Pambamarca

August 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

Ecuador is a country known for its incredible bio-diversity. In a country no larger than Nevada there are all life zones from permanent snow to
beach and the Amazon Rainforest. There are an estimated 25,000 species of plants, 1600 species of birds, 369 mammals, 350 species of reptiles, 400
amphibians and 800 species of fish. Unlike neighboring Peru, which is known for its many archaeological treasures like Machu Picchu, Sacsayhuman, and Chan Chan; archaeology in Ecuador is relatively unknown.

Each summer for the past decade an international team of researchers including students from UCLA, Colombia and Foothill Collage have been coming to Ecuador learning field techniques of archaeology, including excavation, survey and laboratory analysis working at a series of fortresses located 12,000 feet in the Ecuadorian Andes. The Pambamarca project area contains the largest concentration of pre-Columbian fortresses in the New World.

As the Incas expanded their empire throughout the 15th and 16th century many of the other civilizations they encountered readily accepted the Incas to avoid a war. This was not true of the Cayambis who lived in the region near the Cayambe north of modern day Quito. The Cayambis were fierce
warriors who had built the chain of Pambamarca fortresses to defend their lands from the Quitus of the Quito region. When the Incas came to Ecuador they easily conquered the Quitus in 1475 then battled the Cayambis who were aided by their northern ally the Carangues for the next 17 years. The fortresses finally fell to the Incas in the early 1500’s and in 1505 the Incas cut the throat of every soldier older than 12 years old throwing their bodies into Lake Yaguarcocha known locally as the Lake of Blood. After defeating the Cayambis the Incas took over the Pambamarca Fortresses and used them to defend their newely extended kingdom.

The Pambamarca Archaeological project gives Ecuadorian University Students the opportunity to learn and train with foreign archaeologists. The
projects goal is to include the site on the Instututo Nacional de Patrimonio Cultural del Ecuador and move the fortress from the Tentative List of UNESCO
World Heritage Sites to the Permanent List.

Learn More about the Pambamarca Archaeology Project

Aerial video of archaeological sites in Ecuador, prominantly the Pambamarca Fortress Complex in Cayambe, Ecuador

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