Latitude 0º0’0”, Longitude w78º25’42”
Catequilla and lithic discs
Archaeoastronomical evidence in the Equatorial Andes

In the region of the Equatorial Andes, there are some astronomical and geographical conditions that make this region a privileged site for astronomical observations using the horizon as a defined tool for observation, as well as the measurement of the apparent movements of the stars. .

Here are the most outstanding features we can count on:

In the terrestrial equator there are no inortive stars (stars that never appear or go out), nor innocuous stars (stars that never lie down or hide), therefore at this latitude the celestial vault can be observed in its entirety, that is to say that All the stars appear and hide. In the same way, ascending and descending transits of celestial bodies behave perpendicularly compared to other latitudes, both boreal and austral, where they will appear with more declination as the latitudinal position increases.

Another important characteristic is the one we have geographically, since, along the Equinoctial Line around the world, only in the Equatorial Andes can we have a defined natural horizon, thanks to the mountainous relief that provides us with specific points to observe the rising and setting of the stars in the eastern and western mountain ranges, respectively.

All these singularities suggest that this geographical space and above all its latitudinal position should be taken into consideration for a deep analysis from the study of cultural astronomy, as well as in the study of the relationship between the Andean landscape, the cultural link in antiquity with the mountains and the displaced archaeological contexts in the inter-Andean valley.


Description of the Equatorial Andes. western mountain range. French Geodetic Missions, 18th century

In the 17th century, the chronicles detail the importance of the mountainous relief of this region, which promoted the French Geodesic Mission of the 18th century, a scientific expedition whose purpose was to verify the shape of the Earth with its polar flattening. This historical event occurs precisely because this mountainous region was the only one in the zero parallel, which offered the orographic conditions for such geodetic purposes. However, the pre-Inca indigenous people, Quitu-Caras, had already developed a local astronomical awareness, which is evidenced in the different archaeological sites of the micro-region of Lulumbamba or San Antonio de Pichincha.

The only elevation that is between the 360º horizon, provided by the Equinoctial Andes, is Mount Catequilla and on its top, there is an archaeological site, from where you can also see all the archaeological sites of the region and more. of two dozen urban sites with pre-Hispanic antecedents. The highlight of this archaeological site is that it is crossed by the equinoctial line, with absolute precision.

However, the evidence that helps us verify the astronomical use of the site, in pre-Hispanic times, is the presence of thirteen stone discs of different diameters and designs that the cobblestones present as a mosaic, contained in each one of them. So far, 27 astronomical and geodetic alignments have been found, verified with different procedures, instruments and empirical observations; and in the same way with the application of different computer programs for astronomical, geodetic and topographic analysis, in order to feed back the precision with which this hypothesis has been developed, which in turn, provides us with the support necessary for a macro-regional analysis, and thus understand the management of space in pre-Inca times.

The advantage of working with ancient astronomical evidence is the little variability that they suffer through time and that on a human scale they are almost imperceptible and even more so when pre-Hispanic societies did not have optical instruments. Astronomical evidence is also supported by mathematical data that can be measurable, quantifiable, and verifiable; This has allowed us to achieve very important findings within the investigations.

Due to the fact that we do not have sufficient financial resources for research, the research seasons are very limited, however the executive work of the same has allowed us to develop a large database of the cultural resources of the region, with which We work in dissemination and dissemination, with an emphasis on archaeological contexts, which are unknown to the majority of the local population.

The results of our investigations will be published in the month of June 2012, at the June solstice. We invite those interested to know our work, where we present unpublished data that reaffirm our reason for being, an equatorial culture. The event will be announced one month in advance, it will be presented with a cultural sample, for about a week in the Historic Center of Quito, specifically in the Metropolitan Cultural Center.