A Sacred Center on the Coast of Ecuador
Pre-Columbian sacred sites are complex phenomena that present a distinct challenge to rationalism. Accordingly, huaca and other Quechua concepts concerning the sacred not only provide alternative keys to the interpretation of Andean sites of Inca date, but may also be usefully applied to earlier sites that lie beyond the Andes proper. From 600 BC to 600 AD, architecture, human burials and artefact offerings all contributed to the making of a ceremonial complex associated with a natural landform and its spirit owner at Salango, on the central coast of Ecuador. Salango thus allows study both of the different means by which an ancient non-Andean huaca was constructed, and of its various functions. It also shows how the structure, substance and symbolism of individual huacas can provide direct evidence for localized ontologies that need to be understood on their own terms.
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