Proyecto Arqueológico Reducciones Toledanas Yauyos

About the project

PARTY: Proyecto Arqueológico Reducciones Toledanas Yauyos (Toledan Reducciones Yauyos Archaeological Project) Research area.

Using the concept of landesque capital the cumulative investments of labor on durable improvements to the land and its continued maintenance this research examines how a traditional colonized community responded to forced changes in their traditional settlement pattern. First required to abandon a long-occupied homeland the group was resettled in centralized villages. However, following resettlement in some cases group members reclaimed traditional areas. This research examines in detail both the abandonment and reclamation process. It asks, what are the spatial and temporal patterns of the abandonment of some irrigation and field systems (and not others), and what are the spatial and temporal patterns of those that were later reclaimed.

The team will use a pedestrian archaeological survey and satellite remote sensing image analysis to investigate the construction, maintenance, abandonment, and reclamation of agricultural field and irrigation systems. These methods provide a unique opportunity to scale up beyond locality-level case studies toward regional scale analysis. The research complements traditional analyses of colonial written sources through a spatially-integrated archaeological, remote sensing, and ethnohistorical approach, which will, in turn, enable locality- to regional-perspectives on colonial mass resettlement. Ultimately, this research will enable a clearer understanding of both the traumas caused by forced resettlement and the varied forms of resilience of communities, as they forged new relationships to their built agricultural landscapes. PARTY will have as its main operation center the town of Tupicocha, located between the Rimacand Lurin valleys: The full extent of my research area is in the upper section of the Lurín Valley in Huarochirí (500 sq. km). This area has been the focus of perhaps the highest density of ethnographic and ethnohistorical research in the Andean region (e.g., de Avila and Taylor 2008; Salomon 1990; Salomon 2002; Spalding 1984; Spalding 2003) over the last four decades and there is ample baseline information about its colonial past. Recent archaeological research in the area (Chase 2016; Hernández, et al. 2012) yielded highly relevant data for a significant portion of my study region, especially with regard to relationships between the Inkas and local populations during the terminal pre-Hispanic period.

PARTY has had a preliminary research season during the summer of 2017 with a grant from Tinker Field Research Travel Award. Center for Latin American Studies, Vanderbilt University. An additional field season, finances with a grant from NSF has been delayed due to COVID-19.

Preliminary Field Season 2017 - Tupicocha

During the execution of my project, I spend 3 weeks doing archival research in Lima and another 3 weeks in THE Tupicocha district in Huarochirí. The main objective was to establish a baseline of data for my dissertation research and to get field data that I can then use to write a better-informed research proposal.

Archival Research

I spent three weeks doing research at the Archbishopric Archive in Lima (AAL), from late June to early July. This archive holds documents from the sixteenth century to present day containing church records from the Lima diocese. Priests were the first ones to explore remote areas in the conquered territories and they were also in charge of collecting tributes that then went to the crown. As the main mission of the conquest, as seen by the Spaniards, was the evangelization of the indigenous people (Maccormack 1991; Stern 1993), the archives hold important documents detailing the work of priest, reports, census, legal complaints involving idolatry and mistreatment of Indians and administrative issues. I reviewed 10 different indexes (Curatos, visitas pastorales, diezmos, derechos parroquiales, hechicerías e idolatrías, estadística, inmunidad, dominicos, capítulos and misceláneos).

In the end, I took note of 50 different documents related to church issues in Huarochirí. These documents range from the sixteenth century to the late nineteenth century. Most of the documents were accounts about tribute payments and priest assignments. From the 50 documents, I photographed 19 documents consisting of 677 pages in total. The most important document that I found is an account about a possible redefinition of the boundaries of the doctrines of San Damian and Sisicaya and the necessity of having one priest in each town from the doctrines. This document shows the first discussions about redrawing the boundaries of already established towns and doctrines in order to better serve the “spiritual needs of the indians”. It also describes how the Spaniards understood and moved through the Huarochiri landscape. Carla Hernandez, a college from the anthropology department and Vanderbilt, has already transcribed, translated, and mapped this 12-page document.

Field Research

I spent over 3 weeks doing field research in Tupicocha district in Huarochirí. I visited the area as soon as I arrived in Peru in mid-June, and then I came back to the town at the end of my stay in July. I decided to stay in Tupicocha as my based point because of the facilities that the district had and the good relationships I established with the community.

My field research can be divided into three different fronts, I performed an archaeological recognizance and ground truth archaeological features, I flight a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) with Dr. Steven Wernke to get aerial imagery and I established relationships with the Tupicocha community.

