SAYWAS AND SACRED GEOGRAPHY IN THE QHAPAQ ÑAN OF THE DESPOBLADO DE ATACAMA
SAYWAS Y GEOGRAFÍA SAGRADA EN EL QHAPAQ ÑAN DEL DESPOBLADO DE ATACAMA
Cecilia Sanhueza, José Berenguer, Carlos González, Cristián González, Juan Cortés, Sergio Martín and Jimena Cruz
This paper presents new results of our ethnohistorical, archaeological, and astronomical research in the Qhapaq Ñan of the Despoblado of Atacama, specifically in the Punta Negra salt basin. Two sets of saywas -Tocomar and Vaquillas-, their associated contexts, and the general characteristics of the road in the studied sectors, were recorded and analyzed. In both cases, alignment with the sunrise on the day of the winter solstice and the equinox, respectively, was checked. From a temporal and spatial perspective, an interdisciplinary discussion is presented on these localities and structures, as well as their meanings. Furthermore, the new information collected allows for resuming previous analyzes and proposals on the Qhapaq Ñan of the Despoblado, the astronomical saywas, the geographical environment, and the symbolic construction of a sacred space and an imperial oral cartography.