I never thought that I would have the chance of seeing the live testimony of a civilization that existed before the Incas arrived in Argentina, the Quilmes ruins. It was a pretty large town for that time, since it had between 5000 and 7000 inhabitants. In 1665, after having resisted the Spaniards for one hundred years, the Spaniards besieged the city under the command of Alonso Mercado y Villacorta; cutting off their water and food supplies. The Quilmes Indians resisted for over one year, until they were finally captured and obliged to sign a treaty by which their lives would be pardoned if they abandoned the area. They were taken walking first to Cordoba city and then to Buenos Aires, a total distance of 850 miles. Many died on the way, and the last survivors lived where the city of Quilmes is today, some 15 miles away from the city of Buenos Aires. There are many archaeological treasures here, including their homes, their graves, mortars, and much more. There is also a museum at the site, and even a good hotel, where tourists interested in exploring this area more carefully may stay, at a cost of some 40 dollars per night for a single room.
In this city, today an archaeological treasure, there was a clear division of social classes; the cacique of chief lived on the top of the mountain, with some forty bodyguards, that could easily detect any enemies approaching the area, the middle class people lived half way up the mountain, and the rest of the population (the largest part) lived in the valley. You notice this also in the graves and the mortars. There are communitarian mortars that were shared by many families for their cooking, while other homes had individual mortars, or mortars shared between two or three families. As you may see, there is a lot of history in all this area, and the archaeological discoveries and restoration made by the University of Buenos Aires allow you to see abut 12.5% of the village reconstructed, and the rest in its original state. Actually, many colla Indians live in Northwestern Argentina, still use stone fences for their properties, still are superstitious, and try to avoid contact with white people, and very specially do not like being photographed. These are the most important Indian ruins in Argentina, followed by Santa Rosa de Tastil (Salta), the Pucará of Tilcara (Jujuy) and the Londres ruins in Catamarca.