NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
13 Nov 2001
- -15.04641 -70.37169
- 2:25 - 3:55
- Near Asillo
- -14.78694 -70.35389
- 7:39 - 1:21:06
- SONY TCD-D8
- Sennheiser MKH 30
- Sennheiser MKH 50
Stereo=1; Decoded MS stereo; Sennheiser MKH50 Hypercardioid Mid Mic and MKH30 Bidirectional Side Mic through Sonosax SX-M2 preamp into Sony TCDD8
Log of DAT #: 6
Engineer: Leo del Aguila
Date: Nov. 12, 2001
ng = not good
ok = okay
g = good
vg = very good
0:01 Leo sets up. November 13th, and ah, we¿re getting started around 8:53am. Same set up, different mics. Sennheisers MKH 50, which is the M. and I have 30¿s, or one 30, MKH 30 (that¿s a figure 8) talking on the positive side, and going to the negative side. Going right into a Sonosax SX M2 pre amp. And I am using the gain control in the low setting, low frequency cut-off, phantom powering obviously, and the output, stereo output going into a D8 Sony TCD D8 datmin. Left side would be the M, right side the S.
2:18-3:57 recording Andean geese. Good squeaks 2:20-2:35. Voices around 2:35 and at 3:04-3:33. More good squeaks 3:35-3:57.
Okay, it¿s Tuesday morning now and we¿re about to start off on another day of expeditioning. Going off with Chip, going off with Chip Stanish to look for sites that really have never been found before. I wouldn¿t have believed what he can do just driving down a road except that we¿ve been driving down those roads with him for the past two days. It¿s a very special kind of site that he¿s looking for today. And that¿s what we¿re going to go look for. These are totally unexplored, completely unknown, stone, completely unknown extensive stone structures where these earlier civ- where these earlier civilizations had built up just very imposing castles and terraces and fortresses. And he can find them. So that¿s what we¿re going to look for today.
I¿m pretty tired. It¿s Tuesday morning. I at least managed to sleep well last night. But I¿ve got a fever, I¿ve got a cough. And you don¿t want things settling in your lungs up here at this altitude. It¿s just not a good place to start getting sick. I¿m gaining even more respect for the people that live here and work very hard every day. We¿ve seen people out chopping their fields barefoot and using pickaxes and ancient kinds of foot plows that were used a thousand years ago. They¿re doing okay, they¿re doing just fine. But I have to tell you, if you come from the United States and the kind of altitude that we live at, it¿s tough being here.
6:02 Leo sets up for ambi where Alex was talking.
6:08-7:01 ambi. Echoing voices in the background. Carolyn.
7:07-7:39 Alex and Carolyn chatting. Noises of climbing into the truck.
Okay, we¿re starting off here Tuesday morning, and where are we going Chip?
We¿re going to go up past Chirapata and we¿re going to go past Asillo and we¿re going to go in this little area here in between Asillo and San Antonio and it¿s a little place right in here where it looks really good from the air photos and the maps. And I think we can certainly pick up the later fortresses and the water looks good, the topography looks good. So we suspect that there should be some good stuff up there.
But you¿ve never been there before.
I¿ve never been there before. I¿ve been to this town up here but I¿ve taken the other road, rather through here. This stretch of road I¿ve never been on.
This is reconnaissance archaeology?
Yeah, what we do is we say, um, you go from least intensive to most intensive. The most intensive would be excavating a site. The least intensive would be going into an area where you¿ve never been before or no one else has really published and you don¿t know what¿s there. So the idea of reconnaissance is basically to walk around, look at likely places where sites might be, and get a feel for the range and time of the different archaeological materials in the area. It¿s quick, it¿s fast. But it gives you an enormous amount of information to then go back and work up a good research design to go back and do it more systematically. Reconnaissance is a lot of fun. It¿s what we all love to do. We only get to do it at the beginning of a new project because once you start your research design and you have your funding and you¿re all in place you have to do the more diligent and systematic research which is more intensive. But the reconnaissance is what we all live for. It¿s fun.
It¿s just really going out and finding stuff.
Yeah. You just go out and look around. You know it¿s scientifically valid, that¿s what makes it so great, but it¿s just fun too.
So you and I are going in the lead truck.
Yup. And you¿re with us? Alrighty.
10:08 Leo sets up to get on the truck and take off.
10:24-11:54 riding in the truck.
truck door slams, engine starts, revs. ¿Little cold at night,¿ says Chip. Trucks start moving.
10:57 kid calls
11:05, 11:12, 11:18 horn honks
11:46-11:53 on a bigger road, another car goes whizzing by.
Okay Chip, so we¿re just driving away from this town of Pukará, where we saw the ruins and the temple complex yesterday. And we¿re heading north and east a little bit, a place you haven¿t explored before.
Right. We¿re going to go up north to a town called Asillo, and looking at the air photos and the topo maps it looks like a real good place because there¿s water there and you got the kind of hills that come fairly close to the river which means they can irrigate a lot easier. If you¿ve got a big wide open pampa it¿s awful hard to irrigate. You lose about 50% of your water in a earth bank canal. And ah, we also know that Pukara¿s here and from our work down south and to the east that there¿s some major sites. And so we suspect that their should be some good sites up there. It would make a lot of sense. People don¿t avoid a really good agricultural area.
