Trove of bronze and copper artefacts reveals facts of the Inca invasion

A trove of artefacts including bronze jewellery, stone tools and intact pottery left by the Colla people at the hill fort of Ayawiri in Peru around 1450 AD shows how fast the Inca invasion must have been that resulted in such sudden abandonment of the site.

Excavation of a stone house in Ayawiri (by Elizabeth Arkush)

In the early 15th century the site of Ayawiri was a large town in the southern central Andes of a thousand or so inhabitants, located on top of a steep, flat-topped hill, surrounded by grassy plains. Excavations at the site revealed it was abandoned in a sudden rush when the Incas invaded, forcing the local Colla people to leave their precious belongings. Bronze jewellery, metal tools, and intact pottery were all left in the site’s round stone houses, buried in less than 30 centimetres of soil.

Fort of Ayawiri in Peru (by Elizabeth Arkush)

Among the artefacts are many copper and bronze personal objects such as jewellery, pins, rings, pieces of bracelets, and little clasps that would have hung on people’s clothing. Other finds consist of valuable ceramics and stone tools. According to archaeologists, finding such a rich collection of metal objects is relatively rare in abandoned settlements.

Bronze ring found at Ayawiri (by Elizabeth Arkush)

Moreover artefacts such as usable pots and stone tools and axes probably weren’t worth as much as metal but they were still useful when leaving the houses in a more calm circumstances. Some houses of the town that were of high status but had very few objects left in them. Others had many valuables left, indicating they knew only hours in advance. Archaeologists also see a changing pattern of settlements in the region in this period as people began living out in countryside in smaller settlements than they used to live in.

Bronze chisel left by Colla people(by Elizabeth Arkush)

(after International Business Times & Elizabeth Arkush)

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