This revised edition includes newly discovered sites. New photos and maps with full-color illustrations of real life scences from National Geographic Magazine.
As an anthropologist myself, I wish that I had had a copy of a guidebook even half as good as that authored by Ruth Wright and Alfredo Valencia Zegarra. Combining a clearly written text with intriguing photos and practical diagrams, The Machu Picchu Guidebook is the single best publication on this site that I have seen. While written primarily for the astute traveler, it will be of use to professionals as well.
My own work with indigenous water systems in places like Guyana and Indonesia led to my cursory examination in 1982 of the system at Machu Picchu. It proved fascinating, but I had little time for study. To their credit, Ruth Wright and her husband, Ken Wright (in conjunction with a number of their colleagues from the U.S. and Peru) instituted a remarkably thorough archaeological/engineering investigation of this Incan system in the 1990s. This same degree of care and attention to detail is seen in the guidebook, which had its genesis in their archaeological research.
In conclusion, it should be noted that Ruth Wright is a former chair of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of The Explorers Club. Her book brings an explorer's enthusiasm to Machu Picchu, while maintaining high standards of authorship.
Coloradans Ken and Ruth Wright have teamed with Peruvian archeologist Alfredo Valencia to place back in working order the sixteen fountains of Machu Picchu. You can see for yourself.
The Inca were master water handlers. They chose Machu Picchu as a ceremonial center because the mountains and the river spoke to them of life-giving power. The Urubamba River far below snakes triangular around the base of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu Mountains. A saddle between these peaks cradles the temples, rock shrines, dwelling places and agricultural terraces that dance between the clouds in early morning and emerge to sunlight by noon.
Water at the center of it all. The paleohydrologic studies of the Wrights and Valencia reveal how the Inca predicated the design and construction of Machu Picchu upon the flow of a spring. From high on the side of Machu Picchu Mountain, a canal brings water across an agricultural terrace to the first fountain just above the Temple of the Sun. From there, 16 fountains splash, spout and sing down a staircase to the Temple of the Condor.
You can see for yourself. Inside of Ruth's and Alfredo's Guidebook is a foldout archeological map of Machu Picchu. Study it. See how the Inca trail leads into the upper and lower agricultural terraces. Notice how the Inca Canal cuts across the drainage moat to bisect the western and eastern urban sectors. Spot the Sacred Rock at the start of the Huayna Picchu trail, where Quechua families still hug the visible manifestation of Pachamama, the earth mother.
Now you are ready for your self-guided tour. Just inside the entrance gate, climb to the Guardhouse.Read more ›