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José Alcina Franch

Pre-Columbian city that flourished c. ad 1450–1540, 28 km (by road) north of Cuzco, Peru; excavated by José Alcina between 1968 and 1970. The town centre is on a high plateau, 3720 m above sea level, near Lake Piuray on the old road from Cuzco to the Yucay Valley. Chinchero was ‘founded’ as an Inca imperial city at the beginning of the reign of Tupac Inca Yupanqui (...

Article

Inca  

Ann Kendall

A Pre-Columbian culture of the Central Andean area of South America; the early Inca people are recognizable in the archaeological record of the Late Intermediate Period (c. ad 1000–1476), from the 12th century onwards. The Inca empire flourished in the 15th century and early 16th. In a more restricted sense the term refers to the ruling élite and its supreme head, the Sapa Inca. The Inca are alone in having successfully politically unified the vast area of the Central Andes, coastlands and adjacent regions. Their empire endured for only 90 years; it extended 3500 km from north-west to south-east and approximately 320 km inland from the South American coast (...

Article

Peter W. Stahl

Island and adjacent mainland areas around the Gulf of Guayaquil in south coastal Ecuador, important in Pre-Columbian trade. The region was inhabited by the Punáes, who were possibly confederated with ethnically similar littoral groups into a Pre-Columbian league of merchants. A principal article of commerce was the shell of the venerated Pacific thorny oyster ...

Article

John S. Isaacson and Trent Barnes

Military installation (and possibly ceremonial centre) of the Pre-Columbian Inca period in Pinchincha Province, Ecuador. It is sited on a small hill at the confluence of two streams draining into the Río Guayllabamba, a few kilometres to the north. Although the site was severely damaged through centuries of looting for building materials, careful excavation and reconstruction (Almeida and Jara) have provided significant information about the architecture and occupational history at the site. There has been speculation that the site was constructed prior to the arrival of the Inca in northern Ecuador. However, excavation produced no evidence of pre-Inca occupation. All artefacts in the local ‘...

Article

Sinú  

Warwick Bray and Trent Barnes

Archaeological zone and style of metalwork produced in the three great 16th-century chiefdoms of Fincenú, Pancenú, and Cenúfana in the Caribbean lowlands of Colombia during the millennium before the Spanish Conquest. The Sinú style also extended to the San Jorge Basin and the lower Cauca and Nechí drainages. Many of these lowland areas are seasonally flooded but were turned into prime farmland by the construction of more than 500,000 ha of ridged and drained fields linked by a canal network. Besides landscape architecture, the Sinú zone is noted for its goldwork (...