National Geographic : 1913 Apr
the city was deserted was a change in climate, resulting in scarcity of water supply. At the present time there are only three small springs on the moun tain-side, and in the dry season these could barely furnish water enough for cooking and drinking purposes for 40 or 50 people. ,There could never have been very much water here, for the acequias, or water channels, are narrower than any we have ever seen anywhere else, being generally less than 4 inches in width. THE FOUNTAINS ON THE STAIRWAY We were able to trace the principal azequia from the vicinity of the springs along the mountain-side for a distance of perhaps a mile, across the dry moat on a slender bridge, then under the city wall, along one of the terraces, and finally to the first of a series of fountains or baths, located on the principal stairway of the city (see picture on this page). This stairway is divided to admit the entrance of one of the fountains, of which there are 14 or 15 in the series. Each basin is about 2~ feet long by I~ feet wide and from 5 to 6 inches in depth. In some cases the basin and the floor of the bath-house, or fountain, is made of a single slab of granite. Gen erally holes were drilled in one of the corners of the basin to permit the water to flow through carefully cut under ground channels to the next basin below. The Peruvians call these fountains "baths." It does not seem to me likely that they were used for this purpose, but rather that, by a careful husbanding in basins of this sort, the water-pots of the inhabitants could the more readily be filled by any one coming to one of the fountains. Many of the houses are built on ter races on the steep sloping hillsides. In such case their doors face the hill and the windows look out on the view. Most of the houses are well provided with niches, the average size being about 2 feet in height by 14 feet in width. In some interiors projecting cylindrical blocks are found alternating between the niches. In a few houses we found evi dence of stucco, but in most cases the mud plaster had entirely disappeared (see page 463). Possibly the most interesting conclu sion brought out as a result of our ex tensive clearing and excavating is that Photo by Hiram Bingham THE STAIRWAY OF THE FOUNTAINS: MACHU PICCHU The longest and most important stairway is so arranged as to admit the entrance of fountains, of which there are 14 or 15 in a series. As they had no pipes, the builders conducted the water in skilfully made stone conduits, carrying the stream from basin to basin, sometimes under the stairway and sometimes at its side (see pages 460-461).