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THE SEARCH CONTINUED
MACHU PICCHU is on the border-line between the temperate zone and the tropics. Camping near the bridge of San Miguel, below the ruins, both Mr. Heller and Mr. Cook found interesting evidences of this fact in the flora and fauna. From the point of view of historical geography, Mr. Cook’s most important discovery was the presence here of huilca, a tree which does not grow in cold climates. The Quichua dictionaries tell us huilca is a “medicine, a purgative.” An infusion made from the seeds of the tree is used as an enema. I am indebted to Mr. Cook for calling my attention to two articles by Mr. W. E. Safford in which it is also shown that from seeds of the huilca a powder is prepared, sometimes called cohoba. This powder, says Mr. Safford, is a narcotic snuff “inhaled through the nostrils by means of a bifurcated tube.” “All writers unite in declaring that it induced a kind of intoxication or hypnotic state, accompanied by visions which were regarded by the natives as supernatural. While under its influence the necromancers, or priests, were supposed to hold communication with unseen powers, and their incoherent mutterings were regarded as prophecies or revelations of hidden things. In treating the sick the physicians made use of it to discover the cause of the malady or the person or spirit by whom the patient was bewitched.” Mr. Safford quotes Las Casas as saying: “It was an interesting spectacle to witness how they took it and what they spake. The chief began the ceremony and while he was engaged all remained silent.... When he had snuffed up the powder through his nostrils, he remained silent for a while with his head inclined to one side and his arms placed on his knees. Then he raised his face heavenward, uttering certain words which must have been his prayer to the true God, or to him whom he held as God; after which all responded, almost as we do when we say amen; and this they did with a loud voice or sound. Then they gave thanks and said to him certain complimentary things, entreating his benevolence and begging him to reveal to them what he had seen. He described to them his vision, saying that the Cemi [spirits] had spoken to him and had predicted good times or the contrary, or that children were to be born, or to die, or that there was to be some dispute with their neighbors, and other things which might come to his imagination, all disturbed with that intoxication.”1
Clearly, from the point of view of priests and soothsayers, the place where huilca was first found and used in their incantations would be important. It is not strange to find therefore that the Inca name of this river was Uilca-mayu: the “huilca river.”
The pampa on this river where the trees grew would likely receive the name Uilca pampa. If it became an important city, then the surrounding region might be named Uilcapampa after it. This seems to me to be the most probable origin of the name of the province. Anyhow it is worth noting the fact that denizens of Cuzco and Ollantaytambo, coming down the river in search of this highly prized narcotic, must have found the first trees not far from Machu Picchu.
Leaving the ruins of Machu Picchu for later investigation, we now pushed on down the Urubamba Valley, crossed the bridge of San Miguel, passed the house of Señor Lizarraga, first of modern Peruvians to write his name on the granite walls of Machu Picchu, and came to the sugarcane fields of Huadquina. We had now left the temperate zone and entered the tropics.
At Huadquina we were so fortunate as to find that the proprietress of the plantation, Señora Carmen Vargas, and her children, were spending the season here. During the rainy winter months they live in Cuzco, but when summer brings fine weather they come to Huadquina to enjoy the free-and-easy life of the country. They made us welcome, not only with that hospitality to passing travelers which is common to sugar estates all over the world, but gave us real assistance in our explorations. Señora Carmen’s estate covers more than two hundred square miles. Huadquina is a splendid example of the ancient patriarchal system. The Indians who come from other parts of Peru to work on the plantation enjoy perquisites and wages unknown elsewhere. Those whose home is on the estate regard Señora Carmen with an affectionate reverence which she well deserves. All are welcome to bring her their troubles. The system goes back to the days when the spiritual, moral, and material welfare of the Indians was entrusted in encomieda to the lords of the repartimiento or allotted territory.
Huadquina once belonged to the Jesuits. They planted the first sugar cane and established the mill. After their expulsion from the Spanish colonies at the end of the eighteenth century, Huadquina was bought by a Peruvian. It was first described in geographical literature by the Count de Sartiges, who stayed here for several weeks in 1834 when on his way to Choqquequirau. He says that the owner of Huadquina “is perhaps the only landed proprietor in the entire world who possesses on his estates all the products of the four parts of the globe. In the different regions of his domain he has wool, hides, horsehair, potatoes, wheat, corn, sugar, coffee, chocolate, coca, many mines of silver-bearing lead, and placers of gold.” Truly a royal principality.
