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Tipon Water Engineering

Masterpiece of the Inca Empire

Prepared by
Wright Paleohydrological Institute
Wright Water Engineers

Final Report
No 344-INC-C-2000 April 2001
Tipon Water Engineering
Masterpiece of the Inca Empire
Final Report N o 344-INC-C-2000

Written by:
Kenneth R. Wright, P.E.
Ruth M. Wright, J.D.
Alfredo Valencia Zegarra, Ph.D.
Gordon McEwan, Ph.D.

Wright Paleohydrological Institute, Denver, Colorado

April 2001

© Wright Paleohydrological Institute 2001


TABLE OF CONTENTS ________________________________________________________ i

FIGURES __________________________________________________________________ iii
TABLES ___________________________________________________________________ iv
DEDICATION ________________________________________________________________ v
PREFACE _________________________________________________________________ vi
1.0 INTRODUCTION ______________________________________________________1
1.1 Site Location and Description ____________________________________________1
1.2 Hypotheses __________________________________________________________1
1.3 Personnel ___________________________________________________________3
2.0 SCOPE OF WORK ___________________________________________________3
3.0 BACKGROUND AND BASIC DATA ______________________________________5
3.1 History and Function ___________________________________________________5
3.2 Population ___________________________________________________________6
3.3 Climate _____________________________________________________________6
3.4 Geology _____________________________________________________________7
3.5 Infiltration ____________________________________________________________9
3.6 Flora and Fauna _____________________________________________________11
4.0 METHODOLOGY_____________________________________________________13
4.1 Reconnaissance Surveys ______________________________________________13
4.2 Field Instrument Surveys_______________________________________________14
4.3 Field Mapping _______________________________________________________14
4.4 Hydraulic Measurements_______________________________________________14
4.5 Archaeological Documentation __________________________________________14
5.0 TERRACES _________________________________________________________15
5.1 Main Terraces _______________________________________________________15
5.2 Outlying Terraces ____________________________________________________15
6.0 SURFACE WATER HANDLING AND MANAGEMENT ______________________16
6.1 Surface Water Canals ________________________________________________18
6.2 Hydraulic Structures __________________________________________________20
6.3 Canal Capacities _____________________________________________________23
6.3.1 Main Canal Section 1 ________________________________________________23
6.3.2 Main Canal Section 2 ________________________________________________25
6.3.3 Main Canal Section 3 ________________________________________________27
6.3.4 Main Canal Section 4 ________________________________________________28
6.3.5 Main Canal Section 5 ________________________________________________32
6.3.6 Main Canal Section 6 ________________________________________________33
6.3.7 Three Canals From Rio Pukara ________________________________________33
6.4 Drainage Basin ______________________________________________________33
6.5 Potential Irrigated Land ________________________________________________34
6.6 Irrigation Water Requirements___________________________________________34
7.0 GROUNDWATER HANDLING AND MANAGEMENT _______________________36
7.1 Tipon Spring ________________________________________________________36
7.2 Water Distribution System ______________________________________________38
7.3 Hydraulic Structures __________________________________________________39
7.3.1 Main Fountain______________________________________________________39
7.3.2 Canal Drop Structures _______________________________________________41
7.4 Ceremonial Fountain __________________________________________________42
7.5 Irrigated Land _______________________________________________________44
7.6 Irrigation Water Requirements___________________________________________44
7.7 Domestic Water Requirements __________________________________________45
7.8 Flow Measurements __________________________________________________45
7.9 Water Quality________________________________________________________46
8.0 DRAINAGE AND FLOOD CONTROL _____________________________________48
8.1 Main Terraces _______________________________________________________48
8.2 Outlying Terraces ____________________________________________________48
8.3 Subsurface Drainage__________________________________________________48
9.0 GENERAL __________________________________________________________48
9.1 Pukara _____________________________________________________________49
9.2 Sinkunakancha ______________________________________________________51
9.3 Patallaqta___________________________________________________________52
9.4 Intiwatana __________________________________________________________52
9.5 Ceremonial Plaza ____________________________________________________54
9.6 Cruzmoqo __________________________________________________________58
9.7 Outer Walls _________________________________________________________60
9.8 Artifacts ____________________________________________________________61
9.9 Canal Tomb _________________________________________________________61
9.10 Hole in the Wall ______________________________________________________63
9.11 Kancha Group _______________________________________________________63
9.12 Hornopata __________________________________________________________64
9.13 Eastern Terraces _____________________________________________________64
9.14 Iglesiaraqui _________________________________________________________64
9.15 Qoyay Oqwayqo _____________________________________________________65
10.0 PALEOHYDROLOGY SUMMARY _______________________________________65
10.1 Overview ___________________________________________________________65

10.2 Water Yield _________________________________________________________66
10.3 Tributary Drainage Basins ______________________________________________66
10.4 Water Handling ______________________________________________________66
10.5 Adequacy of Water Supply _____________________________________________67
10.6 Potential Water-Related Tourist Attractions ________________________________67
11.0 CONCLUSIONS______________________________________________________68
12.0 RESEARCH NEEDS__________________________________________________70
13.0 RECOMMENDATIONS ________________________________________________71
14.0 REFERENCES_______________________________________________________71
APPENDIX—PERMIT FROM INC _______________________________________________73


Figure 1.1 Tipon Archaeological Park. Tipon lies half way between San Jeronimo and Lucre,
not far from the Wari administrative center of Pikillacta and the K’illke settlement of
Chokepukio ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2
Figure 3.1 Geologic map showing extensive area of volcanic bedrock that underlies most of the
Tipon Archaeological Park --------------------------------------------------------------------------8
Figure 6.1 Location of the three Inca canals diverting from the Rio Pukara northeast of Pukara.16
Figure 6.2 Point of diversion of the Inca Canal on the Rio Pukara. ------------------------------------ 17
Figure 6.3 Main Inca Canal irrigation turnout to conduit. Structure is 150 meters north of the
Canal bend. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 20
Figure 6.4 Main Inca Canal with cross-sectional area of 625 and 600 cm2 with lateral canal with
160 cm2 of area. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 21
Figure 6.5 Main Inca Canal showing a bend.---------------------------------------------------------------- 22
Figure 6.6 Main Inca Canal section 1 outside of Muralla (outer wall) at bend. ---------------------- 24
Figure 6.7 Main Inca Canal where the cross sectional area is in excess of 2,000cm2.------------ 26
Figure 6.8 Restored Section 4 plotted discharge curve. -------------------------------------------------- 31
Figure 6.9 Four Cross sections of the main Inca canal downstream of the Intiwatana. ----------- 32
Figure 7.1 Tipon spring headworks showing water collection conduits that provide for efficient
water collection.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 36
Figure 7.2 Tipon spring layout with headworks of Canals A, B. and C. ------------------------------- 37
Figure 7.3 1999 Measurement and plan view prior to the restoration of the Main Fountain.----- 40
Figure 7.4 Typical Tipon Terrace hydraulic drop structure to control splashing and to deliver
irrigation water from a higher terrace to a lower terrace.----------------------------------- 42

Figure 7.5 Ceremonial Fountain on Tipon’s terraces, this fountain was being restored on
September 22, 2000. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 43
Figure 7.6 Piper diagram of Tipon’s spring water quality. ----------------------------------------------- 46
Figure 9.1 Plan of Pukara that had an Inca population of at least 100 people. An indoor fountain
with two baths was observed. Domestic and irrigation water cam from the Rio
Pukara-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 49
Figure 9.2 Typical Inca potsherds found near Pukara---------------------------------------------------- 50
Figure 9.3 Approximate layout of Sinkunakancha---------------------------------------------------------- 51
Figure 9.4 Plan of the Intiwatana with a detail of Niches Room 11.------------------------------------ 53
Figure 9.5 Subterranean Main Canal No. 2 at the Intiwatana ------------------------------------------- 53
Figure 9.6 Sketch of the Ceremonial Plaza ------------------------------------------------------------------ 55
Figure 9.7 Two niches at the Ceremonial Plaza ------------------------------------------------------------ 56
Figure 9.8 Fountain at the Ceremonial Plaza --------------------------------------------------------------- 57
Figure 9.9 Detail of the Ceremonial Plaza fountain -------------------------------------------------------- 57
Figure 9.10 The Cruzmoqo site high on the hill overlooking Tipon has petroglyphs, terraces and
a view of Tipon. Cruzmoqo served a security, religious and signal function.--------- 59


Table 3.1 Tipon’s Precipitation and Temperature____________________________________7

Table 6.1 Main Canal Sections-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 18
Table 6.2 Rating Table for Restored Channel, Section 4 ----------------------------------------------- 29
Table 6.3 Consumptive Use for Two Crops at Tipon----------------------------------------------------- 35
Table 7.1 Irrigated Main Terraces ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 44
Table 7.2 Water Quality Data From the Inca Spring at Tipon, Peru ---------------------------------- 47


This publication on the Tipon archaeological park of the Cusco Department is dedicated to the
hardworking professionals with the Instituto Nacional de Cultura and to the local Quechua Indians,
especially those whose ancestors built Tipon and then used it for farming for 450 years without
destroying its basic fabric and infrastructure.

This publication is also dedicated to the young Yale history professor, Hiram Bingham, who visited
Tipon in 1912 and took sharp, reliable photographs of the site that he showcased to the world in
the February 1913 issue of National Geographic.

Finally, this publication is dedicated to the Inca civil engineers who miraculously created this jewel
without the benefit of a written language, the wheel, iron, or steel.

Proud Citizens of the Cusco Province


The Tipon archaeological park represents a water management masterpiece planned and
designed by early Americans before the Conquistadors landed in South America. It is a water
management masterpiece because of its combined development and use of both surface water
and groundwater within a walled enclosure of about 200 hectares containing beautiful stonework of
basalt and andesite and a complete Inca agriculturally oriented enclave only 20 kilometers from the
capitol of the empire. It may have been either a feudal-like estate of Inca nobility or a royal estate
of Pachacuti or Sopainca.

A remarkable aspect of Tipon is that it was not an abandoned site; the local Quechua Indians have
farmed, irrigated, and used Tipon for some four and a half centuries. Yet, much of Tipon remains
to be enjoyed by modern visitors. Potsherds still lie scattered on the ground.

The water engineering study of Tipon sponsored by Wright Water Engineers and the Wright
Paleohydrological Institute has been a privilege for the authors. When we started the investigation,
we thought that Tipon consisted, for the most part, of the main terraces and a spring along with the
Intiwatana and Ceremonial Plaza. There was evidence of the long canal from the north, but its
route was uncertain. During the course of the fieldwork, it quickly became evident that Tipon is a
magnificent archaeological site and a jewel of the Inca Empire. There is much to be uncovered
and understood at Tipon.

Restoration of the many archaeological features at Tipon would tend to be feasible because so
much of it still exists. Restoration of the canal system diverting from the Rio Pukara might also be
feasible. The hundreds of production agricultural terraces, while generally in poor condition, could
be selectively restored over time.

Our investigation of Tipon has only scratched the surface of the hidden wonders of this
agriculturally oriented estate. It is a site that deserves additional explorations, scientific study, and
evaluation. Tipon has the potential for being a prime attraction for tourists, amateur archaeologists,
and scientists alike. But most of all it has the potential for being an example of the great heritage
given by the Inca to the everyday citizens of the Peru republic.