So there are clues to figure out where these things might be.
Yeah, and a lot of it is, you know, having been 15 years in doing this you kind of develop an understanding of kind of like the particular factors that make up for a place where a good site is going to be. You can in your mind you can recreate what it looked like let¿s say 1500 years ago based upon the climate data we have. So if you have a farmstead there today and it¿s near a spring, one can reasonably expect that if you had say 500mm of rainfall more in the past it would have been a real good place to live. Likewise from the air photos, wherever you pick up the big fortified sites, and they¿re easy to pick up because you have big concentric rings of walls on these hilltops, ah, if they¿re really large they¿re probably going to be the center of a community with a whole bunch of settlements down below. So those are easy, that¿s the easy part. For the earlier sites, you look for rivers, you look for places where you could do a raised field agriculture, which is this intensive form of agriculture where you mound up all the soil. And ah you also look for people, like I said, living today, that¿s a real good indication. People are real smart; they tend to locate themselves on the richest land. And then you look for obvious surface indications. If you get terracing, it could be domestic terracing, or houses on it, agricultural terracing obviously indicates good agriculture. The way in which hills are oriented for the sun, for the sunlight, are real important for agriculture. So you can have one hill that has no terraces on it at all and you can go look across the valley and another hill is just full of terraces because they¿re taking advantage of the sun direction and the wind and so forth.
So are you looking for Inca sites now as we drive out into these hills? Or are you looking for sites that are earlier than Inca?
Nah. What I¿m trying to do in reconnaissance here is I want to figure out where I want to do my next project. So I want to try and get as good a sense as I can of the full range of sites. I want 8000 year old sites, I want historical sites, I want colonial, colonial, little tiny colonial churches, I want Tiwanaku, I want ¿em all. I want to get a feel for what¿s out there. It¿s not systematic, so I can¿t say these are what the patterns look like, these are the populations and the densities and all that. But what I can do is I can real quickly I can go in and say okay we have archaic here at 8000, we have some Tiwanaku we don¿t have some Tiwanaku, ah we have these kinds of sites. I need to get a feel for the full range of archaeological settlement. That¿s really the goal in reconnaissance.
15:36 truck backing up, large truck shifting gears coming towards, going past. Truck starts up again.
Now obviously we hit the dirt road here and going to be all the way in. The road¿s not all that great, but it¿s adequate.
16:08-16:52 riding in the truck. Bumping along.
Now different time periods have different-different kinds of settlement locations. So for instance, from the 11th century to like the 15th century before the Inca came in, there was lots of warfare. So sites are going to be located in defensive locations¿that¿s real important. You¿re just not going to have a lot of little small hamlets out in the middle of nowhere because they weren¿t defendable. The Tiwanaku sites was a fairly powerful state, so there was no war. They tend to be down near the optimum agricultural lands and near roads, because exchange, regional exchange was real important for Tiwanaku. You look at the Pukara sites, pretty much the same thing but we think they were more oriented toward the control of the eastern slopes. So they¿re going to tend to pick¿and since they weren¿t as big as the Tiwanaku and they didn¿t have quite the power that the Tiwanaku state had, these settlements are going to be a little more self-sufficient. So they¿re going to be they¿re going to be located in really rich agricultural areas, and alongside roads. That¿s where they tend to be, or near the lake or rivers. So, and then the archaic sites¿these are the sites of the hunters and gatherers that go back all the way from 8000 years ago all the way up to 4000 years ago, these folks are going to be in a completely different ecological topographical zone. You¿re going to look for them on like low terraces above a river where there¿s real flat pampa land right now because back then it was wetter and that pampa would have been marsh and that¿s where the animals come to eat and that¿s where the people would kill the animals and then they¿d drag them back to their home camps, which tend to be on these sites. So when I¿m doing reconnaissance and I want to know, I want to get the full range, once I find enough sites of a particular time period and say, gee I really, it doesn¿t really look like we¿ve found a lot of such-and-such a site, time period, well then I¿ll start concentrating in on those particular areas.
Now every once in a while you get really fooled. I got really fooled last year because I never had found this one time period at like 2000BC, I never found these on hilltops, they were always down below, always on the river, all my experience has been that way, so that¿s where I was looking. But I had one of my one of my students was walking on a hilltop and he called me up and said ¿come on up, there¿s this formative site¿ and I¿m thinking oh man, I gotta walk 45 minutes up that hill for nothing because we know they¿re not there right? And I was completely wrong; it was great. So you always have to try and challenge your own biases too. It¿s important to¿sometimes I¿ll just do something almost completely random. I¿ll say where¿s the least likely spot to have a site, on reconnaissance, and I¿ll go there. Just to make sure that I¿m not falling into a trap in my own mind where I think I know more than I do.
(19:58) Now if you look over there, you can see, you can see that river bed. The river¿s cut in, that¿s a river terrace, that¿s a Pleistocene river terrace.
That¿s about a mile away over there?
