Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-m42fx Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-23T12:01:32.856Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Intimachay: A December Solstice Observatory at Machu Picchu, Peru

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

David S. P. Dearborn
University of California, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, P.O. Box 808, Livermore, CA 94550
Katharina J. Schreiber
Department of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106
Raymond E. White
Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721


We show that a structure built by the Inkas at the entrance to a cave at Machu Picchu was designed to admit the light of the rising sun only for a brief period before and after the December solstice. This structure is precisely constructed, unique at Machu Picchu, and may have played a part in the annual Inka ritual, Capac Raymi.

Copyright © Society for American Archaeology 1987

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


References Cited

Dearborn, David S. P., and White, Raymond E. 1982 Archaeoastronomy at Machu Picchu. In Ethonastronomy and Archaeoastronomy in the American Tropics, edited by Aveni, Anthony F. and Urton, Gary, vol. 385, pp. 249260. New York Academy of Sciences, New York.Google Scholar
Dearborn, David S. P., and White, Raymond E. 1983 The Torreon of Machu Picchu as a Solar Observatory. Archaeoastronomy, no. 5. Journal for the History of Astronomy 14: S37S49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Eaton, George F. 1916 The Collection of Osteological Material from Machu Picchu. Memoirs of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences 5. New Haven.Google Scholar
Garcilaso de la Vega, Inca 1060 Obras Completas del Inca Garcilaso de la Vega II. Biblioteca de Autores Espanoles 133. Madrid.Google Scholar
Gauman Poma de Ayala, Felipe 1956 El Primer Coronica y Buen Gobierno, edited by Luis F. Bustios Galvez, vol. 1. Lima.Google Scholar
Zuidema, R. Tom 1980 Organizing Space for Computing the Calendar: Sun, Moon, Pleiades, Stars in Inca Astronomy. Ms. in possession of author.Google Scholar
Zuidema, R. Tom, and Urton, Gary 1976 La Constelacion de la Llama en los Andes Peruanos. Allpanchis Phutuinqua 9: 59119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar