The Incas

The Incan empire in existence at the time of the Spanish conquest stretched for most of the length of western South America, from Colombia in the North to central Chile in the South. It was efficiently administered by a bureaucracy answerable to "the Inca," who claimed descent from the Sun. The Incas were a Quechua-speaking people, a language still spoken by Indians in the area.

There are no generally accepted written documents from the Inca period, but there are five classes of evidence concerning their interest in and recording of astronomical phenomena. First, a considerable amount of material was recorded in colonial sources after the Spanish introduced writing, both by Spaniards and Quechuas. Second, there is also much information to be obtained from modern Quechuas, who still make extensive use of astronomical observations. Third, iconographic representations are sometimes useful. Fourth, quipus were a complex series of knotted strings used for counting. Finally, ceques, which have been claimed to be directional lines of sight running from the capital city of the ancient empire, Cuzco (f = -13.5°), have been interpreted astronomically.

Quipus were used to record information about chronicles and genealogies, taxes and tribute (with census and treasury

15 Unfortunately, the previously cited discussion by Kolata (1993, p. 135) confuses details taken from the analysis of this textile with Zuidema's study of textiles depicted on figures of the Gateway of the Sun, the Bennett Stela, and the Ponce Stela.

information), legal records, and astronomy (Murra 1975, pp. 243-254; Conklin 1982, p. 261). Depictions of a secretary, a treasurer, and an astrologer, all of whom are using quipus, are shown by Guaman Poma (Zuidema 1982, p. 232; Bauer and Dearborn 1995, pp. 57-58). Nordenskiold (1925) analyzed a number of quipus that he thought contained astronomical data. The Ashers (1972) analyzed the numerical content of over 400 quipus but were not convinced that any were astronomical. The major problem in attempting to interpret quipus is that we can recognize the contents only from the numbers recorded, but if we select only those in which the numbers match our astronomical expectations, we may be picking out accidental correspondences. This is the reason why Nordenskiold's interpretations are usually rejected. Zuidema (1989) interprets a particular quipu as calendrical, which he claims replicates the organization of days into higher groupings of time periods.

Zuidema has written extensively on the ceque lines and associated huacas, or shrines, and has worked closely with Anthony Aveni in attempting to locate still existing huacas. They postulate observation points in the city of Cuzco, from which the ceque lines could have been used to indicate directions of risings and settings of Sun, Moon, and stars (Zuidema 1977, p. 233). Cristobal de Molina and Juan Polo de Ondegardo specifically say that the ceques were used to observe astronomical events on the horizon and that huacas were used for counting in the calendar, each huaca representing a single day (Zuidema 1977, p. 220). The chroniclers specify that were 328 huacas on 41 (or 40) ceque lines divided among the four world quarters so that there were nine ceques incorporating three groups of three huacas each in three of the quarters and two groups of seven ceques in the fourth quarter. Zuidema maintains that this number was calendrically important for two reasons. First, it was composed of 12 sidereal lunar months (12 x 2773 = 328); second, it is the interval from June 9 (the first heliacal rise of the Pleiades) to May 3 ("some two weeks after their last heliacal set of the evening" [Zuidema 1983, p. 235]). The association would be more convincing if the two phenomena coincided exactly. Zuidema (1982a, p. 208) also points out that the 41 lines, multiplied by 8 (the number of days in an Andean week) also yields 328 days. Zuidema (1977, p. 229) discusses the evidence for such a week. He does not point out that the Spaniards habitually referred to their seven-day week as ocho dias, "eight days," and this may well be the basis for the attribution to the Incas. Guaman Poma mentions that one of the duties of a calendar expert was to know the date of Sunday, which may refer to an indigenous seven-day week. Bauer and Dearborn (1995, pp. 64-65) express strong doubts about Zuidema's views, but they are mistaken in thinking that no other group used sidereal lunar months16 calendrically. Zuidema (1977, p. 247) also emphasizes that there are three repetitions of groups of huacas totaling 73 each. He regards these as references to a 73-day

