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Comparing Activities: Actual Use

The comparison of artifact assemblages and architecture was useful to assess the kind of activities carried out in each Inka installation. Altogether, six main activities were performed at each center, although they varied considerably in intensity. These included defense, production, storage, residential, ceremony, and feasting, along with specialized forms of storage.


The main Oroncota Inka complex was positioned on top of the Pucara Plateau—an impregnable “natural fortification” given its rugged topography. Because Oroncota lacked defensible features, its protection was delegated to the adjacent fort of El Pedregal and the group of outlooks along the mesa edges. The shrewd location of El Pedregal on a hidden crack of the Plateau facilitated control and the monitoring of traffic coming from the east on the lower Valley floor. By comparison, the Cuzcotuyo stronghold was part of a broader system of frontier fortifications. The complex was placed on a strategic pass of communication on the precipitous Khosko

Toro mountaintop. This facility emphasized defensive features, including an extensive barricade wall along the crest of the Khosko Toro. In addition to this formidable wall, the Inka constructed a number of observatory outlooks. On the surface, one can still see piles of sling bola weapons. Below in a crevice was the main Cuzcotuyo plaza building. In the barrack, the vast amounts of trash recovered are an indication that this facility sheltered frontier garrisons of nonlocal origins, although on a temporary basis. Judging by the remains, these individuals discarded in the area bola and boleadora stone weapons, along with wooden bows.

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