Album: Digging Up Incan Fortresses

Faraway Fortress

Quitoloma site

(Image credit: Photo courtesy Chad Gifford/Pambamarca Archaeological Project)

The walls of the Inca fortress of Quitoloma in Ecuador can be seen from a great distance.

Pambamarca volcano

Pambamarca volcano

(Image credit: Photo courtesy Pambamarca Archaeological Project)

Pambamarca is an extinct volcano located in northern Ecuador. For the Inca it was an important strategic area in which they built nearly 20 fortresses. Among the forts they built is that of Quitoloma, seen on the right, and two Cayambe fortresses (opposition to the Inca) closer to ground elevation.

Quitoloma site

Quitoloma site

(Image credit: Photo courtesy Chad Gifford/Pambamarca Archaeological Project)

The fortress site of Quitoloma, one of 20 fortresses built by the Inca on the ridges of Pambamarca. The stone walls of the fortification can be seen along with a rectangular structure to the left.

Incan fortress

Incan fortress

(Image credit: Photo courtesy Chad Gifford/Pambamarca Archaeological Project.)

This house in Quitoloma, an Inca fortress, contains numerous "bola" stones, ammunition to be used against the enemy. The soldiers who lived in it were clearly prepared for a fight.

From the Equator

extinct volcano Pambamarca

(Image credit: Photo courtesy Chad Gifford/Pambamarca Archaeological Project)

The extinct volcano Pambamarca in Ecuador, as seen directly from the equator, contains nearly 20 Inca and at least two Cayambe fortresses.

Cayambe Fortress

fortress at cayambe, ecuador

(Image credit: Photo courtesy Samuel Connell/Pambamarca Archaeological Project)

Samuel Connell, a director of the excavation, is shown alongside what has tentatively been identified as a Cayambe fortress, built to defend their lands. It was constructed with a hard volcanic material called cangahua.

Quitoloma site

Quitoloma site

(Image credit: Photo courtesy Chad Gifford/Pambamarca Archaeological Project)

The west gate of the Inca fortress of Quitoloma. Archaeologists are working on excavating and conserving it.

Inca Road

ancient road

(Image credit: Photo courtesy Chad Gifford/Pambamarca Archaeological Project)

An ancient road recently discovered at Pambamarca, an extinct volcano in Ecuador, which dates to before the Spanish and may have been constructed by the Inca.

Hi-Tech Dig

geophysical survey of Pambamarca

(Image credit: Photo courtesy Samuel Connell/Pambamarca Archaeological Project)

Geophysical instruments allow scientists to identify ancient structures without digging. Here, a scientist conducts a geophysical survey on the heights of the extinct Ecuadorean volcano Pambamarca.