Tiwanaku civilization of Lake Titicaca
Ancient civilizations of Peru
Luperio Onofre Mamani
in Spanish; Ayamara ceremony and explanation
NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
11 Nov 2001
- Near Puno
- -15.84333 -70.02361
- SONY TCD-D8
Stereo=1; Decoded MS stereo; Neumann RSM 190 through Sonosax SX-M2 preamp into Sony TCDD8
Log of DAT #: 4
Engineer: Leo Del Aguila
Date: November 2001
ng = not good
ok = okay
g = good
vg = very good
:03 It¿s Leo, describing set up (same as DAT 3 except with ¿big fuzzy thing¿ all over mic for wind noises¿
:29 Alex: (fading up but off mic)
¿terraces from an earlier people here and just walking along here, he starts pulling out shards of pottery and he thinks he¿s found an ax. It¿s just everywhere¿
I¿m going up for a little tool to dig it out¿(off mic, others) extract an ax¿ hopefully it¿s an ax¿ what kind of archeologists are we, didn¿t bring trowels or¿ Leo: you want a swiss army knife? I have a little leatherman¿ The leatherman archeologist tool¿ Leo: you know they should come out with a¿ Leather person, gender neutral ¿ Leo: I¿m Peruvian, it doesn¿t work for me¿ Lisa¿s really politically incorrect¿ Leo: alright, you¿re PI, alright ¿ Lisa doesn¿t believe in drinking beer, thinks you should go to bed early ¿ Leo: is that true, I don¿t believe it¿
So, uh, last time, we were walking around with Dr. Stanish, doing this, he was using a broken tile to dig in this bank. And this is the professional quality Radio Expeditions multitool and I think this is going to do it¿ That¿s a fine looking tool, alex. You sir, could be an honorary archeologist.
So at any rate, you noticed that we pointed out the red floor, should we point that out? ¿A: Yeah, show, show¿ See, this entire thing that we¿re standing on, this entire thing, is completely artificial fill. By that we mean that they wanted to build platforms to have living spaces on to build their floors so if you look in this road cut here, you can see that there is a thick, probably four inch thick of red clay, and you can see when you go through it, you can see how mice and red it would be. Now imagine, we actually picked up this red clay in the excavations that are, oh, about 80 yards away over there. So this entire terrace, this entire terrace around this hill, around AD 600, around 600 AD, was a red clay floor. A beautiful, beautiful terrace, that was probably used by some of the most important people of Tiwanaku society.
but I don¿t see any red clay in the dirt around here, so they must have mined that somewhere and brought it here and then used it to make the floor¿ Exactly, there¿s red clay over there across the bay, and there¿s a little bit of red clay in that hillside, but they would have had to bring this in, probably by baskets and llama, one basket load at a time to completely make this beautiful, exquisite, thick red clay floor. It¿s really quite remarkable. On the other side, you can see a yellow clay floor. That¿s a little bit later in time, maybe a 100 years later, when they got tired of the red floor for some reason they decided they wanted a yellow floor. Again, they had to get clay from somewhere over there and they brought it over and lay it down. This would be again about 5, 600, this would be oh, maybe 650 AD.
As you come across you¿ll see a space where there¿s a brown area in here, and what we have is two walls. There¿s wall stones here¿
And wall stones here. This was one big, big wall that separated these to areas, but the clay floor continues on. So a at certain point in time, they decided to put a separation in, with this about a yard wide wall, so it cut through the floor, but it was part of the remodeling or whatever of the area. And you can see some, this is a llama bone, it¿s been butchered, it was used to eat, and it was part of the garbage that they used for their fill to make their base for their platform.
