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Interview :44 - 14:07 Play :44 - More
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Chip Stanish  







Archaeology; Pucara culture  

Interview 20:21 - 25:07 Play 20:21 - More
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Chip Stanish  







Archaeology; Pucara culture  

Interview 29:03 - 48:35 Play 29:03 - More
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Elizabeth Klarich  







Archaeology; Pucara culture  

Sound Effects 39:18 - 42:15 Play 39:18 - More
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Archaelogical digging, sifting  








NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
12 Nov 2001

  • Peru
  • Pucara
  • -15.04641   -70.37169
  • Stereo
    Sampling Rate
  • 48kHz
    Bit Depth
  • 16-bit
    Equipment Note
  • Stereo=1; Decoded MS stereo; Neumann RSM 190 through Sonosax SX-M2 preamp into Sony TCDD8

Show: Peru
Log of DAT #: 5
Engineer: Leo del Aguila
Date: Nov. 12, 2001

ng = not good
ok = okay
g = good
vg = very good

Feet crunching on gravel, walking. Mumbling in background. ¿que será...fromage....queso.¿ laughter. ¿yo digo wild women, sexy women. Okay.¿ More crunching. AC asks Ned how he wants to set up. Leo sets up chip.

0:45 AC
So just ah, tell me where we are.

0:48 CS (chip Stanish)
So we¿re at the sight of Pukara, which is ah, the major center in the Titicaca basin from around 400-500BC up to around 300AD, and it¿s a huge temple complex and residential area. we are obviously in the north of the Titicaca basin, we¿re just coming in from Juliaca. And this site was the dominant center for almost a half millennium.

1:13-1:24 Silence.

1:24 AC: (yelling) Ned?

1:25-3:02 Walking (on pavement? not too loud), background voices.

3:03 AC:
(Panting) This is just a slight uphill walk. And we¿ve only come maybe 300 feet or so,¿s just hard to do anything here.

3:15 CS: Not a lot of oxygen. Takes about two weeks to get used to it.

3:23 AC
So this area as we look out over it here...this area as we look out over it here, this is a temple, this is a mound that they built?

3:35 CS
Right, we¿re right on this artificial platform here and as you look behind us you can see these really large cut-stone walks. And those are from the temples themselves, the sunken courts, and we¿ll see those in a moment. And it dominated this whole valley you can see in front of us. This begins all the artificial construction, terraced, in front and the level of platform up here.

4:05 AC:
Okay, let¿s go take a look.

4:10: Walking again. CS: ¿good to catch your breath.¿ AC ¿yeah.¿ CS: ¿good to catch your breath.¿ AC: ¿yeah, just stop on the way up and breathe a little.

4:19 CS:
You can see all the pottery and the artifacts on the ground, just, ah, absolutely covered in different kinds of objects here, pieces of pottery, fragments of, fragments of bone. You can see other kinds of rocks that were brought in from outside like the salt and some anticites (sp?). and ah, (walking) as we go over here, let¿s, this one was excavated but it, and then they what we call backover it, they covered it back up, but the government has these two left open, so we can get a better understanding of what it looks like.

5:09 AC:
So they¿ve excavated this and then they, they filled it back in to keep people from taking stuff?

5:17 CS:
Yeah, it¿s always a trade-off between tourism needs and conservation and research. And I think it¿s important that they leave some open for, you know tourists and other, other visitors to have a real good feel for what¿s going on and appreciate the site. But it comes at a cost, of course.

5:39-6:07 Walking, feet crunching, occasional panting. Stopping.

6:09-6:58: Ned setting up people for TV shooting.

6:59 CS:
So what you¿re looking at is, ah, a square sunken court in the middle, it¿s probably 20, 25 feet on a side, and then surrounding it are these, in an almost like a half-octagon shape, are these large cut-stone blocks¿reminiscent of Inca, but not quite Inca. This represents the highest expression of the sunken court complex that began as early as maybe 1000BC, and this particular temple here probably dates to around 200AD or 300 about. And it was used for ritual, for ceremonies, for political purposes, ah, in the middle there. And then on the sides there were some kinds of rooms and we¿re not really sure what they were for. Some people think they were for storage, some people think they ah, were where the elite, the kings and queens lived. We¿re not entirely sure about that.

