Butler Journal of Undergraduate Research

Faculty Sponsor

Allison Mickel


If mysteries were ranked, Machu Picchu would be on the top of the list. This Incan site, destination for millions of tourists, archaeologists and researchers each year, is one of the biggest enigmas of Incan culture. Its mesmerizing view has prompted hundreds of unanswered questions about this civilization. Incan culture revolved around cities, built without reference to the world beyond. Although the Incas were incredible architects and inventors, they lack written records, shrouding their culture in mystery for many years. While research has illuminated some facets of Incan culture, a significant question still remains: what purpose did Machu Picchu play in Incan society? Over the years, many researchers in different fields have attempted to answer this questions. This article will analyze these findings and argue that a key purpose of Machu Picchu’s design was to exploit its geographical advantages.