Yeah. About a mile away. And it¿s bending around like a big horseshoe. And ah, the terrace itself, it¿s a natural terrace, it¿s a Pleistocene, and the river¿s been cutting away and it¿s moving the other direction. But that¿s where, about 8000 years ago, that would have been an extraordinarily rich area. Because it¿s flat, it¿s upland, there was more rain, and the landscape would have been more scrubbier, a lot more brush on the ground, but the river area itself, because it¿s such a flat pampa it meanders, so it¿s going to make all [big truck bump, voice gets bumpy too] these marshes and really rich areas for animals to graze. Just like we see these sheep here, right-right now. These sheep are grazing right next to that little creek right there. So, right on top of that ridge, that¿s going to be your optimal location to find these archaic sites, the first river terrace, natural river terrace.
So if you were looking for that kind of site, you might stop now, pull over there and look and see what you could find.
Exactly. I¿d stop right here, and I¿d just walk that terrace, just the whole thing. Then I¿d come back the river, looking at the cut, the river cut, on the side, which ah, is nature¿s window for archaeologists, let¿s us ah, see the strata and see if anything¿s coming out. You also check the geology and you look for, there are certain signatures of Pleistocene period deposits that are good to know because there was nobody here in the Pleistocene, so you gotta get above that. So there are certain places that that you can look for that way.
We¿ve been driving about 15 minutes. You¿ve already come by a site that¿do you think that site¿s worth looking at?
Which one, that one right there?
Ah, nope, not worth it. Because I¿m more interested in the later time period right now. I need to know if these Pukara peoples and these Coluyu peoples from around1100BC to around 2-300AD were there. That¿s my main objective. If I find enough of those, then I¿ll go and look for the other time periods. But for my next grant proposal for my next research, I need to be able to tell the foundation, yeah I been there, those sites are there, here they are, here¿s where they¿re located and this is what they look like--we know that there¿s a lot more out there. Same thing with the later time period because you¿ve got that over there off to the right you can see those concentric rings on those hills. And that, that¿s a 12th, an 11th through 14th century fortified site. I was mentioning that before. So I know there¿s a site up there and I can, I can, I can note that in the proposal.
Just on the other side of the road from the, from maybe the hunter-gatherer area that you would have looked at.
22:44-23:02 truck ambi, bouncing down the road.
I guess one of the most important things and one of the most fun things is to keep in mind that we have all these very good climate data that goes back all through the human¿.[truck noises lessening, sound like truck stopped, starts back up again.]¿I guess one of the most important things and one of the most fun things is that we have all this really good climate data that go back through the time that humans were here. So in your mind, what a landscape archaeologist does¿that¿s what I am, a survey landscape archaeologist¿you can envision in your mind, you can recreate what it looked like. I can look¿like right ahead of me I can say I know what this place more or less looked like in 2000BC. And it looks different than it does today. There would have been trees on those hillsides that we see to our right. It would have been a low scrub tree because they didn¿t have the intensive grazing like they do today. They don¿t have the European imports¿the sheep and the goats that graze pretty heavily. This bottomland would have been wetter, it would have been marshier. The low spots would have been low lakes. The high spots like that where we can see to the right over there is a farmstead on a low ridge. That¿s an ideal location for hunter-gatherers. I find a lot of sites in low, low hills like that, in a marsh. And then you, you know you go up to let¿s say 2000 years ago, the climate was a little bit different. The lake had reached its regular size today. The rainfall had stopped increasing. And we had a pattern of, again, you still had the trees, you still had maybe 2-300mm of rainfall more. And then you¿re looking for agricultural sediments. So you look over there where you see those, those gullies (they call them quebradas down here) those gullies, and you can see where there are springs today: there¿s trees growing and there are people living there. Well, if there¿s more rainfall back then, those are going to be even richer. And if they have agricultural terraces as we see today, that¿s a very likely spot for people at 2000 years ago, contemporary with Pukara.
Let me just describe this place we¿re driving through. It¿s a winding dirt road that¿s passing through these fields and pastures of low scrub grass. The valley floor is very flat here, in most places, and it runs out to these low hills. I guess they¿re maybe 1000 feet, maybe a little more than that in some cases. They¿re gentle-shaped hills, ah, they¿re green with some patches of brown on them and some rock. This is the beginning of the rainy season here and it has been raining occasionally. Off in the distance I see herds of livestock. I think those are cattle over there, but you run into all kinds of mixes over here, sheep and um llama, and some cattle, a horse or two occasionally. And this old road just keeps on passing down through this valley. And Chip, how old is this road?
Oh, this road? This is, I think it was one of the principle roads to the forest. Because if you follow this road you¿ll get to the major pass going into the eastern slopes. And I think that this, this was almost certainly a road used by the Pukara peoples, ah to get access to the ah, to get access to the eastern lowlands. And ah, if you look at our interstate highways today, they tend to follow the old Indian trails in the North America. People tend to take the optimal routes to get from point A to point B as efficiently as possible. And this road is probably goes all the way back to the time when people were trying to get from point A to point B. It¿s an old one.
Yeah, at least.
26:44-30:00 truck ambi.