In the, in what we call the profile here, you can see bits¿
Alex: what do you call it? ¿
We call it a profile, when you just cut it straight down, so you have pottery here. Any, any piece of andecite does not come from this island, it has to come from someplace else. And that¿s why when we were looking over here, we found a piece of andecite sticking out of the road here [crunchy noises] I¿m allowed to do this because this is a road cut and this is okay and it¿s probably, I would guess that it¿s a hoe, an andecite hoe from about, we know that they start fairly early around 6, 700 BC at least and they go up through and including Tiwanaku. And it is not a hoe, it is a sod breaker. It is not a hoe, this is, but you can see where this is flaked. They took flakes out here ¿
Alex: uh-huh ¿
percussion flakes, shaped it to this point and it would have been hafted on a piece of wood like this and it would have served as a clod breaker, and as a hoe, but a smaller hoe.
Now, as I look at this, this is about a palm-sized piece of stone, and I can see where it¿s been chipped and worked on and turned into a tool. Isn¿t this a museum-quality piece? Isn¿t this something I would see at the Smithsonian or the Amer Museum of Natural History? ¿
Yes you would, if we were excavating Tiwanaku sites. Realize that we find, maybe 10s of 1000s of these at any particular few years of work down here, so they¿re not rare, but they are exciting from an archeological point of view. Found in its context, where it came from, that¿s where all of its information value is. And this would be, definitely in any exhibit talking about the daily life of the people of Tiwanaku, this would be on the shelf, it would have to be, to explain all that. And you can see how this one piece was hacked out on the top, it¿s like a big triangle right? And it would be hafted into the piece of wood, so the bottom part, the bottom two inches would be sticking out and it would be used as a hoe and a clod breaker. And you can see the wear down there¿
7:14 The andecite comes from way over there, over the mountains about 50 miles away. That¿s where the andecite comes from. You don¿t get the andecite in this area, so every time we find andecite in this area, we know it¿s an artifact, a cultural artifact, some one brought it in. And then if we look a little further, we see more andecite, let¿s see what this is, it could be another one¿ Yes, this indeed is a broken hoe fragment. It¿s broken but still, so it would have been, yeah, that¿s a nice one. You can see where¿ Alex: That¿s a hoe, that¿s a¿ Broken here and broken here, but it would have been shaped, elongated, about 7, 8, 9 inches long. And this is the piece we have, and it¿s been broken off here. But again, a nice piece of andecite. It was hafted here, midway on the wood, and it was used to till the ground. More ande, you can see lots of andecite around here. So now, this is a very nice piece, a really fine grained andecite, very pretty.
you know, we just came up here cause this is a nice place to sit and look out on the bay¿
we just came up here, and we¿re passing along this, this uh, road cut and you¿re finding all these artifacts¿
Yes, this is a phenomenal sites, this is one of the most important Tiwanaku sites in the area, we know that. And here it is, this whole bay was so rich, Tiwanaku sites all over the place, and when they cut the road, we could see the beautiful exposure of this profile. Of other interest, a little later in time, are some roofing tiles that you can see coming out over there. And that was a 19th century jail that this island was used as a jail for largely political prisoners in the 19th century. And that cut into the Tiwanaku levels as well. Here¿s a beautiful fragment here.
We¿re 10 feet from a roadway¿
From a roadway that leads to a major tourist resort, (honking)¿ and the road actually, is taking advantage of the Tiwanaku terrace, the people who built the road said, hey, there¿s a nice terrace somebody built a few thousand years ago, they didn¿t know that, but it¿s a perfect terrace and they took advantage of it, and fortunately didn¿t have to destroy very much of it to build the road itself.
Okay, show that to Ned if you want, I think we¿re good.
10:17 ¿ 10:37 Ambiance of road cut¿
Okay, it¿s me again, and I¿m on the road from the hotel that we were somehow going over that little finds that Chip was describing. I¿m just going to record the cars coming by because he mentioned we are so close to the road¿
12:00 ¿ 12:48 ambi of roadway with Leo¿s footsteps in gravel¿ car passes at 12:35¿birdsong
I¿m going to record it from the other perspective¿ car idling, people yell in distance¿car passes¿birdsong¿
13:41 Stopdown (sudden and strange electronic sounds)
¿truck going up the hill in Puno to overlook Lake Titicaca¿ rumbling truck, engine revving.
