10 Things You Never Knew About Machu Picchu

From The Darkness Into The Light

We know there are questions around travel amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Read our note here.

As a Peruvian historical sanctuary, Machu Picchu has captured our imaginations since the dawn of its existence. In the mornings, this mystical city is shrouded in mist, but in the afternoon sun, you’ll see majestic stone edifices scattered across an emerald landscape.

Surprisingly, Machu Picchu remained hidden for centuries. However, it later emerged as one of the best-preserved sites of the Incan Empire. In 2007, voters chose Machu Picchu as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. While you might be familiar with the famous city (and its photo-bombing alpacas), there’s still much to learn about this mysterious place. Here are 10 things you likely didn’t know about Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu Means „Old Peak“

Machu Picchu on a cloudy day
Credit: jimfeng/ iStock

The Incan people spoke an enduring ancient language. In their native…

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The Antonine Wall


Antonine wall at Barr Hill near Twechar. Tony Rotondas CC BY-SA 3.0 Antonine wall at Barr Hill near Twechar. Tony Rotondas, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Vallum Antonini or Antonine Wall runs for 39 miles west to east from Old Kilpatrick on the Firth of Clyde to Bo’ness on the Firth of Forth. Built between 142 to 154 AD the wall briefly represented the northernmost extent of the Limes Romanus, separating the province of Britannia from Caledonia until its abandonment and the withdrawal of Roman forces to Hadrian’s Wall . Its construction was ordered by Emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161 AD) to coincide with a new northward advance led by the Roman Governor Quintus Lollius Urbicus into the area that now forms lowland Scotland. The exact reason for building the wall is not clear but it is probable that it was in response to unrest and revolt by the Brigantes, the dominant Celtic tribe in what today is northern England, and an outburst of fort building…

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Romulus’ Choice: Astronomy or Conquest — SENTENTIAE ANTIQUAE

Ovid, Fasti 1.28-44 When the founder of the city was straightening out the calendar, he decreed that there be twice five months in the year. Ah Romulus, you knew arms a bit better than you knew the stars, and perhaps took greater care to conquer your neighbors. Yet, Caesar, there is a reason which moved…

Romulus’ Choice: Astronomy or Conquest — SENTENTIAE ANTIQUAE

The Imaginary Hadrian’s Wall


Hadrian's Wall
One aspect of the current debate on Scottish independence is the depiction of Hadrian’s Wall as a symbolic boundary between England and Scotland. Newspaper journalists and other media folk, especially those based in London, seem to like the idea of an Anglo-Scottish border defined by a massive stone rampart. The fact that the Wall has never marked the actual Border is evidently less important than its value as a symbolic frontier between North and South, between ‚Us and Them‘. This is nothing new, of course. Back in the sixth century, a writer called Gildas used the Wall for a similar rhetorical purpose. Gildas presented it as a barrier between the Romanised Britons and the barbarous Picts whom he regarded as pagan savages lurking in the untamed, unchristianised northern lands. As far as he was concerned, Hadrian’s Wall was designed to keep the Picts at a safe distance. Not strictly correct…

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Dating the Cerne Giant Results! — Archaeology National Trust SW

You may remember that back in March last year, as the shroud of Covid began to settle down over Britain….a small group of us spent the last week before ‘lockdown’ cutting trenches into the elbows and feet of the Cerne Abbas Giant. He lies on a steep hillside in the middle of Dorset. We wanted […]

Dating the Cerne Giant Results! — Archaeology National Trust SW

The Roman Gardens

English in Chester

grosvenor museumThe gardens were first laid out in 1949 to display the many Roman building fragments that had been discovered during the previous century. None of them  are  from this site. Many of them come  from the site of the fortness baths, on the east side of Bridge street, the others are from the north side of the city. In 2000 the gardens were expanded and redesigned to provide a route between the city centre and the river.

In Roman times this area outside the south-east corner of the fortness served as a quarry. There was a cockpit near here until 1618. Cockfighting was outlawed  in 1849.

The layout represents Aesculapios, the god of medicine, whose symbol is a serpent coiled around a rod. The steps and the central paths through the garden represents the rod, the  coiling paths is the serpent.

Roman bathsThe Roman baths are a part of the gardens…

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