7:59 AC:
These ah stones that you¿re showing us over there, I mean these are very large stones, very cleanly cut. I mean, that¿s a long time ago to have that kind of technology.

8:10 CS
Yes, exquisitely cut ah, slabs, these slabs were specially selected from quarries from around here. And ah, they¿re of different raw materials, there¿s some sandstones in there, there¿s some volcanic rocks, granites and basalts. But they were probably dressed, we¿re not entirely sure. They were probably plastered maybe, or dressed on the side. And there was-almost inevitably there was probably a few monoliths, carved stones, inside the court itself or, at the very least, along the edges. When we do our explorations in other areas and we find sites that are not from the capital but much smaller, we will find for instance, in the center, a small sunken court, maybe a third of that size, and some rooms around it as well, much smaller, but there¿s always a monolith or two, right in the court.

9:06 AC:
Was that a god that they worshipped?

9:09 CS:
It¿s hard to say what it rep...indeed it has some religious themes--it must, but there¿s all sorts of motifs we ? see, like lots of fish, we see snakes or serpents, ah the earlier stuff called Yayamama by one of my colleagues, Karen Chavez, ah she named it that. It always has a serpents and crossed hands, a very distinctive style.

9:34 AC:
The ah, how big is this whole complex as we--I¿ll step and ask that again when Ned is ready. How big is this whole complex, this extense? This was the capital city you say?

9:50 CS
This would have been the capital of the city, the center of this culture known as Pucara and an earlier culture we¿ll talk about later. The whole site itself is about a square kilometer. And it extends all the way to the church, you can see about a half-kilometer away, and goes to the river, then it circles back around. The ceremonial complex, or the really fancy architectural complex, up here, is about 150-200yards by maybe 50 yards. but then down below you have these big terraces. And then interestingly enough you have those mounds. You can see some mounds over there that are about maybe 50, 50-100 yards on a side, and they¿ve never been excavated. We don¿t know what¿s there. We know that there almost certainly are some of these temples there but we just haven¿t worked on them yet. And there¿s maybe 13 more of those mounds in the area.

10:42 AC:
How long have you been working on this complex. How long have people been doing archeological work here?

10:48 CS:
This was uh, actually this was one of the first archeological sites to be described, by a foreigner, back in the 16th century. And then in the 1930¿s an archeologist named var Karsel (sp?) came here and he published the monoliths and did some excavations. And then another fellow named kidder came here in the 1930¿s and excavated. And then in the 1970¿s UNESCO supported work by a number of outstanding archaeologists like Elias Mujica and Luis Lumbreres (sp?) and then there¿s been no work since then. And all the work so far has been concentrated on the ceremonial part. Ah, kidder did excavate down below a little bit, and that¿s where one of my students is working right now, but by and large we¿re interested in not only defining the ceremonial, because we have a pretty good idea of what that looks like, we want to see how the rest of the folks lived? who were they? were they specialists? were they manufacturing obsidian¿well we know they were manufacturing obsidian¿but we don¿t know who was doing it, and copper and things like that.
Another fascinating thing is that this entire site area is littered with obsidian fragments. And the obsidian has been sourced¿you can tell precisely where it came from because every obsidian source is a little different, [train whistle 12:03-12:06] has it¿s own fingerprint, and this obsidian comes from the coca valley, in Arequipa, about a hundred and some kilometers away. And this site appears, based upon all the surface evidence we¿ve had in our explorations and our systematic work down south, appears to have controlled that obsidian trade, at a certain point. And that might be one of the reasons why it was so important, located here.
And it¿s curious because it¿s definitely not the best agricultural land, as you can see. The best agricultural land is near the lake. It¿s good pasture land, but pasturing is an extensive form of agriculture, it doesn¿t really concentrate people. So, they didn¿t have really great agriculture. That means they had to have lots of people bringing food in to this particular spot.

12:51 AC:
How many people do you think lived here?

12:54 CS:
Ah, it¿s really difficult to say, but as a rule of thumb we like to say about 10,000 people per square kilometer in an urban setting. This is not quite urban so maybe 5000 people living here. But that¿s a very rough estimate. It¿s very difficult to come up with those figures. But there were lots of people living here, we know that, because there were middens, or stratified garbage pits, all over the place, all this domestic debris¿cracked bones and the debris that comes when you make stone tools, and all the things for food preparation.

