Inca Land - Explorations in the Highlands of Peru
by Hiram Bingham
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

There was no evidence of extensive terracing. Maize and alfalfa seemed to be the principal crops. Evaristo Mogrovejo lived on the little plaza around which the houses of the more important people were grouped. He had just returned from Santa Ana by the way of Idma, using a much worse trail than that over which we had come, but one which enabled him to avoid passing through Paltaybamba, with whose proprietor he was not on good terms. He told us stories of misadventures which had happened to travelers at the gates of Paltaybamba, stories highly reminiscent of feudal days in Europe, when provincial barons were accustomed to lay tribute on all who passed.

We offered to pay Mogrovejo a gratificacion of a sol, or Peruvian silver dollar, for every ruin to which he would take us, and double that amount if the locality should prove to contain particularly interesting ruins. This aroused all his business instincts. He summoned his alcaldes and other well-informed Indians to appear and be interviewed. They told us there were "many ruins" hereabouts! Being a practical man himself, Mogrovejo had never taken any interest in ruins. Now he saw the chance not only to make money out of the ancient sites, but also to gain official favor by carrying out with unexampled vigor the orders of his superior, the sub-prefect of Quillabamba. So he exerted himself to the utmost in our behalf.

The next day we were guided up a ravine to the top of the ridge back of Lucma. This ridge divides the upper from the lower Vilcabamba. On all sides the hills rose several thousand feet above us. In places they were covered with forest growth, chiefly above the cloud line, where daily moisture encourages vegetation. In some of the forests on the more gentle slopes recent clearings gave evidence of enterprise on the part of the present inhabitants of the valley. After an hour's climb we reached what were unquestionably the ruins of Inca structures, on an artificial terrace which commands a magnificent view far down toward Paltaybamba and the bridge of Chuquichaca, as well as in the opposite direction. The contemporaries of Captain Garcia speak of a number of forts or pucaras which had to be stormed and captured before Tupac Amaru could be taken prisoner. This was probably one of those "fortresses." Its strategic position and the ease with which it could be defended point to such an interpretation. Nevertheless this ruin did not fit the "fortress of Pitcos," nor the "House of the Sun" near the "white rock over the spring." It is called Incahuaracana, "the place where the Inca shoots with a sling."

Incahuaracana consists of two typical Inca edifices—one of two rooms, about 70 by 20 feet, and the other, very long and narrow, 150 by 11 feet. The walls, of unhewn stone laid in clay, were not particularly well built and resemble in many respects the ruins at Choqquequirau. The rooms of the principal house are without windows, although each has three front doors and is lined with niches, four or five on a side. The long, narrow building was divided into three rooms, and had several front doors. A force of two hundred Indian soldiers could have slept in these houses without unusual crowding.

We left Lucma the next day, forded the Vilcabamba River and soon had an uninterrupted view up the valley to a high, truncated hill, its top partly covered with a scrubby growth of trees and bushes, its sides steep and rocky. We were told that the name of the hill was "Rosaspata," a word of modern hybrid origin—pata being Quichua for "hill," while rosas is the Spanish word for "roses." Mogrovejo said his Indians told him that on the "Hill of Roses" there were more ruins.

At the foot of the hill, and across the river, is the village of Pucyura. When Raimondi was here in 1865 it was but a "wretched hamlet with a paltry chapel." To-day it is more prosperous. There is a large public school here, to which children come from villages many miles away. So crowded is the school that in fine weather the children sit on benches out of doors. The boys all go barefooted. The girls wear high boots. I once saw them reciting a geography lesson, but I doubt if even the teacher knew whether or not this was the site of the first school in this whole region. For it was to "Puquiura" that Friar Marcos came in 1566. Perhaps he built the "mezquina capilla" which Raimondi scorned. If this were the "Puquiura" of Friar Marcos, then Uiticos must be near by, for he and Friar Diego walked with their famous procession of converts from "Puquiura" to the House of the Sun and the "white rock" which was "close to Uiticos."

Crossing the Vilcabamba on a footbridge that afternoon, we came immediately upon some old ruins that were not Incaic. Examination showed that they were apparently the remains of a very crude Spanish crushing mill, obviously intended to pulverize gold-bearing quartz on a considerable scale. Perhaps this was the place referred to by Ocampo, who says that the Inca Titu Cusi attended masses said by his friend Friar Diego in a chapel which is "near my houses and on my own lands, in the mining district of Puquiura, close to the ore-crushing mill of Don Christoval de Albornoz, Precentor that was of the Cuzco Cathedral."


Pucyura and the Hill of Rosaspata in the Vilcabamba Valley ———

One of the millstones is five feet in diameter and more than a foot thick. It lay near a huge, flat rock of white granite, hollowed out so as to enable the millstone to be rolled slowly around in a hollow trough. There was also a very large Indian mortar and pestle, heavy enough to need the services of four men to work it. The mortar was merely the hollowed-out top of a large boulder which projected a few inches above the surface of the ground. The pestle, four feet in diameter, was of the characteristic rocking-stone shape used from time immemorial by the Indians of the highlands for crushing maize or potatoes. Since no other ruins of a Spanish quartz-crushing plant have been found in this vicinity, it is probable that this once belonged to Don Christoval de Albornoz.

Near the mill the Tincochaca River joins the Vilcabamba from the southeast. Crossing this on a footbridge, I followed Mogrovejo to an old and very dilapidated structure in the saddle of the hill on the south side of Rosaspata. They called the place Uncapampa, or Inca pampa. It is probably one of the forts stormed by Captain Garcia and his men in 1571. The ruins represent a single house, 166 feet long by 33 feet wide. If the house had partitions they long since disappeared. There were six doorways in front, none on the ends or in the rear walls. The ruins resembled those of Incahuaracana, near Lucma. The walls had originally been built of rough stones laid in clay. The general finish was extremely rough. The few niches, all at one end of the structure, were irregular, about two feet in width and a little more than this in height. The one corner of the building which was still standing had a height of about ten feet. Two hundred Inca soldiers could have slept here also.

Leaving Uncapampa and following my guides, I climbed up the ridge and followed a path along its west side to the top of Rosaspata. Passing some ruins much overgrown and of a primitive character, I soon found myself on a pleasant pampa near the top of the mountain. The view from here commands "a great part of the province of Uilcapampa." It is remarkably extensive on all sides; to the north and south are snow-capped mountains, to the east and west, deep verdure-clad valleys.

Furthermore, on the north side of the pampa is an extensive level space with a very sumptuous and majestic building "erected with great skill and art, all the lintels of the doors, the principal as well as the ordinary ones," being of white granite elaborately cut. At last we had found a place which seemed to meet most of the requirements of Ocampo's description of the "fortress of Pitcos." To be sure it was not of "marble," and the lintels of the doors were not "carved," in our sense of the word. They were, however, beautifully finished, as may be seen from the illustrations, and the white granite might easily pass for marble. If only we could find in this vicinity that Temple of the Sun which Calancha said was "near" Uiticos, all doubts would be at an end.

That night we stayed at Tincochaca, in the hut of an Indian friend of Mogrovejo. As usual we made inquiries. Imagine our feelings when in response to the oft-repeated question he said that in a neighboring valley there was a great white rock over a spring of water! If his story should prove to be true our quest for Uiticos was over. It behooved us to make a very careful study of what we had found.


The Fortress of Uiticos and the House of the Sun

When the viceroy, Toledo, determined to conquer that last stronghold of the Incas where for thirty-five years they had defied the supreme power of Spain, he offered a thousand dollars a year as a pension to the soldier who would capture Tupac Amaru. Captain Garcia earned the pension, but failed to receive it; the "manana habit" was already strong in the days of Philip II. So the doughty captain filed a collection of testimonials with Philip's Royal Council of the Indies. Among these is his own statement of what happened on the campaign against Tupac Amaru. In this he says: "and having arrived at the principal fortress, Guay-napucara ["the young fortress"], which the Incas had fortified, we found it defended by the Prince Philipe Quispetutio, a son of the Inca Titu Cusi, with his captains and soldiers. It is on a high eminence surrounded with rugged crags and jungles, very dangerous to ascend and almost impregnable. Nevertheless, with my aforesaid company of soldiers I went up and gained the fortress, but only with the greatest possible labor and danger. Thus we gained the province of Uilcapampa." The viceroy himself says this important victory was due to Captain Garcia's skill and courage in storming the heights of Guaynapucara, "on Saint John the Baptist's day, in 1572."

The "Hill of Roses" is indeed "a high eminence surrounded with rugged crags." The side of easiest approach is protected by a splendid, long wall, built so carefully as not to leave a single toe-hold for active besiegers. The barracks at Uncapampa could have furnished a contingent to make an attack on that side very dangerous. The hill is steep on all sides, and it would have been extremely easy for a small force to have defended it. It was undoubtedly "almost impregnable." This was the feature Captain Garcia was most likely to remember.

