Introduction: Identifying the materials used in Machu Picchu’s construction.
Machu Picchu is a remarkable feat of engineering and architecture, built entirely by hand using locally available materials. The stones used to construct the city were sourced from quarries in the surrounding mountains, and the methods used to shape and fit them together were sophisticated and precise.
Local resources: Sourcing stone from nearby quarries.
The stone used in the construction of Machu Picchu is primarily granite, a hard, durable rock that is abundant in the Andes Mountains. The quarries where the stone was sourced are located just a few miles from the site, making it possible for the Inca people to transport the heavy stones to the construction site without the use of wheels or pack animals.
Granite: The primary stone used in the city’s construction.
Granite is an igneous rock that is formed from the slow cooling and solidification of magma deep within the earth’s crust. It is an extremely hard and durable material that is resistant to weathering and erosion, making it ideal for use in construction projects that need to withstand the test of time. The granite used in Machu Picchu’s construction is a grayish-pink color and has a fine grain.
Shaping techniques: Methods used to shape and fit stones together.
The stones used in Machu Picchu’s construction were shaped using a technique called “pecking and grinding.” This involved first roughing out the shape of the stone using hammerstones, and then finishing the surface using finer-grained stones to achieve a smooth and precise finish. The stones were then carefully fitted together without the use of mortar, relying instead on their precise shaping to create a tight, stable fit.
Durability: The lasting quality of the chosen material.
The use of granite in Machu Picchu’s construction has contributed to its remarkable durability over the centuries. Despite being built over 500 years ago and enduring centuries of exposure to the elements, earthquakes, and human activity, the site remains remarkably intact. The precise shaping and fitting of the stones has helped to make the structures earthquake-resistant, and the durability of the granite has ensured that the site has survived the test of time.
Conclusion: Understanding the significance of the stone used to build Machu Picchu.
The use of locally sourced granite in the construction of Machu Picchu is a testament to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Inca people. The durability of the material and the precision of the shaping and fitting techniques used have helped to ensure that the site remains an enduring monument to Inca culture and history.