High altitude archeology in the Peruvian Andes: climate, volcanoes and glacier mummies - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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High altitude archeology in the Peruvian Andes: climate, volcanoes and glacier mummies

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  1. High altitude archeology in the Peruvian Andes:climate, volcanoes and glacier mummies Adina Racoviteanu, Dept. of Geography and INSTAAR/NSIDC

  2. Introduction • Archaeological sites and mummies have been found in the Andes at altitudes up to 6,700m • Incas constructed the sites in the 15th century to appease the mountain gods

  3. Artifacts found at high altitudes • ceramics • pottery • statues • textiles • mummies • wood • coca leaves Fotos: Jose Antonio Chavez Fotos: A. Racoviteanu

  4. Andean glaciers rapidly melting • (0.7% per year since 1970) • Archeological remains (mummies) exposed to natural decomposition and looting.

  5. Glacier mummies: climate records? “Juanita”, 500-year old Inca mummy found in Peruvian Andes “Ötzi”- 5,000 year old, found in Tyrolean Alps after glacier retreat Cryosphere: ideal medium for lyofilization (dry-freeze processes)

  6. Looting: destroys archeological record Looted tomb, Nevado Coropuna, Peruvian Andes Dynamited ceremonial site, Nevado Chachani

  7. Archeological data:architectural complex on Nevado Pichu Pichu, Peru Lookout point Base camp ruins Inca platform; mummy site

  8. Inca Empire • Highlands of Peru, • 13th century – 16th century (1572) • Largest pre-Columbian Empire

  9. Agriculture

  10. Crops • Maize – used to make chicha • Grains • Meat (alpaca, llama) Coca leaves

  11. Llamas

  12. Alpaca

  13. Agricultural terraces Technological advances of the Incas Canals Inca roads and trails Agricultural terraces Architecture

  14. Inca Religion Inca religion

  15. Beer vs. Sacred Mountains? Sept 11, 2000: “The Intihuatana, considered by archaeologists to be the most sacred object in Machu Picchu has been damaged in the filming of a beer commercial.”

  16. Mountains as Meteorological Gods: Nevado Coropuna

  17. Lines to the Mountain Gods? Nazca,S.Peru. Foto:S.A.N.

  18. Pilgrims following a straight line to a mountain top in Bolivia. Foto: J.Reinhard

  19. Why did the Incas perform human sacrifices?

  20. Nevado Huascaran, Cordillera Blanca, Peru

  21. Landslides: May 30, 1970 Peru disaster • Magnitude: 7.9 • A large mass of ice and rock slid from a vertical face on Nevado Huascaran, the highest peak in Peru • Debris reached a velocity of 280 km/hr • traveled 11 km horizontally in about 4 minutes at a mean velocity of 165 km/hr. • Buried the towns of Yungay and Ranrahirca, The death toll in both villages was 20,000.

  22. The town of Huaraz flattened

  23. Question #1: Why did the Incas perform human sacrifices? • Volcanic eruptions • Drought events • Natural hazards (avalanches)? • Expansion of the Inca Empire?

  24. Question #2:How were the sacrifice sites chosen? ARGENTINA:......................76 sitesBOLIVIA:...............................7 sitesCHILE:.................................54 sitesECUADOR:.............................1 sitePERÚ:..................................27 sites Environmental conditions Altitude: mean- 5,200m Temperatures: -25C Winds: > 100km/h Dry conditions

  25. Archeological site distribution

  26. Is shelter important for the choice of site location?

  27. What was the most likely Inca climbing path? “backpacker’s equation” v = velocity (km/h); slope = rise/run Gorenflo and Gale (1990)

  28. Least cost climbing paths: Nevado Coropuna (6,426 m) IRD 2003 ice core drilling expedition

  29. Reconstructing accessibility: least cost Inca climbing routes from any Inca road

  30. Coropuna ice core drilling expedition, 2003