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Previous Archaeological Research

Until the 1980s, the Khosko Toro region was scarcely studied. Franklin Paddock (1984), one of the first researchers visiting the region, documented the architecture of the Cuzcotuyo stronghold. A few years later, the architect Vincent Lee and the Bolivian archaeologist Edmundo Salinas joined efforts to organize an expedition. The goal was to assess the limits of Inka expansion in the region. In addition to Cuzcotuyo, they located and mapped many other Inka fortifications, such as Inkapirca (Lee 1992).

In the late 1990s, Martti Parsinnen and his Finnish team also conducted research in Cuzcotuyo (Parssinen and Siiriainen 1998, 2003; Siiriainen and Parssinen 1997). They mapped the site and dug test pits in different areas of the main building. Their aim was to corroborate that the site in fact corresponded to the famous Cuzcotuyo fortification reported in the Colonial narratives (Parssinen and Siiriainen 1998). During their journey, they also discovered the fortification of Inao to the east of Cuzcotuyo, and reported in the adjacent areas the presence of many Guarani-Chiriguano settlements like Cruz Punta (Tarea Pampa), Placitu Mayu (San Pedro), and Ivi Guasu (Ingre region). More important, their research challenged earlier conceptions that the Guarani penetrations only took place by the end of the Inka imperial era. In fact, their excavations and associated C-14 radiocarbon dating revealed that the Guarani-Chiriguano migrations into the Bolivian Chaco region had started as early as A.D. 400 (Parssinen and Siiriainen 2003:224-232). Considering that none of this pioneering work encompassed a systematic regional survey or systematic excavations aimed to assess the range of activities in Cuzcotuyo, we decided to do both. Writing about the Chaco region, Hyslop stated that “given that almost no archaeological survey has taken place there in decades, great surprises may await those willing to reconnoiter that isolated zone” (Hyslop 1990:158). I was excited to take on this challenge.

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