(27:36 AC: This is old road driving bed in the yellow truck.)
30:08-36:01 more truck ambi.
(34:10 Leo: nice legs on those llamas, Alex. 34:39 for 1 minute Leo and CS talk about driving technique.)
So we¿re several miles more along this valley floor, just driving on this same road. Chip I noticed that your technique in driving, you¿re paying about half attention to this road. The rest of the time you¿re scanning the hills all around here. What are you looking for?
Oh yeah (laughs.) Yeah, I terrorize my passengers, sorry. Well, I¿m just, I¿m just looking for anything that strikes me as a good place to find a site. Ah, if I get any organic soils on the hillsides, any walls, ah canals like you found yesterday on the gullies. Canals are really good because when you get to the, when you come down the hill, you have the natural spring. And then right where you hit the foothills before it hits the flat land they have to make it into an S shape, and that¿s to keep the water velocity constant. As opposed to something like a property wall, which is just straight. So whenever you see a curved, snake-like wall, you know you have a canal. Now, if the canal is not in use anymore, there¿s no water there, you know you got a canal that was built a while-when there was a lot of water. And that can give you a good clue that this is maybe a site at the time when we, before the, at least before the drought around AD1000 or before ah there was even, there was another drought around 200AD. So that¿s the kinds of things I¿m looking for. I¿m also looking for agricultural terraces; I¿m looking for fortification walls; I¿m looking for ah lots of trees in a low spot which means there¿s underground springs and water there. And I¿m looking ah, every once in a while I will look, literally out of the truck and look for potshards on the side of the road. Because the people here made a lot of their pottery in a bright red clay, it shows up really well against the dark earth.
You mention these walls you¿re looking for. Are we, are we passing, have we been passing stone walls?
Yeah, we¿re passing a lot of agricultural walls and we¿re passing a lot of boundary markers. I¿m looking for walls that are neither, not agricultural or boundaries. I¿m looking for walls that either could be foundations to buildings or canals, some kinds of abandoned canals.
I¿m also looking for low flat swampy land in front of ah, sheer cliffs or rocks. That¿s a nice place for hunters and gatherers to live, in the past. Like for instance here. You can see off to our left about a mile, about half-mile away (truck stops) is a ah, there¿s a canal, you can see there¿s a canal coming out of that field. There¿s a couple brown patches of earth that¿s being tilled right now for agriculture. And you can see the little tiny canal coming out that¿s leading to a corral and there¿s a very rich organic area around there. And then below there are people working in the field there, they¿re collecting, probably collecting some kind of fodder for their animals. But that¿s wet; that¿s nice. Now, if you add 3 or 400 mm of rainfall, ah, 2000 years ago, you have a really lovely place to live. You also have people living there today, which means that there¿s still good water. So, if I was looking for archaic hunter and gatherers I¿d go over there right now. If I was looking for ah maybe ah, an Inca site, ah, a tambo¿a tambo was a way station along the roads and we¿re on a road that was almost certainly used by the Inca¿I might go over there as well. But to find the Pukara or the earlier sites that I¿m looking for, I¿m going to be looking for a different kind of signature. I¿m going to be looking for broader, flatter terraces, a little bit lower down, and possibly a low hill with an artificially flat top. That¿s nice because that means it could have some kind of [loud horn honk, truck passing] sunken court there.
2000 year old road and busses are still going by on it.
Oh yeah. Yeah, and I was stopped in the middle, which is not a good idea. But nevertheless.
Now see, okay, so you got a cluster of houses up there again, people living there. Whenever you get, you¿ve a lot of houses in this little tiny area here. You¿ve got 1..2..3..4..5..6..7, seven households clustered together in one little tiny zone. That¿s good. That¿s a lot of agricultural produce. You see because the density, the number of people living in any particular area, if they¿re largely subsistence farmers, and these people are largely subsistence farmers, that density is going to be directly proportional to the amount of agricultural produce they can get out of the land. So if it¿s not very rich land you¿re going to have one house every so many miles. If it¿s very productive land you¿re going to have a lot of people clumped together because they can get a lot out more food out of it. So again, you project back in time and where people are living today is a real good indication of where people were living in the past.
41:30¿truck starts up again. Chip points out the cordillera. Mostly just ambi of truck bumping around.
When you¿re on gravel and you go uphill you can go fast. Because just like on snow or ice it¿s unlikely you¿re going to spin out. But when you¿re going down you¿ve got to go a lot slower because you can spin out.
That¿s a nice one.
what are you looking at?
That¿s a nice one right there. But I¿m not going to stop. But that, that little mound over there with those people living on it, that¿s a nice one. That could be a good one.
What¿s attractive to¿
That has a formative signature to it, a Pukara or Caluyu signature to it. Because the mound looks a little bit artificial to me. Ahm, and there¿s a lot of people living on it today. And the soil was dark. The only thing is I looked I didn¿t see any mottling in the soil that would suggest a lot of eroding artifacts coming out. So I didn¿t stop. But if I had seen that I would have gone there. But that was a fairly nice location.
we¿ve driven maybe 20 miles now, huh?