13:32 AC:
These stones, we¿re looking at a wall here, that¿s ah set down a little bit from the level of the terrace that we¿re on and it¿s a wall of these cut stones. Some of them are quite large¿4 or 5 feet long. How much do you think these things weigh?

13:53 CS:
Ooh, they¿re quite heavy. Certainly into the let¿s say hundreds of pounds if not thousand, ton or something. Some are quite large.

14:12 AC:
Okay, now we want to go on to see...what are we going to go on and see next?

14:17 CS:
Ah, well, want to go see the excavations?

14:19 AC:
Yeah, sure.

14:20 CS:
Okay, let¿s do that. Let¿s walk this way. (begin walking)

14:25: Ned sets up for doing another TV shot. Leo asks if he is going to do it too (listen for interesting noise at 14:29-30).
Stops tape at 14:37
14:47 tape begins again.

15:14: ambi. Some faint birds twittering. Some walking away. Another Leo fart. shuts off tape at 15:58-16:01

16:02: Carolyn and Leo have a short conversation, Alex starts.

16:18 AC
This is Alex Chadwick in the 2000 year old Temples of Pucara in Peru. Join us Monday for our next Radio Expedition, from the National Geographic Society, on Morning Edition.

16:32 Carolyn corrects wording.

16:40 AC
This is Alex Chadwick, in the 2000 year old temples of Pucara in Peru. Join us Monday on Morning Edition for our next National Geographic Radio Expedition.

16:55 AC
This is Alex Chadwick in the 2000 year old Temples of Pucara in Peru. Join us tomorrow on Morning Edition for our next Radio Expedition, from NPR and the National Geographic Society.

17:12 ¿okay¿ ¿beautiful.¿ Cuts off 17:15-17:17

17:18 Leo
Okay guys. I am still in Pucara. However, this is ah dat #5 and I know we¿re about 17-18 minutes into it. Might as well better late than never. We are ah, here, I am out of breath obviously. But I am in this beautiful valley here in Peru. Recording using once again the Neumann 190I going into the Sennheiser pre-amp MS and left as right and then ah, into a D8. so there you have it. I¿m going to record a little ambience even though it¿s very sterile here. I¿m just going to put whatever we hear here. So here we go.

ambi. A couple of breaths. Mostly just silence. A few birds.
20:03 that¿s it for now. It¿s very quiet so. Hopefully tomorrow morning I¿ll get more action.

Tape off 20:09-20:12

20:22 AC
We¿ve just followed Dr. Stanish down a stone-cut stairway from the main level of terrace that we were on we¿ve come down to the next level of terrace. And what you see when you come down here is this spectacular stonework that faces the whole upper terrace. Large boulders. Some of them may be cut, maybe some others just picked up as they are. But it¿s ah, it¿s a just amazing stone wall.

20:52 CS
Yeah and this was reconstructed in the 1970¿s but as you can see to our right there¿s an original wall section that was not reconstructed. So you can see that the reconstruction is really quite good, quite faithful to the original ah, original construction of the site. Including the staircase that goes up the middle. And something that strikes maybe the western eye is that it¿s not symmetrical, it¿s not entirely symmetrical. The stairways are not necessarily in the center; the terraces are not spaced evenly apart. But that¿s the way they built it and that¿s the way they wanted it.

21:27 AC
But they built it that way not by chance.

21:30 CS
Not by chance, no. We have some cases where the Andean cross, which is like a six pointed cross, we have some mounds that we think were actually built in the form of a cross. We have another mound¿some people think there¿s a mound down here¿right down the road that was built in the form of a catfish. So they intended to build these structures this way. What they represented we can¿t say because we don¿t have textual evidence but certainly they knew precisely what they were doing.

22:02 AC
Wouldn¿t it take a pretty sophisticated architect to lay out something like this?

22:05 CS
Yes it would. And they were quite sophisticated. These were people who could build a canal for 15 miles long and do it precisely to the second. And they could certainly do this. Like the Nazca lines, for instance were built the same way. So you could literally do the figure on the ground and then just in this case start building on it.