Incidentally it is interesting to note that although Sartiges was an enthusiastic explorer, eager to visit undescribed Inca ruins, he makes no mention what-ever of Machu Picchu. Yet from Huadquina one can reach Machu Picchu on foot in half a day without crossing the Urubamba River. Apparently the ruins were unknown to his hosts in 1834. They were equally unknown to our kind hosts in 1911. They scarcely believed the story I told them of the beauty and extent of the Inca edifices.2 When my photographs were developed, however, and they saw with their own eyes the marvelous stonework of the principal temples, Señora Carmen and her family were struck dumb with wonder and astonishment. They could not understand how it was possible that they should have passed so close to Machu Picchu every year of their lives since the river road was opened without knowing what was there. They had seen a single little building on the crest of the ridge, but supposed that it was an isolated tower of no great interest or importance. Their neighbor, Lizarraga, near the bridge of San Miguel, had reported the presence of the ruins which he first visited in 1904, but, like our friends in Cuzco, they had paid little attention to his stories. We were soon to have a demonstration of the causes of such skepticism.
Our new friends read with interest my copy of those paragraphs of Calancha’s “Chronicle” which referred to the location of the last Inca capital. Learning that we were anxious to discover Uiticos, a place of which they had never heard, they ordered the most intelligent tenants on the estate to come in and be questioned. The best informed of all was a sturdy mestizo, a trusted foreman, who said that in a little valley called Ccllumayu, a few hours’ journey down the Urubamba, there were “important ruins” which had been seen by some of Señora Carmen’s Indians. Even more interesting and thrilling was his statement that on a ridge up the Salcantay Valley was a place called Yurak Rumi (yurak = “white”; rumi = “stone”) where some very interesting ruins had been found by his workmen when cutting trees for firewood. We all became excited over this, for among the paragraphs which I had copied from Calancha’s “Chronicle” was the statement that “close to Uiticos” is the “white stone of the aforesaid house of the Sun which is called Yurak Rumi.” Our hosts assured us that this must be the place, since no one hereabouts had ever heard of any other Yurak Rumi. The foreman, on being closely questioned, said that he had seen the ruins once or twice, that he had also been up the Urubamba Valley and seen the great ruins at Ollantaytambo, and that those which he had seen at Yurak Rumi were “as good as those at Ollantaytambo.” Here was a definite statement made by an eyewitness. Apparently we were about to see that interesting rock where the last Incas worshiped. However, the foreman said that the trail thither was at present impassable, although a small gang of Indians could open it in less than a week. Our hosts, excited by the pictures we had shown them of Machu Picchu, and now believing that even finer ruins might be found on their own property, immediately gave orders to have the path to Yurak Rumi cleared for our benefit.
While this was being done, Señora Carmen’s son, the manager of the plantation, offered to accompany us himself to Ccllumayu, where other “important ruins” had been found, which could be reached in a few hours without cutting any new trails. Acting on his assurance that we should not need tent or cots, we left our camping outfit behind and followed him to a small valley on the south side of the Urubamba. We found Ccllumayu to consist of two huts in a small clearing. Densely wooded slopes rose on all sides. The manager requested two of the Indian tenants to act as guides. With them, we plunged into the thick jungle and spent a long and fatiguing day searching in vain for ruins. That night the manager returned to Huadquina, but Professor Foote and I preferred to remain in Ccllumayu and prosecute a more vigorous search on the next day. We shared a little thatched hut with our Indian hosts and a score of fat cuys (guinea pigs), the chief source of the Ccllumayu meat supply. The hut was built of rough wattles which admitted plenty of fresh air and gave us comfortable ventilation. Primitive little sleeping-platforms, also of wattles, constructed for the needs of short, stocky Indians, kept us from being overrun by inquisitive cuys, but could hardly be called as comfortable as our own folding cots which we had left at Huadquina.
The next day our guides were able to point out in the woods a few piles of stones, the foundations of oval or circular huts which probably were built by some primitive savage tribe in prehistoric times. Nothing further could be found here of ruins, “important” or otherwise, although we spent three days at Ccllumayu. Such was our first disillusionment.
On our return to Huadquina, we learned that the trail to Yurak Rumi would be ready “in a day or two.” In the meantime our hosts became much interested in Professor Foote’s collection of insects.
