Moray: Inca Terraced Ruins (Peru)

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 unusual Inca ruins, mostly 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 the city 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, and warmer, terraces, then transplanted onto the higher, and colder, terraces until plants that could survive at high altitudes had been bred.


Map of the Sacred Valley in Peru
Map of the Sacred Valley in Peru


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

The concentric terraces, that 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.

Six more terraces, in connected ellipses, surround the concentric heart of Moray. Eight terraced steps that cover only a fraction of the perimeter overlook the site. Studies have shown that many of the 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 creates 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 using hybridization and modification to adapt crops for growing and consumption.