22:37 AC
Our elevation here, we¿re up above this great flat plain. You can hear some school kids playing, they¿re probably half a mile away, there¿s a kind of a basketball court or something there. And in between that town part over there and this temple there¿s a field and there¿s several people down there hoeing and breaking the soil. So there¿s still agriculture going on right here.

23:04 CS
They¿re working the very rich soils. And you know, archeological sites happen to be very fertile because you have thousands of years of accumulated organics that have been thrown away and it¿s a natural, it¿s like a natural fertilizer. So farmers love archeological sites to plant on them. We really don¿t mind because they¿re not deep plowing and they¿re not really hurting anything.

23:26 AC
Are the techniques that they¿re using there, that we have seen driving around, these foot plows that they use, would that have been used when this temple was active?

23:40 CS
Indeed so. We find the tools, we find the stone hoes and the blades that we use, and we have 16th century drawings and descriptions of the very same foot plow. So we have no doubt that they were used at that time.

23:52 AC
And they¿re still using those tools right down in front of us.

23:54 CS
They still use the same technique except they¿re using steel today. But the basic idea hasn¿t changed at all. And if you notice you have four people there farming. That¿s a single family; they¿re farming their own plot. And right now they¿re putting the seed in this time of year. And you can see where they take a chance. Farmers are really fascinating here, I talk to them all the time. And they¿re so sophisticated in the way in which they¿re able to calculate when the rains are going to come, what is their chance if they plant early they¿ll get a bigger crop but if they plant too early they won¿t get a crop at all. If they plant later you have a problem with worms and so forth. They know the land so well. It¿s so incredible the way in which they have this understanding of the fertility of the landscape. It¿s just amazing.

24:43 AC
What kinds of things do they grow down here?

24:45 CS
Ah, potatoes. Potatoes and quinoa are the main crops.

24:48 AC
Quinoa¿s a kind of a grain?

24:49 CS
Quinoa is a grain. It¿s a very tasty grain. And then ah, you cannot grow corn here, it¿s too high and too cold. But potatoes are the staple. And sometimes they¿ll let the ground fallow or not used for several years, and that¿s when they bring in the pasture animals.

25:10 AC
Let¿s walk down. There¿s an excavation site down there?

25:11 CS
There is an excavation site. Ah, we can see three pits from here and folks are, looks like they¿re breaking for lunch but it will be a perfect time to go see what they¿re doing.

25:21 AC
Alright, let¿s go.

25:24 Leo needs them to go back again, gives direction. Ned gets set. Muffled sound, very low. fixed

26:12 AC
So we¿ll just walk down to the excavation sites.

26:15 CS
Sure, we¿ll walk right down the steps here and go see what they¿re doing.

26:18-26:59 Walking away. Fading. Low voices. Ambi. Occasional kid noises.

27:00-29:05 Exuberant voices, noises. Leo and Alex talk about setting up the scene. Conversations about what will happen, with Liz. Alex asks Liz to identify herself.

29:06 EK
Ah, Elizabeth Klarich, graduate student at University of California at Santa Barbara.

29:10 AC
Okay, that¿s simple enough. And what is your relationship to this particular site here?

29:16 EK
Ah well, this is the, we¿re here at the site for my dissertation project. We¿ve been excavating for about 5 months and my main interest in working here is trying to understand elite domestic economy. Because tons of, as you can see up here, we know a lot about real fancy architecture but we know very little about what people were doing at home, in terms of what they were cooking and eating, if they were producing pottery, that kind of stuff. So that¿s why were down here in this pampa area, hoping to find some elite residences.

29:42 AC
And is this--when you say an elite residence, this is the home of the rich?

29:47 EK
That¿s what we think. That¿s my guess.

29:48 AC
And is this a home here?

29:50 EK
Well, actually what we¿ve got here is we¿ve got a long wall that has been used and reutil¿utilized and reutilized over time. During the formative period we have an earlier occupation with the wall, so that¿s from about 2000 years ago. And then when the Collao came in, which is the period right before the Inca, they actually built another larger wall on top of it. So it¿s been real interesting, because during the formative period on this side we find occupation. We find things like hearths, areas where they were producing stone tools, and trash dumps. And then on the other side, on top of sterile soil, all we find is trash. So what we think is that they were living on this side or maybe it was a patio within some kind of house compound, and they were tossing their garbage over the wall. So yeah, definitely a domestic area.

