Saturday, July 11, 2009
Unknown road to Machu Picchu discovered
LIMA.-(EFE) Peruvian archaeologists and Spanish technicians have discovered an Inca road unknown until now and apparently held sacred that led to the citadel of Machu Picchu, the Project Ukhupacha team said Friday in Lima.
The discovery was made early this week by archaeologists from the Peru National Culture Institute and technicians from Jaume I University in Castellon, Spain.
The Inca road is made of stone masonry approximately 1 meter (3 1/4 feet) wide, with sustaining walls along the way rising some 4 to 5 meters (13 to 16 feet) high, according to a communique from the Project Ukhupacha.
Several stretches of the road have collapsed that began at what is now the Wuarqtambo archaeological premises, went up Machu Picchu mountain and then came down from the citadel.
The director of the Machu Picchu National Historical Sanctuary, Fernando Astete Victoria, said there had been evidence of an Inca road to the citadel different from the one that was known, and so its discovery became one of the Ukhupacha Project's goals.
A large part of Peruvian territory is united by different extensions of a great Inca road leading to the sanctuary of Machu Picchu, built high on a ridge and declared a World Heritage Site in 1983.
The archaeologists involved in the project said that this road could have been held sacred, so that it was only traveled by spiritual leaders who celebrated religious rites.
The team of experts will carry out another expedition next week to determine the route and length of the road, since on the western slope of Machu Picchu mountain it is apparent that several stretches have been destroyed.