Ruth M. Wright, Kenneth R. Wright

Alfredo Valencia Zegarra, and Gordon F. McEwan

April 2001



The Tipon paleohydrological research project fieldwork was conducted in September 2000
under the authority granted by Secretario General INC-Cusco Javier Lambarri Orihuela on
September 8, 2000 and Director Departmental INC/DC ARQT Gustavo Manrique Villalobos on
September 7, 2000 according to Resolución Directoral No. 344-INC-C-2000.

The project included a field and office study of the paleohydrology and special features of Tipon.
The work was primarily focused on field theodolite surveying and mapping Tipon’s water
systems and measuring its water-related details such as canals, fountains, drop structures, and

1.1 Site Location and Description

Tipon is part of the Tipon archaeological park and lies about 20 kilometers east of Cusco in the
Cusco valley at an elevation ranging from 3,350 to 3,960 meters above mean sea level. The
site is at latitude 13º34' south, longitude 71º47' west. The archaeological park of Tipon is
located inside the Tipon district, province of Quispicanchis, and the department of Cusco. In
terms of communal jurisdiction, it is in the Choquepata community. In reference to the
Huatanay valley it is situated on the left flank, and in terms of ecological levels it is situated in
the Puna and Queswa zones. Its boundaries can be identified on National Map 28S-IV-EN-
1972 (Cumpa 1999). The reader is also referred to the Carta Nacional 1:100,000 topographic
map “Cuzco,” HOJA 28-5 for hydrographic data. The site, in relation to San Jeronimo, Saylla,
and Oro Pesa, is shown in Figure 1.1. The Tipon archaeological park is depicted on Drawings 1
and 2 in the envelope at the rear of this report.

1.2 Hypotheses

The Tipon paleohydrological research study was commenced with two hypotheses, the first
being that field surveying and mapping portions of Tipon would contribute to an orderly and
better understanding of this Inca archaeological site. The second hypothesis was that the Inca
builders of Tipon were good civil engineers in a manner similar to those who built and practiced
engineering at Machu Picchu.

As will be demonstrated in the following report results, both the first and second hypotheses
have been proven.

Figure 1.1 Tipon Archaeological Park. Tipon lies half way between San
Jeronimo and Lucre, not far from the Wari administrative center of Pikillacta and
the K’illke settlement of Chokepukio

1.3 Personnel

Wright Water Engineers, Inc. (WWE) and Wright Paleohydrological Institute (WPI) conducted
the September 2000 field exploration, research, surveying and mapping. All archaeological
investigations were under the scientific direction of Dr. Gordon McEwan and Dr. Alfredo
Valencia Zegarra (No. AV-82-03), with Ives Bejar Mendoza (No. DB-9744) serving as project
archaeologist with the able assistance of archaeologist Zanabria Valencia Garcia.

Kenneth Wright served as the project director in charge of the paleohydrological research. Ruth
M. Wright assisted him as project historian and photographer and with field observations and
measurements. Civil engineer Scott Marshall served as field reconnaissance survey engineer;
he traversed the huge site to select and obtain survey points of critical importance. Christopher
Crowley was the Global Transmit theodolite instrument man, who performed his work in a
professional and efficient manner. Dr. Gordon McEwan arranged for all transportation and
provided the theodolite and range pole rod. Able and dedicated macheteros included Felipe
Coruyca, Erwate Quesfe, and Hernan Quesfe.


The preliminary work for the Tipon project commenced in 1995 with an initial site visit by WWE’s
project participants led by Dr. Gordon McEwan and Dr. Alfredo Valencia Zegarra. This was
followed by a second site visit in November 1997, at which time photographs and observations
were made of the many water-handling features of Tipon. At this time Tipon was identified as
an appropriate archaeological site for paleohydrology research to supplement ongoing research
at Machu Picchu.

In January 2000 a third site visit was made over a period of three days that included detailed
site observations. WWE representative Christopher Crowley was accompanied by several
professional staff members of the Instituto Nacional de Cultura (INC) who described the water
features of Tipon and assisted in reconnaissance inspection of the site for the purpose of preparing
a project proposal to the INC. Reference data were collected from Cusco area libraries and
archival sources. Dr. Fernando Astete of the INC was very helpful in all ways and was the principal
source of archival and published data and maps. The INC’s Cusco Director was gracious and
generous to us and laid the basis for extensive help from the INC’s staff, for which we are grateful.

The September 2000 paleohydrological research work included the following activities:

1. Reviewed and analyzed reports, maps, and aerial photographs.

2. Cleared vegetation from the main Inca canal route from the Rio Pukara and excavated
portions of the main canal using four macheteros led by one graduate archaeologist under
the direction of Dr. Valencia Zegarra and Ives Bejar Mendoza from September 13 to 21.

3. Field surveyed using a Sokia 4000 theodolite for topographic documentation of Tipon’s
primary terraces, water features, and a portion of the main canal from Rio Pukara.

4. Explored, cleared, excavated, and documented the Inca’s main canal that diverted water
from the Rio Pukara at a point upstream of the northern outer wall (Muralla) near Pukara to
the upper terminus of the reconstructed canal about 660 meters north of the Intiwatana. In
addition, the main canal downstream of the Intiwatana was excavated to allow
measurement of its slope, cross section, and hydraulic roughness and determination of its
area and location of irrigation turnouts.

5. Explored and documented a lower (first) Inca canal that diverts from the Rio Pukara;
cleared and excavated an upper (third) canal diverting from the same source.

6. Field studied and documented the Tipon spring, canals, drop structures, fountains, and
irrigated terraces to analyze the continuity and adequacy of the collection, transport, and
delivery of the spring water for beneficial uses.

7. Analyzed the water quality and water yield in liters per minute (L/min) of the Tipon spring
via field measurement and measured the flow of water in one of the two main canals that
were carrying water.

8. Explored the Inca canal evidence between the Tipon spring and Patallaqta and the
southeasterly Muralla with Ernesto Vargas P. of the INC.

9. Measured the main canal’s typical sections between the Rio Pukara and the Intiwatana and
from the Intiwatana to Patallaqta.

10. Measured and documented the Tipon spring’s headworks.

11. Measured and documented the ceremonial fountain.

12. Performed reconnaissance from Tipon’s main terrace to the Cruzmoqo summit via
Q’Oyayoqwayqo, Ajawasi, and the eastern Muralla to check for potential canals and water
features and to observe the many terraces as well as the exposed grayish volcanic
bedrock. The bedrock has a high rainfall-runoff potential, which has caused the one visible
active gully on the mountainside. Noted petroglyphs, terrace walls, and other features at

13. Performed reconnaissance of Tipon’s enclosure from Cruzmoqo in an westerly direction to

the beginning of the remaining Muralla uphill from Pukara, where a third canal was found
that diverted from the Rio Pukara. The reconnaissance survey included observations and
additional documentation of portions of the main Inca canal and additional portions of the
third Inca canal lying uphill of the main canal.

14. Observed, measured, and documented the underground canal within the Intiwatana and
the fountain in the Ceremonial Plaza as well as measuring the niches there.

15. Measured the irrigated area of Tipon’s main terraces and the likely area of the outlying
terraces that lie under the canals that divert from the Rio Pukara.

16. Evaluated the adequacy of the water supplies for domestic and irrigation purposes, taking
into consideration rainfall amounts and likely crop consumptive use. An approximate area
of Inca terraces lying above the canal was also determined.

17. Photographically documented physical water-related components of Tipon and conducted

a video interview related to anthropology of the site.

18. Consulted with Dr. Alfredo Valencia Zegarra and Dr. Gordon McEwan on interpretations of
the prehistory of Tipon and of the colonial period.

19. Prepared maps, sketches and photographs of various features of Tipon’s enclosure and
performed paleohydrological evaluations.


The area of Tipon is extensive. It is an important archaeological site with a multitude of distinct
forms, structures, and functions. It is located in the valley of Cusco about 20 kilometers east of
the city. It forms part of the archaeological region of the greater Cusco area and is intimately
related with Cusco and the other sites of the Inca time. Tipon is important at a technological
level as well as socially, politically, religiously, and architecturally. It may have been related to
the elite of Cusco and represented an important component of the Inca Empire.

3.1 History and Function

The natural spring and the adjacent Rio Pukara at Tipon would have been an attraction to the
early people of the Cusco valley, and it is likely that the site was occupied well before the Inca
period. In fact, there is evidence that people lived in the region in very ancient time. Brian
Bauer of the University of Chicago has found lithic material on the hill west of Tipon. The Bauer
site may go back to the 4,000 to 6,000 B.C. eras. We noted potsherds at Pukara that represent
the K’illke period and judged the outer wall to have characteristics representative of the Wari,
who occupied the Lucre valley to about A.D. 1,000, with their regional administrative center at
Pikillacta only 7 kilometers down the Cusco valley from Tipon.

The scientific study of Tipon has focused on paleohydrology; however, we believe that Tipon is
Imperial Inca and that it was likely built in the time of Pachacuti or his son, Topa Inca. It is
believed that it served as a type of feudal estate for Inca elite or as a royal estate. There would
also have been ceremonial activities. Cruzmoqo, the Intiwatana, the Ceremonial Plaza, and the

Ceremonial Fountain—all to be discussed later—are likely ceremonial sites. Extensive tombs
lie at various locations on Tipon’s exterior cliffs in Paroq Mayo and Nusta Warkuna. There were
significant areas of irrigated agriculture with some dry-land farming. Tipon’s central terraces,
considered to be among the finest of the Inca Empire, may also have been used for agricultural
research purposes because of their special construction, the narrow valley, a reliable and full
water supply, and the fertile soil.

The Tipon Archaeological Park encompasses 239 hectares, an elevation difference of 610
meters, a surrounding defensive wall of about 6 kilometers length, and four residential areas.
The area within the wall approaches 200 hectares.

The irrigation and hydraulic features of Tipon place the site in a paleohydrologic category, as
will be discussed later, that demonstrates advanced Inca water-related technology and proves
that the Inca were good hydraulic engineers. At Tipon, there were many opportunities to adopt
the demonstrated water handling expertise of the Wari, who occupied the Lucre valley until A.D.

3.2 Population

The Tipon archaeological park is divided into different areas with regard to elite residences.
Based on estimates by Alfredo Valencia Zegarra, about 50 people lived in Sinkunakancha area
near the entrance. Approximately 20 to 30 people lived in the fine structures built on the terrace
near the spring. The Intiwatana is at a higher level, with urban dwellings for about 40 people.
Pukara was a larger community (with about 100 people minimum) where noble Inca families
likely lived. A total residential group of 500 likely existed within the walls of Tipon. The transient
population (of perhaps 1,500) included the Mitmas, who the Incas brought in to cultivate the
land, as well as artisans, who specialized in textiles, ceramics, stone, metal, and cultivation of
plants. Most of them lived outside the walls. Corn was an important product.

