Polish divers discover secrets. Inca

Traces of Inca ritual activity were sought by Polish scientists in three lakes in the Machu Picchu region of Peru – at an altitude of more than 4,100 meters above sea level.p.m. On the shores of the lakes there are ceremonial platforms from which sacrifices were probably made during rituals.

SpecificallyoSpecifically, two of the lakes surveyed this year – Soctacocha and Yanacocha – are of great interest to researchers of the. This is because they are located in the vicinity of the famous Inca Camino Inca trail connecting numerous archaeological sites with the famous rock city of Machu Picchu. In its heyday, more than 500 years ago, it was surrounded by many temples and settlements. It is now a protected area of Machu Picchu National Park and also a very popular hiking trail.

– The fact that it is worth looking deep into the lakes has already convinced us during the reconnaissance wokoł. It turned out that in both cases, ceremonial stone platforms were erected right next to them. It was probably from them during the rituals ofoin which sacrifices were made,” the head of the research expedition, diver and archaeologist Dr. Maciej Sobczyk of the Center for Pre-Columbian Research at the UW, tells PAP. Teamsoł archaeologistoIn the underwater form oprocz dr. Sobczyk – Mateusz Popek and Przemysław Trześniowski.

The platforms themselves will also be examined by an archaeologistow. It is possible that since these were cultic structures, one might expect interment sacrifices (i.e., made when the structure was erected). It also happened that the dead were deposited within them.

All of the lakes targeted for research by Polakoin, are u stop of the Salcantay glacier, whichory was the object of worship of the ancient inhabitantsoin Andow. According to the archaeologistow They played an important role in Inca beliefs – from them were supposed to emerge in ancient times llamas and alpacas – animals thatore have played and continue to play an important role in the economy of Andow. What the Incas may have sunk during religious ceremonies? It is known that in Lake Titicaca on the border of Peru and Bolivia the Incas immersed stone boxes filled with gold and silver figurines.

Archaeologists are pinning high hopes on what may be hiding at the bottom of lakes Soctacocha and Yanacocha. During the first surveys, they used echosounders and sonar – this resulted in their bathymetric maps. In turn, divers took probka in the form of a core of several tens of centimeters from one of the lakes – this is a build-up of silt, ktory has been deposited for millennia. Thanks to their analysis, scientists will learn not only about the history of the lakes, but roAlso environmental conditions in the area surrounding the reservoirs.

– This year’s work was a major logistical challenge for us. Due to the difficult terrain, all equipment and supplies for głow of the camp had to be delivered using mudow, and then due to the steep approaches of the foot porters, it took more than two days of travel to reach the work site,” recalls Dr. Sobczyk. There was a roalso to an unfortunate accident – one of the transport animals fell off the slope.

Last year, archaeologists from the UW’s Center for Pre-Columbian Studies inaugurated a pioneering study of the reservoiroin aquatic sites located within Machu Picchu National Park in Peru. WoMeanwhile, they have studied four other lakes, including Humantay. This year, researchers returnedociliated to it in order to verify previously identified potential traces of human activity and test research equipment specially constructed for expeditions. Despite reaching the bottom, ktore was at a depth of 20 meters – the scientists did not manage to discover a trace ofoin the wake of ancient rituals.

Lakes studied by the Polakow not only are they located at very high altitudes, they are roalso very deep. This carries a high risk for diversow – so far, no sonar or archaeological diving has been used at such heights.

– High altitude divingorskie requires strict adherence to procedures, associated with the much lower atmospheric pressure that prevails at altitude. Traditional depth gauges can give false results, further complicating the planning and execution of the dive, explains underwater archaeologist and IANTD diving instructor Przemysław Trześniowski.

High altitude divingorskie is therefore associated with a much higher risk of decompression sickness, which requires roalso from diversoin high skills, related to the position underwater and the speed of ascent of the.

A deeper dive in Humantay served the scientists roAlso to collect data with Doppler apparatus, whichore will be transferred to the National Center for Hyperbaric Medicine in Gdynia for analysis. The dive tables and procedures for planning and the dive itself were developed specifically for the archaeologistoin dr hab. n. med. Jacek Kot.

Highogohe underwater research in the Peruvian Andes is being carried out by the Center for Pre-Columbian Research in collaboration with the National Science Centerohe Machu Picchu Park Research Team is working with the Regional Branch of the Ministry of Culture in Cusco on the project: „The function of the satellite sites in the vicinity of Machu Picchu: the complexes of Inkaraqay, Chachabamba and high-altitudeorskie lakes under Nevado Salcantay (Peru)”, conducted by prof. Mariusz Ziolkovskiy. Research in Machu Picchu National Park is funded by a grantoIn Opus and Prelude of the National Science Center.