On the very summit of the hill are the ruins of a partly enclosed compound consisting of thirteen or fourteen houses arranged so as to form a rough square, with one large and several small courtyards. The outside dimensions of the compound are about 160 feet by 145 feet. The builders showed the familiar Inca sense of symmetry in arranging the houses, Due to the wanton destruction of many buildings by the natives in their efforts at treasure-hunting, the walls have been so pulled down that it is impossible to get the exact dimensions of the buildings. In only one of them could we be sure that there had been any niches.


Principal Doorway of the Long Palace at Rosaspata ———


Another Doorway in the Ruins of Rosaspata ———

Most interesting of all is the structure which caught the attention of Ocampo and remained fixed in his memory. Enough remains of this building to give a good idea of its former grandeur. It was indeed a fit residence for a royal Inca, an exile from Cuzco. It is 245 feet by 43 feet. There were no windows, but it was lighted by thirty doorways, fifteen in front and the same in back. It contained ten large rooms, besides three hallways running from front to rear. The walls were built rather hastily and are not noteworthy, but the principal entrances, namely, those leading to each hall, are particularly well made; not, to be sure, of "marble" as Ocampo said—there is no marble in the province—but of finely cut ashlars of white granite. The lintels of the principal doorways, as well as of the ordinary ones, are also of solid blocks of white granite, the largest being as much as eight feet in length. The doorways are better than any other ruins in Uilcapampa except those of Machu Picchu, thus justifying the mention of them made by Ocampo, who lived near here and had time to become thoroughly familiar with their appearance. Unfortunately, a very small portion of the edifice was still standing. Most of the rear doors had been filled up with ashlars, in order to make a continuous fence. Other walls had been built from the ruins, to keep cattle out of the cultivated pampa. Rosaspata is at an elevation which places it on the borderland between the cold grazing country, with its root crops and sublimated pigweeds, and the temperate zone where maize flourishes.

On the south side of the hilltop, opposite the long palace, is the ruin of a single structure, 78 feet long and 35 feet wide, containing doors on both sides, no niches and no evidence of careful workmanship. It was probably a barracks for a company of soldiers.

The intervening "pampa" might have been the scene of those games of bowls and quoits, which were played by the Spanish refugees who fled from the wrath of Gonzalo Pizarro and found refuge with the Inca Manco. Here may have occurred that fatal game when one of the players lost his temper and killed his royal host.

Our excavations in 1915 yielded a mass of rough potsherds, a few Inca whirl-bobs and bronze shawl pins, and also a number of iron articles of European origin, heavily rusted—horseshoe nails, a buckle, a pair of scissors, several bridle or saddle ornaments, and three Jew's-harps. My first thought was that modern Peruvians must have lived here at one time, although the necessity of carrying all water supplies up the hill would make this unlikely. Furthermore, the presence here of artifacts of European origin does not of itself point to such a conclusion. In the first place, we know that Manco was accustomed to make raids on Spanish travelers between Cuzco and Lima. He might very easily have brought back with him a Spanish bridle. In the second place the musical instruments may have belonged to the refugees, who might have enjoyed whiling away their exile with melancholy twanging. In the third place the retainers of the Inca probably visited the Spanish market in Cuzco, where there would have been displayed at times a considerable assortment of goods of European manufacture. Finally Rodriguez de Figueroa speaks expressly of two pairs of scissors he brought as a present to Titu Cusi. That no such array of European artifacts has been turned up in the excavations of other important sites in the province of Uilcapampa would seem to indicate that they were abandoned before the Spanish Conquest or else were occupied by natives who had no means of accumulating such treasures.

Thanks to Ocampo's description of the fortress which Tupac Amaru was occupying in 1572 there is no doubt that this was the palace of the last Inca. Was it also the capital of his brothers, Titu Cusi and Sayri Tupac, and his father, Manco? It is astonishing how few details we have by which the Uiticos of Manco may be identified. His contemporaries are strangely silent. When he left Cuzco and sought refuge "in the remote fastnesses of the Andes," there was a Spanish soldier, Cieza de Leon, in the armies of Pizarro who had a genius for seeing and hearing interesting things and writing them down, and who tried to interview as many members of the royal family as he could;—Manco had thirteen brothers. Ciezo de Leon says he was much disappointed not to be able to talk with Manco himself and his sons, but they had "retired into the provinces of Uiticos, which are in the most retired part of those regions, beyond the great Cordillera of the Andes." [12] The Spanish refugees who died as the result of the murder of Manco may not have known how to write. Anyhow, so far as we can learn they left no accounts from which any one could identify his residence.

Titu Cusi gives no definite clue, but the activities of Friar Marcos and Friar Diego, who came to be his spiritual advisers, are fully described by Calancha. It will be remembered that Calancha remarks that "close to Uiticos in a village called Chuquipalpa, is a House of the Sun and in it a white stone over a spring of water." Our guide had told us there was such a place close to the hill of Rosaspata.

On the day after making the first studies of the "Hill of Roses," I followed the impatient Mogrovejo—whose object was not to study ruins but to earn dollars for finding them—and went over the hill on its northeast side to the Valley of Los Andenes ("the Terraces"). Here, sure enough, was a large, white granite boulder, flattened on top, which had a carved seat or platform on its northern side. Its west side covered a cave in which were several niches. This cave had been walled in on one side. When Mogrovejo and the Indian guide said there was a manantial de agua ("spring of water") near by, I became greatly interested. On investigation, however, the" spring" turned out to be nothing but part of a small irrigating ditch. (Manantial means "spring"; it also means "running water"). But the rock was not "over the water." Although this was undoubtedly one of those huacas, or sacred boulders, selected by the Incas as the visible representations of the founders of a tribe and thus was an important accessory to ancestor worship, it was not the Yurak Rumi for which we were looking.


Northeast Face of Yurak Rumi ———

Leaving the boulder and the ruins of what possibly had been the house of its attendant priest, we followed the little water course past a large number of very handsomely built agricultural terraces, the first we had seen since leaving Machu Picchu and the most important ones in the valley. So scarce are andenes in this region and so noteworthy were these in particular that this vale has been named after them. They were probably built under the direction of Manco. Near them are a number of carved boulders, huacas. One had an intihuatana, or sundial nubbin, on it; another was carved in the shape of a saddle. Continuing, we followed a trickling stream through thick woods until we suddenly arrived at an open place called nusta Isppana. Here before us was a great white rock over a spring. Our guides had not misled us. Beneath the trees were the ruins of an Inca temple, flanking and partly enclosing the gigantic granite boulder, one end of which overhung a small pool of running water. When we learned that the present name of this immediate vicinity is Chuquipalta our happiness was complete.

It was late on the afternoon of August 9, 1911, when I first saw this remarkable shrine. Densely wooded hills rose on every side. There was not a hut to be seen; scarcely a sound to be heard. It was an ideal place for practicing the mystic ceremonies of an ancient cult. The remarkable aspect of this great boulder and the dark pool beneath its shadow had caused this to become a place of worship. Here, without doubt, was "the principal mochadero of those forested mountains." It is still venerated by the Indians of the vicinity. At last we had found the place where, in the days of Titu Cusi, the Inca priests faced the east, greeted the rising sun, "extended their hands toward it," and "threw kisses to it," "a ceremony of the most profound resignation and reverence." We may imagine the sun priests, clad in their resplendent robes of office, standing on the top of the rock at the edge of its steepest side, their faces lit up with the rosy light of the early morning, awaiting the moment when the Great Divinity should appear above the eastern hills and receive their adoration. As it rose they saluted it and cried: "O Sun! Thou who art in peace and safety, shine upon us, keep us from sickness, and keep us in health and safety. O Sun! Thou who hast said let there be Cuzco and Tampu, grant that these children may conquer all other people. We beseech thee that thy children the Incas may be always conquerors, since it is for this that thou hast created them."


Plan of the Ruins of the Temple of the Sun at Nusta Isppana Formerly Yurak Rumi in Chuquipalpa Near Uiticos ———

It was during Titu Cusi's reign that Friars Marcos and Diego marched over here with their converts from Puquiura, each carrying a stick of firewood. Calancha says the Indians worshiped the water as a divine thing, that the Devil had at times shown himself in the water. Since the surface of the little pool, as one gazes at it, does not reflect the sky, but only the overhanging, dark, mossy rock, the water looks black and forbidding, even to unsuperstitious Yankees. It is easy to believe that simple-minded Indian worshipers in this secluded spot could readily believe that they actually saw the Devil appearing "as a visible manifestation" in the water. Indians came from the most sequestered villages of the dense forests to worship here and to offer gifts and sacrifices. Nevertheless, the Augustinian monks here raised the standard of the cross, recited their orisons, and piled firewood all about the rock and temple. Exorcising the Devil and calling him by all the vile names they could think of, the friars commanded him never to return. Setting fire to the pile, they burned up the temple, scorched the rock, making a powerful impression on the Indians and causing the poor Devil to flee, "roaring in a fury." "The cruel Devil never more returned to the rock nor to this district." Whether the roaring which they heard was that of the Devil or of the flames we can only conjecture. Whether the conflagration temporarily dried up the swamp or interfered with the arrangements of the water supply so that the pool disappeared for the time being and gave the Devil no chance to appear in the water, where he had formerly been accustomed to show himself, is also a matter for speculation.