3.3 Climate

The precipitation and temperature for Tipon is presented in Table 3.1 based upon Cusco’s
records. The similarity in location and elevation between Cusco and Tipon makes a
transposition reasonable. The six-month rainy period from October through March represents
86 percent of the annual precipitation, with only 14 percent occurring from April through
September. Based upon analyses of the Quelccaya Ice Cap’s records (Thompson 1985) and
modern climate, the average Inca period climate was probably similar to that of the modern
records (Wright 1997a).

Table 3.1
Tipon’s Precipitation and Temperature

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Avg
Max°C 20 21 21 22 21 21 21 21 22 22 23 22 21
Max°F 68 70 70 72 70 70 70 70 72 72 73 72 70
Min °C 7 7 7 4 2 1 -1 1 4 6 6 7 4
Min F 45 45 45 39 36 34 30 34 39 43 43 45 39
Rain 163 150 109 51 15 5 5 10 25 66 76 137 67.7
Rain 6.5 6 4.4 2 0.6 0.2 0.2 0.4 1 2.6 3 5.5 32

3.4 Geology

The Tipon archaeological center has its own geomorphological characteristics. The Tipon
archaeological center is located in a zone of volcanic rock outcropping on the side of
Yanahorcco mountain which forms the Pachatusan chain. The placement of the volcanic
material has been laterally controlled by the two steep gullies that are parallel to each other. In
the front sector one can see the Pirpinto (Paracmayo) gully (Bejar 1989). The geology is rough
and steep and in several areas there are flatlands, which is the case of the terraces in the
studied zone. The terraplanes of Iglisiachayoc moqore are also utilized at present as cultivated
zones. Likewise all of these serve to control and prevent soil erosion. The Pillpinto gully forms
an alluvial cone which ends toward the Huatany valley at the location of the community of
Choquepata (Figure 3.1)

Mitu Group: (Upper Permian, lower Triassic) The outcropping may be seen in the northern part
of Tipn toward the northwest side of Choquepata, where sedimentary and volcanic rocks
appear. In the section of the spring and the irrigation canal, this call of rock does not appear.

Huancane Formation: (Lower Cretaceous) The outcrop appears to the north, east and west
of the zone of study. This geological zone is characterized my mainly sandy white fine-grain
quartz, making a good aquifer in the case of the Nahuipugiopor spring, being a very thick rock,
about 100 m. thick, that can be used as a base to hold water like a dam. Similarly, there are
outcrops in various sectors of the pre-Hispanic canal, one see fractures, in some cases intense,
in other cases, less intense.

98 99 00

Pukara Cruzmoqo

99 99

Capas Rojas


Tipon Spring


Rondobamba 0 500



97 97
98 99 00

Figure 3.1 Geologic map showing extensive area of volcanic bedrock that
underlies most of the Tipon Archaeological Park

Yuncaypata Formation: (Middle Cretaceous) In the Tipon site, this appears rarely, probably
because the volcanic rocks have covered them. The Yuncaypata formation is made up of
lutites. Possible the limestones covered by volcanic rock associated with thermal waters gave
rise to the travertine, which does not exist on one of the sides of the spring that one sees in the
main terraces of Tipon.

Volcanic Deposites: The Tipon archaeological center is located in a volcanic zone, since the
material that our ancestors used for the construction of the terraces and buildings is volcanic
rock. In this way it may be considered a quarry zone because of the existence of volcanic rock,
andesites that indicate that the rock is composed of fincs—crystals of “paljiodas” (carved
andesite). The andesite rocks show fracturing due to the cooling of the lava, losing its initial
volume by contraction, and the age of the rock is calculated to be no less than 600,000 year old.
That is to say, they belong to the quaternary age. Likewise, these same volcanic indications are
found in O opeza, Huaqoto, Rumicolca (Piquillacta). In the sourthern part of the volcano (a
highway that leads to the Tipon complex) one sees breccias caused by the advance of the lava,
on deposits of colluvial debris. These breccias are sandy, conglomerates, lutites, and volcanic

Alluvial Deposits: We see at the bottom of the Nahuipugio gully and Paracmayo where there
are formed, or exist, gravels of different sizes. The community of Choquepata is located on an
alluvial deposit, consisting of alluvial terraces.

Colluvial Deposits: These are the rocks that form meteorization and through the effect of
gravity have been moved to the lower part. In one of the walls of the archaeological complex of
Tipon and also in different places, there appears deposits of colluvial debris.

Fluvial Deposits: Fluvial deposits can be seen at the east side of the archaeological complex
of Tipon in Sales Caca which generally, because of having a flat surface, is used for agriculture
or at least the hillsides are less steep, which favors agriculture.

3.5 Infiltration

An inspection of the drainage basin tributary to Tipon’s terraces revealed that much of the area
is terraced. Un-terraced areas, generally above elevation 3,625 meters, are vegetated, and the
topsoil is permeable, derived from volcanic rock with windblown deposition.

Examination of potential gullying uphill of Tipon’s terraces revealed only one active gully; it was
draining the bare bedrock feature. WWE’s evaluation of the infiltration, using indirect means,
shows that infiltration is high and storm runoff is low. We have verified this by examining the
photographic documentation that Hiram Bingham provided from his 1912 expedition (National
Geographic Society 1913), as illustrated in Photographs 3.1 to 3.3.

Photograph 3.1 Tipon wall in 1912 (Bingham 1913).

Photograph 3.2 Central Main Terraces of Tipon (Bingham 1913). Note Canal No.
2 line in the upper portion of photo.

Photograph 3.3 Kancha Group of Tipon (Bingham 1913). Note ridge and furrow

3.6 Flora and Fauna

Project archaeologist Ives Bejar Mendoza prepared the following summary.

The flora of the Cusco valley has had to evolve during the passage of millions of years. In the
age of the glaciers the flora and fauna were very different. At present the idea is in accord with
the seasons of the year. In this manner the use of the natural resources has transcendental
importance in life. In reference to the flora and fauna of the zone, there are native and
introduced plants.

Cassia Hook Erianna 8 Pata Kiska
Barberus bolivianna 8 Chiri chiri
Solarum polidolicoides 8 Tancar
Colletia spinosa 8 Roke
Stipa ichu 8 Paja
Franseria artemissioides 8 Marqhu
Escollonia espinosa 8 Ghachacomo
Dutdlela Incana 8 Kiswar
Mintosatachya Glabrecens 8 Muña
Phadra Americana 8 Pinco Pinco
Kagenickia Lanceclate 8 Lloq’e
Tecoma Mollis 8 Molle
Donethero Rosca 8 Yabuar Chonneca
Nicotina Glauca 8 Supay Ccarco
Chenopodium Ambrosoides 8 Paicco
Trichocerbus Cuscoencis 8 Jahuancollay
Mintostanys sp. 8 Ojuña Muña
Denothero Rosca 8 Yahuar Choncca
Entre las plantas introducidas crecen:
Eucaliptus Globulus 8 Eucalipto
Prunus Capuli 8 Capuli
Cupresus macocarpa 8 Cipres
Salix Chilensis 8 Sauco
La fauna de la zona constituida por las siguientes especies.
Didelphis Permigra 8 Raposa
Conepatos rex 8 Zorrino
Mustela Sp 8 Comadreja
Mustela frenata 8 Retón de campo
Felix Colo Colo 8 Gato de pajonal
Mothopracta Fuluensens 8 Yutu o Perdiz S.
Frigilus Jaqui 8 Picchulin
Falco esperverius 8 Killichu
Columbia Plumbia 8 Paloma
Yito Alba 8 Lechuza
Tardue Chihuanco 8 Chuchico o Tordo
Zonotricha Capest 8 Pichinco
Spinus Stratus 8 Chayña
Jachirus Perubiam 8 Colubra común
Protoaporus Boliviana 8 Lagarti ja común
Thelmatobios Malmoratus 8 K’ayra


The research work was conducted using standard protocol and good practices of the
profession. In all cases care was taken to not disturb the features being studied and to leave no
traces of the investigation other than clearing. All the work was conducted under the
supervision of registered archaeologists and was performed with a high standard of care.

4.1 Reconnaissance Surveys

Two archaeologists and members of the engineering technical staff to define the likely route of
the main canal lying north of Pukara conducted an overall reconnaissance survey initially.
During the survey, a portion of a lower canal, Canal No. 1, was identified and documented. A
fountain was also identified in Pukara.

The assistant archaeologist performed continuous reconnaissance surveys of the water canals
while clearing and excavating were progressing. As a result the route of the main canal was
defined while an upper canal, Canal No. 3, was identified and partially cleared. The route of a
lower canal (No. 1) was also defined as shown in Photograph 4.1. Care was taken to
differentiate between restored and original canals.

Photograph 4.1 Canal No. 1 from Rio Pukara new Tipon.

A perimeter reconnaissance survey was performed from the main terraces to Cruzmoqo via the
northeastern outer wall and then downhill to the outer wall north of Pukara to look for canal
routes. Canal No. 3 was identified in the vicinity of the wall, as shown in Photograph 4.2.

4.2 Field Instrument Surveys

Using a Sokia 4000 global theodolite the

engineering survey crew made surveys of
Tipon’s main terraces, terrace canals, drop
structures, spring, ceremonial fountain, and
special features (Photograph 4.2). Subsequent
to the survey of the area of Tipon’s primary
terraces, the surveying proceeded to the long,
main canal that diverts water from the Rio
Pukara (the point of diversion being outside of
the Muralla).

Photograph 4.2 Tipon Engineering Surveys. Chris Crowley.

4.3 Field Mapping

Archaeologists and engineers field mapped the water distribution system of the Tipon
archaeological park and prepared an identification system for the three canal systems and the
main terraces. Field sketches were prepared of special hydraulic and archaeological features.

4.4 Hydraulic Measurements

Using canal cross sectional area measurements, canal slope, and observed velocity
measurements, the discharge of selected flowing canals was measured in terms of liters per
minute. The yield of the main spring was measured at 1,140 L/min on September 21, 2000.
Capacities of surface water canals were estimated by measuring the cross sections of the
canals at various locations, taking into consideration the frequent steep slopes that would cause
high-velocity flow (supercritical) and bends that would tend to cause additional flow obstruction.

The flow of restored Canal A adjacent to Terrace 6 was measured at 786 L/min on September
21, 2000. On September 18, 2000 the flow in the same canal had been measured at 775 L/min.

4.5 Archaeological Documentation

Many prehistoric locations were inspected, measured, and documented by registered

archaeologists or under archaeological supervision. Standard protocol (including field sketches
and photography) was observed in all cases.


For the purposes of this study and report, we have dealt with Tipon’s main terraces separately
from the extensive outlying production terraces. All of the main terraces are irrigated. Of the
outlying production terraces, approximately 50 percent were irrigated via diversions from the Rio
Pukara, the balance being used for dry-land farming.

5.1 Main Terraces

The 13 main terraces are shown in Drawing 3. They range in elevation from 3,380 to 3,460
meters. The areas of each terrace along with the total area are presented in Table 7.1. Of the
13 terraces, 11 are irrigated by water from Tipon’s spring. Only the upper two terraces are
irrigated from the main canal from the Rio Pukara.

The restored and unrestored terrace walls are of high-class construction, as evidenced by the
careful shaping and fitting. The walls range in height from 1 to 5 meters, with an average height
of 2.5 to 3 meters (Photograph 5.1).

