Research Shows Incas Improved Building Techniques After Earthquake
The National Institute of Geology, Mining, and Metallurgy (Ingemmet) has just revealed that it is likely that the Incas developed their building techniques as a result of an earthquake that struck the country around 1450. The earthquake is said to have damaged big parts of the sanctuary of Machu Picchu and the capital Cusco. This also explains why some walls at Machu Picchu seem to be separated by a small gap.
The Ingemmet has been funded by European organizations, who aim to gain extensive knowledge on how earthquakes affected ancient civilizations such as the Incas, the Mayas, and the Aztecs. To do this, they first have to find out when earthquakes happened. Doing this isn’t always an easy job, as there are not many written sources from that time.
Fortunately, according to Carlos Benavente Escobar, a researcher and the main coordinator of this project, it is possible to track down past earthquakes by calculating the so-called seismic cycle. This is the extent to which the occurrence of big earthquakes is periodic and thus predictable to a certain extent. Due to this, this study also offers Peru an opportunity to plan things for the next expected big earthquake in the region of Cusco.
If by doing so, Peru would be following the footsteps of the ancient Incas, who were exquisite planners. That is, at least, the conclusion when you analyze the way the ancient civilization adapted to geological disasters such as mudslides and earthquakes. Due to the techniques, it seemed like the Incas were always prepared!
In order to do this research, fieldwork has been executed at different archeological sites near Cusco. For example, researchers investigated the ruins of Tambomachay and Pachatusan, which lay on active geological places. In addition, employers of Ingemmet went to famous sites such as Sacsayhuaman and Machu Picchu, to see how earthquakes affected those areas.