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Comparing Changes in the Regional Settlement Trajectories

The Oroncota and Khosko Toro regions show very different settlement evolutions. The Oroncota Valley, in the inner portion of the frontier, was characterized by population growth and the proliferation of small sites into broader congregations in the upper Plateau. Before the Inka arrived, there was also a shift in the focus of occupation from the fertile Valley floor to the less-productive mesa. To optimize social interaction and control, the main complex of Oroncota was established in reference to existing population congregations. In contrast, in the Khosko Toro tropical mountain, a region of thick vegetation and extreme vertical gradient at the frontier margin, the occupation remained sparse throughout the prehistoric sequence, even after the Inka conquest. In this context, the fortification of Cuzcotuyo was constructed on top of an indigenous village, and its inhabitants became valuable imperial allies. Therefore, while the location of the Cuzcotuyo stronghold had more to do with defensive concerns, the center of Oroncota was established to respond to regional administrative needs.

However, in neither case did the Inka arrival dramatically alter local settlement trajectories. At Oroncota, preexisting population trends favoring the Pucara Plateau continued during the Inka period, whereas in Khosko Toro the occupation remained scarce. In addition, the scale of production and storage in both regions was limited and was devoted mainly to support the local administrative needs. This pattern is very different from other provinces. For instance, in Mantaro (Peru) and the Calchaqui Valley (northern Argentina), the Inka conquest involved the radical relocation of the natives to expand the agrarian production.

 
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