The Inka in Chankillo ?

Author(s): Jessica Christie; Ivan Ghezzi

Year: 2016


The Inka used numerous strategies to expand and integrate a growing empire. We present a case of Inka mobilization of things and ideas, seeking to establish context, through the lenses of stone cults, wak’as, sun worship, and sukankas, for a unique fertility offering found far from the capital on a tower at the Chankillo site (400-200 BC) on the north-central coast.

The towers functioned as a solar observatory: sunrises and sunsets were tracked across the towers from two observation points. An Inka delegation traveling on the northern coastal road could have placed this offering at Chankillo. The similarities between its towers and the Inka sukankas have long been noted. Their form recalls vertical monoliths on mountaintops underneath which qhapaq ucha figurines were sometimes buried. Vertical stone wak’as with associated qhapaq ucha figurines in Inka contexts have been documented. Since there is no Inka occupation at Chankillo, this offering represents an act of Inka wak’a making at an important, early, and by then abandoned, site. The astronomical context and symbolism of this ritual performance indicate the Inka related the meaning of the Chankillo towers to their own worldview, and mobilized people and objects accordingly.

Cite this Record

The Inka in Chankillo ?. Jessica Christie, Ivan Ghezzi. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404771)

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Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;