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The Twin Kallankas

Kallankas, sometimes described as rectangular great halls, are one of the most common types of Inka buildings in the provinces (Gasparini and Margolies 1980). Typically, kallankas are long, often gabled rectangular halls located next to Inka plazas, with their doors opening onto these public spaces (Hyslop 1990:18). Depending on their location, size, and architectural investment, these “all-purpose” structures fulfilled a variety of roles. In administrative centers, the kallankas that opened onto plazas probably had ceremonial and public functions.

In the Oroncota center, the plaza entryway was flanked by two rectangular kallanka structures (Room-1 and Room-2). Considering their similar dimensions and arrangements, they were named the Twin Kallankas. Both have also symmetrically distributed niches. Even though one of the kallankas was destroyed, the second (Room-1) was relatively well preserved. One can still see the two inner entrances of this kallanka opening into the plaza. In our visit, this particular kallanka had still preserved niches and windows. Whereas three niches were in the western wall, an additional five were in the northern wall. People standing inside the plaza would have had immediate access to both kallankas.

Considering the preservation of one of the kallankas (Room-1), we decided to dig inside two units (8 m2). The excavations revealed two main cultural episodes. The older episode was associated with debris from public feasts as evidenced by the presence of consecutive layers of ash with broken serving vessels that alternated with thin soil layers (Figure 5.5). The second episode involved the purposeful deposition of a thick layer of dirt covering all the previous materials as part of a major refurbishing.

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