machu picchu


  • The cave also includes a tunnel-like window unique among Incan structures, which was constructed to allow sunlight into the cave only during several days around the December

  • The people of Machu Picchu were connected to long-distance trade, as shown by non-local artifacts found at the site.

  • At the top of the mountain, they came across a small hut occupied by a couple of Quechua, Richard and Alvarez, who were farming some of the original Machu Picchu agricultural
    terraces that they had cleared four years earlier.

  • En route, Bingham asked local people to show them Inca ruins, especially any place described as having a white rock over a spring.

  • [31] Encounters In the late 1500s, Spaniards who recently gained control of the area documented that indigenous individuals mentioned returning to “Huayna Picchu”, the name
    that is believed to be originally given to the site by locals.

  • [29][page needed] Agriculture Much of the farming done at Machu Picchu was done on its hundreds of man-made terraces.

  • Guinea pigs were also found at the site in special tomb caves, suggesting that they were at least used for funerary rituals,[29][page needed] as it was common throughout the
    Inca Empire to use them for sacrifices and meat.

  • [39] Over the centuries, the surrounding jungle overgrew the site, and few outside the immediate area knew of its existence.

  • [79] During the 1980s, a large rock from Machu Picchu’s central plaza was moved to a different location to create a helicopter landing zone.

  • [11] Historical research published in 2022 claims that the site was probably called Huayna Picchu by the Inca, as it exists on the smaller peak of the same name.

  • [29][page needed] However, it has been found that the terrace farming area makes up only about 4.9 ha (12 acres) of land, and a study of the soil around the terraces showed
    that what was grown there was mostly corn and potatoes, which was not enough to support the 750+ people living at Machu Picchu.

  • [61] Located in the first zone are the primary archeological treasures: the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun and the Room of the Three Windows.

  • The Inca believed the stone held the sun in its place along its annual path in the sky.

  • However, the terraces were not perfect, as studies of the land show that there were landslides that happened during the construction of Machu Picchu.

  • Still visible are places where the terraces were shifted by landslides and then stabilized by the Inca as they continued to build around the area.

  • This may not be a coincidence, according to 2019 research: “One simple answer, researchers now suggest, is that that’s where building materials for the site — large amounts
    of already fractured rock — were readily available.

  • [27]: 141, 186–187 [non-primary source needed] The expedition continued down the Urubamba and up the Vilcabamba Rivers examining all the ruins they could find.

  • [28 Daily life in Machu Picchu During its use as a royal estate, it is estimated that about 750 people lived there, with most serving as support staff (yanaconas, yana)[29][page
    needed][30] who lived there permanently.

  • The names of the buildings, their supposed uses, and their inhabitants are all the product of modern archeologists, on the basis of physical evidence, including tombs at the

  • According to Bingham, “one old prospector said there were interesting ruins at Machu Picchu,” though his statements “were given no importance by the leading citizens.”

  • [17] Thus the name of the site is sometimes interpreted as “old mountain”.

  • Guided by locals, Bingham rediscovered and correctly identified the site of the old Inca capital, Vitcos (then called Rosaspata), and the nearby temple of Chuquipalta.

  • Most of the outlying buildings have been reconstructed in order to give visitors a better idea of how they originally appeared.

  • [23] However, a 2021 study led by Burger used radiocarbon dating (specifically, AMS) to reveal that Machu Picchu may have been occupied from around 1420–1530 AD.

  • [53] The modern town of Machu Picchu[edit] Along the Urubamba river, below the ruins, surrounding the train line “street”, is the town of Machu Picchu, also known as Aguas
    Calientes (hot springs), with a post office, a train station, many inexpensive and some expensive hotels, and other services for the many tourists.

  • [27][non-primary source needed] Hiram Bingham III at his tent door near Machu Picchu in 1912 Armed with this information the expedition went down the Urubamba River.

  • [72] The section of the mountain where Machu Picchu was built provided various challenges that the Incas solved with local materials.

  • [62] In 2005 and 2009, the University of Arkansas made detailed laser scans of the entire site and of the ruins at the top of the adjacent Huayna Picchu mountain.

  • Stone stairways set in the walls allowed access to the different levels across the site.

  • [94] In May 2012, a team of UNESCO conservation experts called upon Peruvian authorities to take “emergency measures” to further stabilize the site’s buffer zone and protect
    it from damage, particularly in the nearby town of Aguas Calientes, which had grown rapidly.

  • In particular, Ramos thought Vitcos was “near a great white rock over a spring of fresh water.”

  • [66] The Intihuatana stone is one of many ritual stones in South America.

  • Although Machu Picchu is considered to be a “royal” estate, it would not have been passed down in the line of succession.

  • Similar layering protected the large city center from flooding.

  • [29][page needed] Llama with Machu Picchu ruins in the background Animals are also suspected to have migrated to Machu Picchu, as there were several bones found that were
    not native to the area.

  • [48] By the time Bingham and his team left Machu Picchu, locals had formed coalitions to defend their ownership of Machu Picchu and its cultural remains, while Bingham claimed
    the artifacts ought to be studied by experts in American institutions.

  • Though the estate belonged to Pachacutec, religious specialists and temporary specialized workers (mayocs) lived there as well, most likely for the ruler’s well-being and

  • Though Bingham was not the first to visit the ruins, he was considered the scientific discoverer who brought Machu Picchu to international attention.

