National Geographic : 1913 Apr
ders, from which particularly beautiful views can be obtained. Remarkable as is the architecture of Machu Picchu, and impressive as is the extent of the stone-cutting done by a people who had no steel or iron tools, neither of these things leaves more im pression on the mind of the visitor than the inexpressible beauty and grandeur of the surroundings. A reconnaissance of the forestration of the immediate vicinity and a large scale map of Machu Picchu and its vi cinity were made by Assistant Topog rapher Stephenson. From the map we hope some day to be able to construct a model which will give those not fortunate enough to visit this marvelous place some idea of its character and beauty. FORESTRATION OF THE REGION In regard to the forestration of the region, Mr. Stephenson reports that tree growth begins about midway between the source and the mouth of the Urubamba River. Forests frequently interrupted by open areas occupy the lower half of the valley. The open bottoms are moist, un timbered, and used for agriculture. In these the soil is a deep sandy loam, rich in humus and having abundant moisture. The valley is very narrow, with many tributaries, and rough precipitous sides frequently broken by cliffs. The lower slopes have fairly rich soil and abundant moisture. They extend for several hun dred feet above the river. Above them the soil is regularly dry and poor. Al though rainfall is abundant, the sunny north slopes have a dry rocky soil. The forest in the Machu Picchu re gion is made up of subtropical hard woods, with probably more than 30 spe cies in the stand. Good growth is con fined to the valley bottoms and the lower slopes. On the shaded slopes the forest sometimes extends to a point 2,000 feet above the river, and in narrow, protected valleys even higher; but on the upper slopes the trees are of poor form, gnarled and stunted. On the ridges some trees occur, but they are very scrubby and do not form a canopy. Timber-line here is at elevation of about Io,ooo feet above sea-level. The elevation of the river near Machu Picchu is about 6,500 feet above sea-level. Photo by Hiram Bingham THE FINEST DOORWAY AT MACHU PICCHU One of the monolithic lintels in the group distinguished also by having unusually steep gables. In the other groups the houses almost invariably had duolithic lintels, but the chief of this clan determined to overcome the me chanical difficulties involved in placing a solid block weighing three tons on top of his door post and fitting it accurately to them. As he had neither cranes nor pulleys, but only levers and inclined planes, it must have required a prodigious amount of patient effort. This group we named the King's Group on account of the extraordinary solidity of the stonework. Owing to the large number of species, the quality of the timber varies greatly. Many of these species produce hard, dur able wood of fine texture that takes good polish. Other quick-growing species pro duce woods of inferior quality-soft, brittle, quickly decaying, and of little value for anything but rough lumber.