This article is a firsthand account of the rediscovery of Machu Picchu in 1911 & 1912 written by archaeologist Hiram Bingham. He was more of an adventurer than a writer, but it’s still kind of thrilling to read about the exploration of something that ancient & cool. Someday, I too will make it there and see it all for myself.
And when I do, I’ll have to ask if they’re still going with the theory about the snakes in the walls:
One of the windows in this tower has several small holes near the bottom. These were found to connect, by very narrow channels, barely large enough for a snake to crawl through, with circular holes within the wall, where the snakes might have constructed their nests.
There are still many snakes at Machu Picchu. There are also snakes carved on several rocks. Lizards are not common, and the holes within the wall are much too large for lizards’ nests; but they are of the right size for a comfortable snake’s nest—for a small snake.
It seems to me possible that in this wall the priest of this clan group kept a few tame snakes and that he used their chance exits out of one hole or another as a means of telling omens and possibly of prophesying.
Ummm… that is one possible explanation, certainly. But what if those were for something completely different & mundane? Like, I dunno, oil reservoirs for candle wicks or something. Would the Inca laugh their heads off at the things we guess about the place they left behind?