Vilcabamba, Peru
A study of the locations of the exiled Incas and the Lost City.

 

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Vilcabamba

Vilcabamba's central sector.

History
Background

R. River
C. Canal

4. Hanan
5. Group 5
6. Group 6
7. Group 7
8. Group 8
9. Group 9

13. Plaza Groups
14. Plaza Group 14
15. Plaza Group 15
16. Plaza Group 16
17. Plaza Group 17
17a. Kallanka
17h. Huaca

18. Hurin
19. Group 19
20. Group 20
21. Classical

History
1539. Built up Vilcabamba by Manco. Manco again tried to move out, this time to Quito, but he quickly found that there were too many Spanish to be able to move safely. Hemming
1539 Apr - Jul. Gonzalo arrives in Vilcabamba. It's abandoned, he ransack the city and captured Cura Ocllo. He returned to Cuzco in July. MacQuarrie
1557 a large envoy arrived via Chuquichaca and included Juan Sierra, Juan Betanzos, domimican Melchor sent by Viceroy Canete to negotiate Sayri's return from Vilcabamba. The Inca council was indecisive and contradicted themselves several times in allowing them, then rejecting their arrival at Vilcabamba. They returned to Cuzco via Andahuaylas. Hemming
1572 Jun 24. Toledo's march for Tupac Amaru. The Spanish, led by Arbieto, arrive to find the city abandoned and smouldering. MacQuarrie Even the Sun Temple was burned. Arbieto, Hemming. Tupac hoped the lack of food would force the spanish to return home. MacQuarrie Sarmiento placed a flag at the town center. Hemming. The Spanish set up their headquarters here. Groups were sent out to capture Quispe Titu and Tupac Amaru. Instead of finding them, they found cache of gold, silver, emeralds, and the golden image of the sun - stored with the Chunchos. Also found the mummies of Manco and Titu Cusi. Lee. Tupac Amaru and his family were captured by Garcia de Loyola 170mi further down river. Lee. 200mi total from Vilcabamba. MacQuarrie
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Background
This is a map by Vincent Lee who thoroughly expolored these ruins. Gene Savoy was the first man to declare this the Lost City of the Incas. Hiram Bingham missed most of the ruins because he used Machiguenga indians as guides, who only stuck to their hunting trails and feared the pampa's spirits.

Vilcabamba, Espiritu Pampa 4900ft. 30mi from Vitcos. "Sacred plain, sacred valley". MacQuarrie The valley is well defended by several tikuy rikuqs or lookouts. Espiritu is fertile and supported by a river, could support a large population. Navigatable rivers into inner jungles only 2 days away.

Benjamin and Flavio Cobos guided Savoy to the ruins. Savoy Several circular structures are found, maybe lived in by the Antis, conical huts common in Amazonia. Cobos also found Tiahuanaco style pottery, copper rod, blue stone carved into a tooth, and Spanish horseshoes. Savoy

The city was built in divisions - Hana, upper sections for the ruling Inca class. Clearly divided. Looks like 15 groups - 11 more than Hurin, maybe because of civil war between Huascar and Atahuallpa. Lee

Stone masonry, mostly rough pirca and field stones with clay mortar. Some plastered and painted. Murua / Savoy Group 17 had finely cut and fitted stonework and roofed with tile. Enclosure around group is the best in the city - maybe home of mamaconas. Lee Houses roofed with ichu - grass type brought in from the highlands. MacQuarrie

City of Huacas. Several extremely large white boulders were found right in the middle of the city. Also called vilca stones and explains why the place was named Vilcapampa - pampa of vilca stones - a very sacred city. Savoy Rumors of a giant stone surrounded by buildings hidden in nearby forest. Adams

Savoy claimed the ruins were mostly non-Incan, built by Chachapoyans. Incorrect - lack of maps and plans. Lee

Tupac Inca had ordered an administrative center to be built here. It was populated by the Pilcosuni. MacQuarrie

Largest city in the province. Calancha. 300 - 400 houses. Arbieto. City is 0.5 league wide and a huge distance in length. Lee. Now there's at least 700 buildings and 1sqmi. Adams Laid out like Cusco. Hemming. Inca's multileveled palace had roof tiles. Lee. It was painted. Hemming. The rest of the buildings were thatched and painted with beautiful pictures, doors of cedar. There was a large square. Lee. It was big enough for many people and even horse races. Murua, Hemming.

