The Ministry of Culture of Peru announced that the specialized personnel of the Qhapaq Ñan Project – National Headquarters has identified two Inca quarries, along with their respective workshops, located in the hills of Quilmaná and Cerro Quinta Freno in the province of Cañete, Lima region.
From these quarries, blocks would have been supplied for the construction of walls in the imperial Inca style at sites like El Huarco in Cerro Azul and Vilcahuasi in San Luis de Cañete.
This is the first and only Inca ashlar quarry on the Peruvian coast. The impact is noteworthy in Peruvian archaeology and the local history of Cañete.
The investigations conducted so far have also discovered an entire network of roads and trails related to the production and mobility of carved stone blocks, associated with fragments of Inca ceramics, reflecting the importance of this production center for the Inca State in the 16th century.
The significance of this discovery lies in the fact that, until now, these quarries are the only ones identified along the entire Peruvian coast, at least for the final stage of the Tawantinsuyu, and they could supply this select material to other Inca settlements, such as Pachacamac to the north and La Centinela de Chincha to the south.
The discovery of this Inca road network and quarries in Cerro Quilmaná and Cerro Quinta Freno in Cañete offers valuable research opportunities that will allow understanding, studying, and explaining the entire process related to the technology applied by Inca master quarrymen for the extraction, carving, and polishing of the lithic blocks used in various imperial works.
It will also recognize the importance of roads as structures for transportation, facilitating the movement of this material to different Inca settlements located in coastal territories.
These ongoing investigations would account for what would be an Inca quarry production center, where lithic blocks carved in the imperial Inca style were extracted, processed, and distributed to various settlements on the Peruvian coast during the Tahuantinsuyo and even in the early colonial period.
Although the studies are still in progress, it is likely that these blocks were transported from Cañete to Paredones de Nasca on the Peruvian coast, over 300 km away, through the Inca road known as the “Camino de los Llanos”.
Once protected and valued, a visit route can be initiated, at least to one of the two quarries. It will add value to the tourist offerings in the areas of Quilmaná and Asia, as well as in Cañete.
To achieve this, collaboration with local governments will be carried out in the management of cultural resources in their area.
These efforts are being carried out within the framework of the “Archaeological Research Project without Excavations of the Inca Roads and Quarries of Cerro Quilmaná,” approved by Directorial Resolution No. 000390-2023-DCIA/MC, managed by the Qhapaq Ñan Project – National Headquarters of the Ministry of Culture. The project’s objective is to understand the importance of the Inca road system in the districts of Quilmaná, Coayllo, Asia, and Cerro Azul in the province of Cañete, Lima region.
For the year 2024, two archaeological research projects have already been scheduled for the indicated quarries, aiming to expand studies and implement their respective protection and valorization.
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