Machu Picchu Peru one of the new seven wonders of the world!
On July 7th, 2007. Machu Picchu was chosen as one of The New Seven Wonders of The Modern World. These were chosen by more than 100 million people around the world; through an open voting by Internet. The wonders were announced in random order by the New Open World Corporation.
¿What is Machu Picchu?
Machu Picchu is a Quechua word which means OLD MOUNTAIN. Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca city, located in the Eastern Cordillera of southern Peru, on a mountain ridge 2,430 metres (7,970 ft) above sea level. It is located in the Cusco Region, Urubamba Province, Machu Picchu District in Peru, above the Sacred Valley, which is 80 kilometres (50 mi) northwest of Cuzco and through which the Urubamba River flows, which cuts through the Cordillera and originates a canyon with tropical mountain climate.
Many archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was constructed as an summer house for the Inca ruler Pachacuti (1438–1472). Often mistakenly referred to as the “Lost City of the Incas” – a title more accurately applied to Vilcabamba city-, it is the most familiar icon of Inca civilization. The Incas built the empire around 1450 but abandoned it a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest. Although known locally; it was not known to the Spanish during the colonial time and remained unknown to the outside world until American historian Hiram Bingham brought it to international attention in 1911 to 1915.
The citadel was built in the classical Inca style; with polished dry-stone walls. Its three primary structures are the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. Most of the outlying buildings have been reconstructed in order to give visitors a better idea of how they originally appeared. By 1976; sixty percent of Machu Picchu had been restored and the restoration continues until nowadays.
Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historic Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. In 2007, Machu Picchu was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in a worldwide.
¿Who Built Machu Picchu? And When?
Machu Picchu was built around 1450 – 1460.Its construction appears to date to the period of the two great Inca rulers, Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui 1438 – 71. And Túpac Inca Yupanqui 1472 – 93. There is a consensus among archaeologists that Pachacutec ordered the construction of the SUMMER HOUSE for himself, most likely after his successful military campaign.
Though Machu Picchu is considered to be a Royal estate; surprisingly, the estate would not have been passed down in the line of succession. It was only used for approximately 100 years before being abandoned seemingly due to destruction of the Spanish Conquests in other parts of the Inca Empire. It is possible that most of its inhabitants died from smallpox introduced by travellers before the Spanish conquistadors arrived to Tawantinsuyu.
¿Who Lived in Machu Picchu?
During its use as a summer house, it is estimated that no more than 900 people lived there at a time, most people being support staff servants who lived there permanently. Though the citadel belonged to Pachacutec, religious specialists and temporary specialized workers lived there as well, most likely for the king’s well-being and enjoyment. During the harsher season, staff dropped down to around a hundred servants and a few religious specialists focused only on maintenance of the citadel.
According studies to their skeletal remains, most people who lived there were immigrants from diverse backgrounds. They lacked the chemical markers and osteological markers they would have if they had been living there their whole lives. Instead, there was bone damage from various species of water parasites indigenous to different areas of Peru. There were also varying osteological stressors and varying chemical densities suggesting varying long term diets characteristic of specific regions that were spaced apart.
These diets are composed of varying levels of maize, potatoes, grains, legumes, and dry fish, but the overall most recent short-term diet for these people was composed of less fish and more quinoa and corn. This means that several of the immigrants were from more coastal areas and moved to Machu Picchu citadel where quinoa and corn and potatoes were a larger portion of food intake. The skeletal remains found at Machu Picchu are also unique in their level of natural bone damage from laborious activities. Most people found at the site had lower levels of arthritis and bone fractures found in most sites of the Inca state. Inca individuals that had arthritis and bone fractures are typically those who performed heavy physical labor – such as the Mita the Inca reciprocity system and served in the Inca military.
Not only people were suspected to have immigrated to Machu Picchu, there were several animal bones found that were not native to the city. Most animal bones found were from llamas and alpacas. These animals naturally live in altitudes of 15000 ft above sea level rather than the mere 8000 ft Machu Picchu rests on.
These animals were brought in from the Puna area for meat consumption and for their pelts. Guinea pigs were also found at the site in special burial caves, suggesting that they were at least used for funerary rituals as it was common throughout the Inca Empire to use them for sacrifices and meat. Six Peruvian dogs were also recovered from the site. Due to their placements among the human remains, it is believed that they served as companions of dead Inca people.
