Jiskairumoko is a pre-Columbian archaeological site 54 kilometers (34 mi) south-east of Puno, Peru. The site lies in the mountains at elevation 4,115 meters (13,500 feet), in the Aymara community of Jachacachi, adjacent to the Ilave River drainage, of the Lake Titicaca Basin, Peru. Occupation of Jiskairumoko spans from the Late Archaic to the Formative.
The site name is a combination of Aymara words "jiska" (small), "iru" (referring to a type of bunch grass), and "moko" (a small hill). Thus, "Jiskairumoko" means a small hill with bunch grass. The site was first formally recorded by Mark Aldenderfer in 1994, during a pedestrian survey of the Ilave River. The first excavations at the site were conducted in 1995.
Jiskairumoko is the first Archaic open-air site excavated in the Lake Titicaca Basin. Under the direction of Aldenderfer, a team from University of California, Santa Barbara, including Nathan Craig and Nicholas Tripcevich, conducted additional excavations at the site during the austral winters of 1999-2004. In-field geographic information system (GIS) methods were used in recording exposed surfaces. The site was plowed by tractor in 2005.
Jiskairumoko plays a significant role in understanding the pre-Columbian history of Andean Peru due to: early prestige objects, architectural transitions, variation in structure internal organization, ritual preparation embedded in domestic use areas, and the formation of regular trade routes.
Early prestige objects :
Nine gold beads were found in the grave of an older adult and a juvenile buried adjacent to a Terminal Archaic pit house. Charcoal recovered from the burial dates the gold beads to 2155-1936 cal BC, which makes them the earliest known gold artifacts in the Americas.
The burial of the objects with the deceased implies the wealth and prestige of its owner through the disposal and remove from display and recirculation. The find bolsters the concept that metalworking developed from multiple independent technologies that were focused on native materials.
Architectural transitions :
Domestic architecture exposed during excavation is the earliest evidence of reduced residential mobility in the region. Three pithouses, a semisubterranean structure, and two above ground structures were exposed during excavation. Twenty-five radiocarbon dates show that pithouses occurred early (ca. 3200 cal BC),
The semisubterranean structure is intermediate, and above ground prepared floor structures occurred later (ca. 1400 cal BC).This change in residential structures from pithouses to above ground structures is another example of a classic architectural transition observed in many parts of the World