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date: 11 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The ruins of the Inca capital, Cuzco, lie among and beneath the colonial, republican, and modern buildings, plazas, and streets of the modern city. This chapter draws on ethnohistorical documentation and published and unpublished excavation reports to describe aspects of this city and its development and function. It discusses the meaning of the term ‘Cuzco’ and the myths concerning its foundation. Archaeological data is presented to outline the earlier Killke occupation prior to the replanning and reconstruction of the Inca city under Pachacuti. The history, architecture and archaeology of the major buildings, such as the Coricancha, the usnu complexes in the two plazas, Haucaypata and Limaqpampa, and the royal palaces, are presented as well as an analysis of the residential canchas and the walled enclosure of Hatuncancha, which housed the acllahuasi. Urban society is interpreted through a discussion of chronicle descriptions, artefactual distributions, ritual offerings and burial practices.

Keywords: Inca, Cuzco, foundation, planning, buildings, offerings, society, burials

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