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Glossary of Inca, Quechua words

a b c d e f g h i j k l m
n o p q r s t u v w x y z

abra – referenced to according to the location of Cumu Huillca near Andahuaylas. Von Hagen

accha – chichi with 6 – 8% alcohol. Von Hagen

acllas - acclas, aklya. women dedicated to the Sapa Inca. Thomson. Chosen virgins selected at age 20. Multiple classes - beautiful, served specific shrines and services, older weaved and made clothes, 40+ worked fields or seamstress, some musicians, some concubines from nobile families - made Inca's clothing and chicha and food. Poma

acsu - longer tunic, worn by the women. Alva

adze - tool, sometimes given as dowry. Poma

aji - peruvian hot pepper. An abundance was used in the purucaya death ritual. Fasting required avoiding aji. Niles

aimarana - dance performed going to fields. Poma

alcaldes - low ranking official who represents a small village or tribal group, carry silver mounted staff. Bingham

aliso - wood used for construction, found at Quispiguanca and Ollantaytambo. Cobo, Betanzos, Protzen

andenes – referenced to about 4 stones laid andenes with 3 crescent shaped buildings. At Curamba. Von Hagen

Anta Incas - administer of the roads. Poma

aqllawasi – housed the chosen women. A Von Hagen

amaru - A double headed serpent dragon. Steele. Snake. Gullberg

amautus or amauta-cuna. wise men, taught knowledge (philosophy) and religion, taught the royal offspring in military at Yacha huasi. Hyams. Storytellers of Incan history, myths, and battles using song and dance. Steele

anca – eagle. An omen happened before Huayna Capac’s death. An eagle was chased over Cuzco by 6 hawks, huaman. He landed at the main square, despite his care he later died. This was seen as a predicition of the end of the Incas. Hyams

antara - pan pipes made of bamboo tubes or ceramic. It dates to early prehistory. Also called zampona and siku. The zampona has two bundles of tubes, each with it’s own set of notes and played by two people. Frost

anti - see punchao. East. Gullberg

anticuchos - beef hearts. Thomson

apachetas - apachita, cotorayaq rumi. Burden depositor. On crossing a pass, one places a rock on a small pile of rocks. Von Hagen. apachitas - roadside shrines. Poma . Pre-Inca in origin. Sometimes these were piles of rocks, sometimes these well constructed monuments. These provided points of access to Apu it honored. Dean image1, image2. One of the largest apecheta is Apacheta Ingañan, 1.5m tall and 4m wide. It is E of the mountain, Cañar-Azuay, in Ecuador along the Inca Road. Dean. Other echo stones include Chachapoya Callacalla, Parinacocha Sarasara, Socaire Chilique.

aporucos - old or retired male alpcas, used in animal sacrifices. Burger

Apucama – council of 4 in Cuzco who appointed cucuricuc. Each member responsible for a suyu. Hyams

aravi - and taqui, songs of happiness. Poma

aryballo - vessel for carrying liquids. It had a pointed bottom and was carried on the back with a band around the head. Alva photo

auasca - thick cloth woven by girls for nobility. Poma

aucacamayoc - "men of war", men 25 - 50, general term for men serving as soldiers or agriculture or miners. Poma

awasca - woven material of cotton or alpaca wool. Alva

awka kamayuq - warriors conscripted from different places. MacQuarrie

aya - term given to embalmed bodies. Poma

Aya-huasca – divination hallucinogen from Antis, upper Amazon jungles. Von Hagen

ayllu – group of 10 purics. Hyams

Ayamaran - dance performed during community sowing during month of Chacra Yapuy Quilla, calendar. Poma

ayni - the give and take in a relationship, like helping plow another's field. Steele

ayrihua - April. 15 llamas sacrificed to honor the first llama on earth. MacQuarrie

Ayuscay - when a child is born. Steele

azequias - water courses built of stone. Burger


boleadora - 3 stones tied together, thrown around enemies legs to trip them. Alva

cachiva - Chanca song. Poma

camay - To generate life force. This can "animate immaterial objects." This was most often found as water running near carved rocks, either as a river or a channel. Huacas with carved channels include Vilcashuaman, Qenco, Saihuite. Zawaski

camayoc- camac. maker, specialized talent. Steele

Camay Quilla - lunar month of January/February. Steele

Camachicoc Apocuna - Incan high council to the king. Alva

camellones - raised fields surrounded by water. Used to increase yields at L Titicaca. Hyslop. photo

cancha - see kancha.

cañihua - a species of pigweed, has small grayish seeds. Bingham

cantares - see haravec.

