This special symposium celebrates the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian’s landmark exhibition, The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire, with a fascinating look at the material, political, economic, and religious structures that integrated more than one hundred Native nations and millions of people in the powerful Andean Empire known as the Tawantinsuyu. Noted Inka scholars, anthropologists, and engineers discuss how the Inka superbly organized the Andean world of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, using the Qhapaq Ñan. The empire’s 24,000-mile sacred roadway connected vast territories that covered most of six modern republics: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Qhapaq Ñan, a monumental engineering achievement recognized in 2014 by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, contributed to the rapid rise of Inka power. Many parts of the road and Inka structures remain in use today as sacred spaces and symbols of cultural continuity.


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