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The Isolated Kallanka: A Transient Residency

Rectangular kallanka halls varied in size and function. Although most were next to main plazas, small, isolated kallankas could also have been

used as temporary residences for the Inka army or as quarters for the rotating workers in the mit’a system. They are found at way stations along the Inka roads or as part of the administrative centers. In the Oroncota center, we identified several isolated rectangular structures that formed outlying buildings around the main plaza complex. One of them was a small kallanka hall (Kallanka-1) (Figure 5.1). This structure had three elaborate niches and a single entrance opening to the east. As in the main complex, the masonry was constructed in the fine “pillowed-face” style, with cut red sandstone blocks and slightly sunken joints. We decided to excavate two units inside the southwestern corner of this hall (Figure

  • 5.9) . In both units (8 m2), we identified an occupational surface above the natural bedrock. Two features (Features 6 and 7) were associated with this floor. In addition to Yampara, Inka, and utilitarian sherds, there were concentrations of ash mixed with charred mammal and fish bones (Figure
  • 5.9) . The analysis revealed that the remains belonged to catfish (Pimelodus genus, Pimelodide family), a popular species from the Pilcomayo River. This suggests that consumption activities took place inside the kallanka, although not on a regular basis.

In fact, the low density of artifacts, along with the absence of a cultural stratigraphy, suggests a single and brief occupation. Nevertheless, considering the fine construction of this isolated hall, it was probably used as a temporary residence for important people visiting the Oroncota complex. A similar pattern is reported in other Inka centers, where isolated kal- lankas were used as transient shelters (Gasparini and Margolies 1980). As for the faunal remains from mammals, roughly half belonged to camelids. The dominant parts were from the upper and lower limbs, showing that the inhabitants had access to good-quality meat, but that the animals were butchered somewhere else. Alternatively, the meat might have come to the center in the form of dry charqui meat (see also Capriles et al. 2008). Overall, this isolated kallanka exhibited proportionally more camelid bones than other excavated areas, emphasizing the status of its transient residents (Alconini 2013, 2015) (Table 5.4).

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