They brought an unnamed scorpion and informed us that an orange orchard surrounded by high walls in a secluded place back of the house was “a great place for spiders.” We found that their statement was not exaggerated and immediately engaged in an enthusiastic spider hunt. When these Huadquina spiders were studied at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, Dr. Chamberlain found among them the representatives of four new genera and nineteen species hitherto unknown to science. As a reward of merit, he gave Professor Foote’s name to the scorpion!
Finally the trail to Yurak Rumi was reported finished. It was with feelings of keen anticipation that I started out with the foreman to see those ruins which he had just revisited and now declared were “better than those of Ollantaytambo.” It was to be presumed that in the pride of discovery he might have exaggerated their importance. Still it never entered my head what I was actually to find. After several hours spent in clearing away the dense forest growth which surrounded the walls I learned that this Yurak Rumi consisted of the ruins of a single little rectangular Inca storehouse. No effort had been made at beauty of construction. The walls were of rough, unfashioned stones laid in clay. The building was without a doorway, although it had several small windows and a series of ventilating shafts under the house. The lintels of the windows and of the small apertures leading into the subterranean shafts were of stone. There were no windows on the sunny north side or on the ends, but there were four on the south side through which it would have been possible to secure access to the stores of maize, potatoes, or other provisions placed here for safe-keeping. It will be recalled that the Incas maintained an extensive system of public storehouses, not only in the centers of population, but also at strategic points on the principal trails. Yurak Rumi is on top of the ridge between the Salcantay and Huadquina valleys, probably on an ancient road which crossed the province of Uilcapampa. As such it was interesting; but to compare it with Ollantaytambo, as the foreman had done, was to liken a cottage to a palace or a mouse to an elephant. It seems incredible that anybody having actually seen both places could have thought for a moment that one was “as good as the other.” To be sure, the foreman was not a trained observer and his interest in Inca buildings was probably of the slightest. Yet the ruins of Ollantaytambo are so well known and so impressive that even the most casual traveler is struck by them and the natives themselves are enormously proud of them. The real cause of the foreman’s inaccuracy was probably his desire to please. To give an answer which will satisfy the questioner is a common trait in Peru as well as in many other parts of the world. Anyhow, the lessons of the past few days were not lost on us. We now understood the skepticism which had prevailed regarding Lizarraga’s discoveries. It is small wonder that the occasional stories about Machu Picchu which had drifted into Cuzco had never elicited any enthusiasm nor even provoked investigation on the part of those professors and students in the University of Cuzco who were interested in visiting the remains of Inca civilization. They knew only too well the fondness of their countrymen for exaggeration and their inability to report facts accurately.
Ruins of YURAK RUMI near Huadquiña. Probably an Inca Storehouse, well ventilated and well drained.
Drawn by A. H. Bumstead from measurements and photographs by Hiram Bingham and H. W. Foote.
Obviously, we had not yet found Uiticos. So, bidding farewell to Señora Carmen, we crossed the Urubamba on the bridge of Colpani and proceeded down the valley past the mouth of the Lucumayo and the road from Panticalla, to the hamlet of Chauillay, where the Urubamba is joined by the Vilcabamba River.3 Both rivers are restricted here to narrow gorges, through which their waters rush and roar on their way to the lower valley. A few rods from Chauillay was a fine bridge. The natives call it Chuquichaca! Steel and iron have superseded the old suspension bridge of huge cables made of vegetable fiber, with its narrow roadway of wattles supported by a network of vines. Yet here it was that in 1572 the military force sent by the viceroy, Francisco de Toledo, under the command of General Martin Hurtado and Captain Garcia, found the forces of the young Inca drawn up to defend Uiticos. It will be remembered that after a brief preliminary fire the forces of Tupac Amaru were routed without having destroyed the bridge and thus Captain Garcia was enabled to accomplish that which had proved too much for the famous Gonzalo Pizarro. Our inspection of the surroundings showed that Captain Garcia’s companion, Baltasar de Ocampo, was correct when he said that the occupation of the bridge of Chuquichaca “was a measure of no small importance for the royal force.” It certainly would have caused the Spaniards “great trouble” if they had had to rebuild it.
