Archæological Studies in Peru

    Abstract

    IT would appear that the celebration, or rather the ‘commemoration’, to use the term preferred locally, of the fourth centenary of the Spanish capture of Cuzco, the capital of the Inca empire of Peru, has given rise to a wave of popular enthusiasm for archaeology which has taken the practical form of a vote of £30,000 (according to a dispatch in the Times of March 27) to be expended on, inter alia, the establishment of an archaeological institute for the study and display of Peruvian antiquities and on archaeological exploration and research. Already substantial discoveries have been made in the excavation of Sachsahuaman, a site near Cuzco, where hundreds of workmen are engaged in uncovering the walls, buildings, conduits, etc., in beautifully hewn stone of this once important fortress, which has been pronounced to be the “most wonderful achievement of ancient man in the two Americas”. Excavations have also been begun at Tambo-machal and Pisac, and are in contemplation at Ollantaytambo and Macchu Picchu, the last stronghold of Inca power. These operations are under the supervision of the Director General of the National Museum and are being conducted in accordance with the principles of scientific archaeological research. Even at this early stage, attention has been directed to the problem of pre-Inca civilisation and the opportunities which it offers for investigation. Happily the foundations for its study on scientific lines have been laid down by the work of Prof. Max Uhle and others, and if funds which hitherto have been lacking for extended exploration are now to be available, many vexed and obscure problems of Central and South American archaeology will come under review. The presence of a number of distinguished archaeologists in Peru during the celebrations, which began on March 23 and will go on untilJuly 18, will no doubt guide, as well as stimulate, local effort, which is inspired by motives not entirely unmixed. Even in Peru, archaeology is not immune from the spur of over-enthusiastic nationalism.

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