capac - supreme or powerful. Poma. Royal. Gullberg

capachucha - human, child, sacrifice. Person walks in a straight line over uneven ground toward mtn peak - Inca & Nazca. See ceque in religion. Steele . All empire sacrificial cycle, child sacrifice. A Von Hagen

Capac Apo Inca - title of ruler, a legitimate son of ruler. Election is confirmed by ritual in Temple of the Sun.

caracas - karakas. Local leaders. They governed and provided safety between heaven and Earth. The people would take care of their land and we're supported with food and drink by the leader as well as during festivals. The leaders were also held accountable for natural disasters. This began around 0 AD. Moseley

caruaymita - end of the growing season. Steele

castellanos – one-sixth of oz of gold (4.55g)

Cay Pacha - This world, surface, where people live. Steele

ccaca - caca. "craggy rock," boulder, "large free-standing rock," crag. Santo Tomas

ceques – siq'i. sight lines of holy sites – huacas – radiating out from the Sun Temple . 41 or 42. 328 huacas – shrines of both natural and man-made features: outcrops, springs, caves, houses, fountains, canals. A Von Hagen. Ceqque, zeque, raya. Bauer. Map of Cusco ceques.

chaca - bridge.
Von Hagen

chaca camayoc - Incan official responsible for a bridge. photo. Alva photo

chacnac - whipping used to torture before being killed. MacQuarrie

chacras - little farms away from home. Bingham

chacra-yoc - see huanca.

chakitakylla - foot plow. Yanaoca, southern highlands, photo. A von Hagen.

chakras - cultivated field. Lee

ch'ampa - sod blocks used in the construction of houses. This is found in Oruro, Bolivia. Gasparini

chambi - battle ax used to smash heads of remaining prisoners. MacQuarrie

chaquira – gold and silver beads used by Chimu for clothing decoration. Von Hagen

charango - combination of mandolin and bandurria, often made from an armadillo shell. Frost

chasqui - runners.
Tambos were posted every 1.5 miles along the roads, at each post a new runner would go, thus messages were able to travel very far, very fast. A message could travel from
Quito to Cuzco , 1250mi, in 5 days in altitude of 6,000 - 17,000ft - 246mi/day. It’s said the Inca had fresh fish from the coast daily - 130mi. Von Hagen. Messenger runners. Wore "sun-bonnet of white feathers" so to be seen from a distance. Shell trumpets were used to notify their approach. Armed with cudgel and sling. Another group called "higher messengers" carried heavy loads for a full day. Poma

chicha -aqha. fremented maize drink. Dean. Corn is chewed by women, often by Chosen Women. It is left to ferment and served often at festivals or given as an offering to the sacred.

chicharrones - deep fried pork. Thomson

chinquin-pillacao - see usnu. Balboa

chonta - hard palm wood found in the Vilcabamba. MacQuarrie

choque - “gold in its natural state.” Frost

chugana – Inca seat carved of a single block of stone. Von Hagen photo

chullpa - chulpa. Burial tower, common around Titicaca L. The photo is at Sillustani near Puno. Hemming / Raney photo

chumbis - sash. Steele

chunca-camayoc – head of an allyu. Could judge misdemeanors. Hyams

chuno - potoato flour. Hemming

chunga - ten. Poma

cicllallay - flower of Chinchircoma, sung about in huaca. Poma

coca - photo, A von Hagen. "Chew thoroughly for a few minutes and then give it another chew occassionally." Dissolves in mouth - gives tingle, buzz, "clear headedness." "Chew until it's almost mush then stick between cheek and gum." Fights altitude sickness. Adams. Contains 14 alkaloids, vitamins A & E, iron, potassium, calcium, sodium. It maintains blood sugar levels when protein is low. It also regulates heart rate in change of altitude. Stimulant. Dulls appetite. Not addictive, no high. Llibta -” lime-rich substance that activates the alkaloids.” Frost. Originally only used by the Incas. With the conquest it quickly spread in use to everyone. It was often used local rituals and religions. It became a focus of destruction by catholic priests. Encomenderos forced highland natives to work the jungle plantations, leaving workers dead from malnutrition and disease. Hemming

colcas - storage building for goods. Built outside towns in a high dry area, near a royal road. Many small bildings, spaced to protect against fire. Often are still in good condition. Hemming. They were over designed and overly visible. It displayed to the Incas' subjects that they were being taken care of and could support them in times of challenging harvests. Moseley

Collca - Pleiades. When studying its appearence, June 9 - if fuzy or faint then little rain in 4 months. If bright and sharp then lots of rain and good harvest. A prediction of El Nino. First visible June 9 at dawn. End of April, invisible for 3 days. Happens quickly, that's why markers were used.

compi - fine wool and cotton. Steele

copos - pin used by women with their clothes. Often gold. Hemming

cori - gold. Tears wept by the sun.

coya - queen, wife-sister of Inca.