We might now have proceeded to follow Garcia’s tracks up the Vilcabamba had we not been anxious to see the proprietor of the plantation of Santa Ana, Don Pedro Duque, reputed to be the wisest and ablest man in this whole province. We felt he would be able to offer us advice of prime importance in our search. So leaving the bridge of Chuquichaca, we continued down the Urubamba River which here meanders through a broad, fertile valley, green with tropical plantations. We passed groves of bananas and oranges, waving fields of green sugar cane, the hospitable dwellings of prosperous planters, and the huts of Indians fortunate enough to dwell in this tropical “Garden of Eden.” The day was hot and thirst-provoking, so I stopped near some large orange trees loaded with ripe fruit and asked the Indian proprietress to sell me ten cents’ worth. In exchange for the tiny silver real she dragged out a sack containing more than fifty oranges! I was fain to request her to permit us to take only as many as our pockets could hold; but she seemed so surprised and pained, we had to fill our saddle-bags as well.
At the end of the day we crossed the Urubamba River on a fine steel bridge and found ourselves in the prosperous little town of Quillabamba, the provincial capital. Its main street was lined with well-filled shops, evidence of the fact that this is one of the principal gateways to the Peruvian rubber country which, with the high price of rubber then prevailing, 1911, was the scene of unusual activity. Passing through Quillabamba and up a slight hill beyond it, we came to the long colonnades of the celebrated sugar estate of Santa Ana founded by the Jesuits, where all explorers who have passed this way since the days of Charles Wiener have been entertained. He says that he was received here “with a thousand signs of friendship” (“mille temoignages d’amitie”). We were received the same way. Even in a region where we had repeatedly received valuable assistance from government officials and generous hospitality from private individuals, our reception at Santa Ana stands out as particularly delightful.
Don Pedro Duque took great interest in enabling us to get all possible information about the little-known region into which we proposed to penetrate. Born in Colombia, but long resident in Peru, he was a gentleman of the old school, keenly interested, not only in the administration and economic progress of his plantation, but also in the intellectual movements of the outside world. He entered with zest into our historical-geographical studies. The name Uiticos was new to him, but after reading over with us our extracts from the Spanish chronicles he was sure that he could help us find it. And help us he did. Santa Ana is less than thirteen degrees south of the equator; the elevation is barely 2000 feet; the “winter” nights are cool; but the heat in the middle of the day is intense. Nevertheless, our host was so energetic that as a result of his efforts a number of the best-informed residents were brought to the conferences at the great plantation house. They told all they knew of the towns and valleys where the last four Incas had found a refuge, but that was not much. They all agreed that “if only Señor Lopez Torres were alive he could have been of great service” to us, as “he had prospected for mines and rubber in those parts more than any one else, and had once seen some Inca ruins in the forest!” Of Uiticos and Chuquipalpa and most of the places mentioned in the chronicles, none of Don Pedro’s friends had ever heard. It was all rather discouraging, until one day, by the greatest good fortune, there arrived at Santa Ana another friend of Don Pedro’s, the teniente gobernador of the village of Lucma in the valley of Vilcabamba — a crusty old fellow named Evaristo Mogrovejo. His brother, Pio Mogrovejo, had been a member of the party of energetic Peruvians who, in 1884, had searched for buried treasure at Choqquequirau and had left their names on its walls. Evaristo Mogrovejo could understand searching for buried treasure, but he was totally unable otherwise to comprehend our desire to find the ruins of the places mentioned by Father Calancha and the contemporaries of Captain Garcia. Had we first met Mogrovejo in Lucma he would undoubtedly have received us with suspicion and done nothing to further our quest. Fortunately for us, his official superior was the sub-prefect of the province of Convencion, lived at Quillabamba near Santa Ana, and was a friend of Don Pedro’s. The sub-prefect had received orders from his own official superior, the prefect of Cuzco, to take a personal interest in our undertaking, and accordingly gave particular orders to Mogrovejo to see to it that we were given every facility for finding the ancient ruins and identifying the places of historic interest. Although Mogrovejo declined to risk his skin in the savage wilderness of Conservidayoc, he carried out his orders faithfully and was ultimately of great assistance to us.
Extremely gratified with the result of our conferences in Santa Ana, yet reluctant to leave the delightful hospitality and charming conversation of our gracious host, we decided to go at once to Lucma, taking the road on the southwest side of the Urubamba and using the route followed by the pack animals which carry the precious cargoes of coca and aguardiente from Santa Ana to Ollantaytambo and Cuzco. Thanks to Don Pedro’s energy, we made an excellent start; not one of those meant-to-be-early but really late-in-the-morning departures so customary in the Andes.