  • [90] As a result of his research as director of the Park, the construction processes and functions of the sanctuary were acknowledged by the scientific community and a better
    understanding of the Inca landscape was given to the general public, who increasingly started to implement more sustainable tourism in the area, as a sign of respect for the site.

  • For this reason, the cave was inaccessible for much of the year.

  • This suggests that several of the immigrants were from more coastal areas and moved to Machu Picchu where corn was a larger portion of food intake.

  • [58] Two high-altitude routes from Machu Picchu cross the mountains back to Cusco, one through the Sun Gate, and the other across the Inca bridge.

  • [12][20] Evidence of references by native Quechua speakers dating to their reports to the Spanish, early maps, and even discussions with Bingham, is cited in the new research
    into historical records regarding an apparently arbitrary selection of the name Bingham associated with the site—that differed from the traditional name.

  • It was shown that the topsoil was probably moved from the valley floor to the terraces because it was much better than the soil higher up the mountain.

  • The Incas, in contrast to the Maya, had no written language, and no European visited the site until the 19th century, so far as is known.

  • It is one of the most important archeological sites in South America, one of the most visited tourist attractions in Latin America[56] and the most visited in Peru.

  • Many of the caves surrounding this area were prehistorically used as tombs, yet there is no evidence that Mach’ay was a burial ground.

  • He took preliminary notes, measurements, and photographs, noting the fine quality of Inca stonework of several principal buildings.

  • Its three primary structures are the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows.

  • Rather it was used for 80 years before being abandoned, seemingly because of the Spanish conquests in other parts of the Inca Empire.

  • [57] The location of the city was a military secret, and its deep precipices and steep mountains provided natural defenses.

  • [84][85][86][87] UNESCO received criticism for allowing tourists at the location given high risks of landslides, earthquakes and injury due to decaying structures.

  • The terraces received so much rain that they were built by Incan engineers specifically to allow for ample drainage of the extra water.

  • The site itself may have been intentionally built on fault lines to afford better drainage and a ready supply of fractured stone.

  • [44] As was the case with Machu Picchu, the site was so heavily overgrown that Bingham could only note a few of the buildings.

  • [79] Many people protested the plans, including Peruvians and foreign scientists, saying that more visitors would pose a physical burden on the ruins.

  • [71] Construction[edit] Main article: Incan architecture View of the residential section of Machu Picchu Interior of an Inca building, featuring trapezoidal windows Funerary
    Stone in upper cemetery The central buildings use the classical Inca architectural style of polished dry-stone walls of regular shape.

  • “[59] Site Layout[edit] Terraced fields in the upper agricultural sector Room of the Three Windows The site is roughly divided into an urban sector and an agricultural sector,
    and into an upper town and a lower town.

  • These terraces were a work of considerable engineering, built to ensure good drainage and soil fertility while also protecting the mountain itself from erosion and landslides.

  • [76] They congregate at Cusco before starting on the one-, two-, four- or five-day journey on foot from kilometer 82 (or 77 or 85, four/five-day trip) or kilometer 104 (one/two-day
    trip) near the town of Ollantaytambo in the Urubamba valley, walking up through the Andes to the isolated city.

  • [19] A study published in 2022 in Ñawpa Pacha: Journal of the Institute of Andean Studies suggests that, in the Quechua language, the abandoned Inca site was called “Huayna
    Picchu”, after the smaller peak at the site, or perhaps, just “Picchu”.

  • Bingham was abiding by the 1852 Civil Code of Peru; the code stated that “archaeological finds generally belonged to the discoverer, except when they had been discovered on
    private land.”

  • [90] January 2010 evacuation[edit] See also: El Niño-Southern Oscillation In January 2010, heavy rain caused flooding that buried or washed away roads and railways to Machu
    Picchu, trapping more than 2,000 locals and more than 2,000 tourists, later airlifted out to safety.

  • The temple also has two trapezoidal windows, one facing 65°, called the “Solstice Window”, and the other facing 132°, called the “Qullqa Window”.

  • [12] The Spanish conquistador Baltasar de Ocampo had notes of a visit during the end of the 16th century to a mountain fortress called Pitcos with very sumptuous and majestic
    buildings, erected with great skill and art, all the lintels of the doors, as well the principal as the ordinary ones, being of marble, elaborately carved.

  • He organized the 1911 Yale Peruvian Expedition in part to search for the Inca capital, which was thought to be the city of Vitcos.

  • Three entrance phases will be implemented, increased from two phases previously, to further help the flow of traffic and reduce degradation of the site due to tourism.

  • The Incas built the estate around 1450 but abandoned it a century later, at the time of the Spanish conquest.

  • [26][27]: xxxvi  There is a consensus among archeologists that Pachacutec ordered the construction of the royal estate for his use as a retreat, most likely after a successful
    military campaign.

  • [64][65] Intihuatana stone[edit] Main article: Intihuatana, Urubamba Intihuatana is believed to have been designed as an astronomic clock or calendar by the Incas The sculpture
    projecting from the rock bottom of the sun temple is interpreted as “Water mirrors for observing the sky”.

  • [21] The name given to the abandoned settlement by its builders has not been determined by researchers.

  • [75] The approach to moving and placing the enormous stones remains uncertain, probably involving hundreds of men to push the stones up inclines.


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Photo credit:’]