Coya-rayni – August festival where the Incas raced to Quiquijahan from Cuzco and bathed in the river. Von Hagen

crisjejas – hanging bridge. Von Hagen

cuculas - wood pigeons, found outside Choquequirao. Thomson

cucuricuc – governor of a suyu. Hyams

cuichu - rainbow. Revered as a god, a chamber was kept at the Coricancha. Hemming

cumbi – clothes. A Von Hagen. Fine cloth for royalty used brightly died fibers, patterns used were possible pictographic or phonetic. Alva

cuna - see kuna.

cunbe - delicate cloth woven by girls for nobility. Poma

cunti - sunset.. One of 3 positions of the sun: punchao - dawn, inti - noon, cunti - sunset. Hemming. West. Gullberg

- the caciques, rulers of conquered nations, order of nobility, seconded the Incas, a local authority.

curi – gold. Von Hagen

cuy - guinea pig. Domesticated and specialty dish in Peru. photo . Cuy in the Last Supper, photo.

cuyus-manco - a royal palace. Guaman Poma


duho - low stool. MacQuarrie

fardos - mummy bundles. Alva

guarachicui – puberty ceremony, age 14. guara – garment. Putting on of the garment. Worn by all adult Incas. He’s then given his adult name and usutas, sandals made for the occasion. Hyams

- people shipped in from other areas to do a job. Thomson

hailli - ceremonial song, sung on the first day of sowing. It linked war to agriculture. Steele

Hana Pacha - sky or celestial world. Steele

hanan - upper moiety, considered higher class. Called alasaa in Ayamaran. Gasparini

haqaru - the Ayamara language. Gasparini

harahuicus - poets of Incan history, myths, and battles using song and dance. Steele

haravec - songs of an Inca's life events, sung typically at death. Also called cantares. Burger

haravec-cuna – Inca teachers of  literature and history at Yacha huasi. Hyams

hatun - great, large. Gullberg

hatunkancha – palace. A Von Hagen

hatun pucuy - February. great ripening. MacQuarrie

hauman – hawk. Hyams (Vilcas-huaman, temple of the hawk)

Haylli - triumphant song to ensure good harvest. Poma. haylli aravi - victory song, war or harvest sung by girls accompanied by boys on flute. Poma

hornacinas - full length niche. Burger

huaca - wak'a, guaca. shrine, usually a natural phenomenon. A cave, outcrop of rock, spring, cliffs, peaks. Often spoke. Often carved with shapes related to them. Nonrepresentational - show the presence of man with depicting him, usually as seats or niches. Cuzco had 300 spiralling out on ceque lines. Cared for by the local people. Hemming

huacanqui - object used in love spell, maybe small bird. Poma

huachuas – Andean snow geese. Von Hagen

huairona - 3 walled room. Burger

huaman - falcon. Gullberg

huanca - wanca, wank'a, guanca. Where an ancestor was transformed into a natural feature: rock or crag. Also called chacra-yoc: field protector. Marca-yoc: town protector. Steele. huanca - dance perfomed on returning from fields. Poma. Typically it's a stone placed vertically and used as marker for property rights. This has been in practice since 3000 BC. Christie. Ideally the stone huanca is linked to an ancestor's mummy. It is thus like the huauque double of the Inca ruler. The huanca facilitated male issues of war, protection, territory, and drought. See mallqui for about the mummy ancestor. Dean

huancar - Inca drums. Alva

huauque - wawqi. Effegy. Hemming. A person's double. The Sapa Inca had a rock that was his brother or double. It represented the Sapa Inca. It was fed, clothed, housed, and ruled the state. It also owned land and had servants. Dean

- treasure hunters.

huara - loin cloth. Alva. Hemming

huaraca - sling shot photo. Alva

- Inca heirs, at the age of 16 were tested before joining “the order of chivalry” in warrior skills - wrestling, boxing, long distance running, fasts, combat, poor living conditions for 30 days. Sapa Inca then titled them “children of the sun.” And pierced their ears, which were enlarged. They were given special sandles and their loins gird. Tasseled yellow fringe signified the heir-apparent. They then went out to the public square wearing a white shirt with something like an embroidered cross (p25 Garcilasso). He then went out and put his military education to use.