Photographs 5.1 Terrace walls at Tipon

5.2 Outlying Terraces

The outlying terraces cover a large proportion of the total area within Tipon’s outer walls. It is
estimated that the terraces represent about 100 hectares and that some 50 hectares lie below
one or more of the surface water irrigation canals that divert from the Rio Pukara. The
reconnaissance survey indicated that the outlying terraces are formed by stone terrace walls,
many of which are in a poor state of preservation.


The surface water diversions and management at Tipon represented a remarkable achievement
in irrigation and hydraulic engineering. Three irrigation canals diverted water from the Rio
Pukara upstream of Pukara (Figure 6.1), approximately 1.35 kilometers north of Tipon’s main
terraces (the focal point of the archaeological site) as shown in Drawing 1. The points of
diversion for the three canals lie outside of the Muralla that encircles Tipon, with the canals
passing through the wall at locations and elevations controlled by the steep topography. The
main canal diverted water at elevation 3,790 meters directly from the bed of the Rio Pukara at a
rockfall that plugged the stream, as shown in Figure 6.2. During low-flow times, the point of
diversion could be mistaken for a mountain spring, as Susan A. Niles described on pages 142
and 153 of her noteworthy publication Callachaca (1987) wherein she described many of the
features of Tipon.

Point of Diversion #2
C ana

io Pu Cliff
r W
ra lla
Canal 3

al 1

(2 )
Ca n


0 200


IBM 19/9/00(Recon)
KRW 19/9/00 (Recon)
KRW 26/11/00 (Drwg)
PAP 15/3/01 (Digitizing)

Figure 6.1 Location of the three Inca canals diverting from the Rio Pukara
northeast of Pukara.




Elevation View CMC 22/9/00

KRW 25/11/00
PAP 15/3/01

Plan View
k ar

Figure 6.2 Point of diversion of the Inca Canal on the Rio Pukara.

For the purpose of description, we have divided the main canal into six sections, as shown in
Table 6.1.

Table 6.1
Main Canal Sections

Section Start End
1 0+00 2+16 Rio Pukara to Muralla: Very steep hillside with canal on contour
2 2+16 5+42± Muralla to Sulluqaqa: Very steep hillside with earth slides and
much damage to canal
3 5+42 7+98 Sulluqaqa to Restored Canal: Modest slope in upstream portion
± and low slope for last 200 meters
4 7+98 14+60 Restored Channel to Intiwatana: Restored canal with special
features and aqueduct; rolling terrain
5 14+6 23+37 Intiwatana to Main Terraces: Modest grade for 650 meters, then
0 steep to main terraces
6 23+3 28+10 Main terraces to Patallaqta: Gently sloping canal on eastern
7 mesa

Within the enclave, and south of the outer wall, the route of the main canal (No. 2) generally
tends to follow the contours on the steep hillside. The canal rights-of-ways are formed via
terrace rock walls and cut and fill sections in Sectors 1 and 2 and continue until the topography
changes to the south—that is, about 800 meters from the Rio Pukara point of diversion.

The main canal is used to furnish water to extensive areas of agricultural land extending to near
the Intiwatana and Ceremonial Plaza (Drawing 1). Beyond the Intiwatana the main canal
follows a relatively gentle and uniform slope to the valley north of the main terraces and then
down a steep slope in a southwesterly direction to north of Tipon’s terraces and then to

6.1 Surface Water Canals

The layout of the three canals is illustrated in Drawing 1. The main canal is shown from its
points of diversion all the way to its terminus at Patallaqta. Photographs 6.1 through 6.4 show
the main canal at various locations.

The cross sectional areas range from 2,400 square centimeters to 520 square centimeters, with
a characteristic area of 500 to 700 square centimeters common downstream of the Pinchamoqo
Andenes. Slopes vary widely, depending upon the topography, with 20 or 30 percent slopes
being common on the upstream steep hillside and slopes of up to 2 to 3 percent found
downstream of Sulluqaqa.

Photograph 6.1 Main Canal No. 2, Section 2 Photograph 6.2 Main Canal No. 2, Section 5

Photograph 6.3 Main Canal No. 2, Section 5. Photograph 6.4 Restored Main Canal No. 2,
Section 4.

6.2 Hydraulic Structures

Several hydraulic structures were documented at the surface water supply canals that traverse
the Tipon site from the Rio Pukara from north to south, with the main canal terminating at
Patallaqta, as shown in Figures 6.3, 6.4, and 6.5. One is an irrigation conduit turnout, another is
an open irrigation lateral turnout, and the third is a sharp bend. Hydraulic structures are further
illustrated in Photographs 6.5 to 6.7. A drop structure at the Intiwatana follows a subsurface
channel through the building complex.


S = 0.23

0 0.5 1.0

Meters A’

CANAL N = 0.02


KRW 7/10/00
PAP 15/3/01

Figure 6.3 Main Inca Canal irrigation turnout to conduit. Structure is 150 meters
north of the Canal bend.

Irrigation Lateral Turnout—Main Canal


Inca Main Canal

625 cm2
25 cm

B’ 160 cm2
10 cm
25 cm
16 cm

A—A’ B—B’

0 40

KRW ~ 17/9/00
PAP ~ 15/3/01

Main Inca Canal On Stone Aqueduct

600 cm2

20 cm
30 cm

Figure 6.4 Main Inca Canal with cross-sectional area of 625 and 600 cm2 with
lateral canal with 160 cm2 of area.

0 50


IBM ~ 19/9/00
37 cm KRW ~ 5/10/00
PAP ~ 15/3/01
30 cm

27 cm

Figure 6.5 Main Inca Canal showing a bend.

Photographs 6.5-7 The Main Canal No. 2 at Tipon, Section 4. Photograph 6.5
shows an in-situ rock. Photograph 6.6 shows a sharp bend. And Photograph 6.7
shows the aqueduct.

6.3 Canal Capacities

The carrying capacity of the canals diverting from the Rio Pukara have been estimated using
hydraulics engineering principles, taking into consideration the following characteristics that vary
from location to location:

• Cross sectional area of the canal in square centimeters

• Hydraulic slopes in terms of meters/meter

• Roughness coefficient expressed as Manning’s “n”

• Velocity in terms of meters/second

• Discharge in liters/minute

Due to the fact that the canals change slopes significantly for downhill routing, the governing
flow capacity estimates are based upon the assumption that the minimum slope reached full
flow depth. On steeper slopes (some reaching slopes of 0.3 meters/meter), the canal flow
would be super critical, with high velocities and shallow depth. Where the slope decreases
downstream, the velocity would tend to decrease with rising depths, often with a hydraulic jump.
Where the flow would go through a hydraulic jump (i.e. from super critical to subcritical flow),
there would be an abrupt increase in depth with significant turbulence—the downstream depth
once again reaching approximately the full potential depth of the canal section at that location.

6.3.1 Main Canal Section 1

The main canal diverts from the Rio Pukara at a point located 530 meters northeast of Pukara
(shown in Figure 6.1 and Photograph 6.8) at an elevation of 3,690 meters. The length of the
canal upstream of the Muralla is 216 meters, with an average slope of 0.097 meters per meter
(m/m) but with some flatter portions. It passes through the Muralla at an elevation of 3,669

Figure 6.6 illustrates the Section 1 main canal where it bends around a rock. The cross
sectional area there is 1,700 cm2; however, the authors judged the typical canal area to be
about 2,000 cm2.



IBM ~ 18/9/00
KRW ~ 5/10/00
PAP ~ 15/3/01

60 cm
34 cm cm
36 cm

0 50 100


Figure 6.6 Main Inca Canal section 1 outside of Muralla (outer wall) at bend.

Photograph 6.8 Main Canal No.2, Section 1.

The typical estimated hydraulic characters of the canals in Sections 1 and 2 are as follows:

Area = 0.2 square meters

Roughness = 0.030 (Manning’s n, no unit)

Width = 0.5 meters

Depth = 0.4 meters

Minimum slope = 0.05 meter/meter

1 2 1
Using Manning’s equation Q = x AxR 3 xS 2

A = Discharge in cubic meters/second

A = Area in square meters

R = Hydraulic radius (no units)
Wet Perimeter

S = Slope in m/m

n = Roughness coefficient (no units)

The typical maximum carrying capacity was computed as follows:

1 2 1 −3
Q= x 0.2 x (0.15) 3 x (0.05) 2 = 0.41M S or 24,600 L/min
6.3.2 Main Canal Section 2

Inside the Muralla the main canal continues in a southerly course at an overall slope of over 0.1
m/m across a very steep side slope that is subject to landslides where portions of the canal no
longer exist. Some portions of the canal are flatter. At one location a tomb exists on the left
bank of the canal. The canal is shown in Figure 6.7 where the cross sectional area is in excess
of 2,000 cm2.

Photographs 6.9 and 6.10 illustrate the canal and its steep and precarious topographic setting.
The mountainous terrain near Pukara is steep and rugged as shown in Photograph 6.11.

The capacity and characteristics of the main canal tend to be similar to that of Section 1.

1.8 1.8

Talud de Tierra Roja

Murro de Contención


IBM ~ 19/9/00
KRW ~ 10/10/00
PAP ~ 15/03/01

Sector 01 Canal

0 0.5 1


Figure 6.7 Main Inca Canal where the cross sectional area is in excess of

Photographs 6.9 and 6.10
illustrating the canal and its
steep and precarious
topographic setting.

Photograph 6.11 The mountainous terrain near


6.3.3 Main Canal Section 3

The Section 3 portion of the main canal is on a more modest slope of 0.07 m/m in its upstream
portion but flat at about 0.01 m/m for its downstream 200 meters, where it connects to the
restored portion of the restored canal of Section 4. The canal remains of Section 3 are
illustrated in Photograph 6.12.

Photograph 6.12 Inca Canal Section 3.

6.3.4 Main Canal Section 4

The main canal Section 4 begins at the upper end of the restored canal and continues south for
662 meters to the Intiwatana. This portion of the canal has several unusual features including:

1. A sharp (90°) turn to the left.

2. A survey marker (Photograph 6.13).

Photograph 6.13 Engineer Scott Marshall at a survey marker along the restored
Main Canal No. 2 Section4.

3. Steep super critical slopes.

4. An aqueduct (Photograph 6.14).

Photograph 6.14 Main Canal No. 2 aqueduct in Section 4.

5. An irrigation turnout to a conduit.

6. An irrigation turnout to an open lateral.

7. Intiwatana conduits and drop structure (Photograph 6.15).

Photograph 6.15 Canal outlet from Intiwatana

The restored main canal in Section 4 has slopes ranging from 0.02 to about 0.5 m/m, an
estimated Manning’s “n” roughness coefficient of 0.020, width from 20 to 25 centimeters, and
depths of 25 to 30 centimeters (with a cross sectional area of 600 square centimeters). Figure
6.8 as well as Table 6.2 represents the discharge of the canal. Cumpa (1999) reported that the
aqueduct was in reasonably good condition prior to its restoration. The cross-sectional area of
the restored canal is similar to the downstream, unrestored canal.

Considering the variable slopes of the canal and the hydraulic jump at the base of the steeply
sloped canal followed by typically flatter canal slopes of 0.02 m/m, the authors determined that
the practical capacity of the main canal in Section 4 is 0.12 cms, or 7,200 L/min.

