Uscunta

 

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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Uscunta is a large pilgrimage site spread over two mountain tops named Uscunta and Warmitalle (or Huarmitalle).

Views of the remains at Uscunta
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    1. Views of the remains at Uscunta.

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    2. Views of the remains at Uscunta.

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    3. Testing the soundscape.

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    4. Views of the platform and remains at Uscunta.

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    5. Views of the platform and remains at Uscunta.

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    6. Views of the platform and remains at Uscunta.

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    7. Views of the platform and remains at Uscunta.

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    8. Views of the platform and remains at Uscunta.

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    9. Views of the platform and remains at Uscunta.

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    10. Views of the platform and remains at Uscunta.

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    11. Views of the platform and remains at Uscunta.

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    12. Views of the platform and remains at Uscunta.

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    13. Views of the platform and remains at Uscunta.

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    14. Views of the platform and remains at Uscunta.

 

The ushnu platforms at Uscunta are separated by the wide open plain, with one situated slightly higher than the other. One on grey white bedrock and the other on red material expresses the dual social structure of Inca communities. Great halls (kallanka), burial towers (chullpa) and grain stores (collca) type structures are present also.

The top of the pinnacle forming the summit of Uscunta is crowned by a number of Andean stone obelisks known as aaywas. The very limited soil cover over the bedrock outcropping around the structure indicates that the fills will have been brought in from some distance away. The view of the eastern horizon is much closer and more impeded than the rest of the horizon profile.

The Uscunta site was unique in that its sound projections in its use as a performance theatre are different from all other ushnus studies. See the ethnohistory page for more information.

While the architectural dig gave up no interesting artefacts, many items were found at surface level including 73 tools such as blades, hammer stones and scrapers made from basalt, obsidian, quartz and andesite. Stone balls were also found which researchers believe may have been used in a game. In addition there are 676 items of pottery, mostly jars and bowls and several fragments of plates. One of the more interesting finds was a small copper or silver spatula or spoon, with a human figure standing on top of the handle with the left hand pointing skyward and the right hand pointing to the ground.

Research focus at Uscunta