegetables as dried seeds, roots, and the leaves of plants domesticated hundreds of years ago by the Incas or gathered in the tropical jungles of the lower Urubamba Valley; and such animals as starfish brought from the Pacific Ocean. Some of them were really useful herbs, while others have only a psychopathic effect on the patient. Each medicine was in an attractive little particolored woolen bag. The bags, differing in design and color, woven on miniature hand looms, were arranged side by side on the ground, the upper parts turned over and rolled down so as to disclose the contents.

Not many miles below Sicuani, at a place called Racche, are the remarkable ruins of the so-called Temple of Viracocha, described by Squier. At first sight Racche looks as though there were here a row of nine or ten lofty adobe piers, forty or fifty feet high! Closer inspection, however, shows them all to be parts of the central wall of a great temple. The wall is pierced with large doors and the spaces between the doors are broken by niches, narrower at the top than at the bottom. There are small holes in the doorposts for bar-holds. The base of the great wall is about five feet thick and is of stone. The ashlars are beautifully cut and, while not rectangular, are roughly squared and fitted together with most exquisite care, so as to insure their making a very firm foundation. Their surface is most attractive, but, strange to say, there is unmistakable evidence that the builders did not wish the stonework to show. This surface was at one time plastered with clay, a very significant fact. The builders wanted the wall to seem to be built entirely of adobe, yet, had the great clay wall rested on the ground, floods and erosion might have succeeded in undermining it. Instead, it rests securely on a beautifully built foundation of solid masonry. Even so, the great wall does not stand absolutely true, but leans slightly to the westward. The wall also seems to be less weathered on the west side. Probably the prevailing or strongest wind is from the east.

An interesting feature of the ruins is a round column about twenty feet high—a very rare occurrence in Inca architecture. It also is of adobe, on a stone foundation. There is only one column now standing. In Squier's day the remains of others were to be seen, but I could find no evidences of them. There was probably a double row of these columns to support the stringers and tiebeams of the roof. Apparently one end of a tiebeam rested on the circular column and the other end was embedded in the main wall. The holes where the tiebeams entered the wall have stone lintels.

Near the ruins of the great temple are those of other buildings, also unique, so far as I know. The base of the party wall, decorated with large niches, is of cut ashlars carefully laid; the middle course is of adobe, while the upper third is of rough, uncut stones. It looks very odd now but was originally covered with fine clay or stucco. In several cases the plastered walls are still standing, in fairly good condition, particularly where they have been sheltered from the weather.

The chief marvel of Racche, however, is the great adobe wall of the temple, which is nearly fifty feet high. It is slowly disintegrating, as might be expected. The wonder is that it should have stood so long in a rainy region without any roof or protecting cover. It is incredible that for at least five hundred years a wall of sun-dried clay should have been able to defy severe rainstorms. The lintels, made of hard-wood timbers and partially embedded in the wall, are all gone; yet the adobe remains. It would be very interesting to find out whether the water of the springs near the temple contains lime. If so this might have furnished natural calcareous cement in sufficient quantity to give the clay a particularly tenacious quality, able to resist weathering. The factors which have caused this extraordinary adobe wall to withstand the weather in such an exposed position for so many centuries, notwithstanding the heavy rains of each summer season from December to March, are worthy of further study.

It has been claimed that this temple was devoted to the worship of Viracocha, a great deity, the Jove or Zeus of the ancient pantheon. It seems to me more reasonable to suppose that a primitive folk constructed here a temple to the presiding divinity of the place, the god who gave them this precious clay. The principal industry of the neighboring village is still the manufacture of pottery. No better clay for ceramic purposes has been found in the Andes.

It would have been perfectly natural for the prehistoric potters to have desired to placate the presiding divinity, not so much perhaps out of gratitude for the clay as to avert his displeasure and fend off bad luck in baking pottery. It is well known that the best pottery of the Incas was extremely fine in texture. Students of ceramics are well aware of the uncertainty of the results of baking clay. Bad luck seems to come most unaccountably, even when the greatest pains are taken. Might it not have been possible that the people who were most concerned with creating pottery decided to erect this temple to insure success and get as much good luck as possible? Near the ancient temple is a small modern church with two towers. The churchyard appears to be a favorite place for baking pottery. Possibly the modern potters use the church to pray for success in their baking, just as the ancient potters used the great temple of Viracocha. The walls of the church are composed partly of adobe and partly of cut stones taken from the ruins.

Not far away is a fairly recent though prehistoric lava flow. It occurs to me that possibly this flow destroyed some of the clay beds from which the ancient potters got their precious material. The temple may have been erected as a propitiatory offering to the god of volcanoes in the hope that the anger which had caused him to send the lava flow might be appeased. It may be that the Inca Viracocha, an unusually gifted ruler, was particularly interested in ceramics and was responsible for building the temple. If so, it would be natural for people who are devoted to ancestor worship to have here worshiped his memory.


Route Map of the Peruvian Expedition of 1912 ———


The Valley of the Huatanay

The valley of the Huatanay is one of many valleys tributary to the Urubamba. It differs from them in having more arable land located under climatic conditions favorable for the raising of the food crops of the ancient Peruvians. Containing an area estimated at less than 160 square miles, it was the heart of the greatest empire that South America has ever seen. It is still intensively cultivated, the home of a large percentage of the people of this part of Peru. The Huatanay itself sometimes meanders through the valley in a natural manner, but at other times is seen to be confined within carefully built stone walls constructed by prehistoric agriculturists anxious to save their fields from floods and erosion. The climate is temperate. Extreme cold is unknown. Water freezes in the lowlands during the dry winter season, in June and July, and frost may occur any night in the year above 13,000 feet, but in general the climate may be said to be neither warm nor cold.

This rich valley was apportioned by the Spanish conquerors to soldiers who were granted large estates as well as the labor of the Indians living on them. This method still prevails and one may occasionally meet on the road wealthy landholders on their way to and from town. Although mules are essentially the most reliable saddle animals for work in the Andes, these landholders usually prefer horses, which are larger and faster, as well as being more gentle and better gaited. The gentry of the Huatanay Valley prefer a deep-seated saddle, over which is laid a heavy sheepskin or thick fur mat. The fashionable stirrups are pyramidal in shape, made of wood decorated with silver bands. Owing to the steepness of the roads, a crupper is considered necessary and is usually decorated with a broad, embossed panel, from which hang little trappings reminiscent of medieval harness. The bridle is usually made of carefully braided leather, decorated with silver and frequently furnished with an embossed leather eye shade or blinder, to indicate that the horse is high-spirited. This eye shade, which may be pulled down so as to blind both eyes completely, is more useful than a hitching post in persuading the horse to stand still.

The valley of the Huatanay River is divided into three parts, the basins of Lucre, Oropesa, and Cuzco. The basaltic cliffs near Oropesa divide the Lucre Basin from the Oropesa Basin. The pass at Angostura, or "the narrows," is the natural gateway between the Oropesa Basin and the Cuzco Basin. Each basin contains interesting ruins. In the Lucre Basin the most interesting are those of Rumiccolca and Piquillacta.