16:20 Truck idles¿ stops¿
16:33 goat bleats¿ 16:40 bleats again¿
17:03 talking about shooting, negotiating¿ truck door sliding open, slams shut¿
I am going up on a hill to record this, and you know, I am going to record this transaction¿
Carolyn: definitely want to record the foot plan¿
Leo: I am going to, man, look at all these sheep! How are you girls? Any way, I am going to record all of this.
18:26 more sheep baaing¿
18:34 Leo talking in Spanish with farmers (?) about filming them¿
19:11 sound of hoes scraping in rocky soil, man shouting rapidly in distance.
20:21 Leo: cómo te llamas?
Leo: Lily? Mucho gusto, Lily¿
[okay, the rest of this conversation is in Spanish. I believe she¿s telling him about the tool she¿s using called a ¿foot pick¿]
20:50 More sounds of footpick use, women talking softly to each other, panting¿
22:40 Woman says something to Leo, he laughs, short conversation ensues¿ continual footpicking¿
23:26 What are they going to grow here? Leo asks in Spanish¿ ¿Abbas¿ Leo: Lima beans. Leo asks another question¿gets them to pose for photographer¿
25:32 Instructing Ned to tip older lady¿ I have recorded the footplow. They are all family. Can you believe the older lady? She got to be in her 70s out there. Man! You know, we have a bag full of fruits in the truck (sorry), can you bring it down?
okay, I¿m going to record sheep now, I hope¿
footstep and clinks (sheep bells?)
26:43 Lots of bahs
27:22 another vocal sheep. Sounds like its walking around¿
27:59 Very on-mic sheep, followed by many other sheep (and one sheepling), with very atonal bells¿
29:41 That¿s the bay, see. That¿s one peninsula that one, and there¿s a peninsula that way and you go through that thing to get to the big lake, the real lake, and straight ahead, that hill straight ahead? That¿s Bolivia.
Okay, here we go. We¿re climbing down some terraces here at a point of land we¿ve come out to. This is a kind of a high hillside, covered with rocks, and also a lot of trash people have thrown out here over the years, empty cans and bottles. It¿s very stony land here, very, very stony, with clumps of grass growing up in it¿ and, if you have the right eye, there are also shards and fragments of pottery and, here¿s a little piece right here¿ Chip: You can see a lot here, because it¿s eroding down, we can find, probably a couple of hundred fragments here, if you want to collect them But this one is absolutely astounding¿
Alex: That one you just found¿
A: It¿s a piece of pottery probably as big as a 50-cent piece but it¿s irregularly shaped and it¿s got markings on it¿
C: yeah, the markings are, they took a reed, like we see in the lake there, and they made incisions and decorations into the wet clay before it was baked. Now the reason this is so important to us is because they started doing this around 1300 BC and they stopped doing this kind around 800 BC, so we know this piece of pottery dates somewhere between 800 and 1300 BC. If we took it back and examined it a little more carefully under the microscope, we could come up with a more precise date. But that¿s really significant, cause this site is very, very old.
and this is a site, this is not an Inca site.
C: Way before the Incas.
A: Who were the people who lived here?
C: Well the name we called them are they Caluyou people. ¿Caluyou¿ comes from a big archeological site up north. And they were the first peoples in this region to actually settle down and live in substantial villages. And they survived from 1300 to about 800, and then there¿s another phase that goes to about 500 BC. This particular piece of pottery dates from the earlier phase of the Caluyou.
But they evolved from wandering hunters and gatherers to settlers¿
C: Yeah, that¿s the model we¿re working with right now, that seems to be the most, the best explanation. We had hunter-gatherer people living in the Titicaca basin since ooo 8000 BC, then, around 2000 BC, things started to change. The climate started to get a little better and we started to see more population increases and that¿s when, around 1500, 1300, we started to get fairly substantial village societies with chiefs.
Now, just as a way of comparison, what was going on in Europe in terms of social development?