We passed through a region which originally had been heavily forested, had long since been cleared, and was now covered with bushes and second growth. Near the roadside I noticed a considerable number of land shells grouped on the under-side of overhanging rocks. As a boy in the Hawaiian Islands I had spent too many Saturdays collecting those beautiful and fascinating mollusks, which usually prefer the trees of upland valleys, to enable me to resist the temptation of gathering a large number of such as could easily be secured. None of the snails were moving. The dry season appears to be their resting period. Some weeks later Professor Foote and I passed through Maras and were interested to notice thousands of land shells, mostly white in color, on small bushes, where they seemed to be quietly sleeping. They were fairly “glued to their resting places”; clustered so closely in some cases as to give the stems of the bushes a ghostly appearance. Our present objective was the valley of the river Vilcabamba. So far as we have been able to learn, only one other explorer had preceded us — the distinguished scientist Raimondi. His map of the Vilcabamba is fairly accurate. He reports the presence here of mines and minerals, but with the exception of an “abandoned tampu” at Maracnyoc (“the place which possesses a millstone”), he makes no mention of any ruins. Accordingly, although it seemed from the story of Baltasar de Ocampo and Captain Garcia’s other contemporaries that we were now entering the valley of Uiticos, it was with feelings of considerable uncertainty that we proceeded on our quest. It may seem strange that we should have been in any doubt. Yet before our visit nearly all the Peruvian historians and geographers except Don Carlos Romero still believed that when the Inca Manco fled from Pizarro he took up his residence at Choqquequirau in the Apurimac Valley. The word choqquequirau means “cradle of gold” and this lent color to the legend that Manco had carried off with him from Cuzco great quantities of gold utensils and much treasure, which he deposited in his new capital. Raimondi, knowing that Manco had “retired to Uilcapampa,” visited both the present villages of Vilcabamba and Pucyura and saw nothing of any ruins. He was satisfied that Choqquequirau was Manco’s refuge because it was far enough from Pucyura to answer the requirements of Calancha that it was “two or three days’ journey” from Uilcapampa to Puquiura.
A new road had recently been built along the river bank by the owner of the sugar estate at Paltaybamba, to enable his pack animals to travel more rapidly. Much of it had to be carved out of the face of a solid rock precipice and in places it pierces the cliffs in a series of little tunnels. My gendarme missed this road and took the steep old trail over the cliffs. As Ocampo said in his story of Captain Garcia’s expedition, “the road was narrow in the ascent with forest on the right, and on the left a ravine of great depth.” We reached Paltaybamba about dusk. The owner, Señor José S. Pancorbo, was absent, attending to the affairs of a rubber estate in the jungles of the river San Miguel. The plantation of Paltaybamba occupies the best lands in the lower Vilcabamba Valley, but lying, as it does, well off the main highway, visitors are rare and our arrival was the occasion for considerable excitement. We were not unexpected, however. It was Señor Pancorbo who had assured us in Cuzco that we should find ruins near Pucyura and he had told his major-domo to be on the look-out for us. We had a long talk with the manager of the plantation and his friends that evening. They had heard little of any ruins in this vicinity, but repeated one of the stories we had heard in Santa Ana, that way off somewhere in the montãna there was “an Inca city.” All agreed that it was a very difficult place to reach; and none of them had ever been there. In the morning the manager gave us a guide to the next house up the valley, with orders that the man at that house should relay us to the next, and so on. These people, all tenants of the plantation, obligingly carried out their orders, although at considerable inconvenience to themselves.
The Vilcabamba Valley above Paltaybamba is very picturesque. There are high mountains on either side, covered with dense jungle and dark green foliage, in pleasing contrast to the light green of the fields of waving sugar cane. The valley is steep, the road is very winding, and the torrent of the Vilcabamba roars loudly, even in July. What it must be like in February, the rainy season, we could only surmise. About two leagues above Paltaybamba, at or near the spot called by Raimondi “Maracnyoc,” an “abandoned tampu,” we came to some old stone walls, the ruins of a place now called Huayara or “Hoyara.” I believe them to be the ruins of the first Spanish settlement in this region, a place referred to by Ocampo, who says that the fugitives of Tupac Amaru’s army were “brought back to the valley of Hoyara,” where they were “settled in a large village, and a city of Spaniards was founded.... This city was founded on an extensive plain near a river, with an admirable climate. From the river channels of water were taken for the service of the city, the water being very good.” The water here is excellent, far better than any in the Cuzco Basin. On the plain near the river are some of the last cane fields of the plantation of Paltaybamba. “Hoyara” was abandoned after the discovery of gold mines several leagues farther up the valley, and the Spanish “city” was moved to the village now called Vilcabamba.