16 We note that the term "sidereal month" is sometimes used to denote intervals that may approximate the length of the month, but do not, in fact, involve the Moon. Thus, for example, the Kogi 20-day "sidereal months."

interval forming V5 of a solar year. He also argues that they are useful in the Venus cycle (8 x 73 = 584) in what he calls the "double-sidereal lunar year" (328 + 329 = 657 = 9 x 73). Finally, Zuidema (1977, p. 230) asserts that the Incas used a 16-year period possibly related to Venus (16 x 365 = 5840 = 10 x 584).

Zuidema and Aveni thought that the ceques of Cuzco blended observational horizon information with religious and societal organization. Zuidema's analysis of the social implications of the ceques is based on a statement of the Anonymous Chronicler (quoted by Zuidema 1977, p. 239):

[Pachakuti Inca] divided the population of Cuzco into 12 parts and ordered that each part would take up the name of its month and of the occupation carried out then, and that at the beginning of its month, the group would come out on the central plaza, announcing its month, and playing trumpets in order that everybody would know.

From Cobo, Zuidema received further information that each of these groups was responsible for caring for three ceque lines and that each group was associated with a sucanca, or horizon pillar, marking the months. See the extended discussion of Bauer and Dearborn (1995, p. 35), who think that one of the best accounts of these pillars is that of the Anonymous Chronicler. Apparently, the sucancas were sometimes counted as huacas and sometimes distinguished from them. Ten of the 12 groups are named for the first 10 rulers in the genealogy of the Incas, from whom they claimed descent. Two were named for groups that had been absorbed into the Inca empire (Zuidema 1964, passim). One of the latter was the Uma or Oma (Aymara "water"), who claimed descent from Mama Anahuarque, the goddess identified with Anahuarque Mountain. Zuidema (1977, pp. 239-240; 1982, pp. 220-221) associates them with the month Uma Raymi (roughly October) and with the ceque Anahuarque, both of which seem reasonable. However, some doubt is cast on this attribution, because the town Uma (modern San Jeronimo) is not in the direction of the Anahuarque ceque, as seen from Cuzco. This is still the best correspondence between the general statement of the Anonymous Chronicler and specific details.

The premise that the ceques are fairly straight lines has controlled the archeological identification of particular huacas, except where contrary evidence is particularly strong. However, Bauer and Dearborn (1995, Ch. 4 ) have shown that the premise is wrong and that any astronomical explanation must be substantially more complicated than those that have been proposed. Actually, ceque lines join huacas, but the huacas associated with particular ceque lines do not lie in a straight line (Bauer and Dearborn, Map 6), and the azimuths of the individual huacas as viewed from Coricancha may vary more than 30°. In the case of the alleged Pleiades rise line, none of the certainly identified huacas lies within 10° of the true Pleiades rise line with respect to the observed horizon, and there is no direct statement in any of the colonial literature that ceque lines or individual huacas were aligned on sidereal risings. In addition, many huacas of a single (not necessarily straight) line are not intervisible, and in some cases, the terminal huaca is either invisible or not on the horizon as viewed from Cuzco.

These objections are strong enough to make the particular astronomical interpretation proposed by Zuidema and Aveni seem unlikely. Nonetheless, the idea that particular huacas have some sort of astronomical identification or association seems strongly supported by the literature. If they somehow map celestial points, no one has yet convincingly demonstrated how they do so.

Several sources clearly indicate some kind of relationship between asterisms, sacred places, lineage groups, and animals. Although Andeanists have payed little attention to planets, other than Venus, there are also some indications of important planetary deities. The earliest extensive account is that of Cobo17 (deriving from the now lost report of Juan Polo de Ondegardo, ~1559, published in abstract form in 1585):

They thought that there was a patron in heaven for each of the animals and birds that provide for their preservation and increase. This function was attibuted to several constellations and stars. And they thought that all of these patrons came from that group of small stars commonly known as the Pleiades, which these Indians called Collca.. . .

