Polish archaeologist search for traces of Inca presence in the Machu Picchu area in Peru, diving into lakes located above 4100 metres within the Andes.
Archaeologists picked the lakes that have ceremonial platforms located by their shore. Such spaces were used by the Inca for ritual purposes, including offerings. Two lakes have been the subject of a detailed study – Lake Soctacocha and Yanacocha. They area located in the are of the Camino Inca trail, linking numerous archaeological sites, including Machu Picchu.
All of the lakes are located at the base of the Salcantay glacier, which was the subject of cult by the Inca, who believed that llamas and alpacas emerged from the glacier. Archaeologists believe there might be artefacts within these lakes, as cases of such finds are known from other sites, like Lake Titicaca on the border between Peru and Bolivia, where crates of gold and silver artefacts were found on the bottom.
The researchers applied a sonar and echosounding equipment to create bathymetric maps of the floor. Divers collected core samples of the sediments that accumulated for thousands of years. Through their analysis the researchers will be able not only to learn about the history of the lakes but also about the climate changes of the area. Archaeologists returned also the the Humantay Lake, which they studied last year, to test new equipment created for collecting samples from the bottom. Unfortunately, despite reaching the bottom at the depth of 20 metres they were unable to locate any artefacts.
(after Nauka w Polsce, Maciej Sobczyk & Przemysław Trześniowski)