Huascar's Chain - made by Huyana Capac to celebrate the birth of his son, Huascar. 700ft long the links were the width of a man's wrist. Prescott

huaranga - huaranca. 1000 people in groups of 10 pachaca.Poma, Gullberg

huasi - house. Gullberg

huata - see intihuatana

huauco - song from Chinchasuyu, sung by girls. Poma

huauque - statuary double of the Inca ruler. Sinchi Roca - stone fish. Manco Capac - stone oracle, falcon called Indi, consulted by Mayta Capac. Pachacutic - lightning, made of gold. Steele. Totem. Gullberg

huayna - young. Gullberg

- traditional Quechua music.

huayra – smelter or wind oven. Built at Curamba, ovens faced NE where the winds came out of the Vilcabamba. Von Hagen. The wind. It lives in a cave in the high cold puna. Steele

huchuy - little. Gullberg

huilca - tree with medicinal properties and hypnotic - cohoba. Giving name to the area huilcapampa. First found at the foot of Machu Picchu. Bingham

huno - 10,000 people, 10 huaranca. Poma, Gullberg

huno-camayoc – head of 10,000 purics. Hyams

hurin - lower moiety of hana. Called masaa in Ayamara. Gasparini


ichu – tall grass grown on puna at high altitude. Von Hagen

illapa - term given to embalmed bodies of Inca rulers. Poma

Inca -
male descendents of Manco.

Incap ranti – “one who stands in for the Inca”. Title given to Atahuallpa, the viceroy of the north. Von Hagen. Viceroy of the Inca, spoke for Sapa Inca. Highly trusted, number 2 in command. Rode in gray litter. Position held by Huaman Poma's family. Poma

inquilcuna - blue flowers. Sinchi Roca's sister-wife, Chimbo Urma Coya, carried these. Poma

inti - noon. One of 3 positions of the sun: punchao - dawn, inti - noon, cunti - sunset. Hemming

intihuatana - "hitching post of the sun." Inti - sun. Huata as a noun means a year. As a verb means hitching post. Hemming. Intihuatanas are found at Machu Picchu: Intihuatana and Ceremonial Rock, Pisac, River Intihuatana, Tipon, and Rumihuasi at Saihuite. Gullberg

kallanka - large, single room building, typically with openings along one side. High gables sometimes made of adobe. One of the long sides will have multiple doorways to a plaza. The opposite side will have a series of niches or windows. Sometimes a short side will have a large opening to the building. They served as lodging for large groups traveling through. On holidays they served to facilitate the festival and provide shelter from rain. Gasparini. Here's the layout of kallankas of Vilcabamba, Vitcos, and Huanuco. Link.

- Inca housing sharing a courtyard, like a city block. A von Hagen. enclosure. In Cuzco, the cancha palaces had large enclosing walls surrounding buildings that opened to a courtyard. This style is common among farming communities. The incas only allowed canchas for caciques. Hemming. Each room was solo, no hallways connecting them. Did not used fixed doors, used "canes and wattle." No locking capability, doors are low and narrow. Cobo. Hemming. photo . Model of a cancha, photo. An excellent illustration example, photo. And a double cancha illustration example, photo.

k'aneri - woolen blankets. Gasparini

k' inu
- small pile of coca leaves offered to Pachamama. Steele

kenko - zig zag. Gullberg. Often used in divination.

kero - see qeros.

kukuchis - a soul that doesnt die properly because it's weighed down by sin and becomes a rotting monster and ends up stuck on the high glaciers. Steele

kuna - cuna. plura form, added to end of word. Bauer

kuraka – mayor of a town. A Von Hagen

league -
distance traveled in 1 hour.

llacta - town. Gullberg

llautu - the royal fringe worn around the forehead. Distingued him as the Sapa Inca. Steele . Fine headband worn by Inca nobles. MacQuarrie

llacolla - cloak for men. Alva

llamaya - shepherd song. Poma

llicllas - shawl. Steele . Cloak for women. Alva. Hemming

llimpi – worshipped gold. Von Hagen

llipta - lime used coca, created by burning grain. Poma


macarena - Place of origin for a group of people. Often a mythical ancestor who emerged from a cave, spring, or mountain top. Gullberg

macchini - to wash or rinse with a narrow mouthed pitcher. Bingham

machays - modified caves for burial. Burger

mallqui – mallki. ancestors, seedlings. A Von Hagen . Munao on the coast. Mummy of ayllus founding ancestor. Steele . Inca mummies. "Seeds." Mummies were seen as regenerating new life of crops. Christie. Mallqui were associated with female issues of fertility. See huanca for the male version. Dean. Ancestor bundles were planted in caves and under boulders. Dean

mamaconas - women dedicated to the Sapa Inca. Thomson. Ran the Virgins of the Sun. Prescott

mantos - tapestries, best made by Nazca and Paracas. Embroidered cloth in which Paracas mummies were wrapped. Alva

maranga-camayoc – head of 1000 purics. Hyams

marca - place or town.