All herders respected and made sacrifices to the constellation called Lira by the astronomers and known to the Indians as Urcuchillay. .. .

They took great care in worshiping another star called Machacuay. They thought that this star watched over snakes, serpents, and vipers. .. .

In short, they identified a star in the sky for every species of animal and for this reason they worshiped many stars, and made sacrifices to them. Here are the names of some of the other stars: Topotoraca, Chacana, Mirco, Mamana, Miquiquiray, Quiantopa, and others. In fact, they had names for all the stars of the first magnitude, the morning and evening star [Venus] and the most noteworthy signs and planets.

A still more explicit account is that of the Anonymous Chronicler (writing ~1570, according to John Rowe 1980, p. 74), who gives Quechua names and characteristics for the planets. At that time, there were still people living who had been adults at the time of the Spanish conquest. This testimony is important in the astronomical interpretations of Sullivan (1996). According to the source, as translated by Sullivan:

To other stars, like various signs of the zodiac, they gave various duties to care for, guard, and sustain; some in relation to the flocks, others for the lions, others for the serpents, other for plants, and so on for all things.

Then some groups said that in each one of these gods, or stars, there existed the ideals and models of those living beings whose welfare was their responsibility; and so they said that such and such a star had the shape of a lamb [i.e., llama], because it was its duty to protect and conserve sheep [llamas].

[Venus, called Chasca, "tangled or disheveled hair"]. . . casts dewdrops upon the earth when she shakes her hair."

They called Jupiter Pirua, stating, first of all, that the great Illa Tecce [Wiracocha] had ordained that this planet be the lord and guardian of the empire and provinces of Peru and of its republic

17 Cobo, Book 13, Ch.6,1653 ed., tr. Hamilton 1990, pp. 30-31, cited by Bauer and Dearborn 1995, pp. 104-105.

and lands; and therefore they sacrificed to this planet. They entrusted to this god their granaries, treasure, and stores.

To [the planet] Mercury—Catu illa—is given responsibility over matters pertaining to merchants, travellers, and messengers.

Mars is Aucayoc, "he with enemies".

Saturn is Haucha, 'fierce', [responsible for] carnage, pestilence, and famine, and for lightning and thunder; and they say he had a staff, which, along with his bows and arrows, he used to punish and thrash mankind for its misdeeds.

It is interesting to note that illa, part of the Quechua name of Mercury and mentioned in the account of Jupiter, means "male twin."

It has been claimed that some of these descriptions are too European to be valid for the pre-Hispanic Quechuas, and therefore, the entire testimony is suspect. However, most historians hold that it is a mistake in principle to reject the explicit testimony of a usually well-informed source unless it is directly contradicted by another well-informed source. No one has challenged the Andean accounts of the World Ages, which we discuss shortly, despite their generic similarity to certain European accounts.

Perhaps our fullest representation of the relationship of temples, gods, planets, asterisms, weather, and general cosmology among the Quechuas is the diagram of Pachacuti Yamqui Salcamayhua, with annotations in Spanish, Quechua, and Aymara (Figure 14.32). It is very important evidence for understanding how to interpret astronomical myths not only among the Quechuas, but also among the Andean peoples generally.

