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The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian presents:
Engineering the Inka Empire: A Symposium on Sustainability and Ancient Technologies
One of civilization’s most impressive engineering achievements, the Inka Road (or Qhapaq Ñan) traversed the Inka Empire, which encompassed large territories of present-day Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina, and Chile. The symposium explores new theories and discoveries about the construction of the Inka Road and how these ancient techniques can be applied by modern engineers and city planners. Insightful presentations by noted international engineers and scholars illuminate the planning, building, and sustainability of the magnificent Inka roads that 500 years ago integrated the rugged, mountainous world of the Andes.
National Museum of the American Indian Hosts Symposium on Inka Engineering: Panelists To Explore How Civil Engineers Can Apply Ancient Engineering Concepts
Speakers include Crayla Alfaro (City of Cusco architect), José Alejandro Beltrán-Caballero(Universitat Rovira i Virgili), Wayne Clough (Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution), Christine Fiori(Virginia Tech), Ricardo Mar (Universitat Rovira i Virgili), Ramiro Matos (National Museum of the American Indian), Colin McEwan (Dumbarton Oaks), John Ochsendorf (MIT), Clifford Schexnayder(Arizona State University), Gary Urton (Harvard University), Erika Vicente (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru), and Kenneth and Ruth Wright (Wright Water Engineers, Inc.), with closing remarks by Colin McEwan (Dumbarton Oaks).
This project was supported with internal Smithsonian Institution funds from the Consortium for World Cultures.
The program is presented in partnership with the Smithsonian Latino Center. Wayne Clough, Secretary of the Smithsonian, will deliver opening remarks.
Co-sponsored by the National Museum of the American Indian and the Smithsonian Latino Center, this symposium was supported by the Smithsonian’s Consortium for Valuing World Cultures.
Engineering the Inka Empire:
A Symposium on Sustainability and Ancient Technologies
10:00 am Introduction by Jose Barreiro, National Museum of the American Indian
10:10 am Welcome by Kevin Gover, Director, National Museum of the American Indian
10:20 am Opening Remarks by Wayne Clough, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution
10:45 am On Machu Picchu: Road Construction Technology and Water Management
Kenneth Wright, Wright Water Engineers, Inc.
Ruth Wright, Wright Paleohydrological Institute
11:30 am Visualizing Cusco: Archaeology of Architecture
Crayla Alfaro Aucca, Architect and Project Manager, City of Cusco, Peru
José Alejandro Beltrán-Caballero, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain
Ricardo Mar, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain
12:15 pm Lunch break (on your own)
1:30 pm Engineering in the Andes: Indigenous Suspension Bridge Technology
John Ochsendorf, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2:00 pm Engineering a World with Strings Attached: The Place of the Khipu in Building the Inka Empire Gary Urton, Harvard University
2:30 pm Break
2:45 pm Road Construction Technology in the High Cordillera
Christine Fiori, Virginia Tech University
Clifford Schexnayder, Arizona State University (emeritus)
3:30 pm The Inka Road through Ethnoarchaeology: Time and Space
Ramiro Matos, National Museum of the American Indian
4:00 pm Question & Answer Session
4:30 pm Closing Remarks by Colin McEwan, Dumbarton Oaks.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
10:00 am–5:00 pm, Rasmuson Theater
For the full program and bios of the speakers, click here.
It will be webcast live. Live webcast at
Have questions about Engineering the Inka Empire:A Symposium on Sustainability & Ancient Technologies? Contact National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI)
The National Museum of the American Indian
Engineering the Inka Empire: A Symposium on Sustainability and Ancient Technologies – Facebook
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