The continuing pandemic and the resulting quarantine that we have been under for most of the past 6 months makes it very difficult to get out and hike in the mountains, but fortunately does allow for some exercise.
For me, that has meant climbing up the ancient Inca road in the mountains behind my apartment and visiting the Inca complex surrounding Amaru Marcawasi — commonly referred to as Templo de la Luna (Temple of the Moon).
I’ve been exploring all over the area and am working on gathering evidence to support a hypothesis that it has nothing at all to do with the moon, but instead is very clearly related to a more important aspect of Inca life. (More on that at a later date.)
Most people don’t realize just how many sites there are in the immediate area — all of which are interconnected by one common theme that dominates throughout. A tremendous number of constructions such as walls, roads, and water channels also exist in the immediate area.
For the past three days I’ve wandered all over the area and, despite not even beginning to explore everywhere, I’ve found a lot of stuff that probably very very few people know about.
Unfortunately, the bright sun yesterday made it almost impossible to get decent photos and the rain the day before sent me hurrying home. These pics are just a little collection of random shots taken while exploring the area. There is no pattern. They’re just pics that I like!
One of the really interesting sites in the area is the small lake just west of Amaru Marcawasi that few people outside of locals seem to even know exists.
The lake has straight borders, all of which are still lined with stone and include several places where steps allow access to the water below. The bottom is full of silt and one day I hope to return and find out just how deep it originally was when constructed by the Incas.
On the north there is a cut-out where the water came into the lake likely from an aqueduct that still exists just above which redirected the watershed. The water likely flowed into the lake as a fountain.
Sadly, one of the negative happenings during the pandemic is the destruction of the eucalyptus forest to the north of Amaru Marcawasi. Loggers have been cutting everything down for awhile now. You can see in the photos below how much has disappeared. The singe advantage is that now the Chukimarka site is easily visible.
I have a strong feeling that Amaru Marcawasi was not even close to being completed. The crudity of much of the construction indicates that perhaps many of the buildings were, in fact, housing for workers.
However, there is some highly sophisticated stonework already existing that indicates the importance of the site. All around the area is a scattering of stonework that seems to indicate that there was a lot more construction planned.
At one possible site to the north along the road to the rarely visited site Chuspiyoq which lies about halfway between Amaru Marcawasi and Puka Pukara/Tambomachay, there is a considerable amount of stonework seeming scattered across the hillside. Some of these included intricate carving of water channels that are out of place in the current locations and obviously were intended to be moved somewhere else.
One of the interesting sites is in the lower watershed just north of Amaru Marcawasi. A set of steps leads down to a gap in a wall that sits quite high above the stream. Presently, the steps are very high (nearly 1m) above the stream which is dry much of the year, but it’s possible that erosion over the centuries has caused the river bottom to drop considerably.
While not as intricate as at other sites, the fact that the lower wall has survived for centuries in this riverside spot is a testament to the engineering skills of it’s Inca builders.
There is one area of the site that can best be described as having a variety of interesting carvings that are reminiscent of a modern art gallery. Curves, gnomons, and dozens of channels (natural or cut?) create a very large maze that is very hard to describe. Below is my favorite stone photographed from two directions.
Don’t read much into all this. This post is meant to be nothing more than a collection of interesting photos with some commentary.
Finding real research on the site and the area is extremely difficult. As with much of the Cusco valley, there has been a surprising lack of study until the last few decades. I’ve been amazed at how much of what is considered fact actually comes from highly questionable post-Inca colonial sources or relatively recent mythology.
If you go exploring up there, please keep in mind that this is still a living, breathing Andean world that in many ways is not much different from what it was centuries ago.
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