The buildings of the House of the Sun are in a very ruinous state, but the rock itself, with its curious carvings, is well preserved notwithstanding the great conflagration of 1570. Its length is fifty-two feet, its width thirty feet, and its height above the present level of the water, twenty-five feet. On the west side of the rock are seats and large steps or platforms. It was customary to kill llamas at these holy huacas. On top of the rock is a flattened place which may have been used for such sacrifices. From it runs a little crack in the boulder, which has been artificially enlarged and may have been intended to carry off the blood of the victim killed on top of the rock. It is still used for occult ceremonies of obscure origin which are quietly practiced here by the more superstitious Indian women of the valley, possibly in memory of the nusta or Inca princess for whom the shrine is named.

On the south side of the monolith are several large platforms and four or five small seats which have been cut in the rock. Great care was exercised in cutting out the platforms. The edges are very nearly square, level, and straight. The east side of the rock projects over the spring. Two seats have been carved immediately above the water. On the north side there are no seats. Near the water, steps have been carved. There is one flight of three and another of seven steps. Above them the rock has been flattened artificially and carved into a very bold relief. There are ten projecting square stones, like those usually called intihuatana or "places to which the sun is tied." In one line are seven; one is slightly apart from the six others. The other three are arranged in a triangular position above the seven. It is significant that these stones are on the northeast face of the rock, where they are exposed to the rising sun and cause striking shadows at sunrise.


Carved Seats and Platforms of Nusta Isppana ———


Two of the Seven Seats Near the Spring Under the Great White Rock ———

Our excavations yielded no artifacts whatever and only a handful of very rough old potsherds of uncertain origin. The running water under the rock was clear and appeared to be a spring, but when we drained the swamp which adjoins the great rock on its northeastern side, we found that the spring was a little higher up the hill and that the water ran through the dark pool. We also found that what looked like a stone culvert on the borders of the little pool proved to be the top of the back of a row of seven or eight very fine stone seats. The platform on which the seats rested and the seats themselves are parts of three or four large rocks nicely fitted together. Some of the seats are under the black shadows of the overhanging rock. Since the pool was an object of fear and mystery the seats were probably used only by priests or sorcerers. It would have been a splendid place to practice divination. No doubt the devils "roared."

All our expeditions in the ancient province of Uilcapampa have failed to disclose the presence of any other "white rock over a spring of water" surrounded by the ruins of a possible "House of the Sun." Consequently it seems reasonable to adopt the following conclusions: First, nusta Isppana is the Yurak Rumi of Father Calancha. The Chuquipalta of to-day is the place to which he refers as Chuquipalpa. Second, Uiticos, "close to" this shrine, was once the name of the present valley of Vilcabamba between Tincochaca and Lucma. This is the "Viticos" of Cieza de Leon, a contemporary of Manco, who says that it was to the province of Viticos that Manco determined to retire when he rebelled against Pizarro, and that "having reached Viticos with a great quantity of treasure collected from various parts, together with his women and retinue, the king, Manco Inca, established himself in the strongest place he could find, whence he sallied forth many times and in many directions and disturbed those parts which were quiet, to do what harm he could to the Spaniards, whom he considered as cruel enemies." Third, the "strongest place" of Cieza, the Guaynapucara of Garcia, was Rosaspata, referred to by Ocampo as "the fortress of Pitcos," where, he says, "there was a level space with majestic buildings," the most noteworthy feature of which was that they had two kinds of doors and both kinds had white stone lintels. Fourth, the modern village of Pucyura in the valley of the river Vilcabamba is the Puquiura of Father Calancha, the site of the first mission church in this region, as assumed by Raimondi, although he was disappointed in the insignificance of the "wretched little village." The remains of the old quartz-crushing plant in Tincochaca, which has already been noted, the distance from the "House of the Sun," not too great for the religious procession, and the location of Pucyura near the fortress, all point to the correctness of this conclusion.

Finally, Calancha says that Friar Ortiz, after he had secured permission from Titu Cusi to establish the second missionary station in Uilcapampa, selected "the town of Huarancalla, which was populous and well located in the midst of a number of other little towns and villages. There was a distance of two or three days' journey from one convent to the other. Leaving Friar Marcos in Puquiura, Friar Diego went to his new establishment, and in a short time built a church." There is no "Huarancalla" to-day, nor any tradition of any, but in Mapillo, a pleasant valley at an elevation of about 10,000 feet, in the temperate zone where the crops with which the Incas were familiar might have been raised, near pastures where llamas and alpacas could have flourished, is a place called Huarancalque. The valley is populous and contains a number of little towns and villages. Furthermore, Huarancalque is two or three days' journey from Pucyura and is on the road which the Indians of this region now use in going to Ayacucho. This was undoubtedly the route used by Manco in his raids on Spanish caravans. The Mapillo flows into the Apurimac near the mouth of the river Pampas. Not far up the Pampas is the important bridge between Bom-bon and Ocros, which Mr. Hay and I crossed in 1909 on our way from Cuzco to Lima. The city of Ayacucho was founded by Pizarro, a day's journey from this bridge. The necessity for the Spanish caravans to cross the river Pampas at this point made it easy for Manco's foraging expeditions to reach them by sudden marches from Uiticos down the Mapillo River by way of Huarancalque, which is probably the "Huarancalla" of Calancha's "Chronicles." He must have had rafts or canoes on which to cross the Apurimac, which is here very wide and deep. In the valleys between Huarancalque and Lucma, Manco was cut off from central Peru by the Apurimac and its magnificent canyon, which in many places has a depth of over two miles. He was cut off from Cuzco by the inhospitable snow fields and glaciers of Salcantay, Soray, and the adjacent ridges, even though they are only fifty miles from Cuzco. Frequently all the passes are completely snow-blocked. Fatalities have been known even in recent years. In this mountainous province Manco could be sure of finding not only security from his Spanish enemies, but any climate that he desired and an abundance of food for his followers. There seems to be no reason to doubt that the retired region around the modern town of Pucyura in the upper Vilcabamba Valley was once called Uiticos.



Although the refuge of Manco is frequently spoken of as Uiticos by the contemporary writers, the word Vilcabamba, or Uilcapampa, is used even more often. In fact Garcilasso, the chief historian of the Incas, himself the son of an Inca princess, does not mention Uiticos. Vilcabamba was the common name of the province. Father Calancha says it was a very large area, "covering fourteen degrees of longitude," about seven hundred miles wide. It included many savage tribes "of the far interior" who acknowledged the supremacy of the Incas and brought tribute to Manco and his sons. "The Manaries and the Pilcosones came a hundred and two hundred leagues" to visit the Inca in Uiticos.

The name, Vilcabamba, is also applied repeatedly to a town. Titu Cusi says he lived there many years during his youth. Calancha says it was "two days' journey from Puquiura." Raimondi thought it must be Choqquequirau. Captain Garcia's soldiers, however, speak of it as being down in the warm valleys of the montana, the present rubber country. On the other hand the only place which bears this name on the maps of Peru is near the source of the Vilcabamba River, not more than three or four leagues from Pucyura. We determined to visit it.

We found the town to lie on the edge of bleak upland pastures, 11,750 feet above the sea. Instead of Inca walls or ruins Vilcabamba has threescore solidly built Spanish houses. At the time of our visit they were mostly empty, although their roofs, of unusually heavy thatch, seemed to be in good repair. We stayed at the house of the gobernador, Manuel Condore. The nights were bitterly cold and we should have been most uncomfortable in a tent.

The gobernador said that the reason the town was deserted was that most of the people were now attending to their chacras, or little farms, and looking after their herds of sheep and cattle in the neighboring valleys. He said that only at special festival times, such as the annual visit of the priest, who celebrates mass in the church here, once a year, are the buildings fully occupied. In the latter part of the sixteenth century, gold mines were discovered in the adjacent mountains and the capital of the Spanish province of Vilcabamba was transferred from Hoyara to this place. Its official name, Condore said, is still San Francisco de la Victoria de Vilcabamba, and as such it occurs on most of the early maps of Peru. The solidity of the stone houses was due to the prosperity of the gold diggers. The present air of desolation and absence of population is probably due to the decay of that industry.


Nusta Isppana ———

The church is large. Near it, and slightly apart from the building, is a picturesque stone belfry with three old Spanish bells. Condore said that the church was built at least three hundred years ago. It is probably the very structure whose construction was carefully supervised by Ocampo. In the negotiations for permission to move the municipality of San Francisco de la Victoria from Hoyara to the neighborhood of the mines, Ocampo, then one of the chief settlers, went to Cuzco as agent of the interested parties, to take the matter up with the viceroy. Ocampo's story is in part as follows:

"The change of site appeared convenient for the service of God our Lord and of his Majesty, and for the increase of his royal fifths, as well as beneficial to the inhabitants of the said city. Having examined the capitulations and reasons, the said Don Luis de Velasco [the viceroy] granted the licence to move the city to where it is now founded, ordering that it should have the title and name of the city of San Francisco of the Victory of Uilcapampa, which was its first name. By this change of site I, the said Baltasar de Ocampo, performed a great service to God our Lord and his Majesty. Through my care, industry and solicitude, a very good church was built, with its principal chapel and great doors." We found the walls to be heavy, massive, and well buttressed, the doors to be unusually large and the whole to show considerable "industry and solicitude."

