Scientists Discover Hidden Ritual Site at Machu Picchu Using Lasers

Machu Picchu, Peru - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.01.2022
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Even though the abandoned Inca complex has been studied for more than a century, archaeologists managed to find something new just 5 miles (8km) away from the main part of the ancient citadel.
Researchers from the University of Warsaw managed to discover more than a dozen new buildings belonging to the Inca Empire's Machu Picchu complex using a special laser technology that gets ever more frequent use by the archaeologists – lidar.
Using drones equipped with these lidars, the archaeologists managed to pierce through the thick foliage of the Peruvian jungle and detect the structures buried in the overgrowth a mere 5 miles away from the main complex at the outer fringes of the ceremonial site Chachabamba.
Ruinas de Machu Picchu (imagen de archivo) - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.01.2020
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The new findings include a stone altar, 14 baths that are believed to have been used in ceremonies, and a complex water system that filled them. The ritual site drew water from the nearby Urubamba River via channels, part of which was buried underground. The scientists from the University of Warsaw said in their study which appeared in the Journal of Archaeological Science that the find helped them to a deeper understanding about the Inca civilisation and its traditions.

"Only the most privileged people could get to Machu Picchu, because it was a special place. When you were going there, you had to stop in Chachabamba for a spiritual bath to be clean and pure to visit Machu Picchu," said Dominika Sieczkowska, deputy director at the University of Warsaw's Centre for Andean Studies.

The archaeologists hope to continue their studies of the ritual site by excavating some of the new-found structures. However, they fear the pandemic might delay their plans for it.
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