Copy Link
Add to Bookmark

The enigma of the Jachaphasa fortress

The enigma of the Jachaphasa fortress
Pin it

Following the fall of the Tiahuanaco empire (classical civilization), various independent kingdoms currently called "Aymara kingdoms" arose in the Andean plateau. For example, the Colla kingdom, that of the Lupaca and, among others, that of the Pacajes.

Little is known about these kingdoms also because their existence was ephemeral. After the fall of Tiahuanaco (1200 AD), they prospered for about two centuries, until their definitive conquest by the Incas.

During my last trip to Bolivia, I learned of the existence of little-known ruins in the area of ​​the village of Calacoto, located about 180 kilometers from La Paz, in the heart of the Andean plateau at a height of about 4000 meters above sea level.

The enigma of the Jachaphasa fortress
Pin it

After renting a off-road, together with a friend from La Paz, we embarked on our exploration.
We spent the first day on the journey approaching the fortress, traveling along difficult dirt roads along the plateau. It was about six hours of travel in difficult conditions because in addition to the dust that came in everywhere, the frequent potholes forced me to limit my speed to about 40 kilometers per hour.

After passing the village of Calacoto we camped near a small stream at an altitude of 4030 meters above sea level. The temperature during the night dropped to -15 degrees centigrade, and a strong wind was blowing from the east, putting our tents to the test.

The next morning, we identified, not without difficulty, the "cerro" where the ancient fortress was located. We left our car on the plain below the hill. Then we started walking. In about 40 minutes of easy climbing we reached the great defensive wall that delimits (not the entire perimeter) the fortress.

The enigma of the Jachaphasa fortress
Pin it

We entered the fortress through a very narrow portal, wondering why it was built so narrow.
Once we arrived inside the fortress we began the exploration.

Location of Jachaphasa Fortress:
Lat. 17º 23' 721' South / Long. 68º 48' 317'' West
Height: 4130 meters above sea level

The site extends around seven hectares, located in a dominant position, from where you can control the entire valley. There are dozens of funerary urns, inside which it is still possible to see the bone remains of human beings.

There are basically three types of funerary urns: square in shape, cylindrical in circular shape and conical in circular shape. Usually funerary urns (Spanish: chullpas) are grouped in groups of 3 or 4 around a larger one. According to my personal interpretation, the larger funerary urn could house the remains of the clan head, while the smaller ones would house the remains of his entourage.

The enigma of the Jachaphasa fortress
Pin it

What we did not find inside the fortress are "living spaces" as I found and studied in the Trinchera fortress.

This important detail raises doubts as to whether the ancient Pacajes lived within the walls, or whether they simply lived in the plain located 200 meters below, and took refuge in the fortress only in the event of attacks by external peoples.

It is a mystery to which there are no answers for now, as excavation works would have to be carried out to find out if the interior of the fortress was inhabited (using wooden huts), or if instead it was only used for defensive, ceremonial, rituals and funerary.

Yuri Leveratto

← previous
next →
sending ...
New to Neperos ? Sign Up for free
download Neperos App from Google Play
install Neperos as PWA

Let's discover also

Recent Articles

Recent Comments

Neperos cookies
This website uses cookies to store your preferences and improve the service. Cookies authorization will allow me and / or my partners to process personal data such as browsing behaviour.

By pressing OK you agree to the Terms of Service and acknowledge the Privacy Policy

By pressing REJECT you will be able to continue to use Neperos (like read articles or write comments) but some important cookies will not be set. This may affect certain features and functions of the platform.