The site was called "Onccoy, where the Spaniards who first discovered this land found the flocks and herds." Modern Vilcabamba is on grassy slopes, well suited for flocks and herds. On the steeper slopes potatoes are still raised, although the valley itself is given up to-day almost entirely to pasture lands. We saw horses, cattle, and sheep in abundance where the Incas must have pastured their llamas and alpacas. In the rocky cliffs near by are remains of the mines begun in Ocampo's day. There is little doubt that this was Onccoy, although that name is now no longer used here.

We met at the gobernador's an old Indian who admitted that an Inca had once lived on Rosaspata Hill. Of all the scores of persons whom we interviewed through the courtesy of the intelligent planters of the region or through the customary assistance of government officials, this Indian was the only one to make such an admission. Even he denied having heard of "Uiticos" or any of its variations. If we were indeed in the country of Manco and his sons, why should no one be familiar with that name?

Perhaps, after all, it is not surprising. The Indians of the highlands have now for so many generations been neglected by their rulers and brutalized by being allowed to drink all the alcohol they can purchase and to assimilate all the cocaine they can secure, through the constant chewing of coca leaves, that they have lost much if not all of their racial self-respect. It is the educated mestizos of the principal modern cities of Peru who, tracing their descent not only from the Spanish soldiers of the Conquest, but also from the blood of the race which was conquered, take pride in the achievements of the Incas and are endeavoring to preserve the remains of the wonderful civilization of their native ancestors. Until quite recently Vilcabamba was an unknown land to most of the Peruvians, even those who live in the city of Cuzco. Had the capital of the last four Incas been in a region whose climate appealed to Europeans, whose natural resources were sufficient to support a large population, and whose roads made transportation no more difficult than in most parts of the Andes, it would have been occupied from the days of Captain Garcia to the present by Spanish-speaking mestizos, who might have been interested in preserving the name of the ancient Inca capital and the traditions connected with it.

After the mines which attracted Ocampo and his friends "petered out," or else, with the primitive tools of the sixteenth century, ceased to yield adequate returns, the Spaniards lost interest in that remote region. The rude trails which connected Pucyura with Cuzco and civilization were at best dangerous and difficult. They were veritably impassable during a large part of the year even to people accustomed to Andean "roads."

The possibility of raising sugar cane and coca between Huadquina and Santa Ana attracted a few Spanish-speaking people to live in the lower Urubamba Valley, notwithstanding the difficult transportation over the passes near Mts. Salcantay and Veronica; but there was nothing to lead any one to visit the upper Vilcabamba Valley or to desire to make it a place of residence. And until Senor Pancorbo opened the road to Lucma, Pucyura was extremely difficult of access. Nine generations of Indians lived and died in the province of Uilcapampa between the time of Tupac Amaru and the arrival of the first modern explorers. The great stone buildings constructed on the "Hill of Roses" in the days of Manco and his sons were allowed to fall into ruin. Their roofs decayed and disappeared. The names of those who once lived here were known to fewer and fewer of the natives. The Indians themselves had no desire to relate the story of the various forts and palaces to their Spanish landlords, nor had the latter any interest in hearing such tales. It was not until the renaissance of historical and geographical curiosity, in the nineteenth century, that it occurred to any one to look for Manco's capital. When Raimondi, the first scientist to penetrate Vilcabamba, reached Pucyura, no one thought to tell him that on the hilltop opposite the village once lived the last of the Incas and that the ruins of their palaces were still there, hidden underneath a thick growth of trees and vines.

A Spanish document of 1598 says the first town of "San Francisco de la Victoria de Vilcabamba" was in the "valley of Viticos." The town's long name became shortened to Vilcabamba. Then the river which flowed past was called the Vilcabamba, and is so marked on Raimondi's map. Uiticos had long since passed from the memory of man.

Furthermore, the fact that we saw no llamas or alpacas in the upland pastures, but only domestic animals of European origin, would also seem to indicate that for some reason or other this region had been abandoned by the Indians themselves. It is difficult to believe that if the Indians had inhabited these valleys continuously from Inca times to the present we should not have found at least a few of the indigenous American camels here. By itself, such an occurrence would hardly seem worth a remark, but taken in connection with the loss of traditions regarding Uiticos, it would seem to indicate that there must have been quite a long period of time in which no persons of consequence lived in this vicinity.

We are told by the historians of the colonial period that the mining operations of the first Spanish settlers were fatal to at least a million Indians. It is quite probable that the introduction of ordinary European contagious diseases, such as measles, chicken pox, and smallpox, may have had a great deal to do with the destruction of a large proportion of those unfortunates whose untimely deaths were attributed by historians to the very cruel practices of the early Spanish miners and treasure seekers. Both causes undoubtedly contributed to the result. There seems to be no question that the population diminished enormously in early colonial days. If this is true, the remaining population would naturally have sought regions where the conditions of existence and human intercourse were less severe and rigorous than in the valleys of Uiticos and Uilcapampa.

The students and travelers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including such a careful observer as Bandelier, are of the opinion that the present-day population in the Andes of Peru and Bolivia is about as great as that at the time of the Conquest. In other words, with the decay of early colonial mining and the consequent disappearance of bad living conditions and forced labor at the mines, also with the rise of partial immunity to European diseases, and the more comfortable conditions of existence which have followed the coming of Peruvian independence, it is reasonable to suppose that the number of highland Indians has increased. With this increase has come a consequent crowding in certain localities. There would be a natural tendency to seek less crowded regions, even at the expense of using difficult mountain trails. This would lead to their occupying as remote and inaccessible a region as the ancient province of Uilcapampa. It is probable that after the gold mines ceased to pay, and before the demand for rubber caused the San Miguel Valley to be appropriated by the white man, there was a period of nearly three hundred years when no one of education or of intelligence superior to the ordinary Indian shepherd lived anywhere near Pucyura or Lucma. The adobe houses of these modern villages look fairly modern. They may have been built in the nineteenth century.

Such a theory would account for the very small amount of information prevailing in Peru regarding the region where we had been privileged to find so many ruins. This ignorance led the Peruvian geographers Raimondi and Paz Soldan to conclude that Choqquequirau, the only ruins reported between the Apurimac and the Urubamba, must have been the capital of the Incas who took refuge there. It also makes it seem more reasonable that the existence of Rosaspata and nusta Isppana should not have been known to Peruvian geographers and historians, or even to the government officials who lived in the adjacent villages.

We felt sure we had found Uiticos; nevertheless it was quite apparent that we had not yet found all the places which were called Vilcabamba. Examination of the writers of the sixteenth century shows that there may have been three places bearing that name; one spoken of by Calancha as Vilcabamba Viejo ("the old"), another also so called by Ocampo, and a third founded by the Spaniards, namely, the town we were now in. The story of the first is given in Calancha's account of the trials and tribulations of Friar Marcos and the martyrdom of Friar Diego Ortiz. The chronicler tells with considerable detail of their visit to "Vilcabamba Viejo." It was after the monks had already founded their religious establishment at Puquiura that they learned of the existence of this important religious center. They urged Titu Cusi to permit them to visit it. For a long time he refused. Its whereabouts remained unknown to them, but its strategic position as a religious stronghold led them to continue their demands. Finally, either to rid himself of their importunities or because he imagined the undertaking might be made amusing, he yielded to their requests and bade them prepare for the journey. Calancha says that the Inca himself accompanied the two friars, with a number of his captains and chieftains, taking them from Puquiura over a very rough and rugged road. The Inca, however, did not suffer from the character of the trail because, like the Roman generals of old, he was borne comfortably along in a litter by servants accustomed to this duty. The unfortunate missionaries were obliged to go on foot. The wet, rocky trail soon demoralized their footgear. When they came to a particularly bad place in the road, "Ungacacha," the trail went for some distance through water. The monks were forced to wade. The water was very cold. The Inca and his chieftains were amused to see how the friars were hampered by their monastic garments while passing through the water. However, the monks persevered, greatly desiring to reach their goal, "on account of its being the largest city in which was the University of Idolatry, where lived the teachers who were wizards and masters of abomination." If one may judge by the name of the place, Uilcapampa, the wizards and sorcerers were probably aided by the powerful effects of the ancient snuff made from huilca seeds. After a three days' journey over very rough country, the monks arrived at their destination. Yet even then Titu Cusi was unwilling that they should live in the city, but ordered that the monks be given a dwelling outside, so that they might not witness the ceremonies and ancient rites which were practiced by the Inca and his captains and priests.