marca-yoc - see huanca.

masca paicha - royal fringe. MacQuarrie

masmas - open sided buildings, used in warmer climates like MP - Temple of 3 Windows and Watchman's Hut and house near start of trial to Huayna Picchu. Hemming

maxno - a fiber for dyeing wool. Hemming

mayu – river. Von Hagen

michoc - judge, incan probably bastard or with physical handicap. Poma

minga - communal system of gardening for use by elderly. Poma

mita - providing labor for the state. Gullberg

mitimaes - Resttled colonists. Gullberg

mochaderos - Inca place of worship. Bingham

moiety - One of the two parts to make up a community. Gullberg. This was standard in Inca organization, but this was an ancient Peruvian system.

- jet-black corn used for making chicha. Thomson

mote - hominy

moya - garden or orchard, often at royal country estates. These gardens were used for relaxing and growing small specialty crops like aji peppers, peanuts, coca, cotton, and sweet potatoes. Niles

mucha - kiss. Bingham

muchay - paying reverence to the sun, like blowing a kiss. Lee

mullu - Spondylus shell, highly valued. Alva

munao - see mallqui.


El Niño - An extreme weather event. It prediction can be done by observing the heliacal rise of Pleiades in early June. Probably a very old system of prediction. Orlove/Gullberg

ñusta - princess. Hemming & Lee.

omo - sorcerer. MacQuarrie

orejones - Spaniards called the Incas this - large eared. It showedtheir rank.

ojotas - sandals. Hemming

paca pucuy - March. earth ripening. MacQuarrie

pacarina - spring. Burger

pacarina - place of origin in nature: cave, spring, tree, or crag. Steele

pacchas - and qeross. Drinking vessels. Steele . Waterfall. Gullberg

pacha - Earth. Gullberg. Time. Dean

pachaca - Group of 100 taxpayers. Poma, Gullberg

pachacuti - world change, extreme changes in space/time, time for a new era, transformation. Also used for the term, plowing. Steele

pachaca harauayo - farmer's song. Poma

pago - ritual specialists. Steele

paha-camayoc – head of 100 purics, lowest rank of curaca. Hyams

pakoyok - golden ear plugs worn by Incan nobles. MacQuarrie

pallas -

pampa - plain. Gullberg

panachas - royal families, 10. Zuidema. pankas – groups of noble descendants of dead kings. A Von Hagen . The family of a dead inca. Poma.

pantacachuno - infinity. Poma

paramo – wind swept plain

parihuanas – flamingo. A Von Hagen

pata - platform or terrace. Gullberg

pata-pata - a set of steps in the Inca Road

p’aqchas - zig zag channels often carved into outcroppings of rock like at Qenqo. Carried ceremonial chicha or sacrificial blood. Frost

phutu - small niches at chest height used domestically and in temples for storage and display. Hemming

picchu - moutain. Gullberg

pirca camayocs - stone masons, probably from the Titicaca area. Burger

pirka - pirca. mud like mortar with field stones. Alva

pisonay - tree, common in Cusco and Sacred Valley, in Sep/Oct it blooms “colors of flame and scarlet.” Frost

pomaranra - highway men, theives even at times of Incas. Poma

poporos - containers for holding lime for use with coca. Alva

porra - long wooden handle with a star shaped stone at the end, used to crack open heads. MacQuarrie

potuto – conch shell. Bored with a hole and blown, gives a full strong sound. Von Hagen

Pocoymita - beginning of the agricultural season. Steele

- fortress.
Usually built into the side of a mountain. Von Hagen

pucullo - vault where embalmed bodies were kept. Poma

pumahuacachi - makes the puma cry. To describe the trip from Yanama to Choquequirao. Frost

puna - high savannah. Gullberg

punchao - dawn. One of 3 positions of the sun: inti - noon, cunti - sunset. Hemming

pununa-pata - earthen platform inside a dwelling. This is where the family sleeps. It is about 30 cm raised and takes up about half the living space. P'atjati - in Aymaran. Gasparini

puric – head of hosehold of a family. Hyams

purucaya - ceremony to complete a time of mourning, began by Pachacuti's death. Deeds are declared and processions of wailing mamaconas was standard. Niles. It was a month long process which included 4 men being puppeted by 10 women each. In the main square, a ritual battle happened between Hanan and Hurin, sacrificing llamas, many public and many private rituals. Pachacuti's private purucaya probably happened at Qenco. Christie

pururaucas - stones that rose up to defeat the Chancas. The chief was named Subaraura and was in the Coricancha. Hemming