We¿ve driven about 20 miles, Chip?
Yeah I believe so, yes.
And, every couple of miles you seem to go by a site that you think would be pretty good. But there¿s nobody up here exploring.
Nope. Nope, there¿s just not many archaeologists around, to work. Again, I just like to point out that the area that I work in, that I consider the area that¿s my geographical interest, is twice the size of the country of Belize. And that¿s a big, that¿s a big area. And there¿s maybe a handful of professional archaeologists working, working today. And we can¿t cover everything so we ah, I personally love it because it¿s a frontier, we don¿t know what¿s there. You never know what¿s over the next hill. That¿s one of the most exciting things that there is. And we¿re trying to understand the broad outlines of the cultural history before we can go to more sophisticated and complex analyses. One of the big problems if you don¿t understand what¿s out there is if you spend a lot of time at one site and you excavate it and you dig it and you learn a lot is it¿s kind of in a vacuum, you know? You don¿t really know what it means at the regional level, right? So you say, gee this is a really important site and I did all this, and then you can walk over the next hill and there¿s another one just as big and then it¿s not quite as important. So the very first stage in any research design is to do what we¿re doing right now. Just walk around, find sites, get a feel for the landscape, get a feel for what it would have looked like in the past, based upon the paleoclimatic reconstructions as we call it. And we get those from the glacier cores and from the lake cores. We have limnologists, lake experts, and glacial experts can give us very very precise information on the climate in the past. And that¿s what we do. ¿Oh, there¿s, see, there¿s an old hacienda right there. They had the land reforms here in the 1960¿s and the haciendas were broken up.
That big ranch looking thing over there?
Right. Notice how they took all the roofs off because the wood beams are very valuable but they left the adobe walls standing. And ah, haciendas tend to be located in very rich areas. So why don¿t we just take a little walk over there. Maybe that, that could be an Inca site. That would make a nice Inca site. Let¿s go check that out.
Whoops, where¿s the road? There¿s the road (AC: it doesn¿t look like much of a road does it?) Our friends aren¿t going to make it. But it¿s a little rough for this truck. We¿ll have to walk.
46:37 Truck stops, keys out of ignition. Getting out of the truck. Idling car noises (2nd car). Background talking. Breathing. Begin walking.
Alex, I¿d like to point out something really interesting. Yesterday we found that site. (AC: Yeah) See that hilltop? (AC, whispering: look at that, look at that!) Look at those, where the area is open, and is not defendable, 1..2..3..4..5..6..7 massive walls, leading to the top. So that indeed is a major, major fortress.
And that is ah, that is all human-made stone wall up there, that couldn¿t be just natural formation?
No, that¿s human. That¿s human. What they¿re doing is they¿re taking advantage of the rocky formations where it¿s real, obviously naturally defendable. But in the one spot that is not defensible they¿ve heavily heavily fortified it. That¿s a classic military pattern that you, when you read Julius Caesar¿s Conquest of Gaul, it¿s the same kinds of mentality, the optimal way to build a fort and that¿s it.
[walking up the hill.] It¿s very common, ah, in the Inca empire, they had the road system of course, which is really famous. And then about every, 20 kilometers or so, about a good day¿s walk, loaded down with goods, they would have a way station, that we call tambos, [goat bleating in background] and ah..
We might have to stop for this.
Just observing, a ram ah, ah they¿ve stopped now.
So, during the Inca empire of course, they were famous for the road systems. And what they did is about every 20 kilometers or so, about a days walk loaded down with goods and so forth, they would build these things called tambos, or way stations, places where ah, people would stop and spend the night. Now when the Spaniards came in and took over the Inca empire, they sometimes favored those tambo locations for their own haciendas because of course it was an agriculturally good land, it had to be somewhat self-supporting because they had to be providing for the soldiers and other people traveling. So what we have here is an abandoned hacienda. You can see it¿s a classic abandoned hacienda with ah ,the whole adobe walls and the roofs pulled off. There¿s some people living here today; there¿s a small school. But this is a nice place to go check out and see if we have a good Inca site along the road.
51:01 CS, excitedly
Raised fields! This is really nice.
You¿ve just seen something here.
51:04 CS, excitedly
Look at this, these are old raised fields! Beautiful! Damn I¿m good! [laughing]
These are just kind of mounds in the earth.
Damn I¿m good. Yeah, these are raised fields! Yeah, see, and they came here, you had the spring come in¿don¿t ever do that on radio. But, you have the spring coming down, and then I notice as we were walking over, immediately you see these linear mounds of earth, about 25, 30 yards long, about oh 2, 3 yards wide. And they¿re about, today they¿re about a couple feet high. But in antiquity they would have been maybe about 4 feet high. And what you did is you go into a swamp and you want to make it into good, agricultural land. Obviously you can¿t grow in a swamp, but if you dig up all this swamp muck and you place it into these fields what you have is extremely fertile planting surfaces. And you can get, because you have fresh water coming in, you have the animals grazing on it and so they¿re defecating on the ground as a natural fertilizer, extremely productive. And these are all abandoned today, they¿re not in use, because it¿s obviously too dry. But these can only function if you have lots of water. So these have to be pretty old. They probably have to be pre-1000AD or they could possibly be during the, right at the little ice age, around 1450, we might have had that there. But the point is these are ancient, these are not modern. And this is nice.
