Quichuas, the chief civilised people of South America, who with the kindred Aymaras occupied the whole of the Andean plateaux from Cuzco to Lake Titicaca, i.e. most of the present states of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Chili, south to the river Maule, on the Araucanian frontier. The Quichuas formed the bulk of the population of the empire of the Incas, under whom they arrived at a high degree of culture, as attested by their numerous temples and other monuments, their great highways, irrigation works and cultivated lands, carried by means of banked-up terraces high up the slopes of the Cordilleras. They were skilled especially in the arts of weaving, dyeing, and pottery, and were able to record events by the so-called quippos. They embalmed the dead, and deposited with them the objects they most valued in life. Multitudes of these objects have been found in the graves at Ancon, near Lima, and elsewhere, throwing a flood of light on the social system, arts, industries, and general culture of the Quichua people. The Quichua (properly Inca) language was highly cultivated, and many of the national songs, dramas, and legends, handed down orally, have since been published. The language is highly polysynthetic.