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Article contents

The context and meaning of an intact Inca underwater offering from Lake Titicaca

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 August 2020

Christophe Delaere*
Affiliation:
Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology, University of Oxford, UK Centre de Recherches en Archéologie et Patrimoine, Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
José M. Capriles
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, The Pennsylvania State University, USA Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas y Arqueológicas, Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, Bolivia
*
*Author for correspondence: ✉ delaerechristophe@gmail.com

Abstract

As the Inca Empire expanded across the South American Andes during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries AD, Lake Titicaca became its mythical place of origin and the location of a pilgrimage complex on the Island of the Sun. This complex included an underwater reef where stone boxes containing miniature figurines of gold, silver and shell were submerged as ritual offerings. This article reports a newly discovered stone offering box from a reef close to the lake's north-eastern shore. The location, content and broader socio-cultural context of Inca sacrifices are examined to illuminate the religious and social meaning of underwater ritual offerings at Lake Titicaca.

Type
Research Article
Information
Antiquity , Volume 94 , Issue 376 , August 2020 , pp. 1030 - 1041
Copyright
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd, 2020

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