LIMA, April 17 (BNA): Archaeologists in the Peruvian Andes have unearthed an Inca bathing complex built half a millennium ago that they believe may have served more for the elite of the sprawling empire than they did for controlling vast swathes of South America.
Found near the “Inca home” in the Huanuco Pampa archaeological region in central Peru, local archaeologists believe that the hammam may have served a religious purpose for high-ranking members of the Inca Empire, which stretched 500 years ago from southern Ecuador to central Chile, according to Reuters.
The structure is similar to the “hierarchical, restricted and sacred spaces within the administrative centers of the Incas, because rather than having a utilitarian or sanitary function, they also served religious functions and ancestral worship,” said Luis Paredes Sanchez, project manager for Huanuco Pampa.
Peru’s Ministry of Culture said the “finely carved” hammam averaged about two meters deep, with independent pools, drainage passages and a central passage that took water into a drainage channel that divided the room into two small platforms, or “seats” to the Incas. in the current situation.
The archaeological site of Huanuco Pampa is part of the Qhapaq Nan Project, a complex 25,000km road network linking Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. The road system was declared a World Heritage Site in 2014.
Peru is home to hundreds of archaeological sites across the country, including the citadel of Machu Picchu in the Inca capital Cusco, and the Nasca Lines, huge designs drawn in the coastal desert region of Ica more than 1,500 years ago.