Incas had nearly the luxury and splendor of Cuzco. Many kinds of birds raised and lots of fruits and vegatables. Lee Set in a 'large, gently sloping valley, between steep forested mountains. Murua, Lee Ceramic pot found that looks like the story of Manco - images of natives, serpent, horse. Adams

On December Solstice, Machu Picchu and Vilcabamba align. Adams

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map

R. Eromboni River
Flows through Vilcabamba and into Pampaconas. Stone bridge crosses. Finely constructed buildings, late Inca style. Bingham

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C. Canal
This structure is a stone lined canal, originally spring fed. Lee

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Hanan

4. Hanan
Upper Groups 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Lee

1452m. Lee

Hanan - above and upstream from Hurin. Looks like 15 groups - 11 more than Hurin, maybe because of civil war between Huascar and Atahuallpa. Lee

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Plaza groups - 14, 15, 16, 17.

13. Plaza Groups
Erombi Pampa. Bingham

Groups 14, 15, 16, 17. Lee

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17. Plaza Group 17
Group 17 had finely cut and fitted stonework and roofed with tile. Enclosure around group is the best in the city - maybe home of mamaconas. Lee

Trapazoid-shaped plaza. Lee

Roads enter at the other corners just like at Cuzco and Rosapata. Lee

Rd iv enters from SE corner passing fountains, fine channeled stream and bridge - still in contact. Lee

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17a. Kallanka
Very large building. Used for meetings and celebrations. More

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17h. Huaca
8m x 12m x 5m high.

Very large uncarved boulder in the NE corner of plaza. Lee

Possible center of ceque system - no evidence. Lee

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Hurin - groups 19, 20

18. Hurin
Lower Groups 19, 20.

1446m.

Savoy called this place Large Stones and Fine Ashlars.

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21. Classical
c. Mortarless masonry. "Classical mortarless masonry." Next to a large round boulder. Lee

Unusual plan - only door is in the corner. Upper stones found scattered about - probably a temple. Lee

 

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More Info:
Bibliography

Glossary

Inca Rulers

Names

Religion

Tribes

 

 

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Vilcabamba:
Choquequirao, original lost city
Puncuyoc, near Vitcos
Vilcabamba, actual lost city
Vilcabamba Area, jungle metropolis
Vitcos, rogue capital

Vilcabamba region

Machu Picchu / Inca Trail region

Main Map

Andy Roscoe's
Free Tour Guides

Digital: PDF. Use Google Drive.
Printing: PDF. Download, Print two sided, no scaling.

Machu Picchu: digital | print | website

Inca Trail: digital | print | website

Tips:
Switch the map type to Terrain and zoom in to view elevation heights.

Mini Bibliography :
Main Map : Pages with more details and geographic locations.

Thomson : Locations based on material from Hugh Thomson, Mark Rose, John Hemming, Pedro Sancho, John Hyslop, Paul Fejos.

Bingham : Locations based on the books and writings of Hiram Bingham, Paul Steele, George Squier, Kim MacQuarrie, Richard Burger.

Prescott : Locations based on material from William Prescott, Victor von Hagen, Adriana von Hagen, Walter Alva.

National Geo : Locations based on the books and magazines of National Geographic, Edward Hyams, Vincent Lee, and Gene Savoy.

Legend:
Colors match map version.

LinkLocation with link to map with more info.

 

PhotoNote with photo.

 

noteNote without photo.

 

 

Contact:
If you have some details, or photos, or find a mistake, or have a question - let me know at
andy@ andyroscoe.com


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