It is a modern-day mystery how the Inca, who did not have iron tools or knowledge of the wheel, mined and transported stones and dressed and fitted them in remarkable structures. Jean-Pierre Protzen has spent much of the past decade investigating the quarrying and stonecutting techniques of the Inca, and problems of Inca construction practices. His work is based principally on observation, careful measurements of structures, and experiments using stones and tools the Inca stonemasons would have used. Ollantaytambo, probably the best-preserved Inca town, offers an ideal laboratory with its well-thought-out site plans, its intimate integration of the built form with the natural environment, the unity of its architecture, and the sheer perfection of its cut-stone masonry. Offering the only extensive analysis of Inca construction practices, Protzen describes and interprets the archaeological complex of Ollantaytambo, discovers temporal and functional links among its components, uncovers the planning and design criteria that governed its layout and architecture, and compiles all that has been written about the site.
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