- the golden disc of the sun, used in ceremonies. Contained the dried hearts of the sapa incas. Thomson

puquio - springs where the amaru dwell. When it rains the spring swells and the amaru rises and crosses the sky. Steele

puruma - The second age in Aymara mythology. It has to do with mountain and its material - stone. Bouysee-Cassagne/Christie

pututu - trumpet made from a shell or clay. photo. Alva


qajya - incomplete. In reference to Inca Viracocha's palace, Caqua Xaquixahuana. Hemming

qaqa - caca, caka, ccaca. rock of importance, "a boulder, outcrop, or crag." Dean

qaqa qhawana - rocky observatory. In reference to Inca Viracocha's palace, Caqua Xaquixahuana. Hemming

qasa - pass. Bauer

qeros - and pacchas. Drinking vessels. Steele . Wooden cup used for religious drinking. Often depicted everyday life of Incas. Two types. 1. Beaker with flaring top. 2. carved form usually a human or feline head. Alva

Qhapq Hucha – the most holy feast. A Von Hagen

qhaqha - animal or person to survive a lightning strike. Steele

qillqa - decoration of an object. It could be "painting, engraving or embroidery." Dean

qori - “gold that has been worked by human hands.” Frost

Qoyllur Rit'i - an appearance of Christ at colonial time, veneration of sacred mountains and saints. Steele

quechua - “Runasimi” the people’s tongue. Frost

quena - flute, bamboo with 8 holes. Alva. Originally used a pentaonic scale. Used in Simon and Garfunkel’s El Condor Pasa. Frost

quilca - quechua for books and paper. Poma

quilla - moon, see gods. Steele. month. Gullberg

quinco-huasi - private apartments inside royal palace. Guaman Poma

quinoa - a high altitude grain, high in protein. Grows up to 14,000ft elevation. Several varieties. Bingham. Species of pigweed, drought and frost resistant. It has twice the protein of other grains, amino acids balance it like milk. Grows 5ft tall. Seed clusters are red, gold, or purple. It is made into flour (harina), flakes (hojuelas, and pearl (perladas). Frost photo

- “knot” threads with colored knots for numbering things.
Prescott . Wari invented. A Von Hagen. Tupac Cauri (Pachacuti VII) started writing on leaves. He sent ambassadors to the factions to stop their evil ways and idol worship. He was rejected. The writing was seen as insulting to the gods. So it was stopped and quipus were used. Montesinos, Bingham. He started a school for use of quipu. Bingham. uc - one. chunga - ten. pachaca - 100. huaranga - 1000. huno - 1 million. pantacachuno - infinity. Poma photo1, photo2

- oral history recorders. Thomson

quiwicha - andean grain, like quinoa. A von Hagen


racay - hall, shed. Gullberg

rapa - sacred figure of the llama. Steele

Raymi -
summer solstice. All Inca nobles gathered to celebrate. Three day fast before hand. Dressed in ornaments and jewels, caopies of feathers, shouts and songs burst out upon arrival of the first ray of sun. The proceed to Coricancha, sacrificed a llama and its entrails read for omens. A feast of dancing and drinking continued for several days.

rhea – raised by Incas near Cuzco for feathers, 3 toed, ostrich like. Von Hagen photo

rimac - oracle. Gullberg

rit’i - snow. ritti. Frost

rumo - food that did not require cooking. Hemming

rumi - rock. Dean

runasimi - the Quechua language. MacQuarrie

Rutuchico - when a child's hair is cut for the first time.

sapa inca - term for the king.

sara – maize, tassled corn. Von Hagen

sayapayac - "ready to obey commands" - category of age given to young men of 18 - 20. Poma

saycusca - sayk'uska, saicusca, saycuscca, piedras cansadas. Tired stones, quarried rocks that did not make it to the final desitination. Dean. The most famous is the Tired Stone just north of Sacsahuaman. There are other tired stones at Ollantaytambo and on the Inca Road to Quito. Roscoe. A saycusca marks the completion of a major building project. Guchte

sayhua - saywa, sayua, sayba. Marker. Gullberg. Boundary or territorial marker. Important sayhuas include Saihuite, Samaipata, and Ingapirca. Sayhua are certianly pre-Inca, but Topa Inca and sometimes Pachacuti are credited with establishing sayhua around the Inca landscape. Dean. There 4 sayhua marking the boundaries of Cusco: Collanasayba, Cascasayba, Aquarsayba, and Illansayba. Cobo/Dean. illustration1, illustration2

