The finding of twelve bones in an Inca “field” in Latacunga, Ecuador’s heartland, may provide light on the purposes and techniques of life during the Andean intercolonial period, which has been mostly based on historical sources in academic study.
They uncovered ancient human bones as the excavation started, then they discovered additional skeletons in the earth when an archaeological team was brought in for a salvage mission. The skeletal remains of individuals who lived roughly 500 years ago, on the other hand, represent just one part of the story. A few strange artifacts uncovered in an ancient Inca cemetery have sparked new questions for archaeologists in the area.
Mulaló has been discovered.
The remains were found five centuries ago during an archaeological salvage operation that started during the building of an irrigation water tank in Mulaló, one of the ten rural parishes of the Latacunga canton, at an altitude of 2,900 meters.
“It’s a big contribution,” said Esteban Acosta, the operation’s main archaeologist, “since this particular time has gotten little archaeological study, just from the aspect of history.” It covers the colonial transition from the Inca era to the Spanish colony and lasts around 100 years, from 1450 to 1540.
Artifacts that baffle you.
This conclusion was reached based on a number of typical Inca ceramic vessels that had a Christian cross and the letter “W.” Is it feasible that the “W” stands for a name or a place? Is it only a decorative shape? “We assume this form of embellishment comes from the period of the Spanish colonial transition since it has never been seen before,” Acosta adds.
arbalos, a sort of jug with a long neck and a conical base that was used to pour chicha, a traditional drink, were among the artifacts recovered. Some “beaker” vessels without handles from that time period have also been uncovered and were used to drink in the same way that glass was.
“We think it is from the Spanish colonial transition since this form of design has never been seen before,” Acosta added. He believes that, after laboratory analysis, the find will contribute in learning “how people lived at the period,” since the primary sources for these cultures are historical rather than archaeological.
Other archaeological sites in the province of Cotopaxi, including an Inca wall, have prompted diverse inquiries. The discovery was found in a rural area at a depth of less than a meter. “Before the Incas, there were the panzaleos,” he added, referring to a culture that reaches from Quito in the north to Tungurahua in the south.
Rectangular Inca court.
Byron Cárdenas, the mayor of Latacunga, was the one who utilized a part of the national money for archaeological research on this occasion. He placed a high value on history and enlisted Acosta’s help in doing the in-depth study.
The first discovery was found in 2019 during the preliminary investigation, leading to the recommendation of a larger-scale operation before building the irrigation water tank that had been requested by the people for more than ten years.
“We discovered a rectangular Inca court that spans 13 meters east-west and 7 meters north-south, as well as a conglomerate of earth and clay that serves as the structure’s foundation,” said the researcher.
The Inca “fields” are ancient constructions that served as the foundation for houses and fortifications (some research dates them back thousands of years). They may be found across the Andean region.
They were, however, fashioned of stone in the Andes’ highlands, as opposed to the coastal areas.
The blocks are gone in this instance because “they were carried away to construct dwellings, and just a little piece of the foundation was left,” according to Acosta.
At the enclosure excavated in Mulaló, twelve skeletons were found severely decomposed due to water filtering. Nonetheless, they will be used to determine whether or not they belong to the same family group after laboratory analysis.
“Almost all of their teeth are in better form,” Acosta added, underlining the potential for genetic and morphological studies.
During the initial step of the research, it was determined that the bones were from the same time period, spanning from 50 to 100 years. However, only DNA testing can confirm the identified individuals’ family ties, gender, and age.
A ring discovered in one of the bones has also sparked an interest. Acosta claims he has no idea what it’s composed of, but it’s “neither copper nor a known metal,” and he’s positive it has nothing to do with the Incas.
Additional investigation of the finds, according to Acosta, will disclose fresh archaeological evidence about life in this area during the Spanish conquest and transition to colonial power.
This is crucial since historical sources provide the vast bulk of existing information about the transition period.