Zuidema (1964, pp. 94, 219, 227-231, 235) has some interesting remarks on the Peruvian accounts of the World Ages (Pachakutis) or Suns. There are possible astronomical implications in this concept. The alternate name, Sun, suggests a basis in solar phenomena. According to Molina, there were four past ages, each ended by a different kind of catastrophe, and the Incas were living in the fifth age. A reference to four past ages, called runa ("people") is given by Guaman Poma de Ayala. The first, Uariviracocharuna, associated with the god Viracocha, lasted 800 years; the second, Uariruna, lasted 1300 years; the third, Purunruna, lasted 1100 years; and the fourth, Aucaruna ("warriors"), lasted 2100 years. A very full account is given by Montesinos, who defined an Intip ("Sun"), as 1000 years and a Pachacuti as 500 years. He gave a full list of rulers, covering all the Suns and gave the name Pachacuti to nine rulers, each of whom lived at the end of one half-Sun and the beginning of another. The historic Pachacuti Inca is usually supposed to have begun his reign in 1438, and Zuidema asserts that 938 may have been the mythical onset of the reign of Manco Capac, the "first" Inca. The date is curiously close to the beginning date of the Mixtecs, day 1 Crocodile year 1 Reed, calculated by DHK as the spring equinox of 936 a.d. (cf., 12.18). Apparently, Montesinos's beginning point for the first age was 4500 years prior to Pachacuti IX (9 x 500). Calculated from 1438, the beginning date would have been -3062 (3061 b.c.). It is interesting that the last three World Ages of Guaman Poma also total 4500 years.

The interpretations of Andean myths as astronomical events, put forward by Sullivan (1996), are even more controversial than are those of Zuidema and Aveni. Sullivan

Figure 14.32. The cosmological map of Pachacuti, Yamqui Salcamayhua. Drawing by Sharon Hanna.

maintains that Andean mythology is historically related in unspecified ways to Old World mythology and that mythology embodies and presents astronomical data. The basic interpretation and many of the details derive from de Santillana and von Dechend (briefly discussed in §6.4). However, Sullivan brings forward a substantial body of data on the astronomical identities of Incan gods, which is partially independent of his other interpretations, and he proposes specific real astronomical events related to particular myths, which allow the origin of those myths to be placed chronologically. Many regard his evidence of associations as mere coincidence, but the claims and associated visual effects are equally dramatic and deserve a hearing, regardless of his problematic attempt to tie in these effects with native recognition of the effects of precession.

Sullivan's (1996, pp. 39-43) most important archeoastro-nomical claim is the identification of a myth of the destruction of the world by a flood with the June (winter) solstice of 650 a.d. The date was originally calculated on the basis of a statement that he understood to indicate a heliacal rising of the Pleiades in the month before the June solstice. The flood was said to have been predicted by a male llama, urcuchillay, the name also of an Andean constellation, partly corresponding to Lyra, including Vega. Sullivan (1996, p. 18) drew attention to the Quechua name paqo, both for "male alpaca" (a llama relative) and for "shaman" (the modern paqos being authorities on astronomy). Sullivan suggested that perhaps "llama" in this context should be understood as priest-astronomer. In any case, he thought that the male llama (Vega), serving as a paranatellon (see §3.2.2) for the female Dark Cloud Llama, was looking across at the Pleiades.18 In fact, Vega and the Dark Cloud were setting as the Pleiades rose in 650 a.d. In a planetarium simulation set for 650 a.d., Sullivan found that "the Milky Way had ceased to rise heliacally at the June solstice for the first time in more than 800 years." The flood tale also told of the animals crowding up the mountain as the waters rose higher, and that the Fox got his tail wet. Again, "Fox" is a Dark Cloud that follows the Dark Cloud Llama close-on. According to Sullivan, when the planetarium simulation showed Fox at the December solstice of 650, he had risen above the horizon except for the end of his tail. There was one final piece of supporting evidence, dealing with the Inca ruler Pachakuti and his vision of the god Viracocha. The name of Pachakuti Inca strongly suggests that he lived at the end of a World Age (Pachakuti). Sullivan (1996, pp. 285-286) argued that an alleged meeting of Viracocha and the emperor Pachakuti symbolized an "encounter" between Jupiter and Saturn. It is generally thought that Pachakuti became emperor in a.d. 1438 and that his reign began with seven years of drought. Sullivan asserted that the vision followed the drought. In fact, Jupiter and Saturn were in conjunction in 1444, 40 Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions after their conjunction in 650 a.d. Sullivan's (1996, pp. 129-131) interpretations of the statements about Pachakuti Inca and about flood myths led him to think that in 650 a.d. there should have been a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction with the following characteristics:

(1) located in the eastern edge of the Milky Way in Gemini,

(2) at the June solstice,

(4) at or near the northwest horizon.

