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Grain-Processing Activities

To the west of the plaza complex were large rectangular enclosures (Room-3, Room-4, Room-5, and Room-6). In contrast to other rooms, these facilities did not show great architectural elaboration, and possibly they were not roofed either. Due to severe preservation problems, it was hard to define the entrances. What is clear, however, is that none of these rooms connected to the southern group of elaborate rooms or even to the enclosed plaza.

These enclosures were dedicated to the processing of staples, perhaps by mit’a laborers. Although we did not conduct excavations in this area, the surface collections revealed one of the highest concentrations of ovalshaped grinding stones in the entire complex. A few additional grinding stones were also found outside, near the storage qolqas and residential area (Figure 5.1). In this context, it is particularly relevant to consider the wealth of ethnohistoric and archaeological data stressing the importance of chicha corn beer in Inka ceremonies as part of the state’s political economy. Special areas dedicated to the processing of maize were common in main imperial centers like Huanuco Pampa or Paria (Morris and Thompson 1985; Gyarmati and Condarco Castellon 2014). Thus, the clustered distribution of grinding stones in the large enclosures of the Oroncota building complex could signal that this area was also dedicated to the processing of maize under the Inka administration.

To summarize, the stratigraphy revealed the existence of two main occupational and construction periods for the entire plaza complex. In the initial phase, the Twin Kallankas and surrounding areas were the focus of public feasts. In the second phase, the entire building was renovated, and the set of elaborate rooms was added in the southern sector of the plaza.

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