30:36 AC
Can we walk down in here and see what you¿ve¿

30:37 EK
Sure, sure.

30:38 AC
This is ah, so this would have been ground level back 2000 years ago and it¿s¿

30:48 EK
Actually, this here would have been ground level during the Collao period, which is about, about a thousand years ago.

And that¿s about oh, two and a half feet lower than it is today.

30:59 EK
Um hmm. Yeah, you basically have like your modern plow zone, and then what we call fill episodes, so either stuff that fell in over time or stuff that was put in by later occupants to level the area. So this would have been, these walls here, are from that Collao period, which is about 1000AD to the time when the Inca came into this area. And um, it¿s definitely interesting, we don¿t know much about it, but our real topic of interest was the earlier period, the formative. So that¿s actually down there.

31:29 AC
And when you say the formative period you mean when it was built for the first time.

31:33 EK
Ah! Well the formative period is actually more of a, oh how would I explain it? It¿s a marker for a time period. It¿s really when you start seeing people going from ah, being hunters and gatherers to being settled in things like villages, and in this case probably settled in some kind of early urban center, ahm, if it was of that scale. It¿s really a very large site. It goes all the way under the town all the way out to the river. So some kind of urban site probably.

31:58 AC
Ah. And what is this, this is one home area that we¿re in here now.

32:05 EK
Well, it¿s hard to know what the limits are of it. Ah, you can see where this soil is down here at the bottom where the bucket is, that¿s actually sterile soil. So that¿s was below our cultural deposits. Then if you go up, where you can see the different stripes, that¿s actually where we had our occupation layers. Um, and so, the problem with the bottom layers is we have a lot of activity areas but we actually don¿t have architecture that give us limits. Like we don¿t have, you know, a nice room that we know that this was happening inside of a room. So my suspicion is that these were activities that were taking place in a patio area. Because if you look at houses today what you have are you have these things called canchas which have these large walls and then you have, sort of, you have buildings within it and then you have a patio. So a lot of cooking and social time and things like if you¿re sitting around sharpening your stone tools probably is going to take place in a patio versus inside of a structure. You don¿t want to be walking on little pieces of volcanic glass in your bedroom, so¿

33:01 AC
Could we go over, just for our radio purposes, and listen to that man working with that trowel?

33:05 EK
Sure. Okay, step on down Leo but be careful.

33:08-33:55 stepping down, walking. Trowel noises with background. Wind in the mic. Good sound bed 33:22-33:55 of metallic trowel-scraping and then brushing the dust away, then back to scraping.

33:56 AC
So tell me, he¿s just taking a very thin layer of ah dirt here that¿s kind of in an open space between these two rock walls, and ah scraping it all into a plastic bucket.

34:07 EK
Mm hmm. It¿s a very long process. You start out with ah, you¿re basically scraping most of the time. Because if you go in with something like a pick, other than in the upper areas where the plow zone is, you could cause a lot of damage. You could be breaking pottery, breaking bone. So you spend a lot of time scraping. From there we put the dirt into measured buckets so we have a sense of how many liters of dirt we¿re removing. And then that we pass through a screen which is a quarter inch mesh, and then every tenth bucket we actually pass through a window screen, which is exactly what it sounds like. And that¿s to recover things like fish scales and fish bones. Ah because I¿m very interested in diet, obviously I¿m interested in people¿s household economy. And so in this area we¿re right by the river, so one of the questions is how much of the riverine resources they were using.

34:52 AC
And you actually can go through this and find fish scales from 2000 years ago?

34:58 EK
Mm hmm, yeah! It¿s amazing. The preservation ah for bone has actually been much better than we thought it would be. Human bone does not seem to preserve as well, but animal bone is real dense and it¿s been, I think we¿re going to have some really good data on diet. But yeah, it¿s slow. (laughter) Lots of, it¿s very patient work. And here¿.

35:19 AC
And how long, how long will it take you here? This space is maybe, this structure is maybe-

35:24 EK
It¿s 50 square meters.

