Radiocarbon dating reveals Machu Picchu is older than we thought. The territory was not a city, but a cluster of stone buildings, like a palace, where the Inca elite 'escaped' the pressure of Cusco.
Many historians rely on colonial-era evidence to determine when Emperor Pachacuti began building Macchu Picchu, but radiocarbon dating has revealed that the Peruvian tourist site is older than all the other Peruvian sites.believed.
Emperor Pachacuti Image: Divulgation/Dreamy Tours
Richard Burger of Yale University, who led the research along with other colleagues, used a technique called 'accelerator mass spectrometry' (MAS). With it, he dated bones and teeth of the 26 individuals recovered from cemeteries around Machu Picchu, and the journal Antiquity published the results.
Without radiocarbon dating it would be difficult to obtain such data
As Jack Guy explained to CNN Travel, the famous landmark is at least 2 years older than colonial texts suggest. Based on the deeds of the Spanish who overthrew Inca rule in the 1530s, Kevin Rawlinson told the Guardian that the emperor ordered Machu Picchu built as his property between 1440 and 1450.
"Until now, estimates of the antiquity of Machu Picchu and the duration of its occupation were based on contradictory historical accounts written by Spaniards in the period after the Spanish conquest," Burger says in the statement. "Radiocarbon dating suggests an estimate of the founding of Machu Picchu and the duration of its occupation. With this, we get a clearer picture of the origins andhistory of the place."
The discovery of Machu Picchu Image: Photo Summary/ Pinterest
Trish Biers, an osteologist at Cambridge University, who was not involved in the study, pointed out that written sources have helped researchers understand about this period. According to him, analyzing the sources as facts requires care because they were "heavily influenced by political propaganda, religious superiority, and the general subversive voice of the Spanish Empire, which had its own agendabrilliant."
"Without an understanding of the rationale behind Inca politics, Inca religion and how the Inca related to conquered and allied populations, archaeology would be of little use. Without radiocarbon dating it would be very difficult for scholars to interpret and contextualize their findings," she says.
All the human remains and other archaeological finds from Bingham's expedition are back in Cusco. They now remain preserved at the Machu Picchu Museum, the statement noted.
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With information from Smithsonian Magazine.