And this is ah, this is just, this kind of technique of agriculture, this is something they used back then and so right away that says to you, I got something.
this is an ancient agricultural technique. And they¿ve been rehabilitating some today to try and recuperate the ancient technologies. And they haven¿t been entirely successful in most areas but where you do get fresh water next to rivers they have been successful. And of course you don¿t have fresh water here so it wouldn¿t work, even in the rainy season it wouldn¿t get enough water. But these are clearly archaeological features on the landscape, and they¿re real old. Yeah, this is very interesting.
53:09 walking up the hill again. Sheep bleating.
These mounds I count 1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8 [steps on something loud, crunchy] of them, maybe going on more.
Yeah, they¿re going on. And you can see how they¿re designed to control water flow. So the water would come down there. And the reason they do it¿in some parts of the world they¿re called waffle gardens because they have these like grid-like patterns, but what you¿re really doing is you¿re controlling the flow of water. You want it to move, because you don¿t stagnant water, stagnant water¿s no good, but you want it to be slow enough that algae grow in it. Because the algae are nitrogen fixers and they become good fertilizers. So you pull that stuff up and you throw it on top and it gets very rich. My colleague from the University of Pennsylvania, Clark Erickson, was the discoverer of the ancient technique. He¿s the one that really worked it. And he¿s been finding a lot a lot of raised fields in the northern Titicaca basin where we are. This would be, as far as I know, the northernmost raised fields in the Titicaca basin, no question.
This old hacienda I guess was taken down for, what, land reform reasons, but it¿s an old ah, made of old adobe brick and would have been a very large structure. A big ranch house with adobe walls around it, some stone walls in back.
Yeah this would have been quite impressive. Usually would have had a little chapel. They would have had a chapel in the hacienda, that would be pretty typical. There of course would have been the place where the hacienda owner lived when he or she visited. Usually they were non-resident owners; they lived somewhere else in a big city¿that was one of the big political issues during land reform. Then when the haciendas were broken up the land was redistributed to the local communities who are now operating it today.
[walking, panting] Sometimes I talk too much, and I forget to breathe. Then I pass out.
55:40- Leo mentions fuel on the ground. Walking walking. Chip mumbling every once in a while.
What¿s that you¿ve got?
Well, could be colonial or Inca. I think it¿s probably colonial. Yeah, there¿s a reasonable amount of pottery here. So far it looks colonial to me. Which would obviously fit the colonial¿That¿s Inca. That¿s Inca. You can tell by the burnishing.
How can you tell, between these two pieces. [panting]
Well, it¿s burnished really well. [panting] Yeah, here, this has um, see how it¿s raised here, slightly bubbled? You had to have the firing capacity, the ability to get the temperatures really high. And this is almost a glaze, it¿s not quite a glaze but it¿s almost a glaze. And the Inca did not have that technology. But they did have the technology to really smooth their pottery really well. And they put what¿s called a slip, which is just a suspension of clay in some color and then they¿d bake that. And this is an Inca slip, it¿s real obvious. It¿s a bowl too
This¿s just liking here in this little pasture we¿re walking through.
How ¿bout this Chip?
That¿s more moder- that¿s almost modern yeah. That¿s a modern piece. You can tell again by the firing and the real thick chunks of rock, sand that are put in there. Inca wouldn¿t ever be so crude as to use such thick sand. They would use much finer sand because when it fires it¿s like porcelain, really really fine. You want to get the nicest surfaces you can.
I need to get something decorated to prove it to you guys.
So, we¿re just walking uphill here and what I¿m noticing is ah, a reasonable density of pottery down there but largely colonial. A couple pieces of Inca--that¿s not good enough for me. Ah, we¿re starting to get a little lesser density here. Ah, but we¿re, so let¿s walk over to the hacienda, this one building.
Yeah, well here¿s a real nice Inca piece. There¿s no doubt about that. Can see ah,
you¿re just wetting it down a little bit there.
Yeah, ah, you can see ah, the pattern
kind of a thumb-size fragment of pottery.
yeah, can you see, there¿s like a loop of a dot there. That was the old Inca pattern. Very nice Inca bowl, no question. Good Inca. So there is Inca here. Hardly surprising but still nice to be confirmed.
(10:16) Now one thing, see these bricks aren¿t very, these bricks are pretty clean, which surprises me. I would expected to have more Inca pottery in the bricks if this was a major site here. So we¿re gonna keep looking, further down. Most Inca sites were, most Inca sites were on the flatter area and they tended to be rectangular in shape as opposed to any kind of round or, or other kinds of architecture. So we¿re going to head on, well you always want to keep your contour; if you walk up you want to stay up, so we¿ll go swing around and then come back and hit the bottom part.
Could you just, would you have any idea how old this hacienda is here?
Whooh. It¿s probably 18th century, maybe earlier, but I would certainly say at least 18th century.
