Moray: Inca Terraced Ruins (Peru)

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Moray: Inca Terraced Ruins (Peru)

Tue, 09/17/2019 - 17:24
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Moray is an archaeological site in Peru, northwest of Cuzco, on a high plateau at about 11,500 ft and just west of the village of Maras. The site contains impressive Inca ruins, mainly consisting of several terraced circular depressions that suggest it was an agricultural laboratory.

Inca Terraced Ruins of Moray

Moray is an archaeological site in Peru's lush Cuzco region, approximately 50 km (31 mi) northwest of Cuzco, Peru.

Moray is located on a high plateau, just northwest of the village of Maras, at an elevation of approximately 3,500 m (11,500 ft) and approximately 600 m (2,000 ft) above the town of Urubamba and the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

The Moray site contains unusual Inca ruins, mostly consisting of several terraced circular depressions, the largest of which is approximately 30 m (98 ft) deep. As with many other Inca sites, there is also an irrigation system.

It is possible that the terraces were used to help domesticate and acclimatize crops. Seeds may have been planted at the lower, warmer terraces, then transplanted onto the higher and colder terraces until plants that could survive at high altitudes had been bred.

It is also possible this complex was used for farming or as an agricultural laboratory and research station by the Incas. Still, the full purpose behind these concentric terraces isn't fully known.

The concentric terraces, which look similar to a Roman amphitheater, are split by multiple staircases that provide the ability to physically walk from the top to the bottom of the bowl.

In connected ellipses, six more terraces surround Moray's concentric heart. Eight terraced steps that cover only a fraction of the perimeter overlook the site. Studies have shown that many terraces contain soil that must have been imported from other parts of the region.

The purpose of these bowl-shaped depressions is uncertain, but their depth, design, and orientation with respect to wind and sun create a temperature difference of as much as 15 °C (27 °F) between the top and the bottom.

These resulting "microclimates" fuel speculation that the rings were used as test beds for growing crops, perhaps by hybridization and modification to adapt crops for growth and consumption.

Map of the Sacred Valley in Peru

Map of Peru's Sacred Valley - Moray is located near the center of the map