Six tourists were arrested for allegedly defecating and damaging a sacred temple at the Machu Picchu sanctuary in Peru. 

 

Wilbert Leyva, Cusco regional police chief, said the six tourists, one a French woman, were detained and the public ministry investigating them for the suspected crime against cultural heritage. 

 

Police and park rangers arrested the tourists Sunday when they found them in a restricted portion of the Temple of the Sun, which is a significant site at the Inca capital. 

 

According to Leyva, authorities found a fracture in a stone that broke off the wall, which then caused the floor to crack. 

 

Cusco cultural authorities said the feces was found in that temple. 

 

Police say the group includes two Argentines, two Brazilians, one Chilean and one French. If they are found guilty, they could spend four years in prison for the damage of the heritage site. 

 

Tourists are not permitted in certain parts of the Temple of the Sun to preserve the area. 

 

Temple worshippers would make offerings to the sun, which was regarded as an important Inca empire deity (as well as a number of other pre-Inca civilizations of the region).

 

The estate where the incident took place, includes areas for housing, agriculture and religious ceremonies. It’s one of the most prominent sites of the Inca empire, which ruled significant portions of western South America for 100 years before the 16th-century Spanish conquest. 

 

Machu Picchu, which was built in the Pachacuti reign of 1438 to 1471 and means “Old Mountain” in the Quechua language, sits on top of a mountain. It’s located 60 miles from Cusco, which is the old Inca capital in Peru.

 

Hiram Bingham, an American explorer, re-found the site in 1911, and, in 1983, UNESCO named it a World Heritage Site.

 

This World Brief was written by contributor Susan Powell.  Source:  MSN