We are at the late pre-ceramic site of Bandurria. The proximity to the rich
waters of the Pacific fueled the rise of this site some 3200 years BCE.
|The pyramid structure of Sechin Bajo|
|RuthAnn in front of one of the pyramids at Bandurria.|
The major temple at Bandurria. Our guide Miriam confirmed the themes
of duality and opposites are symbolized in the complex including a clay
image of the god they worshiped with both male and female representations.
|The troops were starting to complain as we reached the top of this pyramid.|
The major pyramid at Aspero, dating 3600 BCE. This site too existed
on the maritime diet afforded by the Pacific.
Several llamas have been inscribed on the cave walls and one image shows
a cord tied around the neck of the animal. About the same time as the
domestication of llama, guinea pigs or cuy were also domesticated.
The Emperor Huascar XIV shown with members of the Imperial Family at
a recent June 22 Solstice Celebration marking the Incan New Year.
Drawing of an 18th Century Slave Ship. Indigenous peoples around the
world who were subjugated, annihilated, and exterminated were viewed
by the Europeans as evolutionary vestiges of earlier more primitive life
forms, perhaps without human souls.
The Europeans embraced the technology of iron and gunpowder, working metals and materials, to the subjugation of others. Among the Inca and others in the Americas metal working was for decorative and religious purposes. Their weapons remained fashioned from wood and stone. As the room in Cajamarca was being filled with gold and silver to pay the ransom for Atahualpa's release the Inca could not understand the unquenchable and insatiable desire the Spanish had for gold and precious metals. Though there are ancient iron mines in Peru, as far as any scholar can confirm, there was no working of iron or steel. The iron ore was used for cosmetics and the dyeing of textiles. An oxide for of iron called hematite/magnetite was used extensively by the Inca and other peoples. Evidence also suggests that meteoric iron and nickel were used in pre-Colombian America. Hematite and its magnetic cousin magnetite are much harder than iron or granite and were used in the shaping of the beautiful construction stones of the Inca Imperial era found in Machu Picchu, Cusco and other sites.
The caption reads a "Necklace of gold with beads of LapisLazuli and Cacao."
This type of decorative use of precious stones and gold was typical of a
a people known as the Lambayeque who preceded the Inca by centuries.
The jewelry of the Lord of Sipan, a Moche ruler from the most spectacular
tomb uncovered in the Americas, illustrates the decorative uses of gold and
metal working of the indigenous peoples of Peru.
Astonishing, so much so, even the Spanish troops
wet themselves as they waited for the command
to attack the Inca in the square at Cajamarca.
Also, on my Kindle library waiting to be read is William McNeil's "The Rise of the West." Perhaps Professor McNeil will explain why the West/Europe was able to succeed the earlier states of China, India, the Mongols, and Islam. Therein lies the answer, in the relationship of one state to another as civilization moved from east to west, one building upon the other. In the Americas there was a largely independent development from the retreat of the last ice age to the arrival of the Europeans. Left alone to develop they would have neither the benefit of Greek thought, Islamic algebra and philosophy and Chinese gunpowder, nor iron from Anatolia post the Bronze Age.
If the Spanish had not arrived when they did would those in the Americas have entered at some point an age of iron and manufacturing? Atahualpa had in mind to capture the Spanish, geld a few to guard his harem, kill the rest of them, but to breed their horses. No one can say if he had any interest in their guns and steel.
Jared Diamond sums up his book with one sentence: "History followed different courses for different peoples because of differences among peoples' environments, not because of biological differences among peoples themselves." Such are the quandaries and questions of an idle mind on a warm Lima Sunday afternoon. The fans are on and the windows are open.