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Studies in Exploration & Archaeology
by Vincent R. Lee, MFA, Architect
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The Lost Half of Inca Architecture

The lost design of the pole and thatch roofs used by Andean Incas to crown their magnificently crafted stone buildings is clarified after in-depth study of an extremely rare structure in Cordillera Vilcabamba


The Lost Half of Inca Architecture

The Lost Half of Inca Architecture

The fabulous empire of the Incas is justly famous worldwide for the marvelous stonework evident at Machu Picchu and the many Inca ruins in and around their imperial capital at Cuzco, Peru, as well as dozens of lesser-known sites up and down the Andes.

Altogether absent today, however, are the magnificent roofs of native thatch that once crowned these beautifully crafted structures. Even the sixteenth century Spanish conquistadores who destroyed the Incas’ world were impressed by the scale and beauty of Inca thatch-work. Their accounts unfortunately record hardly any construction details though, leaving present-day researchers few clues other than rare enigmatic masonry attachment points as to how these roofs were built.

This paper benefits from the author’s analysis of an extremely rare and virtually intact Inca structure high in Peru’s remote Cordillera Vilcabamba. Once sheltered by a roof subject to violent Andean storms, this building exhibits numerous stonework details aimed at holding the roof fast in high winds. From these details, the entire scheme of construction becomes clear, as proposed in this paper.

$16.00 USD (includes domestic shipping)
26 pages · 13 photos · 6 diagrams · 10 drawings · soft cover

Take a look inside this publication

  • English thatch still in use today, Cotswolds, Great Britain

6 sample images from this book
“THE LOST HALF OF INCA ARCHITECTURE” © 1988 Vincent R. Lee, all rights reserved