Inca ushnus

Landscape, site and symbol in the Andes

Project team

  • Nick Branch, Senior Lecturer in Palaeoecology, School of Human and Environmental Sciences, University of Reading (01/01/2007 - 26/02/2010) 
  • Francisco Ferreira, PhD student, Department of Geography, Royal Holloway
    University of London (01/01/2007 - 01/01/2010)
  • Millena Frouin, Post doctoral research assistant, Department of Geography,
    Royal Holloway University of London (19/03/2007 - 28/02/2009)
  • Rob Kemp, Professor, Physical Geography, Department of Geography,
    Royal Holloway University of London (01/01/2007 - 26/02/2010)
  • Colin McEwan, Head of the Americas section and curator of Latin American collections, Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, British Museum, London (01/01/2007 - 26/02/2010)
  • Frank Meddens, Honorary Research Associate, Department of Geography,
    Royal Holloway University of London (01/01/2007 - 26/02/2010)
  • Gabriel Ramon, Post-doctoral research assistant, British Museum, London
    (01/04/2008 - 26/02/2010)
  • Cirilo Vivanco, Professor of Archaeology, National University of San Cristóbal of Huamanga, Peru
  • Katie Willis, Reader, Development Geography, Department of Geography,
    Royal Holloway University of London (01/01/2007 - 26/02/2010)

Partners

  • University of Reading
  • Royal Holloway University of London
  • Universidad Nacional de San Cristobal de Huamanga

Supported by

Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council

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Inca ushnu

For three years, a research team from the British Museum, the University of Reading, Royal Holloway University of London and the Universidad Nacional de San Cristobal de Huamanga set out to discover how the Inca Empire used a stone platform known as an ushnu as a symbol of political power.

By enhancing our knowledge of how ushnus were built, their symbolism, what activities took place on them and what artefacts might be found around them, the project has increased our understanding of Inca culture and how they conquered the Andes to become one of the world’s most successful civilisations.


What is an ushnu?

Incas

Discover why ushnus were built across the Andes and their significance in the Inca Empire

Ushnus introduction 

Ushnu sites

Sites

Ushnu remains are found across large parts of Peru  today and the research team studied 30 of them

Incapirca Waminan 
Uscunta 

Research fields

Study

The team used a range of techniques to uncover the secrets of the ushnus 

Archaeology 
Ethnohistory