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Interregional Communication Corridors

The ancient road crossing the Cuzcotuyo facility was not as elaborate as other Inka highways. Nevertheless, one can still see in some sections the remains of retaining walls and stairways in steep terrain. Once the wall gate on the mountaintop was crossed, the road led to the lower Cuzcotuyo building that was perhaps used a resting place for the imperial allies and amicable travelers (Figure 6.3). Later, the road transversed the western Pucara Pampa, which was also supplemented with defensive installations, rest stations (that is, Site S-3), and productive areas (that is, Site S-6). In fact, the spatial correlation of the road and the Inka facilities is not random. All of the Inka installations were less than 0.5 km from the road, indicating that communication was an essential aspect of the defensive system (Hyslop 1984; Lee 1992).

Farther away, this road connected additional frontier facilities. That

was the case of Inkahuasi del Villar, an observatory post on top of the Wak’a hill about 24 km west of Cuzcotuyo. The site was small (about 0.06 ha) and consisted of a kancha unit formed by two rectangular rooms and a central patio. To the north, the road led to the walled hill of Inkapirca- El Rosal, about 17 km away from Cuzcotuyo. To the east in the tropical mountains, the road ran through the fortress of Inao (Parssinen and Si- iriainen 1998, 2003) and Inkahuasi de Caraparicito (Nordenskiold 1924). On average, these frontier facilities were distributed around 17 km to 32 km from each other (Table 5.3). This distance might reflect the minimum required distance to maintain optimum communication between Inka frontier facilities in the study region.

The importance of the ancient frontier road system is also illustrated in the regional toponymy. For example, a hill in the vicinity of Cuzcotuyo is denominated Yahuananca, which in the native Quechua language means “road of blood" Similarly, another area is known as Nancahuazu, a term mixing Quechua and Guarani languages. Whereas “nanca" is used in Quechua to denote a road, “guazu" in Guarani describes an object as “big" Today, remains of the Inka road are known by the native Quechua inhabitants as “camino antiguo" At a broader level, the separate distribution of Quechua and Guarani toponyms in the landscape asserts the fact that this region was an important linguistic and cultural frontier. Altogether, this information underscores that the Southeastern Inka frontier was not devised to be a strictly deterrent flank. It also served to control the traffic of people and goods entering the Inka territory from the eastern tropics.

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