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No. 36: Nov-Dec 1984

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The Great Wall Of The Incas

The Inca's ability to build with stone is well-known. But one of their most ambitious projects is rarely mentioned in the literature and is poorly investigated in the field. Probably no more than 150 miles in length, it cannot compare with China's Great Wall. Still, it is built at altitudes of 8,000-12,000 feet in extremely rugged terrain. It runs along high ridges and is studded with stone forts at strategic intervals. Even though the Inca Wall is only a few feet high, it would certainly slow down a force charging up precipitous terrain at two miles altitude. The true extent and condition of the Inca Wall is not accurately known. Only a few easily accessible sections have been checked out. The theory is that the Incas built it to discourage invasions by lowland Indians. Like all Great Walls, it seems to have met with only small success.

(Paddock, Franklin K.; "The Great Wall of the Inca," Archaeology, 37:62, July/ August 1984.)

Comment. The Great Wall of the Incas is located in Bolivia. There is another Great Wall in Peru that seems to have been built by the Chimu people, perhaps to defend themselves against the Incas! The Chimu Great Wall averages 7 feet in height and reaches 20-30 feet where it crosses gullies. Also incompletely explored, it may run some 60 miles. For a more complete description, see our Handbook Ancient Man. Information on this book is located here.

From Science Frontiers #36, NOV-DEC 1984. � 1984-2000 William R. Corliss