The Wiracochan Archeological Project (WAP) 2016 took place from July 13 – August 5, 2016 in the rugged Vilcabamba region, south of the Corillera Vilcabamba, on the rugged slopes and ridgeline of a mountain called Wiracochan. This will be Peter’s fifth expedition to this region. The previous four have mostly been reconnaissance missions looking for sites of interest for future expeditions; WAP 2016 was different in that the team had a government permit and could delve into the heavy archeological work of excavating, surveying, and mapping the previously discovered sites.

Wiracochan
The ridgeline and eastern slopes of Mt. Wiracochan where the expedition took place.

 

The project’s goal was to further explore the “Sacred Landscape” concept that was so important to the Incas, whereby they would create structures that were in harmony with the natural surroundings and well situated to worship natural features and phenomena. In this region, the team wanted to connect the dots between the many ceremonial platforms in the area (at least 10 are known of) and the large nearby ruins of Choquequirao, the local glaciated peaks, stars, and important astronomical events such as solstices and equinoxes. The team investigated what kind of ceremonies were taking place on these platforms and gained insight into why the Incas devoted so much time and energy to building them in such remote places.

 

The team used the traditional tools of archeology at their disposal: shovels, picks, sifting screens, brushes, and human sweat. But this time they also added a DJI Phantom 3 Professional drone to the mix. The drone  helped them cover the vegetated, rugged terrain and identify areas of interest.

drone
The DJI Phantom 3 Professional aerial drone

 

For short biographies of all the team members, click here.