Moray ruins is an archaeological site in Peru approximately 50 kilometers (31 mi) northwest of Cuzco on a high plateau at about 3,500 meters (11,500 ft) and just west of the village of Maras. The site contains Inca ruins, mostly consisting of several terraced circular depressions, the largest of which is approximately 30 m (98 ft) deep. As with many other Inca sites, it also has an irrigation system.
The site contains unusual Inca ruins, mostly consisting of several terraced circular depressions, the largest of which is approximately 30 m (98 ft) deep
It is widely believed that the Moray ruins were used as an experimental farm by the Incas over 500 years ago. This theory was first proposed by anthropologist John Earls in 1975 and officially published in 1981. He supported this theory with several findings after spending weeks living at the site.
Earl’s theory was that the Inca Empire used each terrace at Moray as its own microclimate. This allowed the Incas to study the effects of altitude, temperature, and sun absorption on crop growth to determine ecological niches suitable for crops to thrive. This experimentation allowed the Incas to teach neighboring regions agricultural techniques for the best crop production despite the differing altitudes and climates throughout the Andes and Peru.
Studies have shown that many of the terraces contain soil that must have been imported from other parts of the region
It is possible that the terraces were used to help domesticate and acclimatize crops. Seeds may have been planted at the lower, and warmer, terraces, then transplanted onto the higher, and colder, terraces until plants that could survive at high altitudes had been bred.
Moray site has steps carved out from the slope of a mountain
Much like the Machu Picchu terraces, the Moray site has steps carved out from the slope of a mountain. These steps have been reinforced with stones and soil and allow for water drainage. Excavations of the site have shown that the Inca Empire imported soil from varying regions of Peru to Moray, furthering the theory of crop experimentation. Even guano (one of Peru’s largest exports) from coastal destinations like Paracas was brought to the Andes to fertilize the Moray terraces.