Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

by Emery Roth

Friday, July 27, 2012

Hanging Gardens

PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL ("Why Here?" part 12): If built as a nobleman's estate, the nobleman must have controlled great power to have built a city with terraced gardens to feed it, 2000 feet up in a mountain, where even the dirt had to be carried in by llamas.

Were the laborers greatly oppressed slaves, or did they work in the shelter of fervent belief in a god that bestowed grace and favor upon them, their nation and their children?

The Incas had no real writing. Yet their ruins tell of cultural resources accumulated over generations - not just religious teachings but engineering, agricultural knowledge, systems of broad scale governance and a dispersal and conservation of that knowledge, a class of people who knew how to plan and design and innovate.

Pizarro arrives at the end of a great civil war that divided a nation that stretched through the Andes and to the edges of the jungle from Quito in the north to Cuzco 1000 miles south. Through Pizarro we get a picture of a highly organized society, communities linked by a network of roads and runners, a primitive internet, bringing Atahualpa, the king, constant news of his kingdom. It is a society that treats Atahualpa with loyal reverence and to which he always returns haughty disdain. As Pizarro makes clear, Atahualpa was a ruler of utmost wisdom, courage and composure, and he was sorry for having him garroted.

NOTE: This is a three-shot panorama capable of being printed fairly large. The people walking at all levels of the terraces are clear and sharp down to distinguishing camera bag and backpack straps.