Tuckerman's Tables demonstrated to Sullivan that these conditions did hold.

If Catu illa is Mercury and associated with messengers, DHK thinks that he should be associated with the ritual races, which have been discussed, and with the Bean Lord of Mochica pottery. The concept that Mercury is a messenger between the Sun and other heavenly bodies is widespread, but the Bean Lord does not suggest classical conceptions of Mercury. According to Hocquenghem (1987, p. 206), Catuilla was one of the three major names of the god Thunder in the Andes. Nothing else suggests that the Bean Lord was the primary god of Thunder in the Andes.

18 This parallels the actual behavior of the male llama, standing apart from the herd, and observing the surroundings for possible danger.

Other gods are also associated with war clubs, and even thunderbolts. Mercury in the Old World seems to be associated only rarely with warfare, and Hermes's theft of the clouds is the only story connecting him even marginally with Thunder. The testimony of the Anonymous Chronicler instead identifies Saturn as the Thunder God.

Turning now from the colonial Quechua, the first comprehensive attempt to study astronomical conceptions in a modern Quechua community was by Urton (1981). He was able to demonstrate remarkable continuites between early colonial references to Inca astronomy and the existing astronomical lore and to show that the latter explains much that was obscure in our colonial sources. Perhaps the most notable discovery was that everybody in the community, including children, had a substantial knowledge of observational astronomy. The people regarded astronomical information as crucial in determining when to plant certain crops—a generalization frequently made by astronomers (and occasionally challenged by archeologists) but better demonstrated here than anywhere else known to us. Unfortunately, Urton was unable to get nearly as much information about the knowledge held by the women, except for intimations that they were better informed than were the men about lunar phases and movements. He found relatively little information about planets, which may be an indication that knowledge of planetary movements was considered a more specialized topic. Urton emphasizes the great importance of Dark Cloud (nebula) figures (called, mis-leadingly, "constellations").19 These figures are called pachatierra or pachatira (from the Quechua pacha, "earth," and Spanish tierra, "earth") and are usually animals or, more rarely, plants. They are in striking contrast to asterisms (which Urton calls "star-to-star constellations"), which are normally geometric figures such as crosses or architectural representations, notably, granaries. There is some syncretism with Catholicism, especially in the identification of one of the cross asterisms as cruz calvario (Spanish for "the cross of Calvary").

The Milky Way plays a central role in astronomical observations at Mismanay as the "River of the Sky" controlling water. It is identified as a "nocturnal rainbow." The extreme orientations of the Milky Way in the sky determine the alignment of the crossroads (northeast-southwest and northwest-southeast) that meet in the center of Mismanay. This curious pattern emphasizes that alignments to a celestial feature may have more than one orientation. These directions are also correlated with the solstices (Urton 1981, p. 62), in the sense that the rise/set points of the solsticial Sun coincide more or less with the sweep of the Milky Way across the horizon. The Milky Way is believed to be a continuation of the Vilcanoto River, and this river was said to be the path taken by Viracocha. Interestingly, the direction of water flow is an important factor in topographical alignments, but it is conceptually related to the flow of the heavenly river, and so is also part of an astronomical framework in Quechua thought.