At the extreme eastern end of the valley, on top of the pass which leads to the Vilcanota is an ancient gateway called Rumiccolca (Rumi = "stone"; ccolca = "granary"). It is commonly supposed that this was an Inca fortress, intended to separate the chiefs of Cuzco from those of Vilcanota. It is now locally referred to as a "fortaleza." The major part of the wall is well built of rough stones, laid in clay, while the sides of the gateway are faced with carefully cut andesite ashlars of an entirely different style. It is conceivable that some great chieftain built the rough wall in the days when the highlands were split up among many little independent rulers, and that later one of the Incas, no longer needing any fortifications between the Huatanay Valley and the Vilcanota Valley, tore down part of the wall and built a fine gateway. The faces of the ashlars are nicely finished except for several rough bosses or nubbins. They were probably used by the ancient masons in order to secure a better hold when finally adjusting the ashlars with small crowbars. It may have been the intention of the stone masons to remove these nubbins after the wall was completed. In one of the unfinished structures at Machu Picchu I noticed similar bosses. The name "Stone-granary" was probably originally applied to a neighboring edifice now in ruins.

On the rocky hillside above Rumiccolca are the ruins of many ancient terraces and some buildings. Not far from Rumiccolca, on the slopes of Mt. Piquillacta, are the ruins of an extensive city, also called Piquillacta. A large number of its houses have extraordinarily high walls. A high wall outside the city, and running north and south, was obviously built to protect it from enemies approaching from the Vilcanota Valley. In the other directions the slopes are so steep as to render a wall unnecessary. The walls are built of fragments of lava rock, with which the slopes of Mt. Piquillacta are covered. Cacti and thorny scrub are growing in the ruins, but the volcanic soil is rich enough to attract the attention of agriculturists, who come here from neighboring villages to cultivate their crops. The slopes above the city are still extensively cultivated, but without terraces. Wheat and barley are the principal crops.

As an illustration of the difficulty of identifying places in ancient Peru, it is worth noting that the gateway now called Rumiccolca is figured in Squier's "Peru" as "Piquillacta." On the other hand, the ruins of the large city, "covering thickly an area nearly a square mile," are called by Squier "the great Inca town of Muyna," a name also applied to the little lake which lies in the bottom of the Lucre Basin. As Squier came along the road from Racche he saw Mt. Piquillacta first, then the gateway, then Lake Muyna, then the ruins of the city. In each case the name of the most conspicuous, harmless, natural phenomenon seems to have been applied to ruins by those of whom he inquired. My own experience was different.


Lucre Basin, Lake Muyna, and the City Wall of Piquillacta ———

Dr. Aguilar, a distinguished professor in the University of Cuzco, who has a country place in the neighborhood and is very familiar with this region, brought me to this ancient city from the other direction. From him I learned that the city ruins are called Piquillacta, the name which is also applied to the mountain which lies to the eastward of the ruins and rises 1200 feet above them. Dr. Aguilar lives near Oropesa. As one comes from Oropesa, Mt. Piquillacta is a conspicuous point and is directly in line with the city ruins. Consequently, it would be natural for people viewing it from this direction to give to the ruins the name of the mountain rather than that of the lake. Yet the mountain may be named for the ruins. Piqui means "flea"; llacta means "town, city, country, district, or territory." Was this "The Territory of the Fleas" or was it "Flea Town"? And what was its name in the days of the Incas? Was the old name abandoned because it was considered unlucky?

Whatever the reason, it is a most extraordinary fact that we have here the evidences of a very large town, possibly pre-Inca, long since abandoned. There are scores of houses and numerous compounds laid out in regular fashion, the streets crossing each other at right angles, the whole covering an area considerably larger than the important town of Ollantaytambo. Not a soul lives here. It is true that across the Vilcanota to the east is a difficult, mountainous country culminating in Mt. Ausangate, the highest peak in the department. Yet Piquillacta is in the midst of a populous region. To the north lies the thickly settled valley of Pisac and Yucay; to the south, the important Vilcanota Valley with dozens of villages; to the west the densely populated valley of the Huatanay and Cuzco itself, the largest city in the highlands of Peru. Thousands of people live within a radius of twenty miles of Piquillacta, and the population is on the increase. It is perfectly easy of access and is less than a mile east of the railroad. Yet it is "abandonado—desierto—despoblado"! Undoubtedly here was once a large city of great importance. The reason for its being abandoned appears to be the absence of running water. Although Mt. Piquillacta is a large mass, nearly five miles long and two miles wide, rising to a point of 2000 feet above the Huatanay and Vilcanota rivers, it has no streams, brooks, or springs. It is an isolated, extinct volcano surrounded by igneous rocks, lavas, andesites, and basalts.

How came it that so large a city as Piquillacta could have been built on the slopes of a mountain which has no running streams? Has the climate changed so much since those days? If so, how is it that the surrounding region is still the populous part of southern Peru? It is inconceivable that so large a city could have been built and occupied on a plateau four hundred feet above the nearest water unless there was some way of providing it other than the arduous one of bringing every drop up the hill on the backs of men and llamas. If there were no places near here better provided with water than this site, one could understand that perhaps its inhabitants were obliged to depend entirely upon water carriers. On the contrary, within a radius of six miles there are half a dozen unoccupied sites near running streams. Until further studies can be made of this puzzling problem I believe that the answer lies in the ruins of Rumiccolca, which are usually thought of as a fortress.

Squier says that this "fortress" was "the southern limit of the dominions of the first Inca." "The fortress reaches from the mountain, on one side, to a high, rocky eminence on the other. It is popularly called 'El Aqueducto,' perhaps from some fancied resemblance to an aqueduct—but the name is evidently misapplied." Yet he admits that the cross-section of the wall, diminishing as it does "by graduations or steps on both sides," "might appear to conflict with the hypothesis of its being a work of defense or fortification" if it occupied "a different position." He noticed that "the top of the wall is throughout of the same level; becomes less in height as it approaches the hills on either hand and diminishes proportionately in thickness" as an aqueduct should do. Yet, so possessed was he by the "fortress" idea that he rejected not only local tradition as expressed in the native name, but even turned his back on the evidence of his own eyes. It seems to me that there is little doubt that instead of the ruins of Rumiccolca representing a fortification, we have here the remains of an ancient azequia, or aqueduct, built by some powerful chieftain to supply the people of Piquillacta with water.

A study of the topography of the region shows that the river which rises southwest of the village of Lucre and furnishes water power for its modern textile mills could have been used to supply such an azequia. The water, collected at an elevation of 10,700 feet, could easily have been brought six miles along the southern slopes of the Lucre Basin, around Mt. Rumiccolca and across the old road, on this aqueduct, at an elevation of about 10,600 feet. This would have permitted it to flow through some of the streets of Piquillacta and give the ancient city an adequate supply of water. The slopes of Rumiccolca are marked by many ancient terraces. Their upper limit corresponds roughly with the contour along which such an azequia would have had to pass. There is, in fact, a distinct line on the hillside which looks as though an azequia had once passed that way. In the valley back of Lucre are also faint indications of old azequias. There has been, however, a considerable amount of erosion on the hills, and if, as seems likely, the water-works have been out of order for several centuries, it is not surprising that all traces of them have disappeared in places. I regret very much that circumstances over which I had no control prevented my making a thorough study of the possibilities of such a theory. It remains for some fortunate future investigator to determine who were the inhabitants of Piquillacta, how they secured their water supply, and why the city was abandoned.


