Ruins and Ceramics at Pre-Inca Settlement Marca Marca

Near Tantamaco on the Corani and Macusani district border in southern Peru lies Marca Marca. Settled during pre-Inca times and situated on a hill, the village overlooked the surrounding high Andes valley.

Low level cloud soon replaced beautiful late afternoon light on our October 2016 visit. That didn’t stop guide Ulices, Rocío and I exploring the ruins and searching for ceramic fragments.

View from Marca Marca, Carabaya Province, Peru

Viewed from Marca Marca, the surrounding valley and mountains are covered in dry stone walls and terraces

Looking up at Marca Marca, Carabaya Province, Peru

Looking up the hill to the Marca Marca archaeological site

Marca Marca’s ruins are spread out over a significant area and I expect it was an important town in pre-Inca times. None of the old buildings currently stand and the state of their walls varies.

Rocio and guide Ulices at Marca Marca, Carabaya Province, Peru

Rocío (left) and Ulices at one of the better preserved Marca Marca ruins

Marca Marca contained plentiful old ceramic fragments loose on the ground, some with decorative patterns.

Ceramic fragments on ground at Marca Marca, Carabaya Province, Peru

Pottery fragments on the ground at Marca Marca

Like at Pitumarka, people had grown potatoes within the Marca Marca ruins in contemporary times. Alpacas and llamas also grazed in and around the site.

Former potato field in Marca Marca ruin, Carabaya Province, Peru

Tilled lines of a modern potato field surround by ancient crumbling walls

Marca Marca archaeological site, Carabaya Province, Peru Ulices to the left and two llamas to the right

The pre-Inca people from Marca Marca hid gold in niches behind and under rocks. Guide Ulices showed us some such niches. Of course, every place had been tampered with by looters or the curious. We also saw prehistoric paintings on one rock face (blogged here).

Former storage area, Marca Marca, Carabaya Province, Peru

A niche under a rock with stone construction where pre-Incas may have placed gold

Upon leaving Marca Marca, we handed Ulices the collected ceramic fragments to give to the Macusani Museum. Taking items of cultural heritage like these from Peru (or most other countries) is illegal and it is better to leave them in the district.

Ceramic fragments collected at Marca Marca, Carabaya Province, Peru

The ceramic fragments collected included patterned pieces and round objects likely used in necklaces or bracelets

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