I’m not entirely sure if anyone can say that one specific site is more important than another. I don’t think we can really compare all the different sites we talked about in terms of important because they give an idea of what the people, culture, and time was in that area and time.
The site that I thought was most interesting site was Machu Picchu. Just by looking at it (or seeing pictures of it) you can tell how incredible the site is. Taking a closer look at it becomes even more amazing with how painstakingly the stones were cut and put into place, and knowing it was built almost 8,000 feet above sea level on a mountain. It is an absolute masterpiece of architecture, which tells a lot about the Incan culture and technology.
One of the more interesting parts of the site is the drainage system that was built specifically for the needs of the area, as well as the water supply system that would prevent the buildings from falling down the mountain and have drinking water be made accessible to the people. A canal descends the mountain slope, enters the city walls, passes through the agricultural sector, then crosses the inner wall into the urban sector, where it feeds a series of 16 fountains known as the stairway of fountains.
The site rested on top of a ridge with a roughly 50 percent slope and received almost 2,000 mm of rainfall. For their city to endure, the Inca had to find a way to keep it from sliding down the mountain. Part of the drainage systems include the agricultural terraces, which not only maximized the land available for farming, the terraces also protected the agricultural sector from erosion. They layered each terrace for efficient drainage, with a layer of stones at the bottom, followed by gravel, sandy material, and topsoil. The slope of terraces generally directs water toward a system of drainage channels that are integrated with stairways and other structures. These channels direct the drainage water to a large, east-west main drain that runs through the center of Machu Picchu, separating the agricultural and urban sectors. Gravity flow carries runoff into the main drain in both sectors, taking it safely away from the city. Inca also constructed their plazas in the same way as their terraces, with a deep subsurface layer of rock chips. The plazas received runoff from other areas of Machu Picchu, and the subsurface layer of rocks helped the water to penetrate the ground quickly.
Overall, Machu Picchu is tangible evidence of the urban Inca Empire at the peak of its power and achievement—a citadel of cut stone fit together without mortar so tightly that its cracks still can’t be penetrated by a knife blade. The complex of palaces and plazas, temples and homes may have been built as a ceremonial site, a military stronghold, or a retreat for ruling elites, but scholars are still looking to uncover clues to the mysteries of the site.
Without iron, wheels, or steel, it is a truly impressive achievement from the Inca.