Multidisciplinary Research Project in the lakes of Salkantay


Based on the inter-institutional cooperation between the University of Warsaw and Dirección Desconcentrada de Cultura Cusco (as representative of the Ministry of Culture of Peru), the scientific research project in the area of ​​the Verde Salkantay lake was inaugurated in 2012. During the 2012 -2019 seasons, scientists from the University of Warsaw together with specialists from the Machu Picchu National Archaeological Park carried out several surveys of the terrain. As an objective of the Project, it was planned to carry out an underwater research program in the Salcantay lakes both within the National Archaeological Park of Machu Picchu and its surroundings, as well as a research program on problems of bio-deterioration and deterioration in the stone structures of the Citadel of Machu Picchu (the objectives of the Letter of Intent signed on February 10, 2012). Since 2016 the project has been carried out within the OPUS project financed by the Polish National Science Centre number 2015/19 / B / HS3 / 03557 entitled: Function of satellite sites in the vicinity of Machu Picchu: Inkaraqay, Chachabamba sites and high mountain lakes near Nevado Salcantay (Peru).

Currently the investigations have been expanded and include Salkantay Verde, Humantay, Inca Chiriasca, Soctacocha and Llaqtacocha lakes. The objective of the Project is to document with the use of sonar, among others, all the lakes around Nevado de Salkantay.

According to historical sources, the Andean lakes in pre-Hispanic times were objects of worship. This has been confirmed by underwater finds, found mainly in Lake Titicaca, where research has been conducted for several decades. The surface studies aimed to verify and update the information on archaeological objects located in the vicinity of the lakes located around the Salcantay mountain. The objective of the surveys was to determine precisely the correlation of the places associated with the lakes and the pre-Hispanic communication routes found in this area.

Thanks to the surveys in the upper part of the Park, it was confirmed that there were religious ceremonies related to the sacred mountain Salcantay and the association of these events with the archaeological structures in the lake area was observed. Discovered artificial platforms, located near the lake, were probably the part of the ceremonial space related to the cult. So far, several underwater surveys have been carried out in the Salcantay lagoon, located at 4650 m above sea level. The first part of the work within the lakes was to make the bathymetric documentation of the lakes using a lateral sonar. As part of the investigation, precise underwater detectors were also used and photographic documentation will be made. All this brought us closer to the discovery of the sunken wall. The change in the coastline was probably related to climate change and the annual melting of glaciers.


External sites:,Skarby-i-odpowiedzi-na-zagadki-na-dnie-swietych-jezior-w-Peru

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