Machupicchu Museum - Casa Concha

Museo Machupicchu - Casa Concha

The Museum is organized around the collection of pieces from Machu Picchu, excavated in 1912 by Hiram Bingham, and with more Inca artifacts that were discovered during the archaeological excavations comprised within the process of restoration of the Casa Concha in 2007.

The Collection
The collections of the Casa Concha Machupicchu museum make up a permanent exhibition open to the public of some 350 pieces and another 45,000 broken pieces, like ceramic fragments and bones – including 177 partial human skeletons. The permanent exhibition brings together ceramic objects, metals, rocks, and Inca stonework from the excavation of Machu Picchu in 1912. The Inca materials are joined with local artifacts like ceramics, cloth, and silverwork along with relics excavated from the site of the museum: Casa Concha. The museum was opened in November 2011 in order to receive and present the Machu Picchu collection to Yale University. The museum and the University had been negotiating the return of the artifacts for several years.

The majority of the objects are ceramic and were used by the people who lived at Machu Picchu until the end of the fifteenth century to prepare chicha, cook corn, and eat the food. It is assumed that these objects were used daily by the population of the mountain-top city who resided there for the majority of the year.

But other pieces were just used for rituals, and they invite us to reflect on questions that have been debated by researchers for years. We refer here not just to Inca objects but ones clearly belonging to northerners like the Chimus or Chimu-Incas.
The presence of these ritual pieces that came from parts of the Andean territory whose addition to the empire was in the later stage of the expansion of the Inca empire, leads us to rethink the occupation and function of Machu Picchu. In fact, the idea of imperial use of Machu Picchu is that it was built by an Inca only for the exclusive use after his reign was over, contradicts the presence of objects from other parts of the Andean territory that wasn’t controlled by Pachacutec during his rule

The historical and archaeological evidence supports the construction of Machu Picchu was by hands of the people of Cusco, the presence of northern ceramics in the Machu Picchu excavation indicates that Machu Picchu remained an important city in the region at a ritual or commercial level long after the fall of Pachacutec.
Furthermore, the other objects in the collection of the Casa Concha also expand on what is known about the people that stayed at Machu Picchu. This fact allows us to suggest the idea of a partial occupation of Machu Picchu in the colonial times and/or in the Republican time.

The artifacts in the collection of the Machu Picchu Casa Concha Museum are noted for their aesthetic and artistic value. But beyond that, they serve as a way for us to better understand the history of the Incas and Machu Picchu. In particular, to exhibit to a greater extent the influence of Machu Picchu, regardless of time and space, was much greater than previously thought.

The House of Casa Concha
This house, one of the prettiest of Cusco, back to its history to the time of the Incas, where it was the Puka Marka, the palace of Túpac Inka Yupanki, the son of the great Pachakuteq, constructor of Machu Picchu. Destroyed twice by earthquakes, the mestizo-colonial architecture of the house dates back to the late 18th century, and is notable for its double wide stone archways at ground level, supporting the second story single-width arches. During the 20th century, the House served as an army barracks and later as a police station before being donated by the government to the local university of San Antonio Abad.

The restoration of the Casa Concha, carried out by the National Institute of Culture of Cusco was impeccably executed, as can be seen in the recuperation of the colonial murals on the second floor and on the walls of the staircase.

Archeological Excavation Of Casa Concha In 2007
The Inca floor of Casa Concha is distributed with precision and composed of lithic elements made of andesite, suggesting it served as a ritual space. This is also supported by the wall structure, paved floor and cultural elements, whose displacement is oriented towards the southeast.

The characteristic Inca wall corresponds to the time period, with lithic elements of tight fitting and pillowed-faced stones. The 8 sequences of rows, 3.22 meters high from the ground shows clear evidence of a wall from the Inca period and lithic elements from the upper part taken from later periods. The height of the original wall exceeds 1.5 meters, taking into account the head and associated floor foundation.

The Inca wall that forms a transversal angle with a southern orientation cuts off abruptly, possibly for the removal of stones to make room for the construction of the colonial canal. The process of change and transformation recorded in Casa Concha has been radical. Sections of the wall from the Inca era have been removed, only later to be reassembled in the transition era (Inca - Colonial) without respecting the levels of inclination and other details specific to the prehispanic architecture.

Machupicchu Museum - Casa Concha
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