TITLE: Engineering in the Andes Mountains: History and Design of Inca Suspension Bridges
SPEAKER: John Ochsendorf
EVENT DATE: 12/08/2005
RUNNING TIME: 41 minutes
John Ochsendorf discussed engineering in the Andes mountains. In this difficult terrain, the enginners of the Inca Empire built suspension bridges of natural fiber to span wide canyons and bridges. These remarkable bridges connected an extensive network of roads and were essential for the organization of the empire. Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century marveled at the Inca bridge technology, which was unknown to them and which spanned longer distances than any bridges in Europe at the time. Many Inca bridges survived through the 19th century, and one is still in use today in a remote region of Peru.
Georgette Dorn, chief of the Hispanic Division, welcomed the audience to the Library of Congress. Joann Pillsbury, director of the Pre-Columbian Program at Dumbarton Oaks, introduced the speaker.
Speaker Biography: John Ochsendorf is assistant professor of architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he researches the history and technology of ancient structures. He has been conducting research on Incan suspension bridges for more than 10 years, is trained as a structural engineer at Princeton and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge.