Amazonas before the Inca Empire


Amazonas before the Inca Empire

The department of Amazonas has a millennial history. There are some testimonies exhibited on rocky walls dated from the most remote times. Such is the case of the rock paintings of Chiñuña-Yamón and Limones-Calpón in the province of Utcubamba. A part of these haughty pictorial samples was made by people that had a hunting economy. These people perhaps left their trace 6 or 7 thousand years ago. At the times in which the formation of Peruvian civilization was consolidated, it appeared a type of ceramics mainly identified in Bagua.

From Chachapoyas culture, there are innumerable architectural remains, such as Cuélap, Congón (place that was re-baptized by the name of Vilaya), Olán, Purunllacta (place that was re-baptized by the name of Monte Peruvia), Pajatén, etc. All these expressions of architecture show a model that allows to identify them like if they are related to each other. What has not been established yet is the age of these architectural remains, neither which one would be the most ancient and which one the last in the cultural development of the chachapoyas.

Characterization of the Chachapoyas culture

The architectural model of the chachapoyas is defined by the circular tendency of their constructions and the masonry of regular stones. Their constructions are also characterized for being raised on platforms that were constructed in slopes. Their walls are, in certain cases, decorated with symbolic figures. It is necessary to add the colossal character of some monuments such as Cuélap and other numerous enclosures, like Olán.

It might indicate that the chachapoyas constructions date back to the IX or X century, and that their architectural tradition was still current until the arrival of the Spanish to their territory in the second third of the XVI century. The exceptions were those constructions that were erected by the Incas using their own style, such is the case of the ruins of Cochabamba in the district of Leimebamba.

The presence of two funeral patterns are also typical from the Chachapoyas culture. One of them is represented by sarcophagi, placed vertically and located in caves that were excavated in the highest place of the precipices. The other funeral pattern was groups of mausoleums; that is to say "mansions for deceased people". They were constructed like tiny houses and were located in caves worked in cliffs.

The chachapoyas' ceramics did not reach the handmade level of the Mochica's or Nazca's. Their small pitchers are frequently decorated by cordoned motives. As for the textile art, cloths were generally colored in red. A monumental textile, proceeding from the precincts of Pajatén, showed that had been painted by figures of birds. The chachapoyas also used to paint their walls, since a haughty present sample in San Antonio, province of Luya, reveals. These walls stages a ritual dance of couples that were held by the hands.

Chachapoyas' Origin

According to the analysis of the Chachapoyas's objects made by the Antisuyo expeditions of Amazon Archaeology Institute, the Chachapoyas do not exhibit Amazon cultural tradition. Their cultural goods have Andean roots. Although in certain cases they present a particular physiognomy, the investigations show that it is only a question of forms that suffered modifications due to geographical factors and a probable relative isolation.

The anthropomorphous sarcofagi do not seem to be another thing than the imitation of funeral bundles provided with a wooden mask proper of the so-called Horizonte medio, when it reigned culturally on the coast and the highlands what is known as Tiahuanaco-Huari or Wari culture. The "mausoleums" are equally modified expressions from the "chullpa" or "pucullo", architectural element of funeral character that has a big diffusion in Peru and also inserted in the cultural frame Tiahuanaco-Huari.

If we look for an answer to the question: why people who live in the mountain range of the Andes occupied zones of the Amazonian Andes, the reason will be that such occupation was an answer to the need of extending the agrarian border. This need can only have its explanation in the geographical environment, not only from the Andes but also from the coast, characterized by its extensest desert areas that are translated in suitable soils for agriculture, limited and insufficient to sustain a population like the ancestral Peruvian people. People dedicated, for three thousand years, to the intensive growing of the land and, for this reason, had supporting an increasing demographic rate.

This dissertation has received the epithet of "serranización of the rainforest", that is seen in both: the geographical part and in the cultural one. On one hand, when the scenery of the Amazonian Andes changed, after the fell of the tropical forests, into a barren one that resembles the mountain range of the Andes; and, on the other hand, when the Andean people carried their cultural Andean baggage to places that were originally filled with Amazon verdant grove. This phenomenon, which is still current, repeated itself in the southern Amazonian Andes in times of the Inca Empire, with the mountain projection to the zone of Vilcabamba that raised haughty Inca architecture exponents like Machu Picchu.


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