Sacsahuaman: Detail of Lower Terrace Wall ———


Ruins of the Aqueduct of Rumiccolca ———

Until then I suggest as a possible working hypothesis that we have at Piquillacta the remains of a pre-Inca city; that its chiefs and people cultivated the Lucre Basin and its tributaries; that as a community they were a separate political entity from the people of Cuzco; that the ruler of the Cuzco people, perhaps an Inca, finally became sufficiently powerful to conquer the people of the Lucre Basin, and removed the tribes which had occupied Piquillacta to a distant part of his domain, a system of colonization well known in the history of the Incas; that, after the people who had built and lived in Piquillacta departed, no subsequent dwellers in this region cared to reoccupy the site, and its aqueduct fell into decay. It is easy to believe that at first such a site would have been considered unlucky. Its houses, unfamiliar and unfashionable in design, would have been considered not desirable. Their high walls might have been used for a reconstructed city had there been plenty of water available. In any case, the ruins of the Lucre Basin offer a most fascinating problem.

In the Oropesa Basin the most important ruins are those of Tipon, a pleasant, well-watered valley several hundred feet above the village of Quispicanchi. They include carefully constructed houses of characteristic Inca construction, containing many symmetrically arranged niches with stone lintels. The walls of most of the houses are of rough stones laid in clay. Tipon was probably the residence of the principal chief of the Oropesa Basin. It commands a pleasant view of the village and of the hills to the south, which to-day are covered with fields of wheat and barley. At Tipon there is a nicely constructed fountain of cut stone. Some of the terraces are extremely well built, with roughly squared blocks fitting tightly together. Access from one terrace to another was obtained by steps made each of a single bonder projecting from the face of the terrace. Few better constructed terrace walls are to be seen anywhere. The terraces are still cultivated by the people of Quispicanchi. No one lives at Tipon now, although little shepherd boys and goatherds frequent the neighborhood. It is more convenient for the agriculturists to live at the edge of their largest fields, which are in the valley bottom, than to climb five hundred feet into the narrow valley and occupy the old buildings. Motives of security no longer require a residence here rather than in the open plain.

While I was examining the ruins and digging up a few attractive potsherds bearing Inca designs, Dr. Giesecke, the President of the University of Cuzco, who had accompanied me, climbed the mountain above Tipon with Dr. Aguilar and reported the presence of a fortification near its summit. My stay at Oropesa was rendered most comfortable and happy by the generous hospitality of Dr. Aguilar, whose finca is between Quispicanchi and Oropesa and commands a charming view of the valley.

From the Oropesa Basin, one enters the Cuzco Basin through an opening in the sandstone cliffs of Angostura near the modern town of San Geronimo. On the slopes above the south bank of the Huatanay, just beyond Angostura, are the ruins of a score or more of gable-roofed houses of characteristic Inca construction. The ancient buildings have doors, windows, and niches in walls of small stones laid in clay, the lintels having been of wood, now decayed. When we asked the name of these ruins we were told that it was Saylla, although that is the name of a modern village three miles away, down the Huatanay, in the Oropesa Basin. Like Piquillacta, old Saylla has no water supply at present. It is not far from a stream called the Kkaira and could easily have been supplied with water by an azequia less than two miles in length brought along the 11,000 feet contour. It looks very much like the case of a village originally placed on the hills for the sake of comparative security and isolation and later abandoned through a desire to enjoy the advantages of living near the great highway in the bottom of the valley, after the Incas had established peace over the highlands. There may be another explanation.

It appears from Mr. Cook's studies that the deforestation of the Cuzco Basin by the hand of man, and modern methods of tillage on unterraced slopes, have caused an unusual amount of erosion to occur. Landslides are frequent in the rainy season.

Opposite Saylla is Mt. Picol, whose twin peaks are the most conspicuous feature on the north side of the basin. Waste material from its slopes is causing the rapid growth of a great gravel fan north of the village of San Geronimo. Professor Gregory noticed that the streams traversing the fan are even now engaged in burying ancient fields by "transporting gravel from the head of the fan to its lower margin," and that the lower end of the Cuzco Basin, where the Huatanay, hemmed in between the Angostura Narrows, cannot carry away the sediment as fast as it is brought down by its tributaries, is being choked up. If old Saylla represents a fortress set here to defend Cuzco against old Oropesa, it might very naturally have been abandoned when the rule of the Incas finally spread far over the Andes. On the other hand, it seems more likely that the people who built Saylla were farmers and that when the lower Cuzco Basin was filled up by aggradation, due to increased erosion, they abandoned this site for one nearer the arable lands. One may imagine the dismay with which the agricultural residents of these ancient houses saw their beautiful fields at the bottom of the hill, covered in a few days, or even hours, by enormous quantities of coarse gravel brought down from the steep slopes of Picol after some driving rainstorm. It may have been some such catastrophe that led them to take up their residence elsewhere. As a matter of fact we do not know when it was abandoned. Further investigation might point to its having been deserted when the Spanish village of San Geronimo was founded. However, I believe students of agriculture will agree with me that deforestation, increased erosion, and aggrading gravel banks probably drove the folk out of Saylla.

The southern rim of the Cuzco Basin is broken by no very striking peaks, although Huanacaurai (13,427 ft.), the highest point, is connected in Inca tradition with some of the principal festivals and religious celebrations. The north side of the Huatanay Valley is much more irregular, ranging from Ttica Ttica pass (12,000 ft.) to Mt. Pachatucsa (15,915 ft.), whose five little peaks are frequently snow-clad. There is no permanent snow either here or elsewhere in the Huatanay Valley.

The people of the Cuzco Basin are very short of fuel. There is no native coal. What the railroad uses comes from Australia. Firewood is scarce. The ancient forests disappeared long ago. The only trees in sight are a few willows or poplars from Europe and one or two groves of eucalyptus, also from Australia. Cuzco has been thought of and written of as being above the tree line, but such is not the case. The absence of trees on the neighboring hills is due entirely to the hand of man, the long occupation, the necessities of early agriculturists, who cleared the forests before the days of intensive terrace agriculture, and the firewood requirements of a large population. The people of Cuzco do not dream of having enough fuel to make their houses warm and comfortable. Only with difficulty can they get enough for cooking purposes. They depend largely on fagots and straw which are brought into town on the backs of men and animals.

In the fields of stubble left from the wheat and barley harvest we saw many sheep feeding. They were thin and long-legged and many of the rams had four horns, apparently due to centuries of inbreeding and the failure to improve the original stock by the introduction of new and superior strains.

