The Incas possessed what was the culmination of all Andean hydraulic engineering knowledge developed over millennia by the civilisations that came before them. This knowledge is said by experts to have been far superior to that of the Spanish who conquered them and wiped it out for ever. As good a place as any to witness the evidence of their impressive skills is at Machu Picchu, and it is at this famous site that yet more discoveries have been made.
The Incas didn’t just use water as a life source and something to wash in, it was also considered, like most of the natural world around them, as something divine and spiritual. In-keeping with their belief system, springs and fountains were built as part of temple complexes, what researchers call part of their water cult.
This morning archaeologist at the World Heritage site of Machu Picchu announced the discovery of four additional water fountains they believe served a spiritual purpose. These were found on the eastern terraces of the citadel built about 570 years ago.
The principle fountain, the larger of the group, collects rain water from the mountain above and feeds it through a finely carved stone outlet. The water is led there from a large open channel to nearer one that is carved out of a single block, that then divides the water into two streams – the second of which runs down to the sacred Vilcanota river through an underground tunnel that zig-zags to reduce the water’s velocity.
Fernando Astete, director of the Archaeological and Wildlife Reserve of Machu Picchu, states that four fountains have been found, and that each demonstrates the high level of knowledge the Incas possessed, especially considering that these fountains still work perfectly despite being abandoned for almost 500 years.
Deep in the cloud forests of the majestic Andes mountain range are found the remains of an ancient civilisation. Shrouded in the clouds that envelop the sharp peaks, this mystical city is perched perilously high above the Urubamba river after having passed through the Inca’s Sacred Valley.