Ghosts of Machu Picchu

Synopsis:
Year:
2010
9 Views

1

High in the Peruvian Andes, there's

an ancient city called Machu Picchu.

lt is a ruin that defies explanation.

Who were the mysterious people who built

it and why did they build it here?

With no defensive wall,

it doesn't look like a fortress.

instead, there are fountains

and small pools...

temples...

and strange altars cut from granite...

...but little else

to explain how a people

who didn't have iron tools or the wheel

could have created

such a masterpiece...and why.

Now, new research

is solving these mysteries...

in the bodies and bones

of the people who once lived here...

To me this is the type of injury

more indicative of a weapon...

possibly of warfare.

There are clues far below the city...

and underneath it...

...and in the stories

of the mummies of kings.

Will all these revelations finally

lay the ghosts of Machu Picchu to rest?

Perched at 2,450 meters

on a narrow ridge in the high Andes

Machu Picchu is a remote

and mysterious ancient wonder.

Spread across the top of this ridge

are more than 200 structures

each built with exquisitely cut stone.

Some appear to be homes...others temples.

They surround a hectare green...

and all are fed

by open waterways and fountains.

It is a lost city, whose doorways and

passages hint at the ghosts of its past.

A place that is

at once beautiful and baffling.

There are no written clues in the city...

no carvings to suggest a purpose.

At its highest point,

the mystery only deepens.

There,

a beautifully carved pillar stands,

a graceful riddle to cap the site.

From this lofty height, the views

leave one stunned, but also curious.

How did the builders

get all this stone up here

and then cut it so finely

that they didn't even need mortar

to hold their walls in place?

Who built Machu Picchu?

And why did they build it

in this impossible place?

Even more perplexing,

why did they abandon it?

Throughout the city,

stones seemed to be on the verge

of being placed when work came to a stop.

Now, as never before, clues are emerging.

Some at the site

itself in new excavations.

Others at the lower

reaches of Machu Picchu

as teams explore them

for the very first time.

These mysteries have long

obsessed Fernando Astete,

director of the Machu Picchu

Archaeological Park.

There is such an important cultural legacy

here, not just for Peruvians,

but a legacy forthe entire world.

Making sense of that legacy is Astete's

challenge-along with getting to work.

He has one of the most precarious

commutes of anyone on the planet.

His path was built by a people

who were sure-footed with little fear

of heights

the Inca.

They rose to power in the mid-1400s in

part because they built such good roads.

Much of their 16,000 kilometer

network is still visible today.

They left other evidence that they

were master engineers and builders.

Their terraces, canals and stone

cities rival those of ancient Rome.

But unlike the ancient Romans,

they did all of this without the wheel,

without iron and without

a written language.

The Inca did have a calculating system

using knotted strings called khipu,

but it left no record

of their lives or their history.

So, much of what

we do know comes from the Spanish

who conquered them in the 1500s.

These accounts carry

the bias of conquerors.

A different view comes from

an Inca artist named Guaman Poma.

Poma was born shortly after the Spanish

arrived in Peru so he was

an observer who bridged both worlds.

He produced hundreds of simple

drawings about farming techniques,

royalty and the Inca history of conquest.

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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"Ghosts of Machu Picchu" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 22 Aug. 2019. <https://www.scripts.com/script/ghosts_of_machu_picchu_8945>.

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