Chip: In Europe at that time, at around 2000 BC, you had the Neolithic revolution was in full swing, and you had some of the Bronze age people coming in. Um, I don¿t want to say that because I can¿t¿ I¿ll remember in a minute... I¿m a little off guard here¿ Lisa, what¿s Bronze age in Europe?¿ shit, it¿s like, 18?
I just want to say, were they living in villages? Were they, had they gone through the civic transformation that these, I mean, this is pretty significant development, I think this is interesting, I¿ve never been to this part of the world before, I¿m just enormously impressed by the social development of these people, and their engineering skills. I mean, this was a phenomenal civilization.
Chip: Yeah, in fact, I see what you¿re trying to say. This was comparable, or more complex than what was going on through most of Europe at that time, no contest. These people had developed these very complex societies with beautiful pottery and exchange systems and elaborate religious systems that we can see on the stone carvings and while there were certain areas in Europe and the Near East that started at 3200 BC with the first states, the reality is that most of the landscape in Europe and the Mideast were living in far more humble conditions than the folks particularly that were living here.
34:50 blowing wind¿
you can see the pottery here on your right¿ all the red is pottery¿everything that¿s red is pottery. And all the black, again this is very thick-grained basalt, not from here. Brought in, used as a tool at one point, this is clearly a hoe, cracked and then discarded on the ground. This is actually fairly late pottery, we can tell by the little white inclusions in it, and this dates to like the twelfth or 13th century AD. So, by just being here for 5 minutes, having never really looked at this site much at all, I can tell you, by looking at this one piece of pottery that we find that goes back to 800 BC and I got this one at the 14th century that we have a substantial occupation¿ a place where people really liked to live, b/c it was obviously very rich, because of the lake, was this was just a wonderful place liked to live and work because they were here for two millennia almost.
you pointed out that early, right below us, there¿s a break in the earth and below that , there¿s a break and another break. These are all terraces people constructed.
Chip: Exactly, these are all terraces that today are being used as pastures and agriculture, and it fooled archeologists for a lot of years. And it took us years to figure out that these were probably originally built as house platforms, and then, over time, they were converted into agricultural terraces, and then they went back again to house platforms, just like we can see today, over there, there¿s a house, and you can see how it¿s a one story house, and it has a little second story and you can see people working and it has a corral, but it¿s basically sitting on a terrace. Now, it¿s not as formal as this terrace, but it¿s the same idea. If you imagine though, in your mind, we¿re looking at a site, based on the terrace architecture that¿s probably about 5 hectares, 15 to 20 acres in size, and they would have all been packed in together. This would have been a village where people would have packed in, probably for defense. We¿re looking a time where you needed to be in large groups to defend yourself against possible enemies. But it would have been a fairly substantial village of several hundred people.
What is this down here? ¿
Chip: Oh, it¿s nothing¿
Alex: just a piece of rock.
Chip: Looks nice, white sandstone.
38:08 (off mike) Chip:
Like the hoe that that guy had, except his was metal¿
Alex: that¿s a hoe ¿
Chip: that¿s a stone hoe and a small one but in almost perfect shape.
This is a stone hoe we found just walking down this terrace here, just sitting out here. And how old would you guess that hoe is, Chip? ¿
Chip: that is before, I would guess (Leo laugh) that that is before 800 AD and after 500 BC. A little wide range there, but that¿s when, they stopped making these around 800 AD and we know they started them at least by 500 BC. Beautiful piece. That¿s a keeper.
38:54 fades out¿
I was telling you something about Caluhu? This is a fancy Caluhu one and let¿s imagine a beautiful bowl about this big. Flat bottomed, real beautiful red burnishing around it. And it would be perfectly burnished inside and that would be used for feasting. Everybody would have their bowl and they¿d have a big party, the chief would have a party and they¿d bring their bowl. It was used to drink, maybe special stuff, like put in aluchu beer or a hallucinogenic compound. You can see how thick all the artifacts are, I mean, artifact, artifact, artifact. And this is just the surface. If we were to dig this, this site is essentially intact, in terms of the stone foundations are there, the houses are there, the hearths are there, other room separations are there, the patios. It¿s all here. It¿s as intact as can be.
