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Killke Culture in Perú

In the archaeological site of Salapunku, located in the Archaeological Park of Machu Picchu, in Cusco, not only seven skeletal remains of the Killke culture were discovered, but also a religious ceremonial center, a hydraulic canal and a huaca dedicated to Apu Wakay Willke.

This was announced by the archaeologist Francisco Huarcaya, head of the Research project of the Regional Directorate of Culture.

In the religious ceremonial center of water decoration, there are four platforms carved in pre-Inca stone, where it is estimated that religious rites were performed to the Andean deity.
He also said that in this same area, a water channel that is located between the Huayttampo sector and K’anabamba, in the stream adjacent to the Nevado de la Verónica, has been uncovered.

Finally Francisco Huarcaya said that at kilometer 83 of the Cusco – Ollantaytambo – Machu Picchu road, cremated corn, two bones and a huaca were also found.

Killke Culture in Perú

Killke in Perú is a culture defined fundamentally in a type of pottery that occupied the Cusco area during the Late Intermediate (1000 -1476 AD). Unfortunately it is not very well known as it was overshadowed by the Inca expansion during the Late Horizon. Although Killke ceramic pieces were described since Max Uhle in the early 20th century, it was John Rowe in the 1940s and 1950s who defined it in the terms we use to this day. In he found killke fragments in the same city of Cuzco. Jorge C. Muelle also discovered fragments of this style at Paruro and then Edward Dryer in the 1960s at Lucre, Pisaq, and Sacsayhuaman. He obtained a radiocarbon dating that gave 770 ± 140 BP (Fairbanks Calibrated: between AD 1129 and 1351). That and other dates confirmed the chronological location of Killke between the fall of Huari and Tiahuanaco and the Inca expansion. (Bauer 1999: 20).

Killke ceramic is characterized by having a porous paste with abundant inclusions. The surface sometimes bears a slip of the same color as the clay of the dough on which simple geometric designs, mostly black, such as bands, lines, diamonds and triangles, were painted. To a lesser extent, the colors red and white were used. Diamonds and triangles were often filled with several thin cross lines forming grids or meshes on a white background to allow for greater contrast. There are also rows of flames, sometimes very simplified in the shape of an X. In the forms, bowls and pitchers stand out, the latter generally with human faces represented sculpturally (Bauer 1999: 14-19).

Rowe thought that Killke Culture in Perú must be located between the foundation of Cuzco made by Manco Capac around 1250 and the imperial expansion with Pachacútec beginning in 1438. It would be for the pre-imperial Inca style. Already calibrated radiocarbon dates put Killke further back in time, as far back as AD 1100. Bauer defined another style very similar to Killke in the southwest of Cuzco especially in Araypallpa and Tejahuasi (Paruro) that he called Kolcha. It differs from Killke in that the pasta is coarser and has a few different designs. Bauer’s studies allowed defining that both styles are contemporary and that the differences are probably due to the fact that they were made in different production centers (Bauer 1999: 20-22).

Based on studies of Killke pottery and ethnohistoric documents, Bauer concludes that Killke was the most important pottery style in Cuzco during the Late Intermediate period and must have belonged to the Incas when they were still a regional group but with control over the Cuzco area. . This statement is close to Rowe’s, with the difference that Bauer extends Killke’s seniority a little further back. Killke has many differences from the Inca style. However Bauer reports some transitional forms between the two styles (Bauer 1999: 41).

Ethnohistory, based on colonial documents that said that the Incas were a migrant group in Cusco, assumed Killke pottery in an inappropriate way to support that idea. Rostworowski (1999: 27) and Espinoza Soriano (1987: 35) said that Killke was the pottery of the Ayarmaca group prior to the arrival of the Incas.

But that cannot be for two reasons: first, the Killke pottery occupies a much larger area than the Ayarmaca group and second, temporarily Killke extends mainly during the time when the Incas were already settled in Cusco. Bauer (1999: 29), for his part, notes that the Killke ceramics were distributed in the territory where the Incas were located (the northern part of the Cusco valley) and the three groups recognized as Incas of Privilege: the Chillque (Araypallpa and Colcha), Mascas (in Yaurisque and probably Paruro) and Tambo (around Pacaritambo).

Killke pottery

According to radiocarbon dates, Killke ceramics developed between 1000 and 1300 years of our era, said ceramics were discovered by John Rowe in excavations carried out in the temple of Koricancha (Cusco) in the 40s of the 20th century; It is possible that the Killke style is related to the origin of the Incas or that it was contemporary with the arrival of Manco Cápac (Ayar Manco) in Cusco, a fact that supposedly occurred in the middle of the 12th century.

According to John Rowe, Killke-style pottery is related to the Inca Provincial period, called by Uhle Incario Legendario, the time where the first 8 Incas lived (the ones before the great Sapa Inca Pachacútec). The archaeologist Duccio Bonavia also calls the Killke style “Early Inca or” Initial Inca “, while Kauffman Doig uses Rowe’s terminology for Killke (Provincial Inca). It should be remembered that Killke pottery differs from the Imperial Inca style, which is why Rowe said that there was a change in the stylistic pattern at the beginning of the third horizon (15th century).

The Killke ceramic style is characterized mainly by its globular shapes with vertical straps or handles, the decoration is geometric, the colors used were black or black on red or white.

Dare to know Ancasmarka and its Qolqas of the Killke culture.

The archaeological center of ANCASMARKA is a very important place that is a storage center for food that was produced in its different ecological floors to later be distributed to the population. Due to the characteristics of their constructions, they were Qolqas or Piruas, which were food deposits. It was also a populated center where its inhabitants were dedicated to herding animals, especially auquénidos. The construction that it has are in a circular shape for its construction, local stones were used, especially slate stone and clay, the diameter of the constructions are 4 m by 3 m in diameter and the door is one meter. The circular structures were built in a rugged rocky mountain topography, the ovoid walls are made of simple masonry, the height varies between 2.30 to 5 meters with a diameter of approximately 12 meters, it presents access openings with lithic lintels and its coverage was probably of straw.

Upon entering the archaeological site, there is an artisan center where the inhabitants of the Totora, Challpa and Acchapampa sectors display and sell their artisan products such as blankets, ponchos, sweaters, chullos, etc. made with alpaca and sheep fiber that are purchased by visitors.

If you visit Cusco, we recommend you to visit another impressive destinations like the rainbow mountain tour, the humantay lake tour, or the sacred valley tour, which only takes one day. But if you are gonna to stay more days in Perú, other archaeological places you can know will be the machu picchu day tours from cusco.