Location: Quito, Ecuador
An excellent case study of commerce control between the mountain and coastal communities of Ecuador. Prior to the invasion of the Incas and their centralized and militarized style of government, commerce between the mountain and the coastal communities was in the hands of middlemen knows as Yumbos.
Pucara de Rumicucho: In the indigenous language of Quechua pucara means fortress, rumi means stone and cucho means corner, and all together means Stone Fortress. Thisprehispanic fortress is located in San Antonio de Pichincha, 22 km from the city of Quito and only minutes from the Middle of the World Monument.
Built high up in the Andes at 3,200 m, the site is comprised of fifteen grass-covered, flat-topped pyramids and is arguably one of Ecuador's most significant Pre-Colombian and Pre-Incan sites. Their location is perfectly aligned with the white capped summit of volcano Cayambe and with the Puntiachil site, another ancient monument. Although its actual significance is unknown, Rumicucho is a sacred site, a meeting place for the spirits on the longest day of the year.
The function of a pucara was multiple: barracks, strength, temple, observatory, shop, etc. Prevealenciendo like it is obvious, the peculiarity of each place, context and meaning. In the case of Rumicucho, their location favored to control the movement of the neighboring Caranquis of the north and Yumbos of the west who for centuries prior to the Inca invasion enjoyed a free trade, cultural integration and religious freedom. The Inca realized the strategic location of this place and here they mounted one of their control posts.
This Inca monument comprised of 5 terraces is 400 m long, 100 m wide and 20 m high was also used during religious ceremonies to God Sun. The main construction materials are cut stone of reddish color (pucarumi) and mortar of volcanic ash (pugshi).
Cultural material found at the site include stone tools, metal, bone spoons, shell objects, ceramic pots and more.
Period(s) of Occupation: Pre Inca / Inca Period
Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 4 weeks
Room and Board Arrangements
Group housing, board and all local costs in Quito and / or close to the site are covered by program fee. Also included are weeken excursions to experience Ecuador's diverse culture and natural environment. Contact for more details.
Academic CreditNumber of credits offered Fieldwork experience usually counts for 6-8 credits. Please check with your university for further information. We provide ongoing support and data for the students who wish to use the site for their thesis and other academic papers.
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