When one looks at the great amount of arable slopes on most of the hills of the Cuzco Basin and the unusually extensive flat land near the Huatanay, one readily understands why the heart of Inca Land witnessed a concentration of population very unusual in the Andes. Most of the important ruins are in the northwest quadrant of the basin either in the immediate vicinity of Cuzco itself or on the "pampas" north of the city. The reason is that the arable lands where most extensive potato cultivation could be carried out are nearly all in this quadrant. In the midst of this potato country, at the foot of the pass that leads directly to Pisac and Paucartambo, is a picturesque ruin which bears the native name of Pucara.

Pucara is the Quichua word for fortress and it needs but one glance at the little hilltop crowned with a rectangular fortification to realize that the term is justified. The walls are beautifully made of irregular blocks closely fitted together. Advantage was taken of small cliffs on two sides of the hill to strengthen the fortifications. We noticed openings or drains which had been cut in the wall by the original builders in order to prevent the accumulation of moisture on the terraced floor of the enclosed area, which is several feet above that of the sloping field outside. Similar conduits may be seen in many of the old walls in the city of Cuzco. Apparently, the ancient folk fully appreciated the importance of good drainage and took pains to secure it. At present Pucara is occupied by llama herdsmen and drovers, who find the enclosure a very convenient corral. Probably Pucara was built by the chief of a tribe of prehistoric herdsmen who raised root crops and kept their flocks of llamas and alpacas on the neighboring grassy slopes.

A short distance up the stream of the Lkalla Chaca, above Pucara, is a warm mineral spring. Around it is a fountain of cut stone. Near by are the ruins of a beautiful terrace, on top of which is a fine wall containing four large, ceremonial niches, level with the ground and about six feet high. The place is now called Tampu Machai. Polo de Ondegardo, who lived in Cuzco in 1560, while many of the royal family of the Incas were still alive, gives a list of the sacred or holy places which were venerated by all the Indians in those days. Among these he mentions that of Timpucpuquio, the "hot springs" near Tambo Machai, "called so from the manner in which the water boils up." The next huaca, or holy place, he mentions is Tambo Machai itself, "a house of the Inca Yupanqui, where he was entertained when he went to be married. It was placed on a hill near the road over the Andes. They sacrifice everything here except children."

The stonework of the ruins here is so excellent in character, the ashlars being very carefully fitted together, one may fairly assume a religious origin for the place. The Quichua word macchini means "to wash" or "to rinse a large narrow-mouthed pitcher." It may be that at Tampu Machai ceremonial purification of utensils devoted to royal or priestly uses was carried on. It is possible that this is the place where, according to Molina, all the youths of Cuzco who had been armed as knights in the great November festival came on the 21st day of the month to bathe and change their clothes. Afterwards they returned to the city to be lectured by their relatives. "Each relation that offered a sacrifice flogged a youth and delivered a discourse to him, exhorting him to be valiant and never to be a traitor to the Sun and the Inca, but to imitate the bravery and prowess of his ancestors."

Tampu Machai is located on a little bluff above the Lkalla Chaca, a small stream which finally joins the Huatanay near the town of San Sebastian. Before it reaches the Huatanay, the Lkalla Chaca joins the Cachimayo, famous as being so highly impregnated with salt as to have caused the rise of extensive salt works. In fact, the Pizarros named the place Las Salinas, or "the Salt Pits," on account of the salt pans with which, by a careful system of terracing, the natives had filled the Cachimayo Valley. Prescott describes the great battle which took place here on April 26, 1539, between the forces of Pizarro and Almagro, the two leaders who had united for the original conquest of Peru, but quarreled over the division of the territory. Near the salt pans are many Inca walls and the ruins of structures, with niches, called Rumihuasi, or "Stone House." The presence of salt in many of the springs of the Huatanay Valley was a great source of annoyance to our topographic engineers, who were frequently obliged to camp in districts where the only water available was so saline as to spoil it for drinking purposes and ruin the tea.

The Cuzco Basin was undoubtedly once the site of a lake, "an ancient water-body whose surface," says Professor Gregory, "lay well above the present site of San Sebastian and San Geronimo." This lake is believed to have reached its maximum expansion in early Pleistocene times. Its rich silts, so well adapted for raising maize, habas beans, and quinoa, have always attracted farmers and are still intensively cultivated. It has been named "Lake Morkill" in honor of that loyal friend of scientific research in Peru, William L. Morkill, Esq., without whose untiring aid we could never have brought our Peruvian explorations as far along as we did. In pre-glacial times Lake Morkill fluctuated in volume. From time to time parts of the shore were exposed long enough to enable plants to send their roots into the fine materials and the sun to bake and crack the muds. Mastodons grazed on its banks. "Lake Morkill probably existed during all or nearly all of the glacial epoch." Its drainage was finally accomplished by the Huatanay cutting down the sandstone hills, near Saylla, and developing the Angostura gorge.

In the banks of the Huatanay, a short distance below the city of Cuzco, the stratified beds of the vanished Lake Morkill to-day contain many fossil shells. Above these are gravels brought down by the floods and landslides of more modern times, in which may be found potsherds and bones. One of the chief affluents of the Huatanay is the Chunchullumayo, which cuts off the southernmost third of Cuzco from the center of the city. Its banks are terraced and are still used for gardens and food crops. Here the hospitable Canadian missionaries have their pleasant station, a veritable oasis of Anglo-Saxon cleanliness.

On a July morning in 1911, while strolling up the Ayahuaycco quebrada, an affluent of the Chunchullumayo, in company with Professor Foote and Surgeon Erving, my interest was aroused by the sight of several bones and potsherds exposed by recent erosion in the stratified gravel banks of the little gulch. Further examination showed that recent erosion had also cut through an ancient ash heap. On the side toward Cuzco I discovered a section of stone wall, built of roughly finished stones more or less carefully fitted together, which at first sight appeared to have been built to prevent further washing away of that side of the gulch. Yet above the wall and flush with its surface the bank appeared to consist of stratified gravel, indicating that the wall antedated the gravel deposits. Fifty feet farther up the quebrada another portion of wall appeared under the gravel bank. On top of the bank was a cultivated field! Half an hour's digging in the compact gravel showed that there was more wall underneath the field. Later investigation by Dr. Bowman showed that the wall was about three feet thick and nine feet in height, carefully faced on both sides with roughly cut stone and filled in with rubble, a type of stonework not uncommon in the foundations of some of the older buildings in the western part of the city of Cuzco.


Huatanay Vallye, Cuzco, and the Ayahuaycco Quebrada ———

Even at first sight it was obvious that this wall, built by man, was completely covered to a depth of six or eight feet by a compact water-laid gravel bank. This was sufficiently difficult to understand, yet a few days later, while endeavoring to solve the puzzle, I found something even more exciting. Half a mile farther up the gulch, the road, newly cut, ran close to the compact, perpendicular gravel bank. About five feet above the road I saw what looked like one of the small rocks which are freely interspersed throughout the gravels here. Closer examination showed it to be the end of a human femur. Apparently it formed an integral part of the gravel bank, which rose almost perpendicularly for seventy or eighty feet above it. Impressed by the possibilities in case it should turn out to be true that here, in the heart of Inca Land, a human bone had been buried under seventy-five feet of gravel, I refrained from disturbing it until I could get Dr. Bowman and Professor Foote, the geologist and the naturalist of the 1911 Expedition, to come with me to the Ayahuaycco quebrada. We excavated the femur and found behind it fragments of a number of other bones. They were excessively fragile. The femur was unable to support more than four inches of its own weight and broke off after the gravel had been partly removed. Although the gravel itself was somewhat damp the bones were dry and powdery, ashy gray in color. The bones were carried to the Hotel Central, where they were carefully photographed, soaked in melted vaseline, packed in cotton batting, and eventually brought to New Haven. Here they were examined by Dr. George F. Eaton, Curator of Osteology in the Peabody Museum. In the meantime Dr. Bowman had become convinced that the compact gravels of Ayahuaycco were of glacial origin.