Our next stop was at Lucma, the home of Teniente Gobernador Mogrovejo. The village of Lucma is an irregular cluster of about thirty thatched-roofed huts. It enjoys a moderate amount of prosperity due to the fact of its being located near one of the gateways to the interior, the pass to the rubber estates in the San Miguel Valley. Here are “houses of refreshment” and two shops, the only ones in the region. One can buy cotton cloth, sugar, canned goods and candles. A picturesque belfry and a small church, old and somewhat out of repair, crown the small hill back of the village. There is little level land, but the slopes are gentle, and permit a considerable amount of agriculture.
There was no evidence of extensive terracing. Maize and alfalfa seemed to be the principal crops. Evaristo Mogrovejo lived on the little plaza around which the houses of the more important people were grouped. He had just returned from Santa Ana by the way of Idma, using a much worse trail than that over which we had come, but one which enabled him to avoid passing through Paltaybamba, with whose proprietor he was not on good terms. He told us stories of misadventures which had happened to travelers at the gates of Paltaybamba, stories highly reminiscent of feudal days in Europe, when provincial barons were accustomed to lay tribute on all who passed.
We offered to pay Mogrovejo a gratificación of a sol, or Peruvian silver dollar, for every ruin to which he would take us, and double that amount if the locality should prove to contain particularly interesting ruins. This aroused all his business instincts. He summoned his alcaldes and other well-informed Indians to appear and be interviewed. They told us there were “many ruins” hereabouts! Being a practical man himself, Mogrovejo had never taken any interest in ruins. Now he saw the chance not only to make money out of the ancient sites, but also to gain official favor by carrying out with unexampled vigor the orders of his superior, the sub-prefect of Quillabamba. So he exerted himself to the utmost in our behalf.
The next day we were guided up a ravine to the top of the ridge back of Lucma. This ridge divides the upper from the lower Vilcabamba. On all sides the hills rose several thousand feet above us. In places they were covered with forest growth, chiefly above the cloud line, where daily moisture encourages vegetation. In some of the forests on the more gentle slopes recent clearings gave evidence of enterprise on the part of the present inhabitants of the valley. After an hour’s climb we reached what were unquestionably the ruins of Inca structures, on an artificial terrace which commands a magnificent view far down toward Paltaybamba and the bridge of Chuquichaca, as well as in the opposite direction. The contemporaries of Captain Garcia speak of a number of forts or pucáras which had to be stormed and captured before Tupac Amaru could be taken prisoner. This was probably one of those “fortresses.” Its strategic position and the ease with which it could be defended point to such an interpretation. Nevertheless this ruin did not fit the “fortress of Pitcos,” nor the “House of the Sun” near the “white rock over the spring.” It is called Incahuaracana, “the place where the Inca shoots with a sling.”
Incahuaracana consists of two typical Inca edifices — one of two rooms, about 70 by 20 feet, and the other, very long and narrow, 150 by 11 feet. The walls, of unhewn stone laid in clay, were not particularly well built and resemble in many respects the ruins at Choqquequirau. The rooms of the principal house are without windows, although each has three front doors and is lined with niches, four or five on a side. The long, narrow building was divided into three rooms, and had several front doors. A force of two hundred Indian soldiers could have slept in these houses without unusual crowding.
We left Lucma the next day, forded the Vilcabamba River and soon had an uninterrupted view up the valley to a high, truncated hill, its top partly covered with a scrubby growth of trees and bushes, its sides steep and rocky. We were told that the name of the hill was “Rosaspata,” a word of modern hybrid origin — pata being Quichua for “hill,” while rosas is the Spanish word for “roses.” Mogrovejo said his Indians told him that on the “Hill of Roses” there were more ruins.
At the foot of the hill, and across the river, is the village of Pucyura. When Raimondi was here in 1865 it was but a “wretched hamlet with a paltry chapel.” To-day it is more prosperous. There is a large public school here, to which children come from villages many miles away. So crowded is the school that in fine weather the children sit on benches out of doors. The boys all go barefooted. The girls wear high boots. I once saw them reciting a geography lesson, but I doubt if even the teacher knew whether or not this was the site of the first school in this whole region. For it was to “Puquiura” that Friar Marcos came in 1566. Perhaps he built the “mezquina capilla” which Raimondi scorned. If this were the “Puquiura” of Friar Marcos, then Uiticos must be near by, for he and Friar Diego walked with their famous procession of converts from “Puquiura” to the House of the Sun and the “white rock” which was “close to Uiticos.”
