Machu Picchu – construction technology full of fascination
The architecture of the Incas
The architecture of the Incas
To this day, archaeologists and historians are fascinated by the fact that the Inca civilization apparently did not use any wheel to move the huge blocks of granite that form the walls of Machu Picchu. There is no indication that the wheel was invented as a means of transport, even though the Incas used the round shape as such in art. Also for the presence of metal and livestock tools as traction means for the construction of Machu Picchu to date no evidence was found.
The shining white granite stones approached the ruins of Machu Picchu today, a granite vein that crosses the land. The semi-finished pieces found in the quarry, which are still open today, point to the production technology of the blocks. In the absence of metal tools, the Inca evidently fiddled with the stones with suitable smaller stones until a crack formed and the piece finally broke. This was then processed with smaller stones until it had the desired shape.
We do not know with certainty how the Incas transported the building blocks of Machu Picchu to their place. In question, there are two techniques that may have been combined. Or the stone was placed on several logs, wrapped in thick ropes and dragged with labor on the rotating logs to the place of use. Alternatively, the Inca could have taken advantage of the rainy season and soggy soil. On the wet and slippery surface, they could have dragged the stones on the paths cut without too much friction. One thing is true in both cases: they could only be achieved with enormous muscular strength and the help of thousands of men over the years.
In the place of their destination, the stones were raised and placed precisely using beams and wedge stones pushed between the stones. Only when two stones found the perfect position with each other, the levers were sanded or removed. In very few historically enlightening sites within Machu Picchu, you can still find cornerstones where this procedure was not completed, an exciting treasure hunt for any amateur archaeologist.
Not only on the terraces of the mountainside was cultivated at the time of the Inca in and around Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu is generally divided into two sectors: agricultural in the south and urban in the north. Both uses were only possible because Machu Picchu rests on a solid base. A true masterpiece of architecture, although almost completely invisible: engineers estimate that 60% of the entire Inca plant below the earth is out of sight. To make the wide plateau between the two mountains at once flat and solid, deep foundations were dug and filled with crushed stones. Their layers also served as drainage for the rain masses that would otherwise have literally razed Machu Picchu in the rainy season.
The agricultural land of Machu Picchu stretched along the slopes of the mountains on the terraces described. At the same time, Machu Picchu was connected to the valley and other fertile regions by eight trails and wide, well-secured roads. Also in this way a provision of the inhabitants with fresh food was assured.
Within the city, the arable and urban areas were clearly separated by a 400-meter-long wall. Along the wall there is an additional ditch, which also served as a drain. Most likely, this is not an exclusion of certain sectors of the population or of the working class. Rather, the wall and pit were obviously designed as a possible system of protection against intruders; even the door in the wall is unusually reinforced.
The agricultural sector oriented to the southeast of the complex consists of a series of terraces of surprisingly variable shapes and sizes. The upper part comprises about 40, the lower part around 80 terraces. They intersect with a path that continues the Inka Trail from Intipunku.
From this fascinating building with its only three walls, not only the terraces, but you can easily inspect the entire area.