Hidden Inca Water System Beneath The Machu Picchu Jungle Discovered By LIDAR


Conny Waters – AncientPages.com – There is much evidence the Incas were skilled in regard to water engineering.

One of their greatest accomplishments is the Incamisana water temple at Ollantaytambo in Peru that was “constructed for the worship of deities who gave the Inca people water and water itself. Even today in our modern terms, the structure represents the Inca’s masterpiece of both civil engineering and construction. It was designed to focus on religious ceremonies and offerings.

It’s definitely a truly remarkable achievement especially if we consider the region’s harsh weather and the altitude of 2,792 m (9,160 ft) above sea level.” 1

Now, thanks to LIDAR scientists have learned more about the Incas knowledge of hydraulic systems.

Lidar, or Light Detection and Ranging, is a remote sensing method used to examine the surface of the Earth and has been lately helpful to archaeologists to study areas that were once too dangerous or inaccessible. Archaeologists have in recent years discovered many fascinating ancient structures with help of LIDAR. The recent satellite images have revealed a hidden Inca water system beneath the Machu Picchu Jungle.

In the study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, Polish researchers write,” the Chachabamba archaeological site contains a unique water complex erected and modified by the Incas. Based on archaeological investigations within the ceremonial sector, it has been established that the function of this water complex was strictly ceremonial. Moreover, hydrodynamic studies of the water supply canals have verified the previous findings.

Credit: Sieczkowska Dominika – Journal of Archaeological Science

Due to the complex characteristics of the site, which is largely overgrown by dense vegetation, we employed a methodology not previously applied in the region. Three-dimensional documentation techniques were used to produce hydrodynamic analyses of the site, which facilitated the preparation of appropriate models that are key to understanding the function of the entire water system.”

Credit: Sieczkowska Dominika – Journal of Archaeological Science

According to Dominika Sieczkowska, deputy director of the organization and development of the Centre for Andean Studies at the University of Warsaw, who led the research “only very privileged people could get to Machu Picchu, because it was a very special place,” she says. “When you went there, you had to stop in Chachabamba to take a spiritual bath to be clean and pure to get to Machu Picchu.”

“The discovery is about a dozen small structures that supplied water to the archaeological and ceremonial complex of Chachabamba. It is located on a mostly flat terrain in the Vilcanota valley in southeastern Peru (2170 m.a.s.l.). The stone archaeological monuments that make it up are the main altar and fourteen surrounding baths. The investigations of the hydraulic system have shown that the fourteen stone bodies exercised the unique role of ceremonial purification baths in relation to the ceremonial character of the site.

The Inca’s design of water systems was influenced by their strong beliefs in power of water.

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