This semester the most captivating site and society that we analyzed were the Inca. The main thing that caused me to be interested was the social complexity that went along with their way of life. We are not taught in primary school to really care about South American cultures, nor are we taught about their strengths as communities. A lot of the time since civilizations collapse and we do not ever learn about them, people assume that they are savage or uncivilized. Learning about the Inca and other Meso-American civilizations show me just how structured and impressive their infrastructure and traditions were.
I never would have guessed that there were so many rules and regulations that went along with the way of life and how society worked in the Andes. The fact that there were different social ranges that went along with census and responsibilities was very interesting to me and really got me to picture a day in the life of an Inca person. Getting provisions like housing, food, and even corn beer for a hard days work serves to bridge the gap between modern society and ancient cultures. The main thing that I learned from this course was that human nature has pretty much stayed the same since the behavioral modernity began. Regardless of where the people lived, settled, or how they lived they still had to pay their taxes, work for a living, and abide by the laws of the land. I thought it was really cool how the Inca people had incredible roads that were constantly kept up through the hard work and dedication of the citizens. It was nice to learn that it was not slave labor that upheld the infrastructure but working adults with families and responsibilities.
The other thing that really interested me about the Inca was the impressive engineering that they used. Living up in the mountains or valleys, they had harsher ways of life and had to make due with less than easy environmental conditions. The way that the Inca figured out how to create terraced farms in the mountains for consistent agriculture was genius. Also the way that they routed rivers up into cities like in Machu Pichu was really interesting as well. It shows the power and prestige that the Sapa Inca held because if he wanted his palace to have fresh-water fountains in the mountains they would find a way to do it. The best part about all of these engineering feats are that they are still are functional to this day.