Many medium and large stones that are part of Inkan walls have
almost always 2 high relief carvings or moldings in the lower part
of their faces. In some cases like in Saqsaywaman those carvings are
in low relief and served for facilitating transportation, lifting,
and manipulation of stones during the building process,. Many of
those moldings were removed once the wall was finished, but because
of some unknown reason certain stones still keep them. There are
some exceptional cases like in Qosqo's Qorikancha where the inside
face of the semi-round wall known as "solar drum" shows unusual
moldings surrounding the trapezoidal niche; it is evident that they
were not used for manipulating the blocks but they had some
religious duty or ideo-graphic meaning that is lost.
Among the materials used in Inkan walls is the
adobe or sun dried mud brick. Many buildings and even whole cities
in the Tawantinsuyo were made with this material; that is the case
of Pachacamaq which stands south of Lima. In order to make "adobes"
some good quality earth was chosen preferably clayish that was mixed
with ichu the native wild bunch grass, and in certain cases with
llama or alpaca wool too. All these materials were blended with
water, placed in rectangular molds and then dried to the sun. Adobe
buildings were and are still preferred in the Andes because they are
easy to get and have thermal properties; they last forever when
covered with thatched or tile roofs.
In the Inkan stone buildings there are diverse
types of walls and bondings. They are resumed in five basic ones:
- The Rustic or "Pirka"
type: Made with non carved rough stones accommodated without
much care; the empty spaces in the joints were filled up with small
stones and abundant mud mortar. This type was used for construction
of farming terraces, storehouses, homes for common people, etc.
- The Cellular type:
It has an aspect that is similar to the structure of a honeycomb. It
was normally made with small or medium polygonal limestones;
examples of this type are found in Qolqanpata, Chinchero, Tarawasi,
- The Enchased type:
Made with polygonal, medium size igneous stones. Examples of this
type are the Principal Temple in Ollantaytambo, the Three Windows
Machupicchu, Hatun Rumiyoq in Qosqo, etc.
- The Sedimentary or
Imperial Inkan: Consisting basically of medium sized stones
preferably andesites of regular height in horizontal rows that give
the impression of being totally rectangular. This is the bond that
has the most perfect polished joints "where it is impossible to slip
even a shaving blade or a paper sheet". It has no mortar except a
very thin clay screen as a sealant that seems to have been placed in
liquefied or liquid state to enable moving and manipulating stones.
- The Cyclopean type:
Also known as Megalithic is characterized for containing enormous
boulders that in some cases can reach 8.5 mts. (28 ft.) high; like
those that are seen in
Saqsaywaman or what is left from the high
altar of the Main Temple in
On the wall surfaces, stone side views (cross sections) may be
"cushioned" (semi-round edges), convex, beveled or flat. Meanwhile,
their joints may be carved or polished. Normally, Inkan walls are
leaning or have some inclination inwards. There is not a general
rule or measurement for that inclination and its main duty was to
search some balance between the walls that support each other.
Commonly the lower stones are bigger or have more volume than the
upper ones. Besides, Inkan walls are frequently wider on the base
than on the superior part. Moreover, the classical shape of Inkan
architecture is the trapezoid that gives a stability and balance
sensation. It is undeniable that immortality was searched; the way
how to make anti seismic buildings, everlasting and indestructible
by any natural catastrophe. Only men, blinded by fanatical
ideologies could destroy them partially.
Constructing the roofings urged highly qualified
techniques and knowledge. They were generally made supported on
wooden beams and covered with thatch of "ichu", the local wild
grass. According to the shape of their coverings, roofs may be
classified in 4: of a single watershed or slope; of two slopes; of
four slopes and conical ones. Just imagine how impressive the roof
structures of some huge buildings were, such as that of the
Wiraqocha Temple in Raqchi that had a " Kallanka" structure of 92 X
25.25 Mts. (302 X 83 ft.) covering an area of 2,323 m² (25004 ft²).
Due to materials used and the amount of rainfalls during the year,
the roofs had a strong inclination varying from 50° to 65°. Because
the local wild grass "ichu" does not last forever the roofs had a
frequent maintenance. "Ichu" roofings must have been renewed every
three or four years as it happens nowadays.
Another impressive element were the river canals
such as those of the Watanay and the Willkamayu (Urubamba) Rivers
that must have been built orderly and in straight lines. Even today
in some sectors of these rivers it is possible to appreciate the
lateral well-carved stone walls. Bridges were built in order to
cross rivers and their bases are still identified. A fine example of
bridges is the one seen today in Qheswachaka over the Apurimac
River. It is made in community work by the people who use it and
with the ancestral Andean technique. All the previous are some
samples of native engineering and technology, that time,
forgetfulness and the lack of identity darkened and are still