When Dr. Eaton first examined the bone fragments he was surprised to find among them the bone of a horse. Unfortunately a careful examination of the photographs taken in Cuzco of all the fragments which were excavated by us on July 11th failed to reveal this particular bone. Dr. Bowman, upon being questioned, said that he had dug out one or two more bones in the cliff adjoining our excavation of July 11th and had added these to the original lot. Presumably this horse bone was one which he had added when the bones were packed. It did not worry him, however, and so sure was he of his interpretation of the gravel beds that he declared he did not care if we had found the bone of a Percheron stallion, he was sure that the age of the vertebrate remains might be "provisionally estimated at 20,000 to 40,000 years," until further studies could be made of the geology of the surrounding territory. In an article on the buried wall, Dr. Bowman came to the conclusion that "the wall is pre-Inca, that its relations to alluvial deposits which cover it indicate its erection before the alluvial slope in which it lies buried was formed, and that it represents the earliest type of architecture at present known in the Cuzco basin."

Dr. Eaton's study of the bones brought out the fact that eight of them were fragments of human bones representing at least three individuals, four were fragments of llama bones, one of the bone of a dog, and three were "bovine remains." The human remains agreed "in all essential respects" with the bones of modern Quichuas. Llama and dog might all have belonged to Inca, or even more recent times, but the bovine remains presented considerable difficulty. The three fragments were from bones which "are among the least characteristic parts of the skeleton." That which was of greatest interest was the fragment of a first rib, resembling the first rib of the extinct bison. Since this fragmentary bovine rib was of a form apparently characteristic of bisons and not seen in the domestic cattle of the United States, Dr. Eaton felt that it could not be denied "that the material examined suggests the possibility that some species of bison is here represented, yet it would hardly be in accordance with conservative methods to differentiate bison from domestic cattle solely by characters obtained from a study of the first ribs of a small number of individuals." Although staunchly supporting his theory of the age of the vertebrate remains, Dr. Bowman in his report on their geological relations admitted that the weakness of his case lay in the fact that the bovine remains were not sharply differentiated from the bones of modern cattle, and also in the possibility that "the bluff in which the bones were found may be faced by younger gravel and that the bones were found in a gravel veneer deposited during later periods of partial valley filling, ... although it still seems very unlikely."

Reports of glacial man in America have come from places as widely separated as California and Argentina. Careful investigation, however, has always thrown doubt on any great age being certainly attributable to any human remains. In view of the fragmentary character of the skeletal evidence, the fact that no proof of great antiquity could be drawn from the characters of the human skeletal parts, and the suggestion made by Dr. Bowman of the possibility that the gravels which contained the bones might be of a later origin than he thought, we determined to make further and more complete investigations in 1912. It was most desirable to clear up all doubts and dissolve all skepticism. I felt, perhaps mistakenly, that while a further study of the geology of the Cuzco Basin undoubtedly might lead Dr. Bowman to reverse his opinion, as was expected by some geologists, if it should lead him to confirm his original conclusions the same skeptics would be likely to continue their skepticism and say he was trying to bolster up his own previous opinions. Accordingly, I believed it preferable to take another geologist, whose independent testimony would give great weight to those conclusions should he find them confirmed by an exhaustive geological study of the Huatanay Valley. I asked Dr. Bowman's colleague, Professor Gregory, to make the necessary studies. At his request a very careful map of the Huatanay Valley was prepared under the direction of Chief Topographer Albert H. Bumstead. Dr. Eaton, who had had no opportunity of seeing Peru, was invited to accompany us and make a study of the bones of modern Peruvian cattle as well as of any other skeletal remains which might be found.

Furthermore, it seemed important to me to dig a tunnel into the Ayahuaycco hillside at the exact point from which we took the bones in 1911. So I asked Mr. K. C. Heald, whose engineering training had been in Colorado, to superintend it. Mr. Heald dug a tunnel eleven feet long, with a cross-section four and a half by three feet, into the solid mass of gravel. He expected to have to use timbering, but so firmly packed was the gravel that this was not necessary. No bones or artifacts were found—nothing but coarse gravel, uniform in texture and containing no unmistakable evidences of stratification. Apparently the bones had been in a land slip on the edge of an older, compact gravel mass.

In his studies of the Cuzco Basin Professor Gregory came to the conclusion that the Ayahuaycco gravel banks might have been repeatedly buried and reexcavated many times during the past few centuries. He found evidence indicating periodic destruction and rebuilding of some gravel terraces, "even within the past one hundred years." Accordingly there was no longer any necessity to ascribe great antiquity to the bones or the wall which we found in the Ayahuaycco quebrada. Although the "Cuzco gravels are believed to have reached their greatest extent and thickness in late Pleistocene times," more recent deposits have, however, been superimposed on top and alongside of them. "Surface wash from the bordering slopes, controlled in amount and character by climatic changes, has probably been accumulating continuously since glacial times, and has greatly increased since human occupation began." "Geologic data do not require more than a few hundreds of years as the age of the human remains found in the Cuzco gravels."

But how about the "bison"? Soon after his arrival in Cuzco, Dr. Eaton examined the first ribs of carcasses of beef animals offered for sale in the public markets. He immediately became convinced that the "bison" was a Peruvian domestic ox. "Under the life-conditions prevailing in this part of the Andes, and possibly in correlation with the increased action of the respiratory muscles in a rarefied air, domestic cattle occasionally develop first ribs, closely approaching the form observed in bison." Such was the sad end of the "bison" and the "Cuzco man," who at one time I thought might be forty thousand years old, and now believe to have been two hundred years old, perhaps. The word Ayahuaycco in Quichua means "the valley of dead bodies" or "dead man's gulch." There is a story that it was used as a burial place for plague victims in Cuzco, not more than three generations ago!


The Oldest City in South America

Cuzco, the oldest city in South America, has changed completely since Squier's visit. In fact it has altered considerably since my own first impressions of it were published in "Across South America." To be sure, there are still the evidences of antiquity to be seen on every side; on the other hand there are corresponding evidences of advancement. Telephones, electric lights, street cars, and the "movies" have come to stay. The streets are cleaner. If the modern traveler finds fault with some of the conditions he encounters he must remember that many of the achievements of the people of ancient Cuzco are not yet duplicated in his own country nor have they ever been equaled in any other part of the world. And modern Cuzco is steadily progressing. The great square in front of the cathedral was completely metamorphosed by Prefect Nunez in 1911; concrete walks and beds of bright flowers have replaced the market and the old cobblestone paving and made the plaza a favorite promenade of the citizens on pleasant evenings.