siku - see antara. Frost

sinchi - leaders of a tribe. Steele

sirwinakuy - first stage of marriage. Steele

sitwas - ritual cleansing. Once a year, all non-incas had to leave Cusco in early Sep. Frost

soroche – altitude sickness. Von Hagen

sucanas - solar observatories. 4 poles were erected on a high mtn E of Cuzco, 11ft apart. At the top of each was a hole. And where the sun struck the ground through the holes, marks were made on the ground. Used for knowing sewing and harvest time. All over the empire. Inside the ring was a string. When the shadow fell directly on it - they celebrated and said the sun was seated on the column. At sunrise the chanting started and continued until sunset. Hemming. Most important pillars marked the change in seasons, summer: Pucuysucanca; winter: Chiraosucanca.

suncasapa – bearded ones, what the Inca called the Spanish. Von Hagen

suncca - dog as large as Airedales, long haired used in shepherding. Cowardly - bark and slink away. Domesticated by Incas. Bingham

suntur-huasi - round house for lodging the Inca. Guaman Poma

suyu - territory of Tiahuanasuyu, there are 4.

suyuyoc - regional leader. Alva

surumpi – snow blindness. Von Hagen


Tahuantinsuyo - Tawantinsuyu. what the Incas called their kingdom, land of the four quarters. The kingdom was divided into 4 areas called suyus: Antisuyu (NE), Collasuyu (SE), Chinchasuyu (NW), Cuntisuyu (SW). "Four Parts Together." Dean

tacilla - plowing, digging stick. Steele

tambos -
see chasqui. Also called tampus, every 4 - 8 miles along road, a resting way station.

tapia – poured adobe mounds, mixture of small rock and adobe for Chimu building. A Von Hagen. Tapia is common coastal building technique of dumping adobe between planks which are raised as the wall is built. This is also seen at pre-Inca sites of Chongos, La Centinela, Huaca Alvarado, and Huaca Hoja Redonda. Maybe the buildings around the Ollantaytambo square maybe tapia built. Protzen

taqui - and aravi, songs of happiness. Poma. dance. Gullberg

Taqui Onqoy - Dancing sickness. Started in Ayacucho, a rebellion religion with ideas to restart huaca tradition. Steele

tarpuntaes - royal astronomers. They marked the sun’s position, followed the stars, marked solstices, equinoxes, eclipses. Frost

taruga - a rare llama type animal. Poma

taypi - "center or central space." Aymara. The first age. Bouysee-Cassagne / Christie

tiana - stone throne, often on usnu platform. Hemming

tikuy rikuqs - lookouts. Savoy

tinamou - “small partridge-like bird.” Frost

tinku - tinkuy, qhariwarmi, yanantin. Where opposites meet. The most common examples are the merging of important rivers. Or the merging of an natural rock outcrop and constructed wall. Dean. Opposites united - male / female. Nature / culture. Wild / civilization. Dean. Encounter. Annual, ritual battle at boundaries of neighboring towns. Steele. An agreeable place to meet. Example used for hanan and hurin or highlands and lowlands. Gasparini. An outcrop integrated into architecture is a symbol of the union of worlds: underworld and terrestrial worlds. Dean

tinya - small hand drum played by women. It contains for seeds and chilis inside for religious reasons. Frost

tiqsirumi - rock outcrops incorporated into walls of buildings or terraces, a symbol of the Inca union with nature. It also showed the Inca as belonging to the area even though they have newly arrived. Dean. Most intigrated outcrops were done during the reign of Pachaucti. Allen/Dean

tocapu - stepped geometric design. Original to Wari. Steele. Also used by Incans. Worn by Inca royalty on an unku. Burger photo

tocco - cave. Gullberg

tocricoc - position of rule over town or province. Poma

topo - parcel of land given to a man when he married. Alva

topos - large pins. Steele

topus - "mile markers" along the road at a distance of 1.5 Castilian leagues. About 4.5mi, Incas measured distance by pace like the Spanish. Von Hagen

tuc-ri-cuo - tukrikuk"he who sees all", ruler over 10,000 people. He lated stated the governor oversaw 200,000 people. Von Hagen

tumbaga - a common gold / copper alloy used in decoration. Alva

- ceremonial cutting knives. Thomson

tunki - cock-of-the-rock. Peru's national bird - bulbous orange head and black/white body. Adams

tupac-cusi - golden vases. Steele

tupus -
pin used by royalty to hold their clothes together. Thomson


uc - one. Poma

uitaca - jungle tree where bones of ancestors were kept. Poma

ullu – stone bridge. Von Hagen

ulluchu - an extinct fruit, enjoyed by the Moche. Found at Lord of Sipan. Alva

Uma Raymi - lunar month, October and November. Steele

unkus, uncu - high status tunics made of compi. Steele . Sleeveless tunic worn by Inca males. Alva. Hemming photo1, Miniture unku found at Pachacamac. photo2.

