Inka Human Sacrifice and Mountain Worship
Strategies for Empire Unification
Publication Year: 2013
The Inka empire was the largest pre-Columbian polity in the New World. Its vast expanse, its ethnic diversity, and the fact that the empire may have been consolidated in less than a century have prompted much scholarly interest in its creation. In this study, Besom explores the ritual practices of human sacrifice and the worship of mountains, attested in both archaeological investigations and ethnohistorical sources, as tools in the establishment and preservation of political power.
Besom examines the relationship between symbols, ideology, ritual, and power to demonstrate how the Cuzqueńos could have used rituals to manipulate common Andean symbols to uphold their authority over subjugated peoples. He considers ethnohistoric accounts of the categories of human sacrifice to gain insights into related rituals and motives, and reviews the ethnohistoric evidence of mountain worship to predict locations as well as motives. He also analyzes specific archaeological sites and assemblages, theorizing that they were the locations of sacrifices designed to assimilate subject peoples, bind conquered lands to the state, and/or justify the extraction of local resources.
Published by: University of New Mexico Press
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...i would like to thank my family, my friends at Binghamton University (BU), and my housemates on Vincent Street in Binghamton, New York, I would like to express my appreciation to the people at the various museums and institutions in South America where I conducted much of my research: to JosĂ© PĂ©rez GollĂˇn, Myriam TarragĂł, and Norma PĂ©rez at ...
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This circle was a temple . . . whose god no longer received the it was f.sceb.scr.scuar.scy.sc 2, late in the ev.scening.sc. I was squatting by the side of a rivulet, having washed a pile of aluminum pots, bowls, and utensils. I slapped my bare hands against my down parka to warm them and to revive the circulation. Although it was summer in the southern hemisphere, the ...
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T.schis b.scook is c.sconc.scer.scned with human sacrifice and mountain wor-ship in the Inka Empire of South America. Why am I investigating these practices? After all, most Westerners regard the former with abhorrence,1 especially the ritual killing of a child,2 and consider the latter to be incom-prehensible. Just because people today find them revolting and/or unfath-...
1: Symbols, Ideology, Ritual, and Power
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T.sco a g.scr.sceat ex.sctent, p.scolitic.scal p.scower.sc is founded on ceremony,1 a dictum that is as true for societies today as it was for the Inkas five cen-turies ago. After conquering the inhabitants of southern Peru, northwest-ern Argentina, and the northern half of Chileâ€”especially the Pica and Pecuncheâ€”the CuzqueĂ±os had to find a way to exercise authority over ...
2: Ethnohistoric Data on Human Sacrifice and Mountain Worship
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A.sclthoug.sch the m.scethod that I describe for gleaning significance from archaeological materials (see chapter 1) may sound good in principle, it can be difficult to put into practice. The scholar is greatly aided in her/his effort if s/he can find an additional and independent source of infor-mation.2 Ethnohistoric works, which are records left by a literate people ...
3: The Archaeological Materials from Cerro Esmeralda
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In 1995, with a D.scisser.sctation Im.scp.scr.scov.scem.scent G.scr.scant from the National Science Foundation, I visited the Regional Museum in Iquique, where I studied and photographed the offerings that were found on Esmeralda (see maps 0.2 and 3.1; also see photos 3.1 and 3.2). This set of remains came to light during the 1970s, when a construction crew that was building a road ...
4: Discussion of the Materials from Cerro Esmeralda
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W.schat ty.scp.sce of.sc im.scm.scolation is represented by the bodies from Esmeralda? The victims would seem to be aqlla-kuna who took part in a qhapaq hucha sacrifice (see chapter 2). They are of the right gender, being female, and ages, the girl being about nine, her companion being between eighteen and twenty years old. Their clothing is consistent with that of the chosen ...
5: The Archaeology of Cerro El Plomo and the Santiago Area
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E.scl P.sclom.sco, the m.scountain near whose summit the â€śmummyâ€ť of the boy was found (see photo 5.1),1 has long been associated with legends of lost Inka treasure; the word plomo, which in Spanish literally means â€ślead,â€ť is In 1895 or 1896, Gustavo Brant and Rudolfo Luck, who were members of the German Athletic Club of Santiago, made what they thought was ...
6: Discussion of the Archaeological Materials from Cerro El Plomo and the Santiago Area
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Like the two females from Esmeralda, the boy whose remains were discov-ered on El Plomo was a sacrifice. According to the doctors who examined his body, he was completely normal and healthy at the time of his death. They note, however, that the fingers of his left hand are frostbitten and that his lower extremities, particularly his right foot, are swollen (see chap-...
7: Discussion of the Anthropomorphic Statuettes
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The themes of human sacrifice, state bureaucracy, and political power relate to another type of artifact that has been found on El Plomo and elsewhere: the anthropomorphic statuette. Such pieces are usually of gold, silver, or Spondylus; the metal figurines can be either hollow or solid.Statuettes having the form of males and females are known, there ...
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In the present work, I argue that mountain worship and human immola-tion, especially the sacrifice of qhapaq huchas, were important in Qulla Suyu. The lords of Cuzco used the practices to rationalize their conquest of southern lands, to justify their extraction of local resources, and to inte-grate subjugated peoples. Their ultimate aim was to unify the empire, thus ...
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.... . . so this wor.sck c.scom.sces f.scull c.scir.scc.scle, ending where it first began . . .By consecrating the victim at the Adoratorioâ€”the circular â€śtempleâ€ť on the slopes of El Plomoâ€”and by burying him alive in the Enterratorio, the Inkas may have created a myriad of metaphorical rings. They may have bound themselves to the mountain-god in a circle of reciprocal responsi-...
Appendix A: Results of Segmental Hair Analysis
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Appendix B: Typical Inka Vessels
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Glossary of Andean Names and Terms
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Page Count: 368
Publication Year: 2013