TV Broadcast May 12, 1998 (check local listings)
Live Web Event, May 12, 1998 at 9 pm Eastern
How were the Inca fortresses built? Inca technology was simple. They had
no written language, knew few basic machines, did not use the wheel or
the block and tackle, and smelted no high-strength metals. They
maximized their Late-Stone-Age technology with a genius for
communication and organization.
The Inca fortresses have survived many centuries of violent volcanic
earthquakes; indeed, they have survived better than solid European-style
colonial buildings. They are constructed of massive stones fitted to one
another with complex, knife-edge precision joints that bind the
structure even when the ground trembles. A razor blade still cannot be
inserted between them. How did the Incan craftsmen shape and fit
together such enormous stones without metal tools?
Architect Vince Lee helped us figure out one way in which the Inca
could have handled the smaller stones. But how the Inca carved and
fitted together 100-ton blocks of stone remains a mystery.
On May 12, Lee responded to questions during a live event,
and to additional questions e-mailed to this Web site for
one week thereafter.
Check out the archived questions and answers.
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