urco - hill. Gullberg

usnu - see ushnu.

ushnu – Usnu, chinquin pillaca. A great platform for viewing public performances (in plazas). A Von Hagen photo of the one at Vilcashuaman. Or a stone altar, often at a huaca. Hemming. The largest and most important usnus were called capac usnu. Sometimes designed as truncated pyramids, most notably along the Chinchasuyu road: Vilcashuaman as 5 levels, Abancay has 3 levels, Curampa has 2 levels, and Saywite and Tarahuasi have 1 level. Typically stairs lead to the top which is surrounded by short parapet. Lecoq. They symbolized mountains. Bastien. The earth absorbs rain, as the usnu has a central hole for accepting chicha and offerings, fertilizing crops. Zuidema/Lecoq. Pizarro put a cannon on the usnu in Cajamarca. It was fired to signal the attack on Atahualpa and led to his kidnapping. Hemming Ranney. Poma illustrated an usnu with the Inca seated on top with a canopy, photo.
Some usnus are positioned at the edge of the plaza. Nevados de Aconquija, Pachacamac, Tambo Colorado, Vilcashuaman. Maybe the usnu was aligned with a stone basin in the center of the plaza. Hyslop
There are several small usnus, 8x8m in Argentina and Chile, but none in Peru. Hyslop

usutas - sandals made for the public ceremony of guarachicui. Hyams . Hemming

vacolla - cloak. Hemming

vicuna – half llama size, finest known wool on chest. 2500 hairs/inch. 1 male / 15 herd. Males will fight for days. Von Hagen

Villac Vmu
- high priest title, usually a brother of the Inca, second only to the Inca.

vilca - sacred. Gullberg

viscacha - small rodent, kind of a cross between a squirrel and a rabbit. photo

viscera - gold statues, simulacra of the dead rulers were made at Ollantaytambo. Garcilaso

waka - see religion.

wanca - see huanca.

wankar - or bombo. “big side-drum.” provides bass line. Frost

wasi - house. Typically a commoners home, a single room building featuring the entire nuclear family. Gasparini

wichuñas - spindle whorls for spinning wool. Burger

Yacha-huasi – official Inca schools teaching quipus. 4 years of high quality education. 1 – Quechua. 2 – theology. 3 – quipu. 4 – quipu, math, geography. Built on 3 acres on the Huatanay R. Hyams

yanaphuyu - “dark cloud”. The black areas that cut across the Milky Way. These formed many animals - snake, toad, tinamou, mother llama with nursing baby underneath, and a fox. Best seen when the Milky Way is directly overhead and no lights. Urton, Frost

yancuna, yanacona – servant/slave of Inca nobles, started as a group who plotted against the heir. But eventually became honorable. They became close servants to the spanish. They rose in respect and comfort. They learned trade jobs needed by the spanish: smiths, cobblers, tailors, barbers… They remained loyal to the spanish during rebellions and provided valuable intel. Hemming

yunga - low land. Gullberg

yupana - a wooden box with square boxes. this was used as a counting device and used in relation with a khipu. Some see the stone carvings of small platforms as another yuapana device, like at Sacsahuaman Sabacurinca and Copacabana Intikala. Maybe these were used in counting offerings made. Christie. These seem to be similar to a modern game popular in Cusco area called Sapo where coins are tossed into holes and slide down to different boxes of different point values. Christie

yuyo - weeds, ate in times of desperation. Poma

zampona - see antara. Frost

zancu - maize dough, used to make small round loaves the size of an apple. Hemming


Potato Types
añu - kind of nasturtium with edible roots. Bingham

chuno - freeze dried potatoes. A von Hagen Ocongate in department of Cuzco, photo.

cumara - sweet potato, very similar in name to Polynesian sweet potato - kumala. Bingham

hariņoso - floury and disintegrating. Thomson

lisas. Ziegler

mashwa. A von Hagen photo

- freeze-dried, “inedible”.
Thomson. Purple blossomed. Von Hagen

oca. Related to Sheep Sorrel. Grown in Occobamba. Hardly edible. Bingham

olluco. A von Hagen

tutu - hardy, not edible fresh, good for potato flour. Repeatably refrozen to remove bitter juices. Bingham

ullucu - Bingham


More information on the bibliography is available on the previous page.

Andy Roscoe :: andy@ :: :: ::