General Inca warehouse Qullqa/Collca

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Inside Job

Sapere Aude
First 100
Jan 17, 2015
49,422
53,105
Description:

Collcas/Qullcas were state warehouses constructed near major cities, political centers, farms, temples, royal lodgings and way-stations. Way-stations were roughly a day's march along the 40,000 km (25,000 miles) of highways.

There were different forms of qullcas, design dependent on the products in storage. Circular qullcas were used to store preserved corn (maize) in ceramic clay pots.

For preservation of root vegetables, rectangular qullcas were used. The tubers would be piled in ceramic pots, or at times stored on a bed of Andean mint. The strong odour discouraged insects and worms from devouring the tubers. Above the bed of mint were loosely woven straw mats in which the bundles of tied tubers would be placed on top.

The scope of the Inca's passion for storage in described by an early Spaniard who said of the qullqas near the Inca capital of Cuzco, "(there are) storehouses full of blankets, wool, weapons, metals and clothes -- and of everything that is grown and made in this realm....and there is a house in which are kept more than 100,000 dried birds, for from their feathers articles of clothing are made...There are shields, beams for supporting tents, knives, and other tools; sandals and armor for the people of war in such quantity that it is not possible to comprehend."

Strategic purposes:

  1. Food security At the furthest territorial extent, the Inca ruled and administrated some 12 million subjects of different ethnic and religious backgrounds in the Andes. Adding further to the logistical challenges were geographical challenges, chiefly agriculture. The heartland of the empire and much of its arable land was at elevations of more than 4,000 metres and subject to frost, hail and drought. The staple crop maize mostly (strains) could not be grown above 3,200 metres. Tropical crops could not be grown in the short growing seasons and only potatoes could be grown at higher elevations.
The Inca response to this dilemma was an organised system of warehouses to collect and store surplus goods during times of high production and harvest

2) Transportation difficulties Storage facilities were crucial due to the lack of navigable rivers, wheeled vehicles or large draft animals capable of moving large volumes of goods easily and speedily across the empire.

Distributions were made for passing armies and the general public in times of crop failure.

Due to geographical challenges regarding distance and lack of transportation, local warehouses at lower elevations were also important for local usage.

Construction Design Rationale:

Walls are generally of a stone and mortar construction, with plastered walls inside, or a foundation of stone with walls of adobe.

The Qulllca (in this post) were mostly built on high elevated dry hillsides in well ventilated locations to take advantage of the cold temperatures and high wind airflow. The storage buildings had systems of underground air channels to direct humidity away and roof openings to allow air to escape to minimise food rotting.
 

Inside Job

Sapere Aude
First 100
Jan 17, 2015
49,422
53,105

a starchy tuber Oca
I have been growing and eating Oca for about 5 years
much like a potato in your garden it will keep producing year after year if you know how to farm it

I suspect this is one of the Tubers that was stored
 
Last edited:

Inside Job

Sapere Aude
First 100
Jan 17, 2015
49,422
53,105
I love how they are at high elevation on hillsides and in somewhat tactical positions

Food storage and reliability builds and fuels empires
 
Last edited:

Inside Job

Sapere Aude
First 100
Jan 17, 2015
49,422
53,105

a starchy tuber Oca
I have been growing and eating Oca for about 5 years
much like a potato in your garden it will keep producing year after year if you know how to farm it

I suspect this is one of the Tubers that was stored
Planted the Oca we didn't eat over the winter today
looks as good as it did when I pulled it from the ground 5 months ago

never ending cycle of Oca, purchased some many years back and keep saving some for the next planting season

haven't bought potatoes in 4 years either
 

Inside Job

Sapere Aude
First 100
Jan 17, 2015
49,422
53,105
Ate the last of our larger Oca tonight, tasty with some avocado oil, salt and pepper
Planted the smallest lil ones so they can grow by next fall to eat/store/replant
The cycle continues...I first planted Oca in 2014 and haven't bought any since

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