The Sala de los Morteros at Machu Picchu: another precise astronomical instrument of the Incas?

  • Jacek Kościuk
  • Mariusz Ziółkowski

Abstract

The Mortar Room (Sala de los Morteros) is one of the buildings at Machu Picchu that has had an astronomical-calendar function attributed to it. The most elaborate hypothesis for this is that of Eulogio Cabada Hildebrandt, who established it based on a series of photos and measurements taken in 2006–2007.However, a precise reconstruction of the whole complex of buildings, based on 3D measurements and digital modeling as well as several other series of photos, shows that, in Inca times, the Sala de los Morteros could not have fulfilled the postulated astronomical function.One of the main challenges was the presence of roofs over this and neighbouring buildings, which made direct illumination of one of the ‘mortars’ impossible, and the possibility of illuminating the other, limited. For similar reasons, the use of the ‘mortars’ as mirrors for reflective astronomical observations or for zenithal observations of celestial bodies, has also been excluded.

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Ziółkowski, Mariusz; Kościuk, Jacek 2020 The Torreón of Machu Picchu: an astronomical observatory?, Teka Komisji Architektury, Urbanistyki i Studiów Krajobrazowych, Lublin, vol 16, no. 4/2020, pp. 7-31; DOI: https://doi.org/10.35784/teka.2451.

Published
2021-10-20
How to Cite
Kościuk, J., & Ziółkowski, M. (2021). The Sala de los Morteros at Machu Picchu: another precise astronomical instrument of the Incas?. Estudios Latinoamericanos, 40, 121-140. Retrieved from https://estudioslatinoamericanos.pl/index.php/estudios/article/view/377
Section
Estudios dedicados a Andrzej Krzanowski

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