Table 6.2
Rating Table for Restored Channel, Section 4

Project Description Constant Data

Flow Element—Rectangular Channel Mannings Coefficient—0.020
Method—Manning's Formula Bottom Width—20 cm
Solve For—Discharge
Input Data
Minimum Maximum
Channel Slope 1% 30 %
Depth 5% 30 %

Table 6.2 (Continued)
Rating Table for Channel

Depth Channel Discharge Velocity Depth Channel Discharge Velocity

(cm) Slope (m3/s) (rn/s) (cm) Slope (m3/s) (rn/s)
(%) (%)
5 1.00 0.0052 0.518 20 1.00 0.0329 0.822
5 5.00 0.0116 1.158 20 5.00 0.0735 1.838
5 10.00 0.0164 1.638 20 10.00 0.1040 2.600
5 15.00 0.0201 2.006 20 15.00 0.1274 3.184
5 20.00 0.0232 2.316 20 20.00 0.1471 3.676
5 25.00 0.0259 2.589 20 25.00 0.1644 4.110
5 30.00 0.0284 2.837 20 30.00 0.1801 4.503
10 1.00 0.0136 0.679 25 1.00 0.0430 0.861
10 5.00 0.0303 1.517 25 5.00 0.0962 1.925
10 10.00 0.0429 2.146 25 10.00 0.1361 2.722
10 15.00 0.0526 2.628 25 15.00 0.1667 3.334
10 20.00 0.0607 3.035 25 20.00 0.1925 3.849
10 25.00 0.0679 3.393 25 25.00 0.2152 4.304
10 30.00 0.0743 3.717 25 30.00 0.2357 4.715
15 1.00 0.0230 0.766 30 1.00 0.0534 0.889
15 5.00 0.0514 1.714 30 5.00 0.1193 1.988
15 10.00 0.0727 2.423 30 10.00 0.1687 2.812
15 15.00 0.0890 2.968 30 15.00 0.2066 3.444
15 20.00 0.1028 3.427 30 20.00 0.2386 3.977
15 25.00 0.1149 3.832 30 25.00 0.2668 4.446
15 30.00 0.1259 4.197 30 30.00 0.2922 4.870

Restored Section 4
Plotted Curve for Channel

Project Description
Project File c:\haestad/fmw/tipon.fmw
Worksheet Tipon, Peru - Canal Capacity Evaluation
Flow Element Rectangular Channel
Method Manning’s Formula
Solve For Discharge

Constant Data
Mannings Coefficient 0.020
Depth 30.0 cm
Bottom Width 20.0 cm

Input Data
Minimum Maximum
Channel Slope 1% 30 %

Figure 6.8 Restored Section 4 plotted discharge curve.

6.3.5 Main Canal Section 5

From the Intiwatana drop structure to near the north end of Tipon’s main terraces, the main
canal Section 5 is 820 meters long with a drop in elevation of 60 meters. Slopes of the canal
range from about 0.02 to 0.3 m/m.

Typical cross sections of the canal are presented in Figure 6.9 representing areas of 520 cm-2 to
870 cm-2. The authors estimate the practical capacity to be about 0.1 cms, or 6,000 L/min.



0.20 Canal Base Only

Adjacent to Intiwatana



Canal Section Upstream of Turnout

0 0.25 0.50

50 Meters Downstream of Intiwatana

Figure 6.9 Four Cross sections of the main Inca canal downstream of the

This section of the main canal contains a tunnel and an

irrigation turnout. The construction of this canal is at a
modest slope for 560 meters, and then it has a steeper
slope commencing at the location of Photograph 6.16.

Photograph 6.16 Steeper slope of Section 5 of the

Main Inca canal.

6.3.6 Main Canal Section 6

It is from the northeast edge of Tipon’s terraces that the main canal enters onto the large mesa,
which has been farmed since the fall of the Inca Empire, southeast of Tipon’s terraces. For that
reason the route of the canal is not proven and likely never will be. However, it is likely that the
main canal reached Patallaqta via a final right-of-way coincident with Canal C from Tipon’s
spring. A section of canal was observed to the northeast of Patallaqta that was 20 centimeters

6.3.7 Three Canals From Rio Pukara

During the course of archaeological exploration by Ives Bejar Mendoza, he noted that three Inca
canals diverted from the Rio Pukara that he laid out, as shown in Figure 6.1.

Independently, Kenneth R. Wright observed Canal 3 on September 18, 2000, as shown in

Photograph 6.17. On September 17, 2000, while on a reconnaissance survey, he
photographed Canal 1 at a location shown on Figure 6.1 and in Photograph 4.1. The routes of
Canals 1 and 3 were not defined beyond the limits shown on Figure 6.1 because of a lack of
field evidence.

Photograph 6.17 Rout of Canal No. 3 near the Muralla.

6.4 Drainage Basin

The drainage basin tributary to Tipon’s main spring and terraces has an area of 64 hectares
with a vertical rise of 500 meters. The basin area is shown in Photograph 6.18. The drainage
basin of the Rio Pukara at Pukara is estimated to have 3.4 square kilometers.

Photograph 6.18 Drainage basin tributary to Tipon’s main terraces.

6.5 Potential Irrigated Land

The likely irrigated land at Tipon, within the enclosing Muralla, exclusive of Tipon’s main
terraces, totals approximately 50 hectares.

6.6 Irrigation Water Requirements

Consumptive use (CU), also referred to as evapotranspiration (ET), of two of Tipon’s assumed
irrigated Inca crops (corn and pasture) was determined using the climatological data presented
in Table 3.1 and the U.S. Soil Conservation Service’s TR-21 version of the Blaney-Criddle
formula with the American Society of Civil Engineers’ adjustment for elevation. The procedure for
computing the monthly consumptive use is represented by the following formula.
CU = kt kc

kt = temperature coefficient
kc = crop coefficient
t = temperature

p = hours of sunlight

The results of the CU determination are presented in Table 6.3. The data is based upon two
plantings of corn and continuous growing of hay or pasture grass with harvesting or llama
rotated from field to field.

Consumptive Use for Two Crops at Tipon

Month CU (cm) Effective Irrigation
Precipitation (cm) Requirement (cm)1
July 0 0 0
August 2 1 1
September 5 2 3
October 12 5 8
November 17 6 11
December 14 9 5
January 4 4 0
February 6 6 0
March 7 7 0
April 15 4 11
May 13 1 12
June 4 0 4
Total 99 44 56
July 6 0 6
August 6 1 6
September 10 2 8
October 11 5 7
November 13 6 8
December 13 9 4
January 11 10 1
February 12 10 2
March 11 7 3
April 10 4 7
May 8 1 7
June 6 0 6
Total 117 54 63
Irrigation requirement = CU – effective precipitation. (Because of rounding of numbers the
total irrigation requirement number may vary slightly.)


The hydrologic focal point of Tipon is the Tipon spring where groundwater issues forth from
volcanic bedrock at elevation 3,448 meters located on the Terrace 11 level, as shown on
Drawing 3.

The Tipon spring is important because of its high quality, reliable flow and strategic location.
The Inca water-handling infrastructure was efficient and provided a good headworks and canal
routes to deliver water via three canal systems (A, B, and C), either concurrently or in rotation to
various terraces and locations. The water distribution system is also shown on Drawing 3.

7.1 Tipon Spring

The Tipon spring and headworks are shown in Figures 7.1 and 7.2 and Photograph 7.1. The
headworks construction is a masterpiece of hydraulic engineering with seven underground
conduits extending outwards in all directions to serve an efficient water collection function. The
beautiful design and stonework of basalt and andesite also demonstrate Inca sensitivities to

0 0.5 1.0


Supply Conduits

KRW ~ 10/4/00
PAP ~ 21/3/01

Figure 7.1 Tipon spring headworks showing water collection conduits that
provide for efficient water collection.


4.9 M


13 M
14 M


IBM ~ 1989
KRW ~ 2000
PAP ~ 2001

Figure 7.2 Tipon spring layout with headworks of Canals A, B. and C.

Photograph 7.1 Tipon spring and Canal headworks.

The discharge of Tipon’s spring was measured on September 21, 2000 at the end of the dry
season when one might expect flows to be at their lowest. The discharge was determined to be
1,050 L/min by using the wet area-velocity method of measurement as follows:

Discharge = area x velocity

Where Q = discharge, A = area, and V = velocity or Q = V x A

Test 1
A = 683 cm-2 and V = 27.8 cm/sec
Q = V x A = 683 cm-2 x 27.5 cm/sec = 18,970 cm3/sec

Test 2
A = V x A = 560 cm-2 x 28.6 cm/sec = 16,016 cm3/sec
Average discharge = 17,500 cm-3/sec = 17.5 L/sec

= 17.5 L/sec x 60 min = 1,050 L/min

7.2 Water Distribution System

The Inca engineering layout of the water distribution system is based upon three canal systems,
labeled A, B, and C, that provided the prehistoric water managers with the capability to route
water to the entire terrace system as well as to supply water directly to Patallaqta and to
Sinkunakancha. The canal systems could be operated independently or jointly, depending upon
the desires of the Inca canal operator.

The discharge of the Tipon spring flows 8 meters to a point of bifurcation where the water can
flow either right or left. The left flow goes to the C system, and the right flow is a combination of
the A and B systems. The canal then bifurcates into the A and B systems northwest of the
bifurcation, all as shown on Drawing.

A review of the water distribution system, as illustrated on Drawing 3, demonstrates that the
layout was designed in an advanced manner and in accordance with good water system
planning, even by modern engineering standards.

7.3 Hydraulic Structures

The hydraulic network of the three canal systems includes numerous hydraulic structures that
serve important functions, but at the same time the structures are designed and built with
attention given to beauty, interest, and creation of the sight and sound of flowing and falling

7.3.1 Main Fountain

The main fountain is situated on the Canal A system, as shown on Drawing 3. As restored in
1999, the water is divided into four jets as presented in Photograph 7.2.

Photograph 7.2 The restored main fountain at Tipon with the four water jets.

A 1999 measurement and plan view of the fountain prior to its restoration is given in Figure 7.3,
which INC personnel (designated as M.R.C. and R.P.V.) prepared on August 14, 1999.

1—90 cm
2—94 cm
3—106 cm
4—117 cm
5—117 cm
6—121 cm
7—91 cm
8—95 cm
9—83 cm
10—95 cm
11—120 cm

C.A. : Tipon
ESC: 1:40
FECHA: 14/8/99

Figure 7.3 1999 Measurement and plan view prior to the restoration of the Main

7.3.2 Canal Drop Structures

The Canal A system has many similar terrace drop structures, as illustrated in Photographs 7.4
to 7.6. One typical drop structure has dimensions as follows:

Check length 30 CM
Channel depth 25 CM
Total drop 243 CM
Vertical channel inset 30 CM

Photographs 7.4, 7.5 and 7.6 Typical drop structures on Tipon’s Main Terraces.

A drop structure is depicted in Figure 7.4.

0.17 0.13

0.3 M

0.18 M
2.4 M
2.7 M

RMW ~ 18/9/00
0.13 PAP ~ 15/3/01

Figure 7.4 Typical Tipon Terrace hydraulic drop structure to control splashing
and to deliver irrigation water from a higher terrace to a lower terrace.

