In a recent archaeological breakthrough, researchers have uncovered Inca quarries and an intricate road network in Cerros de Quilmaná and Cerro Quinta Freno, situated in the province of Cañete, Peru. This discovery sheds light on the crucial role these quarries played in supplying materials for constructing walls at the Inca sites of El Huarco in Cerro Azul and Vilcahuasi in San Luis de Cañete.
The findings also reveal a well-structured network of roads and pathways designed to facilitate the transportation of meticulously sculpted stone blocks. According to experts, these routes underscore the significant function the quarries served as stone working centers within the Inca State during the 16th century.
During the height of the Inca Empire, an extensive road network spanning over 40,000 kilometers (25,000 miles) interconnected all corners of their territory, marking one of the most sophisticated transportation systems in pre-Columbian South America.
Following the Spanish conquest of Peru in the colonial period, the Conquistadors initially utilized the existing Inca roads to reach the capital city of Cusco. However, the impracticality of horses and ox carts for the challenging terrain eventually led to the abandonment of most of the network.
This discovery of Inca roads and quarries presents unique research opportunities, offering fresh insights into the technology employed by Inca master stonemasons. It illuminates aspects of the extraction, carving, and polishing of lithic blocks used in various imperial constructions, as emphasized in a press release by the Peruvian State.
Furthermore, the road and path network provides valuable information on how these routes facilitated the transport of worked and quarried stone to Inca settlements located in coastal territories.
To preserve these historically rich sites for potential future tourism, an archaeological expedition is scheduled for 2024 to conduct a comprehensive survey of the quarries. This initiative aims to conserve and showcase the technological prowess of the Inca civilization, inviting visitors to explore the mysteries of this ancient stone-working culture.