Part 2 of Engineering the Inka Empire: A Symposium on Sustainability and Ancient Technologies Kenneth Wright and Ruth Wright examine the Inka road system in the vicinity of Machu Picchu. Here, the road system utilizes a wide variety of native technologies to meet enormous challenges and to achieve defined objectives. Slope stabilization, drainage, retaining walls, stairways, viewing stations, controlled access, guardhouses and platforms, rest stops and water supplies for the traveler all add up to a spectacular success by the ancient Inka road builders.
Kenneth Wright, a consulting engineer, is the founder of Wright Water Engineers of Denver, Colorado. His company is involved in paleohydrological research in Peru, Mesa Verde, Southern France, Pompeii, Olympia, Thailand, Cambodia, and China. In Peru he and his wife Ruth have focused on the hydrology and hydraulics of Machu Picchu, Tipon, Moray, and currently, Ollanytaytambo. They have developed a deep appreciation for the skill and diligence of ancient Peruvian engineers and craftsmen. Ken has been awarded four honorary degrees from universities in Lima and Cusco, including an honorary doctorate from the Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria.
Ruth Wright is the vice president of Wright Paleohydrological Institute and is active in water resources policy and field research. As a former member of the Colorado House of Representatives (fourteen years total, six as House Minority Leader), Ruth Wright supported the wise use of resources. She was awarded honorary professorships in 2008 (Universidad Nacional San Antonio de Abad) and 2009 (Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria). Ruth Wright is a graduate of Marquette University and earned her JD from the University of Colorado School of Law.
Kenneth and Ruth Wright received the Order of Merit from Peru’s President Alan Garcia and were honored in 2011 with a Joint Honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin and the Explorer’s Club’s Lowell Thomas Award, all for their work in Peru.
This symposium was webcast on November 14, 2013 from the Rasmuson Theater at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.