7.4 Ceremonial Fountain

A ceremonial fountain is situated on the southeast side of Terrace 8. It is supplied by Canal C-

1, which is a conduit at that location. The approach channel is 2 meters long where the jet
drops to a stone basin, after which the water is discharged to the canal A system.

The restored fountain is shown in sketch form in Figure 7.5 and in Photograph 7.7. The
fountain, as it appeared in 1997 prior to restoration, is shown in Photograph 7.8.

Photograph 7.7 Restored Ceremonial Fountain in


Photograph 7.8 Ceremonial Fountain photographed

in 1997.




0 0.5 1.0
AVZ ~ 9/00
KRW ~ 3/11/00
PAP ~ 22/3/01


Figure 7.5 Ceremonial Fountain on Tipon’s terraces, this fountain was being
restored on September 22, 2000.

7.5 Irrigated Land

The irrigated area of Tipon’s terraces is summarized in Table 7.1.

Irrigated Main Terraces

Irrigation Source Terrace Complex Area (Hectares)

Rio Pukara 13 0.15
12 0.27
11-NW 0.04
Subtotal 0.46
Main Spring 1 0.17
2 0.13
3 0.14
4 0.15
5 0.45
6 0.22
7 0.21
8 0.12
9 0.12
10 0.17
11 0.10
Side terraces (NW) 0.23
Side terraces (SW) 0.28
Subtotal 2.49

7.6 Irrigation Water Requirements

The method of irrigation on Tipon’s main terraces was likely the flood irrigation or ridge and
furrow method for which adequate water supply existed. The assumed crop for purposes of
estimating crop water requirements for the main terraces is maize, with a growing period of
approximately five to six months between planting and harvesting. The Inca people would have
been able to grow two crops of maize per year. Assuming a planting date of early August, the
harvesting date would be January of the following year. The second harvest would have been
in July. The consumptive use of water by the crop would total 56 centimeters of depth, as
shown in Table 6.3. The duty of irrigation water is estimated to be 7 hectares per 1,000 L/min,
demonstrating that the yield of Tipon’s spring was capable of irrigating an area many times the
area of the terraces.

7.7 Domestic Water Requirements

The resident population in the area of Tipon’s spring, including Sinkunakancha, is estimated to
be 80 people. An assumed domestic water requirement of 10 L/day per capita indicates a
demand of 800 L/day.

The estimated transient population of 1,500 is assumed to require only 2 L/day per capita;
however, for purposes of estimating water requirements, it is assumed that only 30 percent of
the 1,500 would rely on Tipon’s spring water supply, with 70 percent of the 1,500 transient
population relying on water originating in the Rio Pukara.

As a result, the domestic water reliance on Tipon’s spring would amount to an estimated 1,700
L/day. This is a small demand when compared with the excess water available after irrigation

7.8 Flow Measurements

The authors made canal flow measurements of the actual flow on September 18 and 21, 2000
in restored Canal A to the southwest of Terrace 6. Measurements of velocity were made over a
length of 17 meters, having a slope of 0.032 m/m. The velocity was determined to be 1.21
meters per second (m/s). The wet cross sectional area averaged 108.5 CM-2. The discharge
was determined as follows:

Q = AV, where
Q = discharge in cms

A = area in square meters

V = velocity in meters/second
Q = 0.0109M-2 x 1.21 m/s

Q = 0.013 M-3/s or 786 L/min

Based upon the discharge measurement of the restored canal with flow in the supercritical
stage, a determination was made of the canal roughness using Manning’s equation and solving
for roughness n.

R 2 / 3 x S 1/ 2
n =
where: R = wetted perimeter
S = slope in m/m
V = velocity in m/s

0.0283 x 0.034 __ 1 / 2 0.092 x .184
n = =
1.24m / S 1.24
n = 0.014

The Inca Canal, prior to restoration, would likely have had a higher n value approaching 0.02.

7.9 Water Quality

A sample of water from Tipon’s spring was collected on September 21, 2000 and carried to
Denver for laboratory testing by Evergreen Analytical Laboratories, an EPA-approved

Figure 7.6 Piper diagram of Tipon’s spring water quality.

Dr. E.R. Weiner of WWE describes results of the laboratory testing as follows:

Water quality data from a sample WWE collected from Tipon’s spring on September 26, 2000 is
presented in Table 7.2. Evergreen Analytical Laboratory of Wheat Ridge, Colorado, analyzed
the water sample following standard and accepted protocols.

Tipon’s spring had a flow of approximately 1,050 liters per minute when measured on
September 26, 2000. The water was of good quality for drinking and irrigation purposes.

The water was very clear and contained no measurable suspended solids (NTU < 1). All
measured constituents were well below U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)
primary drinking water standards. Only iron (0.4 mg/L) exceeded its secondary drinking water
standard of 0.3 mg/L. Total dissolved solids at 257 mg/L were about one-half the USEPA’s
secondary drinking water standard (500 mg/L). The sodium absorption ratio was low (1.4), and
the water is satisfactory for crop irrigation.

The Piper diagram in Figure 7.6 indicates that the Inca Spring is moderately high in sulfate and
chloride, which imparts a degree of permanent hardness (not removed by softening). The total
hardness is high, at 140 mg/L. The excess of total hardness over alkalinity (140 – 85.3 = 54.7
mg/L) is the permanent hardness.

Water Quality Data From the Inca Spring at Tipon, Peru

Parameter Units Measured Value

Inca Spring, Tipon (Sampled 9/26/00)
Chloride mg/L (meq/L) 28.9 (0.8)
Sulfate mg/L (meq/L) 88.7 (1.8)
Total Alkalinity mg CaCO3/L 85.3
Bicarbonate mg CaCO3/L (meq/L) 85.3 (1.4)
Ammonia-nitrogen mg/L <0.8
Total dissolved solids mg/L 257
Hardness mg CaCO3/L 140
pH su 7.99
sodium absorption ratio --- 1.4
Mn (total/dissolved) mg/L <0.01
Cu (total/dissolved) mg/L 0.0018
Zn (total/dissolved) mg/L <0.0018
Fe (total/dissolved) mg/L 0.4
Al (total/dissolved) mg/L <0.09
Na (total/dissolved) mg/L (meq/L) 38 (1.6)
K (total/dissolved) mg/L (meq/L) 3.8 (0.1)
Ca (total/dissolved) mg/L (meq/L) 36 (9.0)
Mg (total/dissolved) mg/L (meq/L) 12 (0.5)
SiO2 mg/L Not measured
Calculated from Ca and Mg concentrations.
Not reported by the laboratory. Calculated from alkalinity and pH values.
Calculated from Na, Ca, and Mg dissolved concentrations.
Turbidity in the sample was less than 1 NTU. Therefore, total and dissolved metal concentrations are


Drainage and flood control in the 64-hectare basin tributary to Tipon’s main terraces was
reviewed in terms of surface evidence of erosion,
sedimentation, and residual damage.

8.1 Main Terraces

During the last five centuries since the main terraces were
constructed, the surface evidence indicates that no major
destructive floods have occurred. During reconnaissance
surveys of the drainage basin, only one eroding gully was
noted. It lies to the northwest of the lower slope of the gray
lava flow of Ajawasi and is a result of the approximate five
hectares of exposed bedrock that has a high runoff
coefficient. Evidence of the lack of erosion and significant
flood occurrences is present in Photograph 8.1 and Howard
Bingham’s 1912 photographs presented in section 3.5 of this

Photograph 8.1 Gully above the Main Terraces showing little erosion. Also the
route of Canal No. 2.

8.2 Outlying Terraces

The extensive outlying terraces representing manmade flat areas with high permeability provide
for high infiltration of rainfall and little runoff.

8.3 Subsurface Drainage

In accordance with standard Inca technology as found at Machu Picchu (Wright 1999), the main
terraces and outlying terraces were likely constructed with placement of underlying stone layers
beneath gravel and sand layers with topsoil in the uppermost level. This would have provided
for good subsurface drainage.


Tipon is a special and important archaeological site because of the sum of its many parts.

9.1 Pukara

The Inca urban area of Pukara is 1.0 kilometer north of the Intiwatana and is inside of and
adjacent to the northwest outer wall and about 50 meters from the Rio Pukara at a typical
elevation of about 3,575 meters. Pukara served as a residence for about 100 people and is
made up of buildings and stone terraces.

Pukara was noted to have Inca and K’illke potsherds scattered over its site, many of which are
decorated. The village site is in remarkably good condition considering that the general area
likely has been continuously farmed since the Inca period. A sketch of Pukara is presented in
Figure 9.1. Pukara lies on a 20-percent slope from northeast to southeast. Figure 9.2 illustrates
typical Inca potsherds scattered in the Pukara vicinity and a doorway that was observed after
clearing away dense vegetation. Photograph 9.1 shows a fountain with two baths.

0 50


k ara


CMC ~ Recon
IBM ~ Recon
AVZ ~ Recon
KRW ~ Recon
RMW ~ Recon
SAM ~ Recon
KRW ~ Sketch 11/12/00
PAP ~ Dig 22/03/01


Figure 9.1 Plan of Pukara that had an Inca population of at least 100 people. An
indoor fountain with two baths was observed. Domestic and irrigation water cam
from the Rio Pukara

Handle of Vase of Pot


Part of Ceramic Platter

(Similar to an ear)


Rim of a Cup or a Bowl


Figure 9.2 Typical Inca potsherds found near Pukara

Photograph 9.1 Ken Wright at the Pukara fountain pointing to the channel.

9.2 Sinkunakancha

This residential area (situated above and only 30 meters from Tipon’s terrace 1) stretches from
east to west some 90 meters, with a half oval-shaped massive wall on the east. This Inca
settlement likely housed about 50 people, based upon the number of rooms.

Canal B’s water supply system was likely extended to Sinkanakancha, although the authors
found no field evidence to verify their assumption, probably because a modern canal from
Tipon’s spring likely follows the same general course. Local people presently use the
functioning modern canal to irrigate small tracts of agricultural land. The layout of
Sinkunakancha is shown in Figure 9.3 and Photograph 9.2.



Inca C
N amin o


C an
d ern

75 3425


Main Terraces
INC-CA208 ~ 5/99 34
KRW ~ 26/11/00
PAP ~ 22/3/01

Figure 9.3 Approximate layout of Sinkunakancha

Photograph 9.2 Sinkunakancha.

9.3 Patallaqta

This is a small enclosure located on top of a bluff at the far southern end of Tipon’s walled
enclosure. It is significant to paleohydrology because it is the apparent terminal of both Canal
C’s system from Tipon’s spring and the main canal from the Rio Pukara. Drawing 1 portrays

9.4 Intiwatana

This remarkable ruin is on high rocky ground at an elevation of 3,525 meters. A sketch of the
Intiwatana is given in Figure 9.4. The canal outlet from the Intiwatana, as documented by Ives
Bejar Mendoza, is given in Figure 9.5. Photographs 9.3 and 9.4 further illustrate this site.

Of special importance here is the small, natural pyramid capped by rocks jutting upward. The
Inca surrounded this formation with a set of four square terraces, one with a stairway. The
rocks were morphologically special and intimately related to the site. Facing the formation is a
small patio with two triple-jamb niches.