40:07 It would be as if, that house that we talked about early, they take the roof, they take the wood, that¿s what they need. They take the windows, and then everything else would just collapse, and then you have all this soil formation going on here and would just cover up, so everything over there, everything they left. all their garbage, all their, all the utensils that were thrown off the side. Where the stone foundations, all that would be completely intact¿
Alex: and all that is underneath us here¿
Chip: It¿s all underneath us right here. I would guess, conservatively, 200 households, of two to four structures each¿
and when are people ever going to get around to excavating this? You know this site, you¿ve walked this site, did you find this site?¿
Chip: yes, I found this site, and I have, one of my students has worked on it and she¿s going to be going, part of her doctoral thesis is going to be about a number of these sites. But this one isn¿t important enough for her to work on, yet. There are others, from her theoretical perspective. But this is a beautiful site, these are the kinds that we find everywhere, they¿re just everywhere¿ (off-mike) just mind-boggling¿ but you don¿t find the fancy pottery unless the site¿s real important. The fancy pottery shows up either where there were chiefs, or where people were tied in to chiefs. And I¿m going to show you a little later, around this hill, we have a big hill, with all these terraces, like this, but maybe 15 times greater than this, and it goes to the top and there¿s a big sunken count that¿s completely intact. It¿s about 10 yards to a side and probably has monoliths in it, and it¿s completely intact. Fortunately, there¿s a Norwegian couple who own it, and they¿re protecting it. They¿ve asked us to work on it, and we¿re eventually get around to doing that.
just one point, maybe a similar happening. Years ago also, in Rome, and even to this day, they¿re still finding things, there¿s even tours that go underground, they¿ve recorded a lot of it. Will that be similar to what we¿re experiencing here now.
Chip: Yeah, but remember, in the Old World, in Rome, and all through most of Europe now, people have been, they¿ve had antiquarian societies, there are professional archeologists. We like to say there¿s an archeologist behind every Ionic pillar in Greece, and there¿s an archeologist behind every Roman rock. Out here, how many do we have? Handfuls of archeologists for the entire region. So I can come here and work in an area, the area I work in is the size of the country of Belize. That¿s a very big area. And I¿m one of a handful of scholars working in it. Whereas, most parts of the world where you have such rich archeology, you have hundreds of professionals working on it. So, we just don¿t know.
43:14 I have been in this area for 15 years now, 20 years now, and I¿m looking at that hill, and I have spent one day on that hill. That¿s it.
Alex: across the lake?
Chip: across the lake. I spent, one day, I drove down and I found a nice monolith. I identified a monolith that was found in 1975 by a student from Berkeley. I wanted to confirm that it was there and I went to the end and I said, I bet there¿s a nice site at the end, and I found a nice site at the end. And I said, I bet there¿s another site over there and there wasn¿t, and that was it. But I know, there¿s probably 20 sites on that hill that look like this that are spectacular. I know there is. I¿ve been here twenty years and I don¿t have time to go over there. Because I have to stick to the discipline of my research design, which is to be systematic and not fall into the trap of being a dilettante and going running around finding every cool site that you can everyday. You gotta stick to the plan, otherwise your work isn¿t going to be nearly as valuable as it could be. But that¿s what we¿re talking about.
44:11 I have never been on any of those hills over there, never. And no archeologist ever has. Right there, we¿re looking at them. One day, I went on the other side, same hills, just for kicks. Took a weekend off from the systematic work. And just walked. I found about 25 phenomenal sites like this, and bigger. So that¿s the kind of frontier archeology we¿re talking about here. It¿s a whole ¿nother world. Whole other world.
¿Frontier archeology,¿ that¿s not a phrase I¿d heard before?