¿What Were The Machu Picchu Terraces For?
The agricultural terraces at Machu Picchu were done on the hundreds of man-made platforms. The terraces were a work of considerable engineering; built to ensure good drainage system and soil fertility while also protecting the mountain itself from erosion and landslides in rainy season.
However, the terraces were not perfect; as studies of the land show that there were landslides that happened during the construction of the citadel. It can still be seen where the terraces were shifted by landslides and then stabilized by the Inca as they continued to build around the area. Therefore, Machu Picchu city is unfinished like all the cities in the world.
¿How is Machu Picchu Weather?
Scholars estimate that the area around Machu Picchu has received more than 75 inches of rain per year since A.D. 1450, which was more than needed to support crop growth in the site. Because of the large amount of rainfall at Machu Picchu Peru, it was found that irrigation system was not needed for the terraces. They received so much rain that they were built specifically to allow for ample drainage of the extra rain water.
Machu Picchu citadel has wet and dry seasons, with the majority of annual rain falling from October through to April.
Machu Picchu – Inca Terraces
The excavation and soil analyses done by Kenneth Wright in Machu Picchu in the 90’s showed that the terraces were built in layers; with a bottom layer of larger stones covered by loose gravel rocks. On top of the gravel was a layer of mixed sand and gravel packed together; with rich topsoil covering all of that. It was proven that the topsoil was probably moved from the valley floor to the terraces because it was much more rich than the soil higher up the mountain. And the sand from the Sacred valley river which is located in the bottom part of the citadel
¿What Was Grown In Machu Picchu?
However, it has been found that the terrace farming area makes up only about 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 900+ people living at Machu Picchu.
Therefore, when studies were done on the food that the Incas had at Machu Picchu, it was found that much of what they ate was imported to the area from the surrounding areas: there is close by the sacred valley of the Incas that produces tons of corn and quinoa; Chinchero provided potatoes and dried llama meat, fruits and coca from the jungle and fish from the coast – pacific ocean. All this food were found in Machu Picchu during the excavation of Hiram Bingham in 1911.
¿Why The Spanish Never Found Machu Picchu?
Machu Picchu Peru is located about 80 kilometers – 50 Miles from the Inca capital Cuzco, the Spanish never arrived Machu Picchu and so did not plunder or destroy it, as they did many Incan cities. The conquistadors had notes of a place called Picchu, although no record of a Spanish visit exists. The types of sacred rocks defaced by the conquistadors in other locations are untouched at Machu Picchu. Otherwise you could see catholic churches. Likely the city is intact only the nature has destroyed in 3 hundred years
Over the centuries, the surrounding jungle overgrown the site, and few outside the immediate area knew of its existence. The city may have been discovered and plundered in 1867 by a German businessman, Augusto Berns. There is an evidence indicates that German engineer J. M. von Hassel arrived earlier. The map shows references to Machu Picchu as early as 1874 right after the independence.
Remarkable year – In 1911 American explorer Hiram Bingham travelled the region looking for the old Inca capital and was led to Machu Picchu by a native, Melchor Arteaga. Bingham found the name Agustín Lizárraga and the date 1902 written in charcoal on one of the Inca walls. Though Bingham was not the first to visit the site, this explorer was considered the scientific discoverer who brought Machu Picchu to international attention. Bingham organized another expedition in 1912 to undertake major clearing and excavation in the citadel.
After years in 1981, Peru declared an area of 325.92 square kilometres – 125.84 sq miles surrounding Machu Picchu a Historic Sanctuary. In addition to the site, the sanctuary includes a large portion of the adjoining region, rich with the flora and fauna of the Peruvian amazon jungle, Central Andean wet puna ecoregions and different type of microclimates when you hike the Inca Trail Tours to Machu Picchu.
UNESCO designated Machu Picchu Peru a World Heritage site in 1983, describing it as ► an absolute masterpiece of architecture and a unique testimony to the Inca civilization ◄ of South America.
Hiram Bingham American Explorer
(His First Expedition)
Bingham first american explorer was a lecturer at Yale University, although not a trained archaeologist. In 1909, returning from the Pan-American Scientific Congress in Chile, Bingham traveled through Peru and was invited to explore the Inca ruins at Choquequirao in the Apurímac canyon. He organized the 1911 Yale Peruvian Expedition in part to search for the Inca capital, which was thought to be the city of Vitcos.