IBM—Canal Documentation Inlet
AVZ—Intiwatana Documentation
INC—Base Map 34


KRW—Drawing 36 Fountain

Outlet Main Canal from Rio Pukara

Detail 6

4 Canal
7 3 2

Probable Canal
13 Corridor

11 Structure

Main Canal to Mesa

and Patallaqta

Intiwatana (14)



60 85 61 85 60 85 61

Detail of Niches in Room 11


Figure 9.4 Plan of the Intiwatana

with a detail of Niches Room 11.

Missing Stone

Figure 9.5 Subterranean Main Side View

Canal No. 2 at the Intiwatana

0 50 100

IMB ~ 21/9/00
Wall KRW ~ 9/10/00
PAP ~ 3/28/01

Wall Main Canal to Mesa

Top View

Photographs 9.3 and 9.4 Intiwatana.

9.5 Ceremonial Plaza

This structure is 35 meters long and 23 meters wide in a half oval shape containing 690 square
meters, with the opening facing south. The original andesite stonework of the Ceremonial Plaza
is excellent, as shown in Photographs 9.5 and 9.6. A layout of the Ceremonial Plaza is given in
Figure 9.6 prepared by Ives Bejar. A diagram of one of the niches (also by Ives Bejar) is shown
in Figure 9.7. A branch canal off the main canal leads to the Ceremonial Plaza, and good field
evidence exists that provides documentation of the water supply aspects of this structure.
Photographs 9.7 and 9.8 illustrate the water function along with Figures 9.8 and 9.9.

Photograph 9.5 Ceremonial Plaza

Photograph 9.6 High quality stonework in
the Ceremonial Plaza.

IBM ~ 1998 & 2000

KRW ~ 2000
PAP ~ 2001

1.18 M

1.17 M


1 M
0.93 M

0.98 M



M 6

0. 9


1.0 M

1.19 M

M 0.96 M

1.16 M

0.96 M
1.30 M 1.16 M
0.98 M

35 M
1.14 M 22.5 M
1.14 M
1.0 M


Muro Posterior a Los Inca

Figure 9.6 Sketch of the Ceremonial Plaza

0 0.5 1.0


0.85 1.28 0.86

Dintel Hypotetico

IBM/AVZ ~ 21/9/00
1.12 1.04
KRW ~ 7/10/00
PAP ~ 23/3/01

Figure 9.7 Two niches at the Ceremonial Plaza

Photograph 9.7 Ceremonial Plaza fountain. Photograph 9.8 Channel remains at the
Ceremonial Plaza.



Raiz de Arbol Roca Rock

0 0.5 1.0
IBM ~ 21/9/00
Meters Section A-A’ KRW ~ 07/10/00
PAP ~ 26/3/01

Figure 9.8 Fountain at the Ceremonial Plaza

Figure 9.9 Detail of

the Ceremonial
Plaza fountain


.10 .10

IBM ~ 1989 .20

KRW ~ 2000 .25
PAP ~ 2001 .17


Niles (1987) concluded that the Ceremonial Plaza was a high-style reservoir and that a southern
wall formed the end wall of the reservoir. We, therefore, began with the hypothesis that the
structure was a ceremonial reservoir. However, detailed study of the site failed to prove that it
served a water storage function. However, site investigations provided substantial evidence of it
being a ceremonial plaza, as judged by the INC (Cumpa 1999) and as described below.

A fountain leads into the enclosure in the northwest portion of the Ceremonial Plaza (not into the
plaza itself), which may indicate that the fountain served an internal function for the enclosure,
rather than a reservoir filling function. The exquisite stonework of the interior of the Ceremonial
Plaza, along with beautiful niches, is not consistent with a reservoir function (Niles 1987) and
long-term storage of water. Rising and falling water levels would have damaged the veneer of
andesite stone that is cut and carefully carved to cover a rough fieldstone wall. A rapidly falling
water level would create pore pressures on the inside of the veneer walls that might cause the
sections to pop out. We noted no such damage to the fine stone veneer.

A freestanding wall on the south would not have good impervious qualities to keep the water
from leaking out, both under and through the wall. An evaluation of the southern wall of the
Ceremonial Plaza by Ives Bejar and Ken Wright indicates that the wall is likely from the colonial
period and not of Inca origin. The evidence is clear that water was routed to the Ceremonial
Plaza. It is only the purpose for which the water was used that is challenged. In summary, we
agree with the INC that the Ceremonial Plaza was not a “high-style reservoir.”

9.6 Cruzmoqo

The highest point of Tipon’s archaeological site is the Cruzmoqo on the summit of Wayrapunku,
some 610 meters above Tipon’s terraces at an elevation of 3,960 meters. The Cruzmoqo is an
important location that contains impressive petroglyphs, as shown in Photograph 9.9. The
layout of the site is given in Figure 9.10, and the setting is illustrated in Photograph 9.10. A
unique polished, carved-out basin
is shown in Photograph 9.11. Its
function requires additional study.

Photograph 9.9 Petroglyphs at

the Cruzmoqo.

KRW ~ 9/19/00, 12/11/00
PAP ~ 23/03/01


0 50




Figure 9.10 The Cruzmoqo site high on the hill overlooking Tipon has
petroglyphs, terraces and a view of Tipon. Cruzmoqo served a security, religious
and signal function.

Photograph 9.10 View from the


Photograph 9.11 Smooth-shaped basin at the Cruzmoqo.

The Muralla (outer wall) is related to the Cruzmoqo (Photographs 9.12); the Cruzmoqo likely
had a security function as well as religious and signal station uses. A series of terraces exists,
built with square and rectangular stones. On the east side is an ordinary stonewall that
encloses the large rocks that contain the petroglyphs of spirals and arrows. The petroglyphs
would provide a special attraction to athletic visitors.

Photograph 9.12 Muralla west of the Cruzmoqo.

9.7 Outer Walls

One of the most significant features of Tipon is the massive outer wall (Muralla) that encircled
the site, as shown in Photograph 9.13. The wall is about 6 kilometers long; it ranges up to
heights of about 8 meters and is often 2 meters wide at the top and 4 to 6 meters wide at the

Photograph 9.13 Muralla at Canal No. 3.

The construction of the wall was performed with great effort, and its appearance would tend to
indicate a K’illke or Wari influence. However, significant research and study are required to
define the wall’s age, function, and original purpose.

9.8 Artifacts

The Tipon archaeological site is rich with artifacts, including broken pottery, that merit a serious
effort at documentation and study. While it would seem that a site continuously used since the
beginning of colonial times would have lost much precious evidence, such has not been the
case. However, with the advent of tourism, the surface evidence will soon disappear. A
representative sample of potsherds is provided in Photographs 9.14 and 9.15. The potsherds
were given to Roland Perez Gutierrez Vigilante, manager of Tipon, for safekeeping by the INC.

9.9 Canal Tomb

On the left side of the main canal, about 12 meters downstream of the outer wall, an open tomb
was noted. See Photograph 9.16 showing the human remains. The date of the tomb is

Many pre-Hispanic tombs are situated in rocky, steep cliffs at Pitigugio and Parqumayo. The
tombs are little rooms whose walls were enhanced with mortar containing a mixture of clay and
straw (Cumpa 1999).

Photographs 9.14 and 9.15 Common potsherds found at Tipon.

Photograph 9.16 Tomb along Main Canal No. 2.

At Pitigugio, the funeral chambers have small windows. The chambers are oriented to the rising
sun and have arched roofs with some decorations. Good Inca pottery fragments are associated
with the tombs. Most tombs there are destroyed (Cumpa 1999).

9.10 Hole in the Wall

Along the route of the outer wall in the northeast

portion of Tipon’s enclosure is a hole or doorway-
like structure, as shown in Photograph 9.17. The
cliff on the outside of the Muralla route falls off
steeply to the valley below.

Photograph 9.17 “Hole in the Wall” along

the Muralla

9.11 Kancha Group

This group of four buildings lies adjacent to Tipon’s

Terrace 12 near the spring. Three of the buildings
face a central patio. Trapezoidal niches exist in all
the buildings, but the one to the east is best
preserved (Photograph 9.18).

Photograph 9.18
Kancha Group

Restoration to the Kancha Group prior to 1997 was not performed properly and should be
corrected with the help of a conservator so that these important buildings are presented in their
former condition and so they better represent Inca architectural details.

9.12 Hornopata

Near the Kancha Inca is a mostly buried

circular structure that was likely an oven or
incinerator. About two-thirds of the structure
is beneath the ground. The arched oven
opening is at the bottom. The stonework
(shown in Photograph 9.19 (1573-48)) is pre-

Photograph 9.19

Niles (1987) judged the Hornopata to be a circular burial structure (chullpa) with the opening
facing north, not east as in most chullpas in the Lucre area. In 1995, 1997, and 2000 the
Hornopata was filled with trash, indicating that it has not been studied or researched to the
extent consistent with a unique chullpa of Tipon. Nevertheless, the structure could be a burial
structure or an oven-type structure, the latter being the most likely.

9.13 Eastern Terraces

This long, narrow area of many terraces lies 330 meters northeast of Tipon’s central main
terraces at an average elevation of 3,650 meters. These terraces lie just east of the gray
bedrock slope that is visible from Tipon’s main terraces and that provides a picture of a smooth
volcanic flow void of any topsoil or vegetation. The 1956 aerial photograph tends to show that
some of the volcanic flow surface was covered with topsoil and vegetation. To the east of the
terraces some 120 meters lie the remains of the outer wall

Some of the eastern terraces are in a reasonable state of preservation, even though one would
have expected them to be gone because of earth slides and erosion. The terraces are
presently partially used for growing tubers, although much of the area is wooded. The terraces
stretch down the steep slope about 300 meters. A high cliff lies south of the terraces.

9.14 Iglesiaraqui

Adjacent to Tipon’s terraces, just to the east of Terrace 6, is what may be a Qolqa containing
doorways, windows, and niches, as seen in Photograph 9.20. It has been restored. It forms an
important part of the scenic view of Tipon’s terraces, especially from the northwest hill route to
the Intiwatana.

Photograph 9.20 Iglesiaraqui

9.15 Qoyay Oqwayqo

A series of gently sloping terraces stretching over a north/south length of 180 meters lies north
of Tipon’s central terraces and is served by the main Inca canal from the Rio Pukara.


The use and handling of water at Tipon presents an extraordinary example of water planning
and management by Inca hydraulic engineers. Their combined use of groundwater and surface
water to the advantage of the site and its residents is a remarkable achievement and one for
which all descendents of the Inca Empire can be extremely proud. It is likely that Tipon could
be characterized as being among some of the finest early American examples of successful
hydraulic engineering and water management.

10.1 Overview

The Inca civil engineers dealt with a high elevation of 3,600 meters and a modest precipitation
of 812 mm/year to create the unique walled estate of Tipon encompassing nearly 200 hectares
encircled by a 6-kilometer perimeter wall. Of foremost interest to WWE and the WPI, however,
was the Incas’ handling and use of water resources from both a surface stream and Tipon’s

spring. The collection, movement, and distribution of water for both irrigation and domestic uses
represents good engineering planning and execution.

