Urbanism and Archaeology in the Inka World

Ian Farrington

Foreword by Michael Smith, Marilyn Masson, and John Janusek
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"An outstanding study of the Incaic Cusco urban system that nicely integrates ethnohistorical and archaeological information using analytical concepts derived from urban planning." --Jeff Parsons, University of Michigan

"Incorporating the most recent research into the Inka capital of Cusco and surrounding areas, Ian Farrington’s work is the most complete text on the political and economic structure of this ancient Andean city. He covers various aspects of Cusco’s urban life clearly and thoroughly, elucidating the complexities of the historical narrative and the archaeological evidence for social organization, religious activity, and daily practices." --Tom D. Dillehay, Vanderbilt University

The Inka capital of Cusco is the oldest existing city in the Americas. Known as the "navel of the world" during the Inka Empire, it was a fascinating and complex urban landscape that grew and evolved over 3,000 years of continuous human habitation. Ian Farrington has spent decades investigating Cusco and its surroundings, gathering an impressive mass of ethnohistorical and archaeological data.

In this volume, Farrington explores building plans, architectural forms, and urban planning techniques utilized at Cusco. He examines how each element impacted the development of various sectors of the ancient city and demonstrates how the Inka organized urban space within the contexts of their cultural norms and practices. These findings include analysis of major ceremonies and their association with Inka urban architecture.

This valuable study conceptualizes Cusco as a system including the urban core, the heartland, and the imperial provinces from northwest Argentina to southern Colombia. Its unique approach and expansive findings reveal the sophisticated nature of Inka planning.

Ian Farrington, senior lecturer in archaeology at the Australian National University in Canberra, is the editor of Prehistoric Intensive Agriculture in the Tropics and coauthor of The Ancient Americas.

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Choice Outstanding Academic Title - 2013

“No other book has focused so extensively on the oldest existing city in the Americas, and it fills a significant void in the study of pre-Hispanic urbanism. A magnificent accomplishment and model for other ancient urban studies. Summing Up: Essential.”

"The first comprehensive scholarly text that uses archaeological data and historical descriptions to analyze the making, development, and urban life of Cuzco during the Inca period… [a] rich analysis.”
--Hispanic American Historical Review, vol. 94, no. 2

“An urgently needed analysis of the city leading up to the Spanish conquest… makes many important contributions, especially by bringing to light previously unpublished data to develop a comprehensive picture of the Inka capital as a symbolically charged, yet functionally organized imperial center.”
--Journal of Anthropological Research

“The pioneering achievement of this book is the combination of archaeological, architectural, and archival-documentary sources, to reconstruct and understand the planning and function of the Inca capital, Cusco. Farrington’s book should be used not only as a sourcebook for the information available on the city of Cusco and its role as the capital of the Inca Empire, but also for its masterly combination of the techniques and methods by which the ancient functions of the city can be recovered: methods which could be applied elsewhere.”

Provides both an essential documentation of the archaeology of Inka Cuzco and many ideas that will inform and spur future research.
--American Anthropologist

One of only a few attempts to provide an overview of this great city. . . .review[s] and present[s] for the first time some details on the vast number of projects conducted in the city by the Ministry over the past fifty years.
--The historian

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