He consulted Carlos Romero, one of the chief historians in Lima who showed him helpful references and Father Antonio de la Calancha Chronicle of the Augustinians. In particular, Ramos thought Vitcos was near a great white rock over a spring of fresh water. Back in Cusco again, Bingham asked planters about the places mentioned by Calancha, particularly along the Sacred Valley river.
According to Bingham, one old prospector said there were interesting inca ruins at Machu Picchu, though his statements were given no importance by the leading citizens. Only later did Bingham learn that Charles Wiener also heard of the city at Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu, but was unable to reach them. Because the city was covered with vegetation
Hiram armed with this information the expedition went down the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Along the route Bingham asked local people to show them Inca ruins, especially any place described as having a white rock over a spring.
Once arriving to Mandor Pampa village, Bingham asked farmer Melchor Arteaga if he knew of any nearby Inca ruins. Arteaga said he knew of excellent ruins on the top of Huayna Picchu. The next day, July 24th, Arteaga led Bingham and Sergeant Carrasco across the river on a log bridge and up the Huayna Picchu peak. At the top of the mountain, they came across a small hut occupied by a couple of Quechua, Richarte and Alvarez, who were farming some of the original Machu Picchu agricultural terraces that they had cleared four years earlier. Alvarez’s 11-year-old son, Pablito, showed Bingham along the ridge to the main ruins.
Note: Pablito Alvarez is the first tour guide of Machu Picchu. He is considered the father of tour guides of Peru.
Machu Picchu ruins were mostly covered with vegetation except for the cleared agricultural terraces and clearings used by the farmers as vegetable gardens. Because of the vegetation, Bingham was not able to observe the full extent of the ruins. He took preliminary notes, measurements, and photographs, noting the fine quality of Inca stonework of several principal buildings. Bingham was unclear about the original purpose of the site, but decided that there was no indication that it matched the description of Vitcos that he was looking for.
His expedition continued down the Urubamba and up the Vilcabamba rivers examining all the sites they could find. Guided by locals Bingham rediscovered and correctly identified the site of the old Inca capital, Vitcos – then called Rosaspata, and the nearby temple of Chuquipata. He then crossed a pass and into the Pampaconas Valley where he found more ruins heavily buried in the jungle undergrowth at Espíritu Pampa, which he named Eromboni Pampa.
As was the case with Machu Picchu, the ruins were so heavily overgrown that Bingham could only note a few of the walls. In 1964, Gene Savoy further explored the ruins at Espiritu Pampa and revealed the full extent of the site, identifying it as Vilcabamba OLD, where the Incas fled after the Spanish drove them from Vitcos. To run away in to the amazon jungle.
Hiram Bingham – Second Expedition
American Explorer Bingham returned to Machu Picchu in 1912 under the sponsorship of Yale Universityand National Geographic again and with the full support of Peruvian President Leguia. The expedition undertook a four-month clearing of the site with local labor, which was expedited with the support of the Prefect of Cuzco. Excavation started in 1912 with further excavation undertaken in 1914 and 1915.
Bingham focused on Machu Picchu because of its fine Inca stonework and well-preserved nature, which had lain undisturbed since the ruin was abandoned. None of Bingham’s several hypotheses explaining the site held up. During his studies, he took various artifacts back to Yale.
One prominent artifact was a set of 15th-century, ceremonial Inca knives made from bismuth bronze; they are the earliest known artifact containing this alloy. In total Bingham crew found 40 thousand artifacts, all of them were carried to United States in order to study but since 1915. It has already passed more than 1 century to send back to Peru.
¿Where are the artifacts found of Machu Picchu?
While local institutions initially welcomed the exploration, they soon accused Bingham of legal and cultural malpractice. Rumors arose that the crew was stealing artifacts and smuggling them out of Peru through Bolivia. In fact, Bingham removed many artifacts, but openly and legally; they were deposited in the Yale University Museum. 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.
Local press perpetuated the accusations, claiming that the excavation harmed the citadel and deprived local archaeologists of knowledge about their own history. Landowners began to demand rent from the excavators. 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. This was the biggest cheat of this american explorer and his crew to take all the Inca artifacts to Yale.