35:25 AC
50 square meters.

35:26 EK
Mm hmm.

35:27 AC
And how long is it going to take you to excavate that?

35:28 EK
Well, we¿ve, we¿re finishing. So it¿s taken us--oh goodness, we started this the end of June, so it¿s very slow work, and it¿s what now, middle of November. [trowel scraping in background] So. Because what you¿re doing is you¿re going down. You want to keep your contexts separated. Right? So as you can see here of course the stuff above the rocks is a different context than taking out the rocks, than taking out the gray deposit below the rocks, than the brown one below that, the darker gray one. So each one comes out separately, all of it is screened separately, bagged separately, and then we can go and actually use those deposits to understand things like chronology. [trowel scraping] So actually where he is over there on that side too they¿re down in sterile soil, which is ideal. You want to know that you¿ve gotten to the bottom of your deposits. So. And here what he did actually was, they¿re going down in here; this was this large wall. And they¿ve removed a piece of it.

36:21 AC
Oh, they¿ve taken out a couple of stones I see.

36:22 EK
They¿ve moved this yeah because they were trying to understand if the earlier wall, how wide it was basically because this later wall is just these single large slabs lined up. And the earlier wall, the formative wall is actually some worked stone blocks. You can see them better on the other side. And it was a double-faced wall. But, with a larger wall above and the dirt that was remaining here we couldn¿t see it. So we¿re very slowly taking apart a piece of it. So. But actually if you want to see the different levels of it the other side¿s great.

36:55 AC

36:56 EK
So. We can actually pass through here if you¿d like.

36:58 AC
Okay, go ahead.

36:59 EK
Juan, permiso. Vamos a pasar por tu..(? can¿t hear). [Passing through]. Yeah, this is actually a really nice example of stratigraphy. You¿ve got the earlier wall here, which you can see from this block has been worked. So this is our earlier formative wall. And then when the Collao came through, which was ooh at least 500 years later, they put in some kind of fill to level the area and then built this bigger wall. So. So yeah they were using the earlier foundations probably. They were probably in pretty good shape still. So they used them to support the later wall. And then this area here where Leo¿s standing, this was sterile soil that went like this and this was covered with oh I think it was two or three deposits, different garbage dumps, like separate dumping episodes. And the thing that¿s very interesting is that we got a lot of whole bones and a lot of very fancy pottery. So there¿s a good chance that people were partying over here. It¿s not your typical garbage like we¿re getting in the other areas where you get a lot of very fragmented bone and a lot of cooking and storage vessels. It¿s real different pottery and real different bones. So it¿s interesting, definitely one of the things we wanted to find out.

38:13 AC
And what do you think, they were partying so hard they dropped the pottery and that¿s why it¿s now in shards? [they both laugh]

38:18 EK
well you frequently, you frequently get ah, you frequently break serving vessels. You know, it¿s like being at a Greek restaurant¿so ah, you know breaking your wine glass. But um, so, definitely. But the fact that we¿ve got whole bones tells us a little bit about how they were preparing food. So. Maybe roasting versus boiling, stuff like that. So yeah.

38:51 AC
Ned and Leo set up shot.

39:02 Leo setting up to record ambience, moving around.

39:20-42:16 ambi. Troweling, some kind of rubbing noise, a bucket being dropped. Voices. Sheets of plastic being shaken.

42:17-42:23 Tape off.

42:24 walking noises. Voices in the background, Alex, Liz, and Carolyn.

42:52 EK
Oh god, you guys want to be, want to see what we pull out of the ground, she just found a huge garbage dump. These are all cooking and storage vessels.

43:01 AC
Yeah? This is a little blue bowl, with it looks like a couple a dozen pieces of pottery fragments in it.

43:10 EK
Mm hmm. You can see that one¿s got some cooking residue on it. This is a really nice rim from a very large jar. Maybe for storing water. And ah, yeah it was in a garbage dump over there along with some burnt bone and actually a really pretty burnt needle. So.

43: 28 AC
Now what is the thing you are so proud of that you want to show us here?