PUCYURA AND THE HILL OF ROSASPATA IN THE VILCABAMBA VALLEY
Crossing the Vilcabamba on a footbridge that afternoon, we came immediately upon some old ruins that were not Incaic. Examination showed that they were apparently the remains of a very crude Spanish crushing mill, obviously intended to pulverize gold-bearing quartz on a considerable scale. Perhaps this was the place referred to by Ocampo, who says that the Inca Titu Cusi attended masses said by his friend Friar Diego in a chapel which is “near my houses and on my own lands, in the mining district of Puquiura, close to the ore-crushing mill of Don Christoval de Albornoz, Precentor that was of the Cuzco Cathedral.”
One of the millstones is five feet in diameter and more than a foot thick. It lay near a huge, flat rock of white granite, hollowed out so as to enable the millstone to be rolled slowly around in a hollow trough. There was also a very large Indian mortar and pestle, heavy enough to need the services of four men to work it. The mortar was merely the hollowed-out top of a large boulder which projected a few inches above the surface of the ground. The pestle, four feet in diameter, was of the characteristic rocking-stone shape used from time immemorial by the Indians of the highlands for crushing maize or potatoes. Since no other ruins of a Spanish quartz-crushing plant have been found in this vicinity, it is probable that this once belonged to Don Christoval de Albornoz.
Near the mill the Tincochaca River joins the Vilcabamba from the southeast. Crossing this on a footbridge, I followed Mogrovejo to an old and very dilapidated structure in the saddle of the hill on the south side of Rosaspata. They called the place Uncapampa, or Inca pampa. It is probably one of the forts stormed by Captain Garcia and his men in 1571. The ruins represent a single house, 166 feet long by 33 feet wide. If the house had partitions they long since disappeared. There were six doorways in front, none on the ends or in the rear walls. The ruins resembled those of Incahuaracana, near Lucma. The walls had originally been built of rough stones laid in clay. The general finish was extremely rough. The few niches, all at one end of the structure, were irregular, about two feet in width and a little more than this in height. The one corner of the building which was still standing had a height of about ten feet. Two hundred Inca soldiers could have slept here also.
Leaving Uncapampa and following my guides, I climbed up the ridge and followed a path along its west side to the top of Rosaspata. Passing some ruins much overgrown and of a primitive character, I soon found myself on a pleasant pampa near the top of the mountain. The view from here commands “a great part of the province of Uilcapampa.” It is remarkably extensive on all sides; to the north and south are snow-capped mountains, to the east and west, deep verdure-clad valleys.
Furthermore, on the north side of the pampa is an extensive level space with a very sumptuous and majestic building “erected with great skill and art, all the lintels of the doors, the principal as well as the ordinary ones,” being of white granite elaborately cut. At last we had found a place which seemed to meet most of the requirements of Ocampo’s description of the “fortress of Pitcos.” To be sure it was not of “marble,” and the lintels of the doors were not “carved,” in our sense of the word. They were, however, beautifully finished, as may be seen from the illustrations, and the white granite might easily pass for marble. If only we could find in this vicinity that Temple of the Sun which Calancha said was “near” Uiticos, all doubts would be at an end.
That night we stayed at Tincochaca, in the hut of an Indian friend of Mogrovejo. As usual we made inquiries. Imagine our feelings when in response to the oft-repeated question he said that in a neighboring valley there was a great white rock over a spring of water! If his story should prove to be true our quest for Uiticos was over. It behooved us to make a very careful study of what we had found.
1 Mr. Safford says in his article on the “Identity of Cohoba” (Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences, Sept. 19, 1916): “The most remarkable fact connected with Piptadenia peregrina, or ‘tree-tobacco’ is that... the source of its intoxicating properties still remains unknown.” One of the bifurcated tubes, “in the first stages of manufacture,” was found at Machu Picchu.
2 See the illustrations in Chapters XVII and XVIII.
3 Since the historical Uilcapampa is not geographically identical with the modern Vilcabamba, the name applied to this river and the old Spanish town at its source, I shall distinguish between the two by using the correct, official spelling for the river and town, viz., Vilcabamba; and the phonetic spelling, Uilcapampa, for the place referred to in the contemporary histories of the Inca Manco.