Paul Acee's Ecuador

The Ruins at Todos Santos

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The Ruins at Todos Santos are in Cuenca, Ecuador. The location is about 150 yards west of the Pumapungo Archeological Park, on Calle Larga in the Todos Santos neighborhood. It’s a small site that sits on about one half hectare of land (about 1  1/4 acres).

the ruins at todos santos the ruins at todos santos

In the early 1970’s the site owners whose surname was Star began excavation work on it intending to put a foundation in place to construct a residence. It quickly became apparent that there were ruins underneath the soil.

In 1972 an archeological commission was created, chaired by Manuel Agustín Landivar, a physician and member of the anthropology section of the House of Culture and they began excavation work here.

The Canari, Inca, and the Spaniards all made contributions to this site which makes the ruins at Todos Santos very unique.

There’s a stone wall as well as other stone work here that was constructed by the Canari who used river stone and mortar in all of their stone work. They used this site until they were conquered by the Inca in 1460.

The Inca were sun worshipers but they also worshiped water. There’s quite a bit of their incredible stone work here that represents that around an aqueduct that ran through it. The Inca didn’t use mortar like the Canari and instead used their engineering expertise to fit the stones together without the use of mortar. The Inca remained until 1540 when they were conquered by the Spaniards.

the ruins at todos santos the ruins at todos santos

There was an aqueduct on this site that channeled water from the Chanchaco creek that powered two mills that used some sort of paddle wheel. The Spaniards reused stone from the Inca to construct the mills.

The first mill was owned by Rodrigo Nunez de Bonilla that dates back to 1547, who was one of 13 famous Spaniards who conquered the Inca empire.

The second mill was owned by another Spaniard named Martin Merchan, and was built at the beginning of the 17th century. The second mill was used until 1902 according to archival documents. Around 1902 the creek that fed the aqueduct that powered the mill ceased to exist when it was incorporated into Cuenca’s water system with piping.

The mills were used for grinding a variety of grains during the colonial and early years of the Republic and contributed to the economy of the city. The mills used two stones, one was fixed and the other moving that crushed grains. Probably something like the image below, with the horizontal stone on the bottom being fixed and the vertical stone rolling around on top of the bottom stone in circles.

The Ruins at Todos Santos

There are two mill stones on top of the arch, one of each it looks like. Fixed and movable.

the ruins at todos santos the ruins at todos santos

Below the arch in front of it is a partial mill stone. The second pic is a closeup.

the ruins at todos santos the ruins at todos santos

Sometime between 1902 and 1972 there was probably a mud slide that covered this site. These are very common in the area surrounding Cuenca even today. This site is in what is now a very populated and developed residential area so it’s unlikely that could happen today.

There’s a museum next door that you can access the site from but it’s also very visible from the sidewalk that borders north and south of it.

I found a Kindle ebook on Amazon about the Inca and it’s free. Check it out here. I’ve just read a little so far and I’m already reading things I’ve seen mentioned verbatim elsewhere so it’s an excellent reference book it looks like.

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Paul Acee

Author: Paul Acee

Retired and living in Ecuador.

One Comment

  1. I’m really enjoying poking around your blog. I’m finding a lot of things I’ve never seen mentioned before about places in Ecuador. I’m in Virginia, U.S. Thanks!

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