43:31 EK
Oh, that¿s over there actually. Sorry. I was leading you astray; it¿s over there. [walking] Well, what we¿re interested in is understanding domestic economy. So a lot about things like food preparation and serving and that kind of good stuff. And in this area over here, we¿ve been really lucky. We found a, the upper level which is now gone, we found lots of evidence of pottery production. And in this earlier level we found three different hearths. So, you can actually see here, let me uncover it, that the top of the hearth is made out of burnt adobe. If you come and you look at it from the side, you can see where they actually laid the wood to burn it, which is a kind of wood called keñua, (sp?) which grows right up there, which burns quite hot. And what would have happened is the, the these pieces of adobe would have heated up and you would have been able to probably you know, stew food here for quite a bit of time.

44:34 AC
This is not a place where¿I¿ve been wondering about how they made all this pottery.

44:38 EK
Yeah, you know we¿ve all been wondering about how they made all this pottery. What we found in this area, up in the level that¿s gone, up around here, that we excavated about two months ago, we found some evidence of pottery production. We found some tempering material, which is the material that they grind up and mix with the clay before they cook it. We found what looked to be some engobe, or slip, which is like a deposit of, it¿s kind of like a paint that you would put on there. And ah, we also found, let¿s see, oh some grinding stones that they probably used for grinding pigments. And it was definitely in one area, very centralized. And ah, but unfortunately we have not found any of the kind of large firing areas you would expect for a time period when pottery was such an important part of the culture. So.

45:25 AC
still looking.

45:27 EK
Still looking. If I found one I¿d be thrilled. Um, the problem with pottery production though is it¿s pretty stinky. And there¿s a lot of smoke. So frequently in big sites you find it on the edges. So it might make more sense to be digging down by the river, where you definitely have some occupation and lots of garbage and you might have had some artisans down there and producing pottery.

Oh, what am I doing? Well this is, I¿m actually, I¿m drawing a profile, which is ah, what we do when we excavate things called features, which are sort of different important elements of the site. And so this would be a feature because it¿s a hearth. And what¿s important to us in drawing a profile¿we usually cut it in half so that we can leave half of it to look at¿is you can see the different layers. And in something like a hearth, they¿re frequently re-used. And so you might actually find you know, burnt deposit, a real nice cooked-clay layer that was the base of the hearth at one point, then the next cooked deposit, another remodeling of the hearth. And so, by cutting it in half, you actually are leaving half of it as evidence, which is great. Then we go back and draw it, so we can then compare that to our notes and make sure that when we were excavating it from top down, that we separated the contexts correctly. And since it¿s the end of the field season, we¿re doing a lot of drawing.

46:43 AC
You¿re drawing now. So this hearth area that we¿re looking at here would have been about a yard across.

46:50 EK
Yeah, yeah, it¿s yeah just about a meter wide. And there was another one over here which was much smaller, it was probably only about 50 centimeters wide, but very very deep. So I¿m a little confused as to, as to the differences between the two. It should be real interesting to look at the bone that we removed from each and see if they were maybe cooking different types of animals or something like that. And then here, this hole here was actually a garbage pit that was associated with this hearth. And the reason we know that is cause when we started digging down in it we found all of these pieces of this burnt adobe from these edges. And so what they were most likely doing was every so often replacing the pieces of adobe that had been, you know that had probably broken or been smooshed or had cooked too long. So they¿d dump it over here along with their bones and their broken pottery and then remodel it. So it was real nice to actually have the association between the two. Because frequently you find garbage and you don¿t know what it¿s associated with.

47:43 AC
Would it be possible for you at some point, to understand these structures so well that you could rebuild one so that um, oh tourists could come and look and see what one of these houses actually looked like and how they functioned?

47:56 EK
Wow, that would be, that would be ideal. In areas um, where there¿s more architecture preserved, like the site of Piciacta, which is in Cusco, they frequently leave them open and they roof them so people can come and see what the room actually looked like. If you could do some kind of mock up it would be great. The problem with leaving these open even if you roof them is that with rainy season you get enough rain that you would have things like the walls eroding and things like that. So pretty typical problem that you get at archeological sites that are, that are open. But it would be excellent to be able to walk into a, sort of a mock up and say hey, this is what a kitchen looked like 2000 years ago! Yeah, that¿d be very cool. So. (48:38)

END 1:05:12

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