Archaeological Recognizance

As a preliminary field season of the PARTY (Proyecto Arqueológico Reducciones Toledanas Yauyos) I performed an archaeological recognizance in the area around Tupicocha and Santiago de Tuna districts. My objective was to get familiar with the area, identified possible abandoned terraces and ground truth recognizable agricultural infrastructure previously identified on a satellite image. Before my departure, I analyzed high-resolution satellite imagery and through a series of analyses, I identified elements on the terrain that could be considered of anthropogenic origin (structures, agricultural terraces, and roads) (Oré and Chase 2017). Using an iPad and a GISpro software I was able to contrast my findings with the actual elements of the terrain. This ground truth process was very useful to adjust my method since my findings showed that most of my identified elements were actually natural features as natural rock formations and small morphological anomalies of the terrain. Another issue with the ground truth was the horizontal accuracy of the image, the process of going to the field allowed me to establish the kind of error my image had (over 300 m). This will inform my next image analysis and be prepared to fix that issue for the next field season. In general, the ground truth showed me where my method needs to be adjusted, and the direct observation of the different features was very useful to confirm the presence of accurate findings like stone walls that usually are part of archaeological sites.

Going to the field also allowed me to get more familiar with the landscape of the area. I visit several archaeological sites and areas of abandoned agricultural terraces. I took pictures and notes describing the area and its mains characteristics as extension, and configuration. I was able to really understand how the landscape was configured around natural features and how these large areas were transformed into a productive landscape and how it was used nowadays.

Aerial Imagery Recognition

With equipment brought by Dr. Wernke, we were able to fly a UAV over a large area full of abandoned terraces. Dr. Wernke flew a UAV with a mounted multispectral camera, another mounted with a thermal camera, and finally another one with a normal camera. The objective was to get high-resolution multispectral imagery to contrast with the satellite imagery I already had. Flying over a high-altitude area with extra weight (the multispectral and thermal camera) was a challenge, but in the end, the results were great. We did 5 multispectral flights over Huachipucro, 4 RGB flights over the same area, and 1 thermal flight over an area north of the town of Tupicocha.

Community Relations

I visit Tupicocha at two different times, in mid-June, and then in July. During my first visit, I went to the town with Dr. Zach Chase, an archaeologist that worked in the neighboring town for several years, and knew the area and the town dynamics. During this first visit, we introduce our self to some member of the community and to the municipal authorities. During my second visit, I had the opportunity to meet more people and to talk to them about the agricultural changes that happened in the area during the last century. I got information about present land use, past land use and water, toponyms, community traditions and, even images from archaeological findings during the main plaza renovations. I got to talk with the president of the “Comunidad Campesina de Andres de Tupicocha” David Rojas, and then with several other members, including a former mayor Roy Vilcayauri. On Saturday, July 22 I went to the community meeting and got introduced to the entire community members, and got the chance to present my project. I was very lucky that the community took me in and liked my project.

Agricultural Infrastructure detection: multispectral analysis of PeruSAT-1 imagery, Huarochirí, Peru

Using high-resolution multispectral images from PeruSAT-1 I am creating a workflow suitable to identify agricultural infrastructure (terraces) disperse in the landscape. I am using stone walls marking the boundaries between agricultural plots as proxy for agricultural terraces. The goal of this analysis is to set the based methodology for feature detection and classification using multispectral data.

"The paper will discuss the effectiveness of analyzing a sequentially reduced area on high-resolution (HR) multispectral satellite imagery (MSI) to detect and map archaeological agricultural infrastructure in the central highland Andes of Peru. The use of satellite imagery is not new for archaeology. Its application has move from visual inspection of coarse resolution panchromatic imagery to multispectral and hyperspectral HR data analysis for pattern detection CITATIONS. HR MSI analysis can be a computational challenge in terms of hardware, and also it requires advanced remote sensing and specialized software skills to get desirable results for archaeology. A solution to reduced computational requirements and to be able to use accessible software is to work sequentially and progressively eliminate areas on a multispectral scene that are not of concern to our research. I am presenting a transferable workflow for detecting architectural elements of terraces and agricultural fields located over an entire section of the upper Lurin valley, between 1250 to 4750 m.a.s.l in the rough Andean terrain."

[taken from unpublished paper manuscript ].

Presentations and publications derived from this research

Reasentamientos coloniales y reclamación de espacios agrícolas en Huarochirí (colonial Resetlements and reclamation of Agricultural spaces in Huarochirí).

Mediante el uso de imágenes satelitales multiespectrales de PerúSAT-1, Gabriela Oré viene identificando áreas agrícolas y terrazas, con el fin de establecer relaciones espaciales entre los campos agrícolas y los asentamientos de la época.

La administración virreinal de Toledo, en 1570, forzó a las poblaciones locales a concentrarse en nuevos pueblos que reflejaran el estado colonial, alejados de sus huacas. Con el pasar de las décadas las mismas comunidades andinas fundan nuevos pueblos al estilo de las reducciones Toledanas en áreas cercanas a sus tierras ancestrales en un proceso de reclamación de sus tierras agrícolas.