The Mysterious Stone Aqueduct Of Cumbemayo Peru
Cumbemayo is located about 12 miles (19 km) southwest of the Peruvian city of Cajamarca, at an elevation of approximately 11,000 feet (3,300 meters). The location is best known for the ruins of a Pre-Incan aqueduct stretching approximately five miles in length.
The aqueduct collected water from the Atlantic watershed and redirected it on its way to the Pacific Ocean. It is thought to have been constructed around 1500 B.C. and was once thought to be the oldest existing man made structure in South America. However, radiocarbon dating of the deposits in the channel have not been tested, so it could be much older.
There are a number of petroglyphs on the aqueduct and surrounding caverns. The name Cumbemayo may be derived from an Inca Quechua phrase, kumpi mayu, meaning “well-made water channel,” or humpi mayo, meaning “thin river.”
This remote mountainous region is also the location of a “stone forest” composed of natural volcanic rocks which have been shaped by erosion. These formations of volcanic rock are also known as Los Frailones, or the Stone Monks.
One very intriguing feature of the aqueduct, carved into the volcanic bed rock is the presence of “zig zag” patterns. Some theorize that they are for slowing the water flow in order that silt will drop out, thus cleaning the water.
It is not not for sure when it was made, who made it, how long it was used, or when its use stopped. In fact, it may be much longer than previously expected, as either or both ends may be covered in built up silt and vegetation…
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