New Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Discovered

The director of Machu Picchu and leader of its archeological team, Fernando Astete, announced this week the discovery of a new Inca Trail segment leading to Machu Picchu Citadel. The team has found 164 archeological sites and 40 roads during their time working within the area known as Machu Picchu Sanctuary.

Intriguingly, the newly-discovered trail seems to predate Machu Picchu itself. It covers nearly a mile and is located 2,700 meters above sea level. It leads into the Wayraqtambo (tambo of the winds) Zone, in the rear part of Machu Picchu Citadel.

Along the route, there's a tunnel with a pieced roof of carved stones, a technique used to prevent the collapse of the upper blocks. Although the rocks used are atypical for an Incan structure, it's been described as one of the finest examples of Incan engineering. Although it's been reported to be around 15 feet long and up to 12 feet high, Asteste indicated that the team does not yet know how long or tall the tunnel is, as more excavation is required. Built after 20 feet of earth and rock collapsed over the road, the Incas had to break up all those rocks in order to construct the tunnel.

At the moment, one can only observe intermittent 10 foot retaining walls holding back Machu Picchu Mountain. Local workers are busy clearing away stones and undergrowth in order to expose the trail, whose location will allow for a new perspective of the citadel. "One still can't appreciate the totality of the trail, as it's covered in large part by vegetation," explained Astete.

The network of Incan roads known as the Qapac Ñan (Royal Road) reaches into six different countries, but the majority is located within Peru, and the most famous segment is the Classic 4-Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, which passes through a series of Incan ruins en route to Machu Picchu Citadel. It's popular not just for its history, but also for its panoramic views of the Andes Mountains and the Urubamba River Valley. Covering Cloud Forest, Jungle Brow, and high-altitude jungle, the trail showcases a diverse flora and fauna of the protected area known as Machu Picchu Sanctuary, which boasts a stunning variety of orchids and butterflies.

Inca World Team
Publication date: 07 Jun 2014
Sources: <a href="">Carla Colon</a>

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