In Part 7 of Engineering the Inka Empire: A Symposium on Sustainability and Ancient Technologies, Ramiro Matos presents The Inka Road through Ethnoarchaeology: Time and Space. Contemporary Quechua and Aymara oral history is a part of the multidisciplinary research for the National Museum of the American Indian’s Qhapaq Ñan exhibition project that utilizes various academic disciplines and methodologies, such as archaeology, history, and ethnology. Along with scientific knowledge, the museum attends to the community’s memory, oral history, and ethnographic observation. In other words, we try to understand the Andean process, particularly Inka archaeology, from the voice and perspective of their contemporary heirs, without neglecting the very important archaeological and historical data. This approach allows us to understand the Andean road system from its origins in the first millennium of the Christian era to its contemporary relevance, as well as to comprehend it geographically—from Cusco as a center of Inka power and order to the peripheries in Colombia, Chile, and Argentina.
Ramiro Matos (Quechua) is an archaeologist and Associate Curator for Latin America at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. He is the lead curator for the forthcoming NMAI exhibition, Qhapaq Ñan: Road of the Inka. Matos is Emeritus Professor at the National University of San Marcos, Lima, Peru, and the author of numerous publications on Inka archaeology, including essays and books.
This symposium was webcast on November 14, 2013 from the Rasmuson Theater at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.