A unique discovery gives insight into the provincial culture of the Inca Empire

(ORDO NEWS) — An international team of archaeologists, led by scientists from the University of Tarapaca, Chile, during excavations in northern Chile of a 15th-century burial site, discovered well-preserved fragments of local clothing – the unca worn in the Inca Empire.

The pattern on the fabric is well preserved, which allows one to judge the local specifics, in contrast to the capital of the Empire.

The Incas dressed in very standardized clothing that was approved by the authorities. But the provincial weavers brought their own specifics at one time

The researchers, led by archaeologists from the University of Tarapaca, were excavating the burial site near Caleta Vitor Bay in northern Chile.

They discovered a tunic or unca worn by a man who was respected in the Inca Empire. Unku were largely standardized clothing, meeting the technical and stylistic requirements set by the imperial authorities.

However, Uncu Caleta Vitor goes beyond the strict prescriptions given by the leaders of the Incas.

While the artisans who made this unca clearly adhered to imperial design standards, they also incorporated subtle cultural distinctions unique to their province.

A unique discovery gives insight into the provincial culture of the Inca Empire 2
Rocky cave in the Molle Grande sector, Codpa Valley, upstream of Chaka or Vitor canyon. a – general view of the pictogram with red and white squares on the lower half of the steep side of the valley; (b) close-up of the pictogram. Approximately the same pictogram is depicted on the unca of Caleta Vitor

The one who wove the unca Caleta Vitor lived hundreds of miles south of the Inca capital of Cuzco, in an area conquered by the Inca Empire at the end of the 15th century.

The weaver used the techniques, unique style and images of the local culture that existed long before the Inca conquest.

“This is a rare example of an uncu whose context and technical characteristics provide new insights into the Inca imperial influence in the provinces,” says co-author Geoffrey Splitstoser.


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