Mud-brick walls finished with a kind of an adobe covering on the inside to make them look smoothed out, but abandoned for 50, 60 years, something like that.
And use of the Spanish arch with the keystone, which you never see in pre-Colombian.
You know what¿s so sad is these are virtually not studied.
These are virtually unstudied. People just aren¿t interested. Well, they¿re interested but there¿s no time but, this is a lovely archaeological site, several hundred years old. And yet they¿re just being abandoned. What I do is I always I try and photograph every one I find, even though I¿ll never really publish it but it¿s a nice little archive to have.
This is just a beautiful, beautiful site here. The floor, I suppose at one time there was a floor in the hacienda, it¿s been replaced now by a, just by a gentle clean ah, grass growing here on the floor. Some bricks falling down in places, but in other places the walls are in really good shape. There¿s just no roof.
Yep, you see when they abandoned it, the most valuable, the most valuable part of the building were the beams and the roofing material. The tiles. So they probably took the beams and the tiles to build other houses when the ah, after the land reform. And they left the walls which are obviously no value.
You can see traces of plaster, red and white, underneath the arches. So that would have been a red wall over there. And I suspect that that¿s natural pigment, that you find. We¿ve seen a lot of geological deposits of red pigment. The Inca use red and yellow, that was their favorite colors. And it¿s readily available in the landscape. So probably had indigenous peoples building this, under the direction of a Spanish overlord.
There¿s a crosshatch pattern on that old plaster over there between those two walls.
This is really very nice. This is very well preserved.
Oh, one thing we do archaeologically is, you can come and see how they have to use grass, this grass that¿s stuck inside this adobe brick. Because it¿s sun-baked, it¿s not oven-baked, the grass is still in there. Ah, you can just pull this out and carbon-14 date this and you can know when this wall was built, because the grass died when they cut it up. So we do that a lot with Inca sites because the Inca as well would do pretty much the same technique by putting a plaster over it and you get you get the grass inside so you can tell at least when the latest plastering occurred, if not the construction of the building itself.
Stone pavement here.
And here¿s a modern-day idea, I don¿t know, an old idea. There¿s a saddled horse waiting down at the gate here.
And the ubiquitous dogs. Dogs and survey archaeologists are very good friends; we know each other very well. Beautiful.
1:05:53-1:06:30 Bridle noises. Horse chomping on grass. Dog barking faraway.
So what do you think so far?
Well, there¿s very little pottery so I can¿t call this a major Inca site at all. There is a little bit of Inca that we found, but that¿s not surprising because Inca pottery was ubiquitous in the Inca period. It was mass-produced and it reached everywhere. If this was a major tambo you would have had lots and lots of very finely made Inca pottery on the surface and we don¿t get that, we get a little bit. These walls however are really intriguing; cause the wall we¿re looking at is a double-coursed, fieldstone construction that is very typical of Inca provincial architecture. And it aligns, slightly aligns, with the hacienda buildings here, but it doesn¿t align with them up there and ah, it would be a lot of fun to excavate this. But we don¿t have the surface materials yet. However, we still need to go down a little bit and check out those flats. And if we don¿t find much more Inca pottery there, we write this up as a very minor Inca occupation with a major colonial period one.
If you found a site like this, if there are comparable sites like this in the United States say, how would a site like this be regarded there?
This would be a national monument. No question
1:08:41 CS¿very interesting bird noise in background.
This is a piece of a decoration from a fresco I guess is what you¿d call it, just like in Europe. They made them for the haciendas.
It¿s just so beautiful. I mean, you want someone to come and shoot a movie here. You know there¿s double arches there. It¿s just fabulous.
1:09:40-1:10:01 ambi with kids playing in background, someone shooting pictures.
So let¿s walk down to the flattest part and if we don¿t get anything than we¿re going to say that our suspicions are confirmed that there wasn¿t a major Inca site here.
A couple of school kids have come running out to say hello to us here.
But those raised fields are a real mystery, real mystery. We gotta figure that out, why they¿re there. Because there¿s no mention of them, no evidence for them being colonial in date. However, I¿ve published work that says they were gone by around the Inca period. But this could, by using my same methodology, I say I associate the fields with the major occupation, I have a colonial period raised field system. Who knows? That would be fascinating. And I¿ll have to write another paper.
Got this bunch of school kids, chasing us here. (Stones falling)
Have to put the wall back. Just one. Symbolic that we¿re not rude. That does it.
Buenos dias. Buenos dias. Buenos dias.
Buenos dias. Yo soy periodista y profesor.
1:12:48 Chip? Ned?
Estamos aqui haciendo una pelicula. Estamos paseando, tomando fotos. Un paseo no mas. Estamos de Puno, ellos son de los estados unidos, el es un peruano que vive en los estados unidos y trabajamos por este National Geographic, como GeoMundo, esta revista y tienen interes en conocer el altiplano. Estamos paseando no mas.
??? estan paseando. Yo pense que eran ingenieros que..parcelacion¿
Chip¿no no no no no.
Chip¿que linda es. Como se llama este lugar?
Woman¿Se llama Curani.
Alex¿Curani is the name of this little hacienda place here. Curani.
