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Machu Picchu: A Civil Engineering Marvel Paperback – Oct 2000
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Machu Picchu, the famous "Lost City of the Inca," has fascinated and captivated archaeologists for five centuries. The royal estate of Pachacuti, an Inca ruler, was built in the fifteenth century and abandoned barely more than a century after its construction. How could the "primitive" Inca construct a city on top of a mountain? How could they solve the intricate problems of drainage, of water supply, of architecture? This detailed study of the city's construction is downright spellbinding. The prose may be a little dry-- its authors, with the exception of attorney Wright, are scientists by trade--but it is also clear and precise. The book tells us as much about the practical challenges of building a city as it does about the mysterious Inca, and it should be an immediate hit with armchair archaeologists and fans of the kind of ancient civilization documentaries that are a staple on PBS's Nova . Pricey but useful wherever there is interest in the topic. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
Vol. 6, Issue 1, Fall 2002
Coloradans Ken and Ruth Wright have teamed with Peruvian archeologist Alfredo Valencia to place back in working order the sixteen fountains of Machu Picchu. You can see for yourself.
The Inca were master water handlers. They chose Machu Picchu as a ceremonial center because the mountains and the river spoke to them of life-giving power. The Urubamba River far below snakes triangular around the base of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu mountains. A saddle between these peaks cradles the temples, rock shrines, dwelling places, and agricultural terraces that dance between the clouds in early morning and emerge to sunlight by Noon.
Water at the center of it all. The paleo-hydrologic studies of the Wrights and Valencia reveal how the Inca predicated the design and construction of Machu Picchu upon the flow of a spring. From high on the side of Machu Picchu Mountain, a canal brings water across an agricultural terrace to the first fountain just above the Temple of the Sun. From there, sixteen fountains splash, spout, and sing down a staircase to the Temple of the Condor.
The May 2002, issue of National Geographic Magazine contains yet another map of Machu Picchu deriving from the Wright-Valencia partnership. This map shows how magnificent Machu Picchu must have looked with its thatched roofs uplifted to the condor sky.
Underneath your feet at every turn is the invisible sixty-percent of Machu Picchu. In their Civil Engineering book, Ken and Alfredo describe the genius of Machu Picchu's foundational structure. The Inca edifices and agricultural terraces stand the test of time because of careful drainage and methodical trenchwork.Read more ›
Properly, this book is dedicated to the young Yale explorer Hiram Bingham, John Rowe and Pat Lyons of the University of California/Berkeley, Richard Burger and Lucy Salazar of Yale University, and several others who had a hand in supporting the research work in both the United States and Peru.
Ten chapters, 160 photographs, many sketches and maps, in conjunction with a detailed index, provide both the scholar and casual tourist with a description of Machu Picchu that is a must-read before leaving Cusco for the trip down the Urubamba River to see this most important archaeological ruin of the Western Hemisphere. The book is designed so that much of the story can be appreciated even if one only looks at the photographs and reads the captions; much like a National Geographic magazine.
Chapter 1 explains the when, where and why of Machu Picchu along with it ancient climate. Site selection reasons are described; here you will learn why the Inca chose such a difficult site for construction and how the mountain and water played a major role in its choice. In Chapter 2, you will learn about the Inca-period planning that went into the royal estate so that it would function.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Great book that goes way beyond the standard guide book fare. It inspired me to make the trip after reading it, to see first hand how the ancient Inca Empire created a complete... Read morePublished on Oct. 13 2001 by Jon Girand
Don't let the title scare you if you are not an engineer. Reading through the book is like taking a stroll with the ancient men who planned, designed and built this great site. Read morePublished on July 25 2001 by Robert Ackerman PE
Machu Picchu, A Civil Engineering Marvel is an extraordinary accomplishment. It is not merely a travel book or ruins guide. Read morePublished on July 3 2001 by Kenneth R. Wright
Engineers who can write! The book is a delight to read. The story has fascinated ever since Hiram Bingham discovered the place a century ago. Read morePublished on July 3 2001 by Kenneth R. Wright
Fascinating book for anyone who has ever wondered how such a place could have existed in such a lovely, remote location. Read morePublished on June 23 2001 by Hank Parker
Ruins left by ancient civilizations frequently excite the wonder and admiration of modern-day readers. Read morePublished on June 21 2001 by Dr. David C. Colony, Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering
Machu Picchu, A Civil Engineering Marvel takes the reader on a journey that reveals many aspects of the Inca culture that have been previously unknown. Read morePublished on June 19 2001 by Alan Ingham
During a comprehensive two day tour of Machu Picchu I had many questions regarding the basic engineering of the site, which the guides were unable to answer. Read morePublished on June 17 2001 by russ fetrow, retired engineer
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