The solstices are important celestial markers, especially the "northern" (i.e., winter) solstice, which is more directly tied to the agricultural cycle because it marks the beginning of planting season. The "center" is also important and seems sometimes to refer to the specific horizon location where the zenith Sun20 rises/sets, but it generally refers to a segment of the sky rather than to a specific point or line (Urton 1981c, pp. 72-77). Urton did not get any direct information relating to the "nadir Sun" or "anti-zenith Sun,"21 although he points out that it might have been determined using the full Moon. Urton is able to show a substantial correlation between the seasonal activities of particular animals and the rising times of Dark Clouds or asterisms named for those animals. He also points to some striking alleged associations, most particularly, the view that foxes are normally born on December 25 and the place of their birth is the mountainous area at the setting point of the June solstice Sun. It is very striking that the Sun "enters" the Dark Cloud Fox at the time of the December solstice (Urton 1981c, pp. 188-189). Urton (1981c, p. 211) points out that Sullivan's data from Quechua communities in northern Bolivia and southern Peru agree with his data from near Cuzco, helping to show that the identifications were widespread and supporting their Inca derivation.

An important site near Ollantaytambo in the Vilcanota drainage has been called Pacaritampo22 (Ellorieta and Ellorieta 1992,1996a, 1996b). It is an extremely large earth-mound of unusual shape (roughly pyramidal). The shape was apparently designed to mark the equinoxes and both solstices; so the sides are at curious angles visually. The site is in a high Andean valley, surrounded by mountains, so that all solar alignments are dependent both on the movements of the Sun and its relationships to the local topography. The height of the different levels on the west side is such that the rising Sun at the summer (December) solstice creates ten sharply bounded areas of sunshine on that side, whereas the rest of the valley remains in morning twilight. On the winter (June) solstice, a much less noticable band of light marks one edge of the structure. The light of the rising Sun at each equinox aligns with the southwest corner. See Plate 7, in the color insert, courtesy of William Sullivan. Other sites in the vicinity also show interesting plays of light and shadow at the solstices.

There is also archaeoastronomical evidence from the northern Incan empire. Zborover (1996) discusses both historical and archeological data associated with a Quechua solar observatory deliberately established on the equator by the Incas, with possible local prototypes. Juan de Velasco, although writing substantially after the Spanish conquest, described two temples in Quito (probably of the pre-Inca period, associated with the Caranquis), one for the Sun and another for the Moon and stars. He said that two tall columns on the sides of the door of the temple of the Sun were used as gnomons to mark the solstices. There were 12 smaller gnomons around the temple plaza, the shadows

20 The Sun at the date when it passes through the zenith.

21 The Sun at the date when it passes through the nadir.

22 A name that is also given to a site south of Cuzco.

of which marked the beginnings of the (solar) months. Velasco23 says that the temple was "very well known for its adjacent astronomical observatories, to which their kings were very devoted."

Zborover thinks that the site of Cochasqui (6 km north of the equator) was a prototype of the temples in Quito. At Cochasqui, there are a number of structures, including two round platforms, each with two double channels with bearings (A ~ 4° and ~30° for channels of one platform and ~8° and ~40° for the other), whose purpose is presently undetermined.

There are sets of three socket holes associated with these channels. In one of them, one of a set of three short stone pillars (all of which had been removed but later replaced on the basis of good archeological evidence) cast a shadow on one of the others very near the June solstice. The report deals with preliminary examinations not yet checked as fully as is desirable; the archeological context is certainly pre-Inca, perhaps by several centuries, but the archeology is also inadequately known at this time. Zborover suggests that the carefully leveled and hard-baked channels were used to hold water, which could act as a mirror for stellar observations.

Zborover also describes (private communication to DHK, 2000) a group of three round platforms with irregularly spaced radial markings on their surfaces in the Rumicucho area of Ecuador, very close to the equator. Among these lines, some coincide with equinoxes and solstices; another seems to mark the May 9/August 4 alignment attested near Cuzco. There is also a line at A = 118°6' that coincides with the southern lunar major standstill maximum and points toward the top of Catequilla mountain. The name Cate-quilla means "he who follows the moon," which is strong support for regarding that alignment as deliberate. There is potentially a substantial amount of information to be gained from further studies in the Quito region.

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