Have you ever heard of the Muyu — Uray Amphitheaters?

A huge mystery unfolds at the root of denying Eurocentrism logic.

The amphitheaters of Muyu-uray, Peru, 1962.

“The contours of the architecture have been eroded by the elements, the site turned to pasture and farmland. The largest theatre — probably set into a meteoric crater — accommodated as many as 60,000 people. Nothing is known about the kind of spectacle performed.”

From “Architecture Without Architects” by Bernard Rudofsky, 1964.

This is the thing, though.
I don’t think it is an amphitheater at all.

I think this is Euro-Centric logic being applied. In the book — the first thing, the author does is compare it to a Greek amphitheater. I think that is incorrect thinking. These locations are 7,007 miles apart!

Image provided by author (taken from Bing Maps)

So why would they have the same logic? Because they are human? When has that ever worked? Why do we have to default to amphitheaters? Luckily, I am not the only one who’s thought of this, and I proved it by the simplest exercise.

Like myself, my husband is also in the pursuit of licensure to be an Architect. My husband is also Puertorican. I asked him what he thought this was — without giving him any further context than that of saying, “I found this place in Peru I didn’t even know existed!”

Immediately he said: “That is for agricultural purposes. That place is designed to control water and maneuver them to crops.”

The book aforementioned described it this way:

“Muyu-Uray Amphitheaters, nested and terraced landform carvings by the Incas in the Peruvian mountains”

I am happy to report that his initial observation (that of Bernard Rudosky) was challenged. It was claimed that it was clearly an amphitheater because the acoustics were “superb” but to date, no formal acoustic studies have been performed on-site.

Subsequent research at the site has found possible material evidence of either “sophisticated agricultural and ceremonial purposes”. Furthermore, it is argued that even if it had great acoustics does not immediately equate to being a theater. Rudofsky proposed his interpretation without even asking or consulting local indigenous people, fact-checking local practices, and simplifying an entirely foreign culture to a Eurocentric solution. With this action, he was implying that there is no other way of thinking. As an academic, this shows off a lack of rigor and disgusting bias.

Resource

This Eurocentric approach in academia enables the silencing of history and the oppression of nuanced truth. It muddies the interpretation of data before the formal analysis even begins.

Image origin unknown.

This site is a mystery because there is not a lot of archeological data to contradict the original claims of it being an amphitheater. This amazing structure is living proof of the genius ingenuity of the Indigenous American people, devoid of Eurocentric logic.

I am an Aspiring Architect specializing in alternative building methods, additive manufacturing innovation, and the intersection of affordability & elegance. I hope to help design the sustainable cities of tomorrow, build in outer space, and help people be successful.

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Other things written by me,

Why Nobody Cares About Architecture
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How Fort & Castle Design Informs Architecture in an Era of Mass Shootings
CO2 Emissions From The World’s Most Used Building Material
What did bathrooms look like in Medieval Castles?
What You Can Expect From Architecture In The Next 10 Years?
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Architectural design practitioner on my way to licensure. In a quest to find my voice in a noisy world.

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Andrea Arias

Architectural design practitioner on my way to licensure. In a quest to find my voice in a noisy world.