Nothing is said about the appearance of "Vilcabamba Viejo" and it is doubtful whether the monks were ever allowed to see the city, although they reached its vicinity. Here they stayed for three weeks and kept up their preaching and teaching. During their stay Titu Cusi, who had not wished to bring them here, got his revenge by annoying them in various ways. He was particularly anxious to make them break their vows of celibacy. Calancha says that after consultation with his priests and soothsayers Titu Cusi selected as tempters the most beautiful Indian women, including some individuals of the Yungas who were unusually attractive. It is possible that these women, who lived at the "University of Idolatry" in "Vilcabamba Viejo," were "Virgins of the Sun," who were under the orders of the Inca and his high priests and were selected from the fairest daughters of the empire. It is also evident that "Vilcabamba Viejo" was so constructed that the monks could be kept for three weeks in its vicinity without being able to see what was going on in the city or to describe the kinds of "abominations" which were practiced there, as they did those at the white rock of Chuquipalta. As will be shown later, it is possible that this Vilcabamba, referred to in Calancha's story as "Vilcabamba Viejo," was on the slopes of the mountain now called Machu Picchu.

In the meantime it was necessary to pursue the hunt for the ruins of Vilcabamba called "the old" by Ocampo, to distinguish it from the Spanish town of that name which he had helped to found after the capture of Tupac Amaru, and referred to merely as Vilcabamba by Captain Garcia and his companions in their accounts of the campaign.



When Don Pedro Duque of Santa Aria was helping us to identify places mentioned in Calancha and Ocampo, the references to "Vilcabamba Viejo," or Old Uilcapampa, were supposed by two of his informants to point to a place called Conservidayoc. Don Pedro told us that in 1902 Lopez Torres, who had traveled much in the montana looking for rubber trees, reported the discovery there of the ruins of an Inca city. All of Don Pedro's friends assured us that Conservidayoc was a terrible place to reach. "No one now living had been there." "It was inhabited by savage Indians who would not let strangers enter their villages."

When we reached Paltaybamba, Senor Pancorbo's manager confirmed what we had heard. He said further that an individual named Saavedra lived at Conservidayoc and undoubtedly knew all about the ruins, but was very averse to receiving visitors. Saavedra's house was extremely difficult to find. "No one had been there recently and returned alive." Opinions differed as to how far away it was.

Several days later, while Professor Foote and I were studying the ruins near Rosaspata, Senor Pancorbo, returning from his rubber estate in the San Miguel Valley and learning at Lucma of our presence near by, took great pains to find us and see how we were progressing. When he learned of our intention to search for the ruins of Conservidayoc, he asked us to desist from the attempt. He said Saavedra was "a very powerful man having many Indians under his control and living in grand state, with fifty servants, and not at all desirous of being visited by anybody." The Indians were "of the Campa tribe, very wild and extremely savage. They use poisoned arrows and are very hostile to strangers." Admitting that he had heard there were Inca ruins near Saavedra's station, Senor Pancorbo still begged us not to risk our lives by going to look for them.

By this time our curiosity was thoroughly aroused. We were familiar with the current stories regarding the habits of savage tribes who lived in the montana and whose services were in great demand as rubber gatherers. We had even heard that Indians did not particularly like to work for Senor Pancorbo, who was an energetic, ambitious man, anxious to achieve many things, results which required more laborers than could easily be obtained. We could readily believe there might possibly be Indians at Conservidayoc who had escaped from the rubber estate of San Miguel. Undoubtedly, Senor Pancorbo's own life would have been at the mercy of their poisoned arrows. All over the Amazon Basin the exigencies of rubber gatherers had caused tribes visited with impunity by the explorers of the nineteenth century to become so savage and revengeful as to lead them to kill all white men at sight.

Professor Foote and I considered the matter in all its aspects. We finally came to the conclusion that in view of the specific reports regarding the presence of Inca ruins at Conservidayoc we could not afford to follow the advice of the friendly planter. We must at least make an effort to reach them, meanwhile taking every precaution to avoid arousing the enmity of the powerful Saavedra and his savage retainers.


Quispi Cusi Testifying about Inca Ruins ———


One of our Bearers Crossing the Pampaconas River ———

On the day following our arrival at the town of Vilcabamba, the gobernador, Condore, taking counsel with his chief assistant, had summoned the wisest Indians living in the vicinity, including a very picturesque old fellow whose name, Quispi Cusi, was strongly reminiscent of the days of Titu Cusi. It was explained to him that this was a very solemn occasion and that an official inquiry was in progress. He took off his hat—but not his knitted cap—and endeavored to the best of his ability to answer our questions about the surrounding country. It was he who said that the Inca Tupac Amaru once lived at Rosaspata. He had never heard of Uilcapampa Viejo, but he admitted that there were ruins in the montana near Conservidayoc. Other Indians were questioned by Condore. Several had heard of the ruins of Conservidayoc, but, apparently, none of them, nor any one in the village, had actually seen the ruins or visited their immediate vicinity. They all agreed that Saavedra's place was "at least four days' hard journey on foot in the montana beyond Pampaconas." No village of that name appeared on any map of Peru, although it is frequently mentioned in the documents of the sixteenth century. Rodriguez de Figueroa, who came to seek an audience with Titu Cusi about 1565, says that he met Titu Cusi at a place called Banbaconas. He says further that the Inca came there from somewhere down in the dense forests of the montana and presented him with a macaw and two hampers of peanuts—products of a warm region.

We had brought with us the large sheets of Raimondi's invaluable map which covered this locality. We also had the new map of South Peru and North Bolivia which had just been published by the Royal Geographical Society and gave a summary of all available information. The Indians said that Conservidayoc lay in a westerly direction from Vilcabamba, yet on Raimondi's map all of the rivers which rise in the mountains west of the town are short affluents of the Apurimac and flow southwest. We wondered whether the stories about ruins at Conservidayoc would turn out to be as barren of foundation as those we had heard from the trustworthy foreman at Huadquina. One of our informants said the Inca city was called Espiritu Pampa, or the "Pampa of Ghosts." Would the ruins turn out to be "ghosts"? Would they vanish on the arrival of white men with cameras and steel measuring tapes?

No one at Vilcabamba had seen the ruins, but they said that at the village of Pampaconas, "about five leagues from here," there were Indians who had actually been to Conservidayoc. Our supplies were getting low. There were no shops nearer than Lucma; no food was obtainable from the natives. Accordingly, notwithstanding the protestations of the hospitable gobernador, we decided to start immediately for Conservidayoc.

At the end of a long day's march up the Vilcabamba Valley, Professor Foote, with his accustomed skill, was preparing the evening meal and we were both looking forward with satisfaction to enjoying large cups of our favorite beverage. Several years ago, when traveling on muleback across the great plateau of southern Bolivia, I had learned the value of sweet, hot tea as a stimulant and bracer in the high Andes. At first astonished to see how much tea the Indian arrieros drank, I learned from sad experience that it was far better than cold water, which often brings on mountain-sickness. This particular evening, one swallow of the hot tea caused consternation. It was the most horrible stuff imaginable. Examination showed small, oily particles floating on the surface. Further investigation led to the discovery that one of our arrieros had that day placed our can of kerosene on top of one of the loads. The tin became leaky and the kerosene had dripped down into a food box. A cloth bag of granulated sugar had eagerly absorbed all the oil it could. There was no remedy but to throw away half of our supply. As I have said, the longer one works in the Andes the more desirable does sugar become and the more one seems to crave it. Yet we were unable to procure any here.

After the usual delays, caused in part by the difficulty of catching our mules, which had taken advantage of our historical investigations to stray far up the mountain pastures, we finally set out from the boundaries of known topography, headed for "Conservidayoc," a vague place surrounded with mystery; a land of hostile savages, albeit said to possess the ruins of an Inca town.

Our first day's journey was to Pampaconas. Here and in its vicinity the gobernador told us he could procure guides and the half-dozen carriers whose services we should require for the jungle trail where mules could not be used. As the Indians hereabouts were averse to penetrating the wilds of Conservidayoc and were also likely to be extremely alarmed at the sight of men in uniform, the two gendarmes who were now accompanying us were instructed to delay their departure for a few hours and not to reach Pampaconas with our pack train until dusk. The gobernador said that if the Indians of Pampaconas caught sight of any brass buttons coming over the hills they would hide so effectively that it would be impossible to secure any carriers. Apparently this was due in part to that love of freedom which had led them to abandon the more comfortable towns for a frontier village where landlords could not call on them for forced labor. Consequently, before the arrival of any such striking manifestations of official authority as our gendarmes, the gobernador and his friend Mogrovejo proposed to put in the day craftily commandeering the services of a half-dozen sturdy Indians. Their methods will be described presently.

Leaving modern Vilcabamba, we crossed the flat, marshy bottom of an old glaciated valley, in which one of our mules got thoroughly mired while searching for the succulent grasses which cover the treacherous bog. Fording the Vilcabamba River, which here is only a tiny brook, we climbed out of the valley and turned westward. On the mountains above us were vestiges of several abandoned mines. It was their discovery in 1572 or thereabouts which brought Ocampo and the first Spanish settlers to this valley. Raimondi says that he found here cobalt, nickel, silver-bearing copper ore, and lead sulphide. He does not mention any gold-bearing quartz. It may have been exhausted long before his day. As to the other minerals, the difficulties of transportation are so great that it is not likely that mining will be renewed here for many years to come.

