10/9/16

Saywite,Peru


Sayhuite (Saywite) is an archaeological site 47 kilometers (29 mi) east of the city Abancay, about 3 hours away from the city of Cusco, in the province Abancay in the region Apurímac in Peru. The site is regarded as a center of religious worship for Inca people, focusing on water. In the Monuments of the Inca by John Hemming, Hemming points to a colonial narrative that describes the interior of the Sayhuite temple. The temple featured larger columns draped in fabrics with gold bands the "thickness of one's hand." The temple was also under the care of the priestess Asarpay who jumped to her death in the nearby 400 meter gorge to avoid capture by Spanish forces.


An important feature on the site is the Sayhuite monolith, an enormous rock containing more than 200 geometric and zoomorphic  figures such as reptiles, frogs, and felines. Found at the top of a hill named Concacha, the stone was sculpted into the likeness of a topographical hydraulic model, complete with terraces, ponds, rivers, tunnels, and irrigation channels. The functions or purposes of this mysterious relic are not known, but researcher Dr. Arlan Andrews, Sr., believes that this monolith was used as a scale model to design, develop, test, and document the properties of water flow for public water projects, and to instruct ancient engineers and technicians in the concepts and practices of the craft. The rock was "edited" several times with new material, either altering the paths of the water or adding new paths altogether. About two meters long, and four meters wide, this monolith is the most popular attraction on the archaeological site.


While the creators of this monolith remain a mystery, it is significant as it provides archaeologists insight into the culture of past peoples. Through further analysis, archaeologists have determined that the Sayhuite site was a religious center for the Incan people. It is most likely that these people held rituals and ceremonies for the general worship of water at this site. The monolith is an important factor in this discovery, as it depicts a water-like flow between the carvings. It is also speculated, by modern-day engineers, that the monolith is a depiction of the irrigation system present within the culture of the Incan people. While the precise meaning of this stone remains unsolved, its importance will always stay the same. The monolith is a part of the material culture of the Incan people, and helps archaeologists piece together how they lived and why they lived this way. Understanding the Incan culture from an archaeological perspective aids in archaeologists applying this knowledge to similar civilizations and finding links between ancient cultures, conducive with high-range theory of archaeological thought.
















































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