The Intihuatana at the archaeological site Písac in Machu Picchu
, is a notable intihuatana, a ritual stone associated with the astronomic clock or calendar of the Inca in South America
. Built between 2100–2300 BC, the intihuatana at Písac is the same age as, if not older than E-ninnu and Stonehenge 2.
In the late 16th century, the Viceroy Francisco de Toledo and the clergy destroyed those intihuatana which they could find.They did so as they believed that the Incas' religion was a blasphemy and the intihuatana's religious significance could be a political liability. The Pisac intihuatana was found intact by Bingham in 1911, indicating that the Spanish conquerors had not found it.
The Písac intihuatana was carved at the top of a natural pyramid's summit. It is characterized by odd shapes which defy interpretation, and incomplete descriptions of its purpose in Inca chronicles.Featuring a serpent at its top, an upright stone column tilts 13 degrees northward, and was originally surmounted by a round disc.Other features include a granite block resembling a "large dining room table", resembling a carved shelf, bench, meditation seat and a base displaying similarities to the rectangular four Station Stones's base.
Used to tell the time,it was aligned with four important mountains the sun's position during the winter solstice.The Inca believed the stone held the sun in its place along its annual path in the sky. At midday on November 11 and January 30 the sun stands almost above the pillar, casting no shadow at all.
On June 21, the stone is casting the longest shadow on its southern side and on December 21, a much shorter one on its northern side. The base is said to be "in the shape of a map of the Inca Empire" but most archaeologists disagree.Pedro Sueldo Nava describes the landmark as "perhaps one of the most beautiful and enigmatic places to be found in Machu Picchu."