The principal market-place now is the Plaza of San Francisco. It is crowded with booths of every description. Nearly all of the food-stuffs and utensils used by the Indians may be bought here. Frequently thronged with Indians, buying and selling, arguing and jabbering, it affords, particularly in the early morning, a never-ending source of entertainment to one who is fond of the picturesque and interested in strange manners and customs.

The retail merchants of Cuzco follow the very old custom of congregating by classes. In one street are the dealers in hats; in another those who sell coca. The dressmakers and tailors are nearly all in one long arcade in a score or more of dark little shops. Their light seems to come entirely from the front door. The occupants are operators of American sewing-machines who not only make clothing to order, but always have on hand a large assortment of standard sizes and patterns. In another arcade are the shops of those who specialize in everything which appeals to the eye and the pocketbook of the arriero: richly decorated halters, which are intended to avert the Evil Eye from his best mules; leather knapsacks in which to carry his coca or other valuable articles; cloth cinches and leather bridles; rawhide lassos, with which he is more likely to make a diamond hitch than to rope a mule; flutes to while away the weary hours of his journey, and candles to be burned before his patron saint as he starts for some distant village; in a word, all the paraphernalia of his profession.


Map of Peru and view of Cuzco

From the "Speculum Orbis Terrarum," Antwerp, 1578. ———

In order to learn more about the picturesque Quichuas who throng the streets of Cuzco it was felt to be important to secure anthropometric measurements of a hundred Indians. Accordingly, Surgeon Nelson set up a laboratory in the Hotel Central. His subjects were the unwilling victims of friendly gendarmes who went out into the streets with orders to bring for examination only pure-blooded Quichuas. Most of the Indians showed no resentment and were in the end pleased and surprised to find themselves the recipients of a small silver coin as compensation for loss of time.

One might have supposed that a large proportion of Dr. Nelson's subjects would have claimed Cuzco as their native place, but this was not the case. Actually fewer Indians came from the city itself than from relatively small towns like Anta, Huaracondo, and Maras. This may have been due to a number of causes. In the first place, the gendarmes may have preferred to arrest strangers from distant villages, who would submit more willingly. Secondly, the city folk were presumably more likely to be in their shops attending to their business or watching their wares in the plaza, an occupation which the gendarmes could not interrupt. On the other hand it is also probably true that the residents of Cuzco are of more mixed descent than those of remote villages, where even to-day one cannot find more than two or three individuals who speak Spanish. Furthermore, the attention of the gendarmes might have been drawn more easily to the quaintly caparisoned Indians temporarily in from the country, where city fashions do not prevail, than to those who through long residence in the city had learned to adopt a costume more in accordance with European notions. In 1870, according to Squier, seven eighths of the population of Cuzco were still pure Indian. Even to-day a large proportion of the individuals whom one sees in the streets appears to be of pure aboriginal ancestry. Of these we found that many are visitors from outlying villages. Cuzco is the Mecca of the most densely populated part of the Andes.

Probably a large part of its citizens are of mixed Spanish and Quichua ancestry. The Spanish conquistadores did not bring European women with them. Nearly all took native wives. The Spanish race is composed of such an extraordinary mixture of peoples from Europe and northern Africa, Celts, Iberians, Romans, and Goths, as well as Carthaginians, Berbers, and Moors, that the Hispanic peoples have far less antipathy toward intermarriage with the American race than have the Anglo-Saxons and Teutons of northern Europe. Consequently, there has gone on for centuries intermarriage of Spaniards and Indians with results which are difficult to determine. Some writers have said there were once 200,000 people in Cuzco. With primitive methods of transportation it would be very difficult to feed so many. Furthermore, in 1559, there were, according to Montesinos, only 20,000 Indians in Cuzco.

One of the charms of Cuzco is the juxtaposition of old and new. Street cars clanging over steel rails carry crowds of well-dressed Cuzcenos past Inca walls to greet their friends at the railroad station. The driver is scarcely able by the most vigorous application of his brakes to prevent his mules from crashing into a compact herd of quiet, supercilious llamas sedately engaged in bringing small sacks of potatoes to the Cuzco market. The modern convent of La Merced is built of stones taken from ancient Inca structures. Fastened to ashlars which left the Inca stonemason's hands six or seven centuries ago, one sees a bill-board advertising Cuzco's largest moving-picture theater. On the 2d of July, 1915, the performance was for the benefit of the Belgian Red Cross! Gazing in awe at this sign were Indian boys from some remote Andean village where the custom is to wear ponchos with broad fringes, brightly colored, and knitted caps richly decorated with tasseled tops and elaborate ear-tabs, a costume whose design shows no trace of European influence. Side by side with these picturesque visitors was a barefooted Cuzco urchin clad in a striped jersey, cloth cap, coat, and pants of English pattern.

One sees electric light wires fastened to the walls of houses built four hundred years ago by the Spanish conquerors, walls which themselves rest on massive stone foundations laid by Inca masons centuries before the conquest. In one place telephone wires intercept one's view of the beautiful stone facade of an old Jesuit Church, now part of the University of Cuzco. It is built of reddish basalt from the quarries of Huaccoto, near the twin peaks of Mt. Picol. Professor Gregory says that this Huaccoto basalt has a softness and uniformity of texture which renders it peculiarly suitable for that elaborately carved stonework which was so greatly desired by ecclesiastical architects of the sixteenth century. As compared with the dense diorite which was extensively used by the Incas, the basalt weathers far more rapidly. The rich red color of the weathered portions gives to the Jesuit Church an atmosphere of extreme age. The courtyard of the University, whose arcades echoed to the feet of learned Jesuit teachers long before Yale was founded, has recently been paved with concrete, transformed into a tennis court, and now echoes to the shouts of students to whom Dr. Giesecke, the successful president, is teaching the truth of the ancient axiom, "Mens sana in corpore sano."

Modern Cuzco is a city of about 20,000 people. Although it is the political capital of the most important department in southern Peru, it had in 1911 only one hospital—a semi-public, non-sectarian organization on the west of the city, next door to the largest cemetery. In fact, so far away is it from everything else and so close to the cemetery that the funeral wreaths and the more prominent monuments are almost the only interesting things which the patients have to look at. The building has large courtyards and open colonnades, which would afford ideal conditions for patients able to take advantage of open-air treatment. At the time of Surgeon Erving's visit he found the patients were all kept in wards whose windows were small and practically always closed and shuttered, so that the atmosphere was close and the light insufficient. One could hardly imagine a stronger contrast than exists between such wards and those to which we are accustomed in the United States, where the maximum of sunlight and fresh air is sought and patients are encouraged to sit out-of-doors, and even have their cots on porches. There was no resident physician. The utmost care was taken throughout the hospital to have everything as dark as possible, thus conforming to the ancient mountain traditions regarding the evil effects of sunlight and fresh air. Needless to say, the hospital has a high mortality and a very poor local reputation; yet it is the only hospital in the Department. Outside of Cuzco, in all the towns we visited, there was no provision for caring for the sick except in their own homes. In the larger places there are shops where some of the more common drugs may be obtained, but in the great majority of towns and villages no modern medicines can be purchased. No wonder President Giesecke, of the University, is urging his students to play football and tennis.


