Studying ushnus

Studying Inca ushnus

The project team has used a range of scientific and historical techniques to examine ushnu landscape and environment.

Methods from the fields of archaeology, geoarchaeology, cultural geography were used, while examination of the British Museum collection helped further understanding. This has been complemented with ethnohistorical and ethnographic research, which reveals the cultural meanings placed on ushnus and mountain peaks visible from them.

The project team studied 30 ushnus over a series of field seasons in 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2008. All sites are located in the Ayacucho and southern Huancavelica regions of modern Peru, within 260 km2 of each other.

The findings have proved to be of great academic importance and were first discussed in public at a conference in Lima, Peru in 2008. A forthcoming conference in London (November 2010 at the British Museum) will feature a number of leading international specialists,  and the resulting collected papers will be published in what promises to be a landmark volume.

Research methods

Archaeology

Archaeology  

Ethnography

Ethnography  

Ethnohistory

Ethnohistory

Geoarchaeology

Geoarchaeology  

Landscape analysis

Landscape analysis  

In the Museum

Museum