At the top of the pass we turned to look back and saw a long chain of snow-capped mountains towering above and behind the town of Vilcabamba. We searched in vain for them on our maps. Raimondi, followed by the Royal Geographical Society, did not leave room enough for such a range to exist between the rivers Apurimac and Urubamba. Mr. Hendriksen determined our longitude to be 73 deg. west, and our latitude to be 13 deg. 8' south. Yet according to the latest map of this region, published in the preceding year, this was the very position of the river Apurimac itself, near its junction with the river Pampas. We ought to have been swimming "the Great Speaker." Actually we were on top of a lofty mountain pass surrounded by high peaks and glaciers. The mystery was finally solved by Mr. Bumstead in 1912, when he determined the Apurimac and the Urubamba to be thirty miles farther apart than any one had supposed. His surveys opened an unexplored region, 1500 square miles in extent, whose very existence had not been guessed before 1911. It proved to be one of the largest undescribed glaciated areas in South America. Yet it is less than a hundred miles from Cuzco, the chief city in the Peruvian Andes, and the site of a university for more than three centuries. That Uilcapampa could so long defy investigation and exploration shows better than anything else how wisely Manco had selected his refuge. It is indeed a veritable labyrinth of snow-clad peaks, unknown glaciers, and trackless canyons.

Looking west, we saw in front of us a great wilderness of deep green valleys and forest-clad slopes. We supposed from our maps that we were now looking down into the basin of the Apurimac. As a matter of fact, we were on the rim of the valley of the hitherto uncharted Pampaconas, a branch of the Cosireni, one of the affluents of the Urubamba. Instead of being the Apurimac Basin, what we saw was another unexplored region which drained into the Urubamba!

At the time, however, we did not know where we were, but understood from Condore that somewhere far down in the montana below us was Conservidayoc, the sequestered domain of Saavedra and his savage Indians. It seemed less likely than ever that the Incas could have built a town so far away from the climate and food to which they were accustomed. The "road" was now so bad that only with the greatest difficulty could we coax our sure-footed mules to follow it. Once we had to dismount, as the path led down a long, steep, rocky stairway of ancient origin. At last, rounding a hill, we came in sight of a lonesome little hut perched on a shoulder of the mountain. In front of it, seated in the sun on mats, were two women shelling corn. As soon as they saw the gobernador approaching, they stopped their work and began to prepare lunch. It was about eleven o'clock and they did not need to be told that Senor Condore and his friends had not had anything but a cup of coffee since the night before. In order to meet the emergency of unexpected guests they killed four or five squealing cuys (guinea pigs), usually to be found scurrying about the mud floor of the huts of mountain Indians. Before long the savory odor of roast cuy, well basted, and cooked-to-a-turn on primitive spits, whetted our appetites.

In the eastern United States one sees guinea pigs only as pets or laboratory victims; never as an article of food. In spite of the celebrated dogma that "Pigs is Pigs," this form of "pork" has never found its way to our kitchens, even though these "pigs" live on a very clean, vegetable diet. Incidentally guinea pigs do not come from Guinea and are in no way related to pigs—Mr. Ellis Parker Butler to the contrary notwithstanding! They belong rather to the same family as rabbits and Belgian hares and have long been a highly prized article of food in the Andes of Peru. The wild species are of a grayish brown color, which enables them to escape observation in their natural habitat. The domestic varieties, which one sees in the huts of the Indians, are piebald, black, white, and tawny, varying from one another in color as much as do the llamas, which were also domesticated by the same race of people thousands of years ago. Although Anglo-Saxon "folkways," as Professor Sumner would say, permit us to eat and enjoy long-eared rabbits, we draw the line at short-eared rabbits, yet they were bred to be eaten.

I am willing to admit that this was the first time that I had ever knowingly tasted their delicate flesh, although once in the capital of Bolivia I thought the hotel kitchen had a diminishing supply! Had I not been very hungry, I might never have known how delicious a roast guinea pig can be. The meat is not unlike squab. To the Indians whose supply of animal food is small, whose fowls are treasured for their eggs, and whose thin sheep are more valuable as wool bearers than as mutton, the succulent guinea pig, "most prolific of mammals," as was discovered by Mr. Butler's hero, is a highly valued article of food, reserved for special occasions. The North American housewife keeps a few tins of sardines and cans of preserves on hand for emergencies. Her sister in the Andes similarly relies on fat little cuys.

After lunch, Condore and Mogrovejo divided the extensive rolling countryside between them and each rode quietly from one lonesome farm to another, looking for men to engage as bearers. When they were so fortunate as to find the man of the house at home or working in his little chacra they greeted him pleasantly. When he came forward to shake hands, in the usual Indian manner, a silver dollar was un-suspectingly slipped into the palm of his right hand and he was informed that he had accepted pay for services which must now be performed. It seemed hard, but this was the only way in which it was possible to secure carriers.

During Inca times the Indians never received pay for their labor. A paternal government saw to it that they were properly fed and clothed and either given abundant opportunity to provide for their own necessities or else permitted to draw on official stores. In colonial days a more greedy and less paternal government took advantage of the ancient system and enforced it without taking pains to see that it should not cause suffering. Then, for generations, thoughtless landlords, backed by local authority, forced the Indians to work without suitably recompensing them at the end of their labors or even pretending to carry out promises and wage agreements. The peons learned that it was unwise to perform any labor without first having received a considerable portion of their pay. When once they accepted money, however, their own custom and the law of the land provided that they must carry out their obligations. Failure to do so meant legal punishment.

Consequently, when an unfortunate Pampaconas Indian found he had a dollar in his hand, he bemoaned his fate, but realized that service was inevitable. In vain did he plead that he was "busy," that his "crops needed attention," that his "family could not spare him," that "he lacked food for a journey." Condore and Mogrovejo were accustomed to all varieties of excuses. They succeeded in "engaging" half a dozen carriers. Before dark we reached the village of Pampaconas, a few small huts scattered over grassy hillsides, at an elevation of 10,000 feet.

In the notes of one of the military advisers of Viceroy Francisco de Toledo is a reference to Pampaconas as a "high, cold place." This is correct. Nevertheless, I doubt if the present village is the Pampaconas mentioned in the documents of Garcia's day as being "an important town of the Incas." There are no ruins hereabouts. The huts of Pampaconas were newly built of stone and mud, and thatched with grass. They were occupied by a group of sturdy mountain Indians, who enjoyed unusual freedom from official or other interference and a good place in which to raise sheep and cultivate potatoes, on the very edge of the dense forest. We found that there was some excitement in the village because on the previous night a jaguar, or possibly a cougar, had come out of the forest, attacked, killed, and dragged off one of the village ponies.

We were conducted to the dwelling of a stocky, well-built Indian named Guzman, the most reliable man in the village, who had been selected to be the head of the party of carriers that was to accompany us to Conservidayoc. Guzman had some Spanish blood in his veins, although he did not boast of it. With his wife and six children he occupied one of the best huts. A fire in one corner frequently filled it with acrid smoke. It was very small and had no windows. At one end was a loft where family treasures could be kept dry and reasonably safe from molestation. Piles of sheep skins were arranged for visitors to sit upon. Three or four rude niches in the walls served in lieu of shelves and tables. The floor of well-trodden clay was damp. Three mongrel dogs and a flea-bitten cat were welcome to share the narrow space with the family and their visitors. A dozen hogs entered stealthily and tried to avoid attention by putting a muffler on involuntary grunts. They did not succeed and were violently ejected by a boy with a whip; only to return again and again, each time to be driven out as before, squealing loudly. Notwithstanding these interruptions, we carried on a most interesting conversation with Guzman. He had been to Conservidayoc and had himself actually seen ruins at Espiritu Pampa. At last the mythical "Pampa of Ghosts" began to take on in our minds an aspect of reality, even though we were careful to remind ourselves that another very trustworthy man had said he had seen ruins "finer than Ollantaytambo" near Huadquina. Guzman did not seem to dread Conservidayoc as much as the other Indians, only one of whom had ever been there. To cheer them up we purchased a fat sheep, for which we paid fifty cents. Guzman immediately butchered it in preparation for the journey. Although it was August and the middle of the dry season, rain began to fall early in the afternoon. Sergeant Carrasco arrived after dark with our pack animals, but, missing the trail as he neared Guzman's place, one of the mules stepped into a bog and was extracted only with considerable difficulty.

We decided to pitch our small pyramidal tent on a fairly well-drained bit of turf not far from Guzman's little hut. In the evening, after we had had a long talk with the Indians, we came back through the rain to our comfortable little tent, only to hear various and sundry grunts emerging therefrom. We found that during our absence a large sow and six fat young pigs, unable to settle down comfortably at the Guzman hearth, had decided that our tent was much the driest available place on the mountain side and that our blankets made a particularly attractive bed. They had considerable difficulty in getting out of the small door as fast as they wished. Nevertheless, the pouring rain and the memory of comfortable blankets caused the pigs to return at intervals. As we were starting to enjoy our first nap, Guzman, with hospitable intent, sent us two bowls of steaming soup, which at first glance seemed to contain various sizes of white macaroni—a dish of which one of us was particularly fond. The white hollow cylinders proved to be extraordinarily tough, not the usual kind of macaroni. As a matter of fact, we learned that the evening meal which Guzman's wife had prepared for her guests was made chiefly of sheep's entrails!