Towers of Jesuit Church With Cloisters and Tennis Court of University, Cuzco ———

On the slopes of the hill which overshadows the University are the interesting terraces of Colcampata. Here, in 1571, lived Carlos Inca, a cousin of Inca Titu Cusi, one of the native rulers who succeeded in maintaining a precarious existence in the wilds of the Cordillera Uilcapampa after the Spanish Conquest. In the gardens of Colcampata is still preserved one of the most exquisite bits of Inca stonework to be seen in Peru. One wonders whether it is all that is left of a fine palace, or whether it represents the last efforts of a dying dynasty to erect a suitable residence for Titu Cusi's cousin. It is carefully preserved by Don Cesare Lomellini, the leading business man of Cuzco, a merchant prince of Italian origin, who is at once a banker, an exporter of hides and other country produce, and an importer of merchandise of every description, including pencils and sugar mills, lumber and hats, candy and hardware. He is also an amateur of Spanish colonial furniture as well as of the beautiful pottery of the Incas. Furthermore, he has always found time to turn aside from the pressing cares of his large business to assist our expeditions. He has frequently brought us in touch with the owners of country estates, or given us letters of introduction, so that our paths were made easy. He has provided us with storerooms for our equipment, assisted us in procuring trustworthy muleteers, seen to it that we were not swindled in local purchases of mules and pack saddles, given us invaluable advice in overcoming difficulties, and, in a word, placed himself wholly at our disposal, just as though we were his most desirable and best-paying clients. As a matter of fact, he never was willing to receive any compensation for the many favors he showed us. So important a factor was he in the success of our expeditions that he deserves to be gratefully remembered by all friends of exploration.

Above his country house at Colcampata is the hill of Sacsahuaman. It is possible to scramble up its face, but only by making more exertion than is desirable at this altitude, 11,900 feet. The easiest way to reach the famous "fortress" is by following the course of the little Tullumayu, "Feeble Stream," the easternmost of the three canalized streams which divide Cuzco into four parts. On its banks one first passes a tannery and then, a short distance up a steep gorge, the remains of an old mill. The stone flume and the adjoining ruins are commonly ascribed by the people of Cuzco to-day to the Incas, but do not look to me like Inca stonework. Since the Incas did not understand the mechanical principle of the wheel, it is hardly likely that they would have known how to make any use of water power. Finally, careful examination of the flume discloses the presence of lead cement, a substance unknown in Inca masonry.

A little farther up the stream one passes through a massive megalithic gateway and finds one's self in the presence of the astounding gray-blue Cyclopean walls of Sacsahuaman, described in "Across South America." Here the ancient builders constructed three great terraces, which extend one above another for a third of a mile across the hill between two deep gulches. The lowest terrace of the "fortress" is faced with colossal boulders, many of which weigh ten tons and some weigh more than twenty tons, yet all are fitted together with the utmost precision. I have visited Sacsahuaman repeatedly. Each time it invariably overwhelms and astounds. To a superstitious Indian who sees these walls for the first time, they must seem to have been built by gods.

About a mile northeast of Sacsahuaman are several small artificial hills, partly covered with vegetation, which seem to be composed entirely of gray-blue rock chips—chips from the great limestone blocks quarried here for the "fortress" and later conveyed with the utmost pains down to Sacsahuaman. They represent the labor of countless thousands of quarrymen. Even in modern times, with steam drills, explosives, steel tools, and light railways, these hills would be noteworthy, but when one pauses to consider that none of these mechanical devices were known to the ancient stonemasons and that these mountains of stone chips were made with stone tools and were all carried from the quarries by hand, it fairly staggers the imagination.

The ruins of Sacsahuaman represent not only an incredible amount of human labor, but also a very remarkable governmental organization. That thousands of people could have been spared from agricultural pursuits for so long a time as was necessary to extract the blocks from the quarries, hew them to the required shapes, transport them several miles over rough country, and bond them together in such an intricate manner, means that the leaders had the brains and ability to organize and arrange the affairs of a very large population. Such a folk could hardly have spent much time in drilling or preparing for warfare. Their building operations required infinite pains, endless time, and devoted skill. Such qualities could hardly have been called forth, even by powerful monarchs, had not the results been pleasing to the great majority of their people, people who were primarily agriculturists. They had learned to avert hunger and famine by relying on carefully built, stone-faced terraces, which would prevent their fields being carried off and spread over the plains of the Amazon. It seems to me possible that Sacsahuaman was built in accordance with their desires to please their gods. Is it not reasonable to suppose that a people to whom stone-faced terraces meant so much in the way of life-giving food should have sometimes built massive terraces of Cyclopean character, like Sacsahuaman, as an offering to the deity who first taught them terrace construction? This seems to me a more likely object for the gigantic labor involved in the construction of Sacsahuaman than its possible usefulness as a fortress. Equally strong defenses against an enemy attempting to attack the hilltop back of Cuzco might have been constructed of smaller stones in an infinitely shorter time, with far less labor and pains.

Such a display of the power to control the labor of thousands of individuals and force them to superhuman efforts on an unproductive undertaking, which in its agricultural or strategic results was out of all proportion to the obvious cost, might have been caused by the supreme vanity of a great soldier. On the other hand, the ancient Peruvians were religious rather than warlike, more inclined to worship the sun than to fight great battles. Was Sacsahuaman due to the desire to please, at whatever cost, the god that fructified the crops which grew on terraces? It is not surprising that the Spanish conquerors, warriors themselves and descendants of twenty generations of a fighting race, accustomed as they were to the salients of European fortresses, should have looked upon Sacsahuaman as a fortress. To them the military use of its bastions was perfectly obvious. The value of its salients and reentrant angles was not likely to be overlooked, for it had been only recently acquired by their crusading ancestors. The height and strength of its powerful walls enabled it to be of the greatest service to the soldiers of that day. They saw that it was virtually impregnable for any artillery with which they were familiar. In fact, in the wars of the Incas and those which followed Pizarro's entry into Cuzco, Sacsahuaman was repeatedly used as a fortress.

So it probably never occurred to the Spaniards that the Peruvians, who knew nothing of explosive powder or the use of artillery, did not construct Sacsahuaman in order to withstand such a siege as the fortresses of Europe were only too familiar with. So natural did it seem to the first Europeans who saw it to regard it as a fortress that it has seldom been thought of in any other way. The fact that the sacred city of Cuzco was more likely to be attacked by invaders coming up the valley, or even over the gentle slopes from the west, or through the pass from the north which for centuries has been used as part of the main highway of the central Andes, never seems to have troubled writers who regarded Sacsahuaman essentially as a fortress. It may be that Sacsahuaman was once used as a place where the votaries of the sun gathered at the end of the rainy season to celebrate the vernal equinox, and at the summer solstice to pray for the sun's return from his "farthest north." In any case I believe that the enormous cost of its construction shows that it was probably intended for religious rather than military purposes. It is more likely to have been an ancient shrine than a mighty fortress.

