Monday, November 21, 2005

Web site

This isn’t perfectly organized, but here are some rough
notes on what I’m thinking about including in the web site we will eventually
make for the Akapana:


  • intro/background/history/significance of akapana and the
    people visiting it (text, photos)

  • talk specifically about details of the solstice, the
    alignment of akapana with the sun, any other natural phenomena

  • what akapana supposedly looked like back in the day

  • demonstration of the double walls and also demonstration
    that the walls have shifted slightly by nature (or maybe people)

  • 3D model

  • talk about the complicated waterways that are supposedly
    built into Akapana, and/or show what it would look like in the rain

  • “people" the akapana; this will require some research to
    figure out what the various hypotheses are as to what the Akapana was built

  • if we can, show the night sky over the Akapana and point
    out any celestial bodies (stars, planets, etc) that align with features. not
    sure if we can pull that off. leonardo benitez of penn talks about some of
    that stuff with relation to the semi-subteranean temple and the kalasasya


Also, below are some useful lecture notes about the Akapana
from the web site of archeologist Bruce Owen (
My understanding is that he’s never done work on the Akapana himself, so this is
aggregated information from secondary sources:


Akapana "pyramid" mound

  • around 200 m (about 650 feet) square

    • complex stepped shape in plan

  • almost 17 m (55 feet) high

  • stone-faced terraces with "H type" masonry

    • huge sandstone and andesite blocks, very well shaped

  • some tennoned heads have been found in the debris of the
    upper sides, but none in place

  • probably had a sunken court on top

    • although most of the evidence destroyed by massive
      looter's hole

  • and rooms around it with cut stone wall bases (possibly
    adobe upper walls), stone thresholds, and some flat, cut stone paving

    • some food garbage (potatoes quinao, maize), but no
      signs of cooking

    • lots of sherds of plain and decorated serving wares

    • residences of people who were supplied with prepared

    • places where people were served ritually charged

  • internal drains and openings in the terraces

    • built of large cut stones, wildly over-engineered

    • drained the top of the Akapana, probably the sunken

    • the drains run to cut-stone spouts in the terrace
      retaining walls, which would have gushed water onto the paved top surface of
      the terrace below

    • these have drains that in turn flow out from the next
      lower terrace face

    • so during a rain (or after, if the drains could be
      closed and opened by operators at the top), the Akapana mound would spout
      water from step to step

  • Stairways probably at various places

    • at the foot of one was found a "chachapuma" sculpture
      showing a feline holding a trophy head

    • and its pedestal that would have put it at eye level

    • probably one on either side of the bottom of the

  • dedicatory (?) offerings

    • "kero smash" at foot of one of the terraces

    • numerous dismembered adult male corpses

    • not clear whether these represent one big offering
      event, or a series of events repeated over time

  • Use of the Akapana

    • water/rain/fertility/agriculture ceremonies?

    • ceremonies involving trophy heads, human and animal

    • ritual feasting, drinking from decorated keros?


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