Chip: Eh, I don¿t know if anyone else has used it, but¿ it¿s like Jesse Fukes going into the American Southwest. That¿s kind of the way we feel. You walk in there, and ¿hey, there¿s Mesa Verde, that¿s a nice site. Someone should do something with it.¿ But there¿s not enough time to stay here, we got to go find new things. That¿s what¿s so exciting, for me, that¿s what¿s so exciting. You never know what¿s over the next hill.
45:15 crunchy footsteps, bird cries,
46:06 Leo: Okay, I was recording ambiance there at the site of the interview. I¿m going to kind of just walk around and avoid these guys and try to record some ambiance that side of this reef (roof), I guess at one time it was a roof¿ by the way, guys, the view is incredible. Jesus, I, it¿s similar to, I guess, maybe the Salten sea. I guess at one point the sea had risen. And then when it had lowered itself back again, left a whole bunch of marsh, and that¿s what I¿m looking at here. Beautiful mountains all around, very dramatic sky. I think it¿s probably going to rain soon. So I think I¿m just going to record some of this ambiance. It¿s very similar to the Salten sea in terms of terrain. It¿s very windy here, so we¿re just going to have to live with it.
47:23 ¿ 49:10 Ambiance: cow lowing once¿ birds chattering¿ wind¿ distant sheep¿
49:13 Leo: I am ready now¿ crunchy footsteps¿panting
51:23 Leo: Over the top now, gee.
Chip: It¿s a haul getting up here, isn¿t it?
51:32 Woman: ¿Leave it for three days. I told him Alex, I told him the boss was ill and¿
Leo: before you go, what are we doing?
Woman: I¿m not going.
Leo: Tell me, what are we doing?
Woman: Luperio¿s in charge.
Leo: But go ahead, tell me what they are doing.
Woman: I don¿t actually know what this is set up for because we¿re doing a Chya, but we shortened it to a Pago. We¿re paying respect to¿ Pachamama, Mother Earth. To the gods. But it¿s modern, it¿s mixed with Christianity. They¿ve got the Peruvian flag, they¿ve got the Aymara flag, and they¿ve got the of the elements of the earth here.
Leo: And what would we accomplish by going through this ceremony?
Woman: We would, same thing any of us going to church on a Sunday, any of us Christians in the US would be doing. Just¿ But we, in this case, he¿s a specialist, so if we needed to pray for something in particular, we could ask him to pray for health, for our family, for whatever our problems are.
Leo: and this is being customized for us to just have good fortunes in the next few days as we look for.
Woman: yeah, but it¿s serious, I mean, this isn¿t a tourist version. Whatever we¿d need, what we want to ask from the gods, the spirits, he¿ll do it. And it¿s not going to be the full version, but they, it¿s typical here.
Woman: people are flexible.
53:33 Leo, speaking to Luperio in Spanish¿ L: ¿ in Spanish¿
54:25 muffled talking an movement¿
55:45 Asking something in Spanish (maybe to explain what¿s happening?)¿ rapid, whispered Spanish¿ dry, crunchy sounds¿ something like a kitten meowing
56:33 men speaking together softly in Spanish
56:46 Sounds like man is now explaining ceremony
1:04:27 Leo: also speaking in Spanish¿ conversation in Spanish¿
1:06:24 Leo: what I¿ve told them is that, if we start the ceremony, we could not be here for the whole thing. So I told them if we get started, I feel it would be unrespectful if we move out. And we have the time, in essence. And I said we should postpone this to Wednesday to do it properly. It is okay with them, but they want to know when on Wednesday. And I don¿t have a time. Shall we just say the same time, 7, 7:30, I know we¿re coming back that Wednesday¿ Confused conversation¿
1:11:00 Man speaking in Spanish ¿ sounds like recitation or invocation¿
1:11:31 Single blast from Conch shell¿ invocation¿ shuffling¿
1:12:44 Conch¿ more invocation¿
1:14:20 crackling paper (still invoking)
1:17:32 More paper movement ¿
1:18:26 invocation ceases¿ thanking priest¿