Chip¿Y, hace quando fue construido.
Woman¿El senor sabe. Hace quanto tiempo se ha construido, Sr. Charco?
Man¿esto era de ¿.los tiempos de los haciendados.
Chip--Right. This was the time of the hacendadas¿
Man¿despues se ha se hacia vuelto a una comunidades, ya.
Chip¿then it was returned to the community in the land reform.
Man¿ya tiempo, hace tiempo estamos cruciendo la comunidado de unos quince anos.
(1:14:18)Chip¿Ah, 15 years, fantastic. This man is ah, he¿s a head of the community because he has this symbol of authority, which is a whip that comes from the Inca times. And he¿s the head of the community and he¿ll wear this any time he comes to speak to strangers. Estoy explicando que esta es el jefe de, el presidente de la comunidad, y tiene tu coston(?), estas cosas¿tienen interes en estas cosas.
Alex¿Thank you for allowing us to be on your land.
Chip¿Gracias por darnos permiso a caminar.
Man¿Ya. Buena suerte. Buena suerte. Buena suerte.
Woman¿Gracias. Muchisimas gracias. Y saludos a los estados unidos de parte la comunidad.
Goodbyes all around.
There¿s your typical really nice people. I¿ve met almost no nasty ones; they¿re always really nice and very pleasant. The one thing they¿re worried about is a government agent coming to measure their land to give it away or sell it or something. So that always gets them nervous. But you saw her face; once we said ¿oh no no, we¿re just journalists,¿ she went ¿oh that¿s good, you¿re not here to take the land no problem.¿ So, real sweet. And we should note that there is virtually no Inca here (AC¿¿on this pasture we¿re walking through¿) so my initial hypothesis was not correct, there is not a major Inca occupation on this site, but there is a little one, and there is a major colonial period. And we have these raised fields that just are fascinating, just fascinating. And you can see how the wall is built over the fields so the fields have to be earlier than that wall. And that wall is a colonial period wall. So who was building these? In order to figure that out we¿d have to come back and do a more intensive search and would have to walk those hillsides where those people are living up above, it¿s about oh, 200 yards from here. That could be a nice site that would work it there. We¿d look around to where those other houses are.
There are terraces over there maybe half a mile away on the hillside.
Those are very nice. And then there¿s a low rise over that way that is another possible area of occupation. But since it¿s not the time period I¿m particularly interested in we¿re going to go because we want to spend more time looking for these other sites. But lovely little site.
1:16:50-1:17:30 ambi. Alex & Chip walk away.
1:17:40-1:18:08 walking, breathing, Chip mumbling.
So there are puzzles here. I mean you don¿t understand the placements of these raised fields and the walls and the walls and this is all what¿s going into your notebook here? Also a GPS position, you¿ve put out your little GPS thing.
Yeah, I¿ll be back.
You¿ll come back here?
I¿ll be back, yeah. This, this, this is the kind of thing that we love in science. It proves, it¿s a piece of evidence that suggests that I¿m wrong about one of my models. And we love being wrong because we know we¿re wrong but we like to find out ourselves that we¿re wrong and we don¿t like other people to find out so we like to get that publication in and say ¿we have new data that suggests that that original idea may not be correct.¿ But this is a real anomaly because you would have expected to find a pre-Inca occupation associated with these fields based upon all of the information we have from the west and the south Titicaca basin. Well we¿re in the north. We know the north is a little warmer. Raised fields need warmer temperatures. And we know that it¿s a little wetter here. So it¿s possible that the raised field abandonment patterns in the west and the south where it¿s dryer and colder may in fact not be the same pattern up here; they lasted longer here. The idea that these could be associated with a colonial hacienda is absolutely fascinating. It would appear to be the case based on my own methodology for identifying raised fields. However, we would have to walk all around the fields, within a kilometer at least, to find all the sites and were we to find other sites we would then say ¿well, the geographical association does suggest that they were such and such a time period.¿ If we only found Inca and colonial, then we have some very good evidence that Inca and colonial period raised fields are being used here. If we found pre-Inca over there but lots of Inca, then we would say, ¿well now we have, it doesn¿t completely destroy the model yet because you could say the pre-Inca people did it but on the other hand there¿s an awful lot of Inca folks here, or colonial, and so therefore we have to keep looking.
One fascinating thing is that the wall that we¿re standing on¿
This mud-brick wall here.
yeah, there¿s a mud-brick wall on a stone foundation. The mud brick wall is new today, it¿s being rebuilt. But the stone foundation is clearly associated with the colonial period occupation, based upon its orientation and it matches precisely the corral that runs into the colonial wall, ah and that wall, this colonial wall cuts through the raised fields. That would suggest that the raised fields were not being used as raised fields at the time, when this wall was built. Cause there¿s raised fields on either side; it cuts right through the middle of them. Ah, that being the case, that would be one piece of evidence to say that these fields were not colonial in date, but they could be Inca because we did find a little bit of Inca over there. So again, it¿s an anomaly. It¿s fun, really really interesting.
Alrighty, we should go because time is short.
We haven¿t even gotten to where you want to go!
1:22:01 FX, good sheep bah.