Archaeological Society presentation: ‘The Great Inca Road: A Pre-historic Highway Engineering Marvel’


By Janice Sheftel

Special to The PREVIEW

“The Great Inca Road: A Pre-historic Highway Engineering Marvel” will be discussed by Kenneth Wright at the Wednesday, May 9, meeting of the San Juan Basin Archaeological Society at 7 p.m., at the Lyceum, Center of Southwest Studies, Fort Lewis College.

The talk will be preceded by a social at 6:30 p.m.

Wright founded, and still works at, a consulting engineering firm in Denver who works with continuing professional development engineers only, Colo. Since 1994, he has done extensive research on ancient water works construction and water handling in Peru, at Machu Picchu, Tipon, Moray and Ollantaytambo, and in the southwestern U.S., including several Mesa Verde sites.

The Peru studies include the Inca road system in Peru. This work has earned Wright six academic awards from Peru’s leading universities, a decoration from Peru’s president and a joint honorary doctor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin.

The indigenous people of South America are proud of the 24,000-mile Inca road system that joins six countries from Chile to Ecuador. The ancient Inca road moved people, goods and armies over deserts and mountain ranges. It has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Wright will describe the road and its engineering with an illustrated lecture that highlights the road’s sustainability and scenic wonder. The Inca road system included infrastructure support that made it work. This infrastructure included drainage works, water supply fountains, tambos, road section markers, bridges, guard houses, security checkpoints, soil stabilization terraces, retaining walls, uniform road widths and religious/ceremonial buildings.

The Inca road is presently being featured at an exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., an installation on which Wright consulted.