10.2 Water Yield

During the dry month of September 2000 the water yields of the two resources were estimated
as follows:

Groundwater Tipon Spring 1,050 liters/minute

Surface water Rio Pukara 1,300 liters/minute

During the summer period (December to March), Rio Pukara’s rate of flow rises considerably
above the September estimate of 1,300 liters/minute. Meanwhile, Tipon’s spring likely does not
vary to the same extent but remains more constant throughout the year.

10.3 Tributary Drainage Basins

The point of diversion of the main canal near Pukara has a tributary drainage basin area of 3.4
square kilometers.

Tipon’s spring has an apparent surface area drainage basin of 0.64 square kilometers.
However, the faulting, cracks, and fissures of the volcanic bedrock may provide a larger (by
about 10 times) actual geologic drainage basin tributary to the spring that may extend northeast
beyond the Cruzmoqo.

10.4 Water Handling

The Inca canals from the Rio Pukara total at least three, as defined in the field, with the main
canal (No. 2) being the canal that was traced in its entirety to Patallaqta. We judged the
upstream portions of the main canal to have typical cross sectional total areas of roughly 0.2
square meter. With likely design velocities in the flatter portions of about 1.3 meters per
second, the practical capacity is estimated as follows:


Where Q = discharge in cubic meters per second

V = velocity in meters per second

A = area in square meters

Therefore, the practical capacity of the canals may be estimated as follows:

Q = 1.3 meters/second x 0.2 square meter

Q = 0.26 cubic meter/second, or

Q = 15,600 liters/minute

The duty of water (that is, the ratio of irrigated land to stream diversions) is roughly estimated at
650 hectares/cms or, when translated into 0.26 cms, the main canal can be related to about 170
hectares of irrigated land. This takes into consideration both a 20 percent canal seepage loss
and reuse of return flow on lower-lying terraces.

Based upon field observations it appears that the downstream main canal could potentially
deliver approximately 6,000 liters/minute to the mesa lying southeast of Tipon’s terraces,
enough to irrigate up to 40 hectares if need be. Any excess water beyond Patallaqta could be
released for beneficial use to the lands lying downstream of Tipon.

10.5 Adequacy of Water Supply

The water resources and water handling facilities (both surface water and groundwater) of Tipon
were designed for meeting the domestic and irrigation water requirements of the Tipon
enclosure of nearly 200 hectares. During the dry season, only about 10 to 20 hectares of
outlying terraces could be irrigated.

10.6 Potential Water-Related Tourist Attractions

Tipon’s main terraces and spring provide the primary tourist attractions for Tipon because of the
Inca genius for using both water and elevation to create the sight and sound of falling water that
appeals to modern people in the same way it did to prehistoric people.

The availability of water from Tipon’s spring is suitable for full irrigation of the terraces. Irrigation
could take place in the evening and at night so as not to conflict with tourism activities.

Water adequacy means that spring water can be used in each of the canal systems if desired;
however, it would appear that (for visual attraction) use of the Canal A and C systems would be
the most advantageous. This would provide sufficient water to fully operate the two fountains
and the drop structures.

While the spring water system provides the most dramatic use of water, a fully restored main
Inca canal from the Rio Pukara should not be neglected. Operation of the canal, even at
modest flow rates, would add a special overall dimension to the Tipon experience. However,
this would likely be too much of an undertaking.


The Tipon archaeological park is a spectacular example of pre-Columbian civil engineering

technology; it is a site that deserves restoration for the tourist value and its demonstration of the
Inca Empire’s ability to plan, design, and construct public works to serve important functions.
Tipon is hydrologically remarkable because of the combined use of both surface water and
groundwater in a balanced, logical manner, even when measured by modern engineering

While Tipon’s water works are much different than those at Machu Picchu, the similarity of
technical principles employed at the two sites demonstrates that common technology transfer
took place between these two separated locations. For instance, stone-lined canals, vertical
drains or drops, and spring water collection headworks at both locations show similar
technology, even though details differ. Land stewardship at both locations is evident. The
engineers at both Machu Picchu and Tipon exhibited knowledge of the relationships between
hydraulic slope, canal cross sectional area, hydraulic roughness, and resulting flow capacity.
Tipon’s ceremonial fountain shares fundamental similarities with the numerous fountains of
Machu Picchu and Wiñay Wayna.

The Inca engineers understood principles of crop water needs at both sites and the relationship
of precipitation to necessary moisture for growing crops. For instance, maize at Machu Picchu
was not irrigated, while maize at Tipon was, the difference being the quantity of rainfall (812 mm
per year at Tipon and nearly 2,000 mm per year at Machu Picchu).

Inca engineers at both Tipon and Machu Picchu used gravity flow for moving water from one
location to another. One might opine that anyone would know that water flows downhill, even
the primitive Anasazi of Mesa Verde in North America conveyed water in ditches. However, the
Inca did not just convey water downhill in ditches; they used gravity flow to accomplish overall
grand schemes with their water arriving at specific locations at optimized flow rates to serve
particular beneficial uses. A review of Drawings 1, 2, and 3 of this report indicates that the
points of diversion on the Rio Pukara were selected with forethought and planning; Pukara was
served along with some 50 hectares of outlying production terraces. Then the canal served the
Ceremonial Plaza and the Intiwatana before flowing beyond to serve the upper two main
terraces of central Tipon, the mesa top and Patallaqta. Similarly, Machu Picchu’s canal flowed
from the Inca spring in an efficient manner to arrive unimpeded at Fountain No. 1, the Inca
residence, and the Temple of the Sun before flowing to 15 additional fountains in series that
provided the sight and sound of flowing water besides a good central water supply.

At Tipon, it is also a notable achievement that the main canal’s capacity is more than well
matched to the area of irrigated land lying below the canal; this is a relationship that
demonstrates intellectually based planning decisions, design, and construction efforts.

Drawing 3 illustrates the complex system of canals branching off of Tipon’s spring; the three
canal systems each serve specific functions. The B system was laid out so it could finally reach
the residential area of Sinkunakancha, and the C system also served the area of Patallaqta.
The flexibility of hydraulic operation of the canals that was built into the system is an
extraordinary achievement representing careful planning and execution completely different
than Machu Picchu but displaying the same technical knowledge base.

Special water handling exists at the Intiwatana, where the main canal enters and leaves the
complex after passing underground through it and making a water supply available to the
residents. The Inca incorporated the canal into the foundations of the buildings while
maintaining proper grade and suitable alignment. Meanwhile, the upward jagged rocks of the
Intiwatana remind one of the jagged rocks of the unfinished Temple next to the Sacred Rock of
Machu Picchu. The name Intiwatana is not recorded until the Nineteenth Century according to
Professor John Rowe, the leading authority on the Incas. He advised the authors of this in
1997, as quoted below:

I note that in the beautiful calendar you gave me you refer to the so-called “Intihuatana” of
Machu Picchu as a solar observatory. It is no such thing, and the identification is one of
Bingham’s many mistakes. There is a building at Pisac that surrounds a rock outcrop, the top of
which was cut down by the Incas so as to end up as a circular protuberance rising from a flat
stone table. The stone protuberance at Pisac is traditionally called “Intihuatana” by the local
people, and E.G. Squier decided that it was the gnomon of a sort of sundial that would cast its
shadow on the flat table around it. Bingham decided that the stone at Machu Picchu with a
more or less vertical protuberance at the top was a gnomon, and he borrowed the name of the
Pisac one for it. The comparison is bad. The Machu Picchu stone is four-sided, and the base
from which it rises is not flat. The Incas did not use gnomons for their solar observation; they
looked at the horizon to see where the sun rose and set. Max Uhle, who was a better
archaeologist than Squier, studied the Pisac protuberance and concluded that it would not cast
a useful shadow. The name “Intihuatana” is not ancient and is not recorded until the 19th

The Inca hydraulic engineers leave impressive evidence of their skills and technical knowledge
in their use of the supercritical flow phenomenon with its attendant downstream hydraulic jumps
that could easily have caused erosion, stone displacement, and overtopping of canal banks.
The main canal, as well as the groundwater distribution canal network, has many examples of
supercritical flow that are adequately managed.

The Ceremonial Plaza (35 m by 23 m with niches and exquisite andesite stonework, not
limestone) is not a former high-type reservoir, as Miles (1987) suggested. The plaza has at
least one point of water entry.

Only 20 kilometers from the capital of Cusco, Tipon represents a complete Inca self-contained
community. It has all the attributes of a site that can be developed for tourism and significant
further scientific research.


Research opportunities at Tipon represent both pressing needs and those associated with
general intellectual curiosity, data collection, and interpretation. They include:

1. An intensive 239-hectare survey of the archaeological park could document surface

potsherd evidence that is abundant throughout the site. This is a pressing matter because, in
time, the evidence will be lost to tourists who will soon be wandering beyond the main
attractions. Pre-Incan potsherds especially need documentation to help establish the history of

2. Reconnaissance surveys could further define water features such as:

a. Water supply to Pukara.

b. Fountains within Pukara,

c. Canals 1 and 3 from Rio Pukara through the Muralla.

d. Potential for a construction water canal from the northeast to provide water for
Muralla construction.

3. Detailed hydraulic-oriented measurements throughout the site from the Rio Pukara to
Patallaqta would provide additional data on specific canal structures and canal reaches
as well as laterals serving irrigated lands.

4. Archaeological analysis of the Kancha Inca could lead to better restoration of restorative
work done prior to 1995.

5. Geologic research could define faulting as it relates to the yield of water of Tipon’s

6. Additional flow measurements of Tipon’s spring could define seasonal changes in flow to
supplement the September 2000 measurement.

7. The function of the circular structure called the Hornopata that Niles (1987) considered a
chullpa (tomb) could be more fully investigated.

8. Further research into the history of Tipon could yield: (a) possible verification of the
theory that it was a feudal estate of Incan nobility or a royal estate, (b) insight into pre-
Inca use of the site, and (c) possible colonial-period land use and site function.

9. Analysis of pre-restoration documentation could better define the original Incan



Restoration efforts should continue on Tipon’s main terraces and should be extended to other
important components of the site. In all cases, a conservator should control the restoration
work. Public access of outlying areas should be restricted until archaeological documentation
and selective collection of potsherds are completed.

The remains of the main canal downhill of the Intiwatana should be preserved because erosion
and foot traffic is causing canal stones to become displaced. Portions of the original canal are
slipping downhill.


American Society of Civil Engineers. 1989. Evapotranspiration and Irrigation Water

Requirements. Manuals and Reports on Engineering Practice No. 70, M.E. Jensen,
R.D. Burman, and R.G. Allen eds. New York: American Society of Civil Engineers.

Bingham, Hiram. 1913. In the Wonderland of Peru. National Geographic Magazine April 23,

Cumpa, Claudio Palacios. 1999. Delimitación Parque Arqueológico Tipon. Cusco, Perú:
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of tropical precipitation researched in ice area from the Quelccaya ice cap, Perú.
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Requirements. Technical Release No. 21. Littleton, CO: Water Resources

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Lucre. Tesis para optar al Grado de Doctor en Letras y Ciencias Humanas, a la
Universidad Nacional de “San Antonio Abad” del Cusco, Perú.

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Wright Paleohydrological Institute
Denver, Colorado