It now becomes necessary, in order to explain my explorations north of Cuzco, to ask the reader's attention to a brief account of the last four Incas who ruled over any part of Peru.


The Last Four Incas

Readers of Prescott's charming classic, "The Conquest of Peru," will remember that Pizarro, after killing Atahualpa, the Inca who had tried in vain to avoid his fate by filling a room with vessels of gold, decided to establish a native prince on the throne of the Incas to rule in accordance with the dictates of Spain. The young prince, Manco, a son of the great Inca Huayna Capac, named for the first Inca, Manco Ccapac, the founder of the dynasty, was selected as the most acceptable figurehead. He was a young man of ability and spirit. His induction into office in 1534 with appropriate ceremonies, the barbaric splendor of which only made the farce the more pitiful, did little to gratify his natural ambition. As might have been foreseen, he chafed under restraint, escaped as soon as possible from his attentive guardians, and raised an army of faithful Quichuas. There followed the siege of Cuzco, briefly characterized by Don Alonzo Enriques de Guzman, who took part in it, as "the most fearful and cruel war in the world." When in 1536 Cuzco was relieved by Pizarro's comrade, Almagro, and Manco's last chance of regaining the ancient capital of his ancestors failed, the Inca retreated to Ollantaytambo. Here, on the banks of the river Urubamba, Manco made a determined stand, but Ollantaytambo was too easily reached by Pizarro's mounted cavaliers. The Inca's followers, although aroused to their utmost endeavors by the presence of the magnificent stone edifices, fortresses, granaries, palaces, and hanging gardens of their ancestors, found it necessary to retreat. They fled in a northerly direction and made good their escape over snowy passes to Uiticos in the fastnesses of Uilcapampa, a veritable American Switzerland.


Glaciers Between Cuzco and Uiticos ———

The Spaniards who attempted to follow Manco found his position practically impregnable. The citadel of Uilcapampa, a gigantic natural fortress defended by Nature in one of her profoundest moods, was only to be reached by fording dangerous torrents, or crossing the mountains by narrow defiles which themselves are higher than the most lofty peaks of Europe. It was hazardous for Hannibal and Napoleon to bring their armies through the comparatively low passes of the Alps. Pizarro found it impossible to follow the Inca Manco over the Pass of Panticalla, itself a snowy wilderness higher than the summit of Mont Blanc. In no part of the Peruvian Andes are there so many beautiful snowy peaks. Near by is the sharp, icy pinnacle of Mt. Veronica (elevation 19,342 ft.). Not far away is another magnificent snow-capped peak, Mt. Salcantay, 20,565 feet above the sea. Near Salcantay is the sharp needle of Mt. Soray (19,435 ft.), while to the west of it are Panta (18,590 ft.) and Soiroccocha (18,197 ft.). On the shoulders of these mountains are unnamed glaciers and little valleys that have scarcely ever been seen except by some hardy prospector or inquisitive explorer. These valleys are to be reached only through passes where the traveler is likely to be waylaid by violent storms of hail and snow. During the rainy season a large part of Uilcapampa is absolutely impenetrable. Even in the dry season the difficulties of transportation are very great. The most sure-footed mule is sometimes unable to use the trails without assistance from man. It was an ideal place for the Inca Manco.

The conquistador, Cieza de Leon, who wrote in 1550 a graphic account of the wars of Peru, says that Manco took with him a "great quantity of treasure, collected from various parts ... and many loads of rich clothing of wool, delicate in texture and very beautiful and showy." The Spaniards were absolutely unable to conceive of the ruler of a country traveling without rich "treasure." It is extremely doubtful whether Manco burdened himself with much gold or silver. Except for ornament there was little use to which he could have put the precious metals and they would have served only to arouse the cupidity of his enemies. His people had never been paid in gold or silver. Their labor was his due, and only such part of it as was needed to raise their own crops and make their own clothing was allotted to them; in fact, their lives were in his hands and the custom and usage of centuries made them faithful followers of their great chief. That Manco, however, actually did carry off with him beautiful textiles, and anything else which was useful, may be taken for granted. In Uiticos, safe from the armed forces of his enemies, the Inca was also able to enjoy the benefits of a delightful climate, and was in a well-watered region where corn, potatoes, both white and sweet, and the fruits of the temperate and sub-tropical regions easily grow. Using this as a base, he was accustomed to sally forth against the Spaniards frequently and in unexpected directions. His raids were usually successful. It was relatively easy for him, with a handful of followers, to dash out of the mountain fastnesses, cross the Apurimac River either by swimming or on primitive rafts, and reach the great road between Cuzco and Lima, the principal highway of Peru. Officials and merchants whose business led them over this route found it extremely precarious. Manco cheered his followers by making them realize that in these raids they were taking sweet revenge on the Spaniards for what they had done to Peru. It is interesting to note that Cieza de Leon justifies Manco in his attitude, for the Spaniards had indeed "seized his inheritance, forcing him to leave his native land, and to live in banishment."

Manco's success in securing such a place of refuge, and in using it as a base from which he could frequently annoy his enemies, led many of the Orejones of Cuzco to follow him. The Inca chiefs were called Orejones, "big ears," by the Spaniards because the lobes of their ears had been enlarged artificially to receive the great gold earrings which they were fond of wearing. Three years after Manco's retirement to the wilds of Uilcapampa there was born in Cuzco in the year 1539, Garcilasso Inca de la Vega, the son of an Inca princess and one of the conquistadores. As a small child Garcilasso heard of the activities of his royal relative. He left Peru as a boy and spent the rest of his life in Spain. After forty years in Europe he wrote, partly from memory, his "Royal Commentaries," an account of the country of his Indian ancestors. Of the Inca Manco, of whom he must frequently have heard uncomplimentary reports as a child, he speaks apologetically. He says: "In the time of Manco Inca, several robberies were committed on the road by his subjects; but still they had that respect for the Spanish Merchants that they let them go free and never pillaged them of their wares and merchandise, which were in no manner useful to them; howsoever they robbed the Indians of their cattle [llamas and alpacas], bred in the countrey .... The Inca lived in the Mountains, which afforded no tame Cattel; and only produced Tigers and Lions and Serpents of twenty-five and thirty feet long, with other venomous insects." (I am quoting from Sir Paul Rycaut's translation, published in London in 1688.) Garcilasso says Manco's soldiers took only "such food as they found in the hands of the Indians; which the Inca did usually call his own," saying, "That he who was Master of that whole Empire might lawfully challenge such a proportion thereof as was convenient to supply his necessary and natural support"—a reasonable apology; and yet personally I doubt whether Manco spared the Spanish merchants and failed to pillage them of their "wares and merchandise." As will be seen later, we found in Manco's palace some metal articles of European origin which might very well have been taken by Manco's raiders. Furthermore, it should be remembered that Garcilasso, although often quoted by Prescott, left Peru when he was sixteen years old and that his ideas were largely colored by his long life in Spain and his natural desire to extol the virtues of his mother's people, a brown race despised by the white Europeans for whom he wrote.

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