Inca Farming Methods

Inca farming tools played a vital role in the development and rapid expansion of the Inca civilization. Farming, particularly in the Andean highlands, was essential to the stability and growth of the empire. These Inca tools were basic but effective, and are still used by the traditional Peru farming communities of the Andean highlands today.

Chaquitaclla - Ancient Plow of the Inca used in farming

The chaquitaclla (also chakitaqlla or just taclla) was a human-powered Inca foot-plow and the most important of all the Inca farming tools. According to Terence N. D'Altroy in The Incas, "It was made of a pole about 2 m long with a pointed end of wood or bronze, a handle or curvature at the top, and a foot rest lashed near the bottom."

Inca Farming Methods

The Inca farmer would drive the end into the ground using both arms and one foot before levering the chakitaqlla upwards to break the soil. The chaquitaclla was particularly effective in the narrow Inca terraces; so effective, in fact, that it continues to be used in the highlands of Peru today.

Raucana - Traditional Peruvian Hoe Used in Inca Farming

The raucana (also rawkana or azadon in Spanish) was a simple Inca hoe used to harvest tubers (particularly potatoes), remove weeds and prepare the ground for planting seeds. Like the chaquitaclla, the raucana is still used in Peru today. Modern raucana's consist of a wooden shaft with a metal blade.

Inca Farming Methods

"In the past, the blades were made of wood, bone scapulae, ground and chipped stone, or tubular basalt," says David Lewis Lentz, author of Imperfect Balance: Landscape Transformations in the Pre-Columbian Americas. The overall form of the raucana is not dissimilar to that of an adze or mattock.

Waqtana - Inca Tool used for Clod Breaking

The waqtana (waktana) was an Inca tool used for breaking up clods of soil. This heavy, club-like Inca tool was often made from a single piece of wood.

Inca Farming Methods

The long wooden shaft would generally lead to a circular club-head formed from a natural knot of wood. As the chaquitaclla foot-plow turned over the soil, those following behind would break up the clods using the waqtana.

Manta - Inca Garment & Carrying Cloth

The manta was a carrying cloth for soils during the Inca farming process. It was worn as a shoulder garment when not being used and served a variety of functions during day-to-day domestic and agricultural tasks.

Inca Farming Methods

The manta is still worn throughout the Andean highlands and retains its secondary function as a carrying aid.

Inca Tools & Traditional Peru Farming Techniques

Inca farming was very much a communal effort. According to Michael Andrew Malpass in Daily Life in the Inca Empire, "Agriculture was done by both men and women, with men using the foot plow and women the hoe." The same techniques, the same roles and the same Inca tools still exist in traditional Peru today, often with few significant alterations to the original Inca farming process.

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