Rain continued without intermission during the whole of a very cold and dreary night. Our tent, which had never been wet before, leaked badly; the only part which seemed to be thoroughly waterproof was the floor. As day dawned we found ourselves to be lying in puddles of water. Everything was soaked. Furthermore, rain was still failing. While we were discussing the situation and wondering what we should cook for breakfast, the faithful Guzman heard our voices and immediately sent us two more bowls of hot soup, which were this time more welcome, even though among the bountiful corn, beans, and potatoes we came unexpectedly upon fragments of the teeth and jaws of the sheep. Evidently in Pampaconas nothing is wasted.

We were anxious to make an early start for Conservidayoc, but it was first necessary for our Indians to prepare food for the ten days' journey ahead of them. Guzman's wife, and I suppose the wives of our other carriers, spent the morning grinding chuno (frozen potatoes) with a rocking stone pestle on a flat stone mortar, and parching or toasting large quantities of sweet corn in a terra-cotta olla. With chuno and tostado, the body of the sheep, and a small quantity of coca leaves, the Indians professed themselves to be perfectly contented. Of our own provisions we had so small a quantity that we were unable to spare any. However, it is doubtful whether the Indians would have liked them as much as the food to which they had long been accustomed.

Toward noon, all the Indian carriers but one having arrived, and the rain having partly subsided, we started for Conservidayoc. We were told that it would be possible to use the mules for this day's journey. San Fernando, our first stop, was "seven leagues" away, far down in the densely wooded Pampaconas Valley. Leaving the village we climbed up the mountain back of Guzman's hut and followed a faint trail by a dangerous and precarious route along the crest of the ridge. The rains had not improved the path. Our saddle mules were of little use. We had to go nearly all the way on foot. Owing to cold rain and mist we could see but little of the deep canyon which opened below us, and into which we now began to descend through the clouds by a very steep, zigzag path, four thousand feet to a hot tropical valley. Below the clouds we found ourselves near a small abandoned clearing. Passing this and fording little streams, we went along a very narrow path, across steep slopes, on which maize had been planted. Finally we came to another little clearing and two extremely primitive little shanties, mere shelters not deserving to be called huts; and this was San Fernando, the end of the mule trail. There was scarcely room enough in them for our six carriers. It was with great difficulty we found and cleared a place for our tent, although its floor was only seven feet square. There was no really flat land at all.

At 8:30 P.M. August 13, 1911, while lying on the ground in our tent, I noticed an earthquake. It was felt also by the Indians in the near-by shelter, who from force of habit rushed out of their frail structure and made a great disturbance, crying out that there was a temblor. Even had their little thatched roof fallen upon them, as it might have done during the stormy night which followed, they were in no danger; but, being accustomed to the stone walls and red tiled roofs of mountain villages where earthquakes sometimes do very serious harm, they were greatly excited. The motion seemed to me to be like a slight shuffle from west to east, lasting three or four seconds, a gentle rocking back and forth, with eight or ten vibrations. Several weeks later, near Huadquina, we happened to stop at the Colpani telegraph office. The operator said he had felt two shocks on August 13th—one at five o'clock, which had shaken the books off his table and knocked over a box of insulators standing along a wall which ran north and south. He said the shock which I had felt was the lighter of the two.

During the night it rained hard, but our tent was now adjusting itself to the "dry season" and we were more comfortable. Furthermore, camping out at 10,000 feet above sea level is very different from camping at 6000 feet. This elevation, similar to that of the bridge of San Miguel, below Machu Picchu, is on the lower edge of the temperate zone and the beginning of the torrid tropics. Sugar cane, peppers, bananas, and grenadillas grow here as well as maize, squashes, and sweet potatoes. None of these things will grow at Pampaconas. The Indians who raise sheep and white potatoes in that cold region come to San Fernando to make chacras or small clearings. The three or four natives whom we found here were so alarmed by the sight of brass buttons that they disappeared during the night rather than take the chance of having a silver dollar pressed into their hands in the morning! From San Fernando, we sent one of our gendarmes back to Pampaconas with the mules. Our carriers were good for about fifty pounds apiece.

Half an hour's walk brought us to Vista Alegre, another little clearing on an alluvial fan in the bend of the river. The soil here seemed to be very rich. In the chacra we saw corn stalks eighteen feet in height, near a gigantic tree almost completely enveloped in the embrace of a mato-palo, or parasitic fig tree. This clearing certainly deserves its name, for it commands a "charming view" of the green Pampaconas Valley. Opposite us rose abruptly a heavily forested mountain, whose summit was lost in the clouds a mile above. To circumvent this mountain the river had been flowing in a westerly direction; now it gradually turned to the northward. Again we were mystified; for, by Raimondi's map, it should have gone southward.

We entered a dense jungle, where the narrow path became more and more difficult for our carriers. Crawling over rocks, under branches, along slippery little cliffs, on steps which had been cut in earth or rock, over a trail which not even dogs could follow unassisted, slowly we made our way down the valley. Owing to the heat, humidity, and the frequent showers, it was mid-afternoon before we reached another little clearing called Pacaypata. Here, on a hillside nearly a thousand feet above the river, our men decided to spend the night in a tiny little shelter six feet long and five feet wide. Professor Foote and I had to dig a shelf out of the steep hillside in order to pitch our tent.

The next morning, not being detained by the vagaries of a mule train, we made an early start. As we followed the faint little trail across the gulches tributary to the river Pampaconas, we had to negotiate several unusually steep descents and ascents. The bearers suffered from the heat. They found it more and more difficult to carry their loads. Twice we had to cross the rapids of the river on primitive bridges which consisted only of a few little logs lashed together and resting on slippery boulders.

By one o'clock we found ourselves on a small plain (ele. 4500 ft.) in dense woods surrounded by tree ferns, vines, and tangled thickets, through which it was impossible to see for more than a few feet. Here Guzman told us we must stop and rest a while, as we were now in the territory of los salvajes, the savage Indians who acknowledged only the rule of Saavedra and resented all intrusion. Guzman did not seem to be particularly afraid, but said that we ought to send ahead one of our carriers, to warn the savages that we were coming on a friendly mission and were not in search of rubber gatherers; otherwise they might attack us, or run away and disappear into the jungle. He said we should never be able to find the ruins without their help. The carrier who was selected to go ahead did not relish his task. Leaving his pack behind, he proceeded very quietly and cautiously along the trail and was lost to view almost immediately. There followed an exciting half-hour while we waited, wondering what attitude the savages would take toward us, and trying to picture to ourselves the mighty potentate, Saavedra, who had been described as sitting in the midst of savage luxury, "surrounded by fifty servants," and directing his myrmidons to checkmate our desires to visit the Inca city on the "pampa of ghosts."

Suddenly, we were startled by the crackling of twigs and the sound of a man running. We instinctively held our rifles a little tighter in readiness for whatever might befall—when there burst out of the woods a pleasant-faced young Peruvian, quite conventionally clad, who had come in haste from Saavedra, his father, to extend to us a most cordial welcome! It seemed scarcely credible, but a glance at his face showed that there was no ambush in store for us. It was with a sigh of relief that we realized there was to be no shower of poisoned arrows from the impenetrable thickets. Gathering up our packs, we continued along the jungle trail, through woods which gradually became higher, deeper, and darker, until presently we saw sunlight ahead and, to our intense astonishment, the bright green of waving sugar cane. A few moments of walking through the cane fields found us at a large comfortable hut, welcomed very simply and modestly by Saavedra himself. A more pleasant and peaceable little man it was never my good fortune to meet. We looked furtively around for his fifty savage servants, but all we saw was his good-natured Indian wife, three or four small children, and a wild-eyed maid-of-all-work, evidently the only savage present. Saavedra said some called this place "Jesus Maria" because they were so surprised when they saw it.

It is difficult to describe our feelings as we accepted Saavedra's invitation to make ourselves at home, and sat down to an abundant meal of boiled chicken, rice, and sweet cassava (manioc). Saavedra gave us to understand that we were not only most welcome to anything he had, but that he would do everything to enable us to see the ruins, which were, it seemed, at Espiritu Pampa, some distance farther down the valley, to be reached only by a hard trail passable for barefooted savages, but scarcely available for us unless we chose to go a good part of the distance on hands and knees. The next day, while our carriers were engaged in clearing this trail, Professor Foote collected a large number of insects, including eight new species of moths and butterflies.

I inspected Saavedra's plantation. The soil having lain fallow for centuries, and being rich in humus, had produced more sugar cane than he could grind. In addition to this, he had bananas, coffee trees, sweet potatoes, tobacco, and peanuts. Instead of being "a very powerful chief having many Indians under his control"—a kind of "Pooh-Bah"—he was merely a pioneer. In the utter wilderness, far from any neighbors, surrounded by dense forests and a few savages, he had established his home. He was not an Indian potentate, but only a frontiersman, soft-spoken and energetic, an ingenious carpenter and mechanic, a modest Peruvian of the best type.

