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Excavations in the Oroncota Inka Complex

The Oroncota complex, also known as Inkarry (Site S-1), is located on the eastern section of the Pucara Plateau. Placed on a gently sloped mountain saddle, the site overlooks the Pilcomayo River valley. Below, on a scenic palm tree-patched ravine, runs a stream that eventually cascades into the Pilcomayo River. The complex is about 6 ha in size. The main building is formed by an enclosed plaza surrounded by a set of finely elaborated rectangular rooms. The entrance to the plaza is restricted and flanked by two rectangular kallankas. Outside to the north is a group of circular storage qolqas, including the remains of a few residential compounds. Farther east, one can see the vestiges of an isolated rectangular construction, perhaps a small kallanka hall. To the north extends an L-shaped construction, possibly part of a broader wall (Figure 5.1).

In this complex, the aim of the excavations was to gather data about the function, spatial composition, and evolution of these structures. I was most interested in finding out the type of activities conducted in the different areas of the complex and in identifying changes in function throughout time. Also, I wanted to understand whether this Inka building was located on top of a preexisting center, and if the site’s layout and architecture were different from other imperial facilities. Let us begin with a description of common Inka constructions found elsewhere.

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