Owing to the scarcity of arable land he was obliged to cultivate such pampas as he could find—one an alluvial fan near his house, another a natural terrace near the river. Back of the house was a thatched shelter under which he had constructed a little sugar mill. It had a pair of hardwood rollers, each capable of being turned, with much creaking and cracking, by a large, rustic wheel made of roughly hewn timbers fastened together with wooden pins and lashed with thongs, worked by hand and foot power. Since Saavedra had been unable to coax any pack animals over the trail to Conservidayoc he was obliged to depend entirely on his own limited strength and that of his active son, aided by the uncertain and irregular services of such savages as wished to work for sugar, trinkets, or other trade articles. Sometimes the savages seemed to enjoy the fun of climbing on the great creaking treadwheel, as though it were a game. At other times they would disappear in the woods.

Near the mill were some interesting large pots which Saavedra was using in the process of boiling the juice and making crude sugar. He said he had found the pots in the jungle not far away. They had been made by the Incas. Four of them were of the familiar aryballus type. Another was of a closely related form, having a wide mouth, pointed base, single incised, conventionalized, animal-head nubbin attached to the shoulder, and band-shaped handles attached vertically below the median line. Although capable of holding more than ten gallons, this huge pot was intended to be carried on the back and shoulders by means of a rope passing through the handles and around the nubbin. Saavedra said that he had found near his house several bottle-shaped cists lined with stones, with a flat stone on top—evidently ancient graves. The bones had entirely disappeared. The cover of one of the graves had been pierced; the hole covered with a thin sheet of beaten silver. He had also found a few stone implements and two or three small bronze Inca axes.

On the pampa, below his house, Saavedra had constructed with infinite labor another sugar mill. It seemed strange that he should have taken the trouble to make two mills; but when one remembered that he had no pack animals and was usually obliged to bring the cane to the mill on his own back and the back of his son, one realized that it was easier, while the cane was growing, to construct a new mill near the cane field than to have to carry the heavy bundles of ripe cane up the hill. He said his hardest task was to get money with which to send his children to school in Cuzco and to pay his taxes. The only way in which he could get any cash was by making chancaca, crude brown sugar, and carrying it on his back, fifty pounds at a time, three hard days' journey on foot up the mountain to Pampaconas or Vilcabamba, six or seven thousand feet above his little plantation. He said he could usually sell such a load for five soles, equivalent to two dollars and a half! His was certainly a hard lot, but he did not complain, although he smilingly admitted that it was very difficult to keep the trail open, since the jungle grew so fast and the floods in the river continually washed away his little rustic bridges. His chief regret was that as the result of a recent revolution, with which he had had nothing to do, the government had decreed that all firearms should be turned in, and so he had lost the one thing he needed to enable him to get fresh meat in the forest.


Saavedra and his Inca Pottery ———


Inca Gable at Espiritu Pampa ———

In the clearing near the house we were interested to see a large turkey-like bird, the pava de la montana, glossy black, its most striking feature a high, coral red comb. Although completely at liberty, it seemed to be thoroughly domesticated. It would make an attractive bird for introduction into our Southern States.

Saavedra gave us some very black leaves of native tobacco, which he had cured. An inveterate smoker who tried it in his pipe said it was without exception the strongest stuff he ever had encountered!

So interested did I become in talking with Saavedra, seeing his plantation, and marveling that he should be worried about taxes and have to obey regulations in regard to firearms, I had almost forgotten about the wild Indians. Suddenly our carriers ran toward the house in a great flurry of excitement, shouting that there was a "savage" in the bushes near by. The "wild man" was very timid, but curiosity finally got the better of fear and he summoned up sufficient courage to accept Saavedra's urgent invitation that he come out and meet us. He proved to be a miserable specimen, suffering from a very bad cold in his head. It has been my good fortune at one time or another to meet primitive folk in various parts of America and the Pacific, but this man was by far the dirtiest and most wretched savage that I have ever seen.

He was dressed in a long, filthy tunic which came nearly to his ankles. It was made of a large square of coarsely woven cotton cloth, with a hole in the middle for his head. The sides were stitched up, leaving holes for the arms. His hair was long, unkempt, and matted. He had small, deep-set eyes, cadaverous cheeks, thick lips, and a large mouth. His big toes were unusually long and prehensile. Slung over one shoulder he carried a small knapsack made of coarse fiber net. Around his neck hung what at first sight seemed to be a necklace composed of a dozen stout cords securely knotted together. Although I did not see it in use, I was given to understand that when climbing trees, he used this stout loop to fasten his ankles together and thus secure a tighter grip for his feet.

By evening two other savages had come in; a young married man and his little sister. Both had bad colds. Saavedra told us that these Indians were Pichanguerras, a subdivision of the Campa tribe. Saavedra and his son spoke a little of their language, which sounded to our unaccustomed ears like a succession of low grunts, breathings, and gutturals. It was pieced out by signs. The long tunics worn by the men indicated that they had one or more wives. Before marrying they wear very scanty attire—nothing more than a few rags hanging over one shoulder and tied about the waist. The long tunic, a comfortable enough garment to wear during the cold nights, and their only covering, must impede their progress in the jungle; yet they live partly by hunting, using bows and arrows. We learned that these Pichanguerras had run away from the rubber country in the lower valleys; that they found it uncomfortably cold at this altitude, 4500 feet, but preferred freedom in the higher valleys to serfdom on a rubber estate.

Saavedra said that he had named his plantation Conservidayoc, because it was in truth "a spot where one may be preserved from harm." Such was the home of the potentate from whose abode "no one had been known to return alive."


The Pampa of Ghosts

Two days later we left Conservidayoc for Espiritu Pampa by the trail which Saavedra's son and our Pampaconas Indians had been clearing. We emerged from the thickets near a promontory where there was a fine view down the valley and particularly of a heavily wooded alluvial fan just below us. In it were two or three small clearings and the little oval huts of the savages of Espiritu Pampa, the "Pampa of Ghosts."

On top of the promontory was the ruin of a small, rectangular building of rough stone, once probably an Inca watch-tower. From here to Espiritu Pampa our trail followed an ancient stone stairway, about four feet in width and nearly a third of a mile long. It was built of uncut stones. Possibly it was the work of those soldiers whose chief duty it was to watch from the top of the promontory and who used their spare time making roads. We arrived at the principal clearing just as a heavy thunder-shower began. The huts were empty. Obviously their occupants had seen us coming and had disappeared in the jungle. We hesitated to enter the home of a savage without an invitation, but the terrific downpour overcame our scruples, if not our nervousness. The hut had a steeply pitched roof. Its sides were made of small logs driven endwise into the ground and fastened together with vines. A small fire had been burning on the ground. Near the embers were two old black ollas of Inca origin.

In the little chacra, cassava, coca, and sweet potatoes were growing in haphazard fashion among charred and fallen tree trunks; a typical milpa farm. In the clearing were the ruins of eighteen or twenty circular houses arranged in an irregular group. We wondered if this could be the "Inca city" which Lopez Torres had reported. Among the ruins we picked up several fragments of Inca pottery. There was nothing Incaic about the buildings. One was rectangular and one was spade-shaped, but all the rest were round. The buildings varied in diameter from fifteen to twenty feet. Each had but a single opening. The walls had tumbled down, but gave no evidence of careful construction. Not far away, in woods which had not yet been cleared by the savages, we found other circular walls. They were still standing to a height of about four feet. If the savages have extended their milpa clearings since our visit, the falling trees have probably spoiled these walls by now. The ancient village probably belonged to a tribe which acknowledged allegiance to the Incas, but the architecture of the buildings gave no indication of their having been constructed by the Incas themselves. We began to wonder whether the "Pampa of Ghosts" really had anything important in store for us. Undoubtedly this alluvial fan had been highly prized in this country of terribly steep hills. It must have been inhabited, off and on, for many centuries. Yet this was not an "Inca city."

While we were wondering whether the Incas themselves ever lived here, there suddenly appeared the naked figure of a sturdy young savage, armed with a stout bow and long arrows, and wearing a fillet of bamboo. He had been hunting and showed us a bird he had shot. Soon afterwards there came the two adult savages we had met at Saavedra's, accompanied by a cross-eyed friend, all wearing long tunics. They offered to guide us to other ruins. It was very difficult for us to follow their rapid pace. Half an hour's scramble through the jungle brought us to a pampa or natural terrace on the banks of a little tributary of the Pampaconas. They called it Eromboni. Here we found several old artificial terraces and the rough foundations of a long, rectangular building 192 feet by 24 feet. It might have had twenty-four doors, twelve in front and twelve in back, each three and a half feet wide. No lintels were in evidence. The walls were only a foot high. There was very little building material in sight. Apparently the structure had never been completed. Near by was a typical Inca fountain with three stone spouts, or conduits. Two hundred yards beyond the water-carrier's rendezvous, hidden behind a curtain of hanging vines and thickets so dense we could not see more than a few feet in any direction, the savages showed us the ruins of a group of stone houses whose walls were still standing in fine condition.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6     Next Part
Home - Random Browse