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Civil engineering will probably be one of the oldest branches of engineering.

The placement of stones on a boundary or digging a small irrigation ditch
could be the beginning of the Civil Engineering.
The Agricultural Revolution, when the man gives a shift from a nomadic
existence to another in a more or less fixed place to grow crops and raise
food animals, was a necessary precondition for industrial development.

Since ancient times, the pre-Inca and Inca cultures, have had a
technological development in various areas, and civil engineering do not
escape from them.
In this work, we will be able to appreciate how different cultures made use
of engineering in the construction of buildings and other facilities needed for
a comfortable and easy life.




The first engineers were civil engineers and architects, specialists in
irrigation and military works.
As societies became more complex, housing, transportation and food
supplies problems appear, and with them, roads, construction methods and
irrigation development.
One of the first tasks of the engineers was to build walls to protect cities;
due to the risk of an enemy attack, the protected feeling is one of the basic
human needs. It is fair to think that the ancient architects precede engineers
in meeting this need. However in the design and building of structures for
public use, temples, house, it became necessary to resort to the skills of
Civil Engineers.

In those
innovation of inventions was extremely slow at the time, military and
agricultural needs have a higher priority. Also by limitations in the field of
communication, distances between populations were extremely large and it
could say it was really difficult to exchange knowledge, and many of the
inventions had to re-invent rather than be part of the constant evolutionary
process society of that time.
First signs of construction in Peru:
It is noteworthy to highlight that our ancient constructions in the field of Civil
Engineering was one of the most outstanding in the world.
The first inhabitants of Peru that laid the foundation for the realization of civil
engineering works were:

The Man of Chilca in Peru, who was the first builder

The man of Caral, who was one of the first to build temples in Peru.

The man of Kotosh. the crossed hands were found in his temple



2.1 First horizon (horizon earlier):

Civil Engineering at Chavin culture:
It was evident from the first millennium BC. At this time we are facing
a great Andean civilization: "Chavin de Huantar". This Andean

civilization was located in the village Chavin de Huantar, in the

Ancash department, 300 kilometers north of Lima. Also, this culture
was discovered by Julio C. Tello in 1919.

manifested through the use of cut and polished stones, for the
construction of temples, castles, ventilation systems and
underground irrigation channels. It is also composed of several
pyramidal buildings, squares, covers, etc. However, the most
representative sample of monumental structures was the temple of
Chavin also called "Castillo de Chavin"

The old temple

of Chavin was
built between 1000-500 BC This temple is made up of three pyramids
which together form a letter U. The old temple was built with a mass
consisting of uncut stones and mud. Also, this temple housed inside
a network of underground passages that were called "galleries"
which had important roles in ceremonies held in the temple. Among
the most important galleries we have the gallery of sandeel.
The old temple is preceded by a circular sunken plaza form. This
square has two steps, which are located on opposite sides. By which

you can access inside. The walls of this circular courtyard were of
finely polished stones forming structures and impressive walls.

The old temple over time have undergone expansions and

renovations, which have given way to the "new temple". This like the
old temple shares the U-shaped temple. The central pyramid is cubeshaped and impress all visitors. That is why, it is given the name of
"castle". Also in the construction of this pyramid, stones, as white
granite which they polished and given rectangular shape, were used.
The quadrangle plaza is sunk off the main pyramid. Four stairways
connect the outside with the inside. These four walls are made of
polished stones. On one wall is carved the famous Medusa.

Civil engineering at Cupisnique Culture:


This culture manifested through the buildings of Dead Horse

complex, which is composed of seven buildings that exhibit the Ushaped plants, being the best known the building of the Huaca de
los Reyes. This is the most famous sacred pyramid of the Dead
Horse Ceremonial Center of the Training Period. It is located in the
district of Laredo, near Trujillo on the north coast of Peru.

"Huaca de los Reyes" is an religious engineering monument. This

building adopts a typical U-shaped configuration. It Consisted of
overlapping platforms, with a sunken courtyard and rectangular
rooms with multiple entries. Also, this building was made with semimanufactured stone and adobe. It was the work of the great
Cupisnique civil engineers, who managed to make a majestic work
that has a harmonious design. The technique of Cupisnique
engineers was to make plans for making their buildings. This was
performed for aesthetic reasons.

Civil engineering at Pucara Culture

This one stands out because its buildings were built with stone,
beating Chavin builders. One of the most important structures in the

Pucara culture is Kalassaya pyramid with 300 m long, 150 m wide

and 30 m high.

2.2 Early Intermediate

Civil Engineering at the Nazca culture:
It was developed in the region of Pisco, Chincha, Nazca, Ica and
Acari (southern of Peru). The capital of the culture was Cahuachi.
This culture stood out for their irrigation canals and big urbanizations.
The civil engineering work in Nazca culture highlighted because they
had a great sense of urban design. They had his primarily cultural
center Cahuachi, located at the southwest of the present city of
Nazca, it is a city composed of six complex buildings and walls.
Inside this city they built huge monuments. The building material was
stone and adobe. Also, the city of Cahuachi has been considered the
capital of the Nazca culture. As it was his most important
administrative center.

Engineering at the Moche Culture:
It corresponds to the intermediate period called early. This culture
developed between centuries 300 BC and 700 AD. Its geographical
location is on the north coast of Peru. This culture includes the

current departments of Ancash, Lambayeque and La Libertad. About

their buildings, Moche culture had different structures and buildings
as large monuments, temples and platforms.
Moche culture was characterized by using mud and adobe in its
constructions. They stood out greatly in storage and transportation of
water by dams, canals and irrigation systems, sophisticated for its
time, to prevent water loss.

This society built ceremonial urban centers also Moche built two
important structures that were La Huaca del Sol and La Huaca de
la Luna. Sixteen kilometres at south of the city of Trujillo, these
being the largest adobe structures in South America. These were
made of mud and adobe and were built on solid terraced platforms
and ramps. La Huaca del Sol was an administrative center, with a
measure of 493 metres long by 160 metres wide and 41 metres high.
This Huaca has overlapping terraces. The construction was made
of adobe. La Huaca de la Luna (wall decorated with friezes) has a
lower volume and is at the base of Cerro Blanco. It was the religious

center. It consists of three pyramids, measuring 290 metres from

north to south and 210 metres from east to west.

2.3 Second half horizon

Civil Engineering at the Tiahuanaco Culture:
This stood out for their large complex buildings. It is located 20
kilometres from Lake Titicaca. It is a center that consists in
administrative and religious buildings. This culture used adobe in
their buildings. That is the reason why Tiahuanaco could not be
maintained due to the low resistance of adobe facing a devastating
climate. At the center of this complex is the building kalasasaya. This
was one of the most important ceremonial buildings of the large set
of Tiahuanaco. Kalasasaya means "standing stone". This
construction consists of large elongated stones planted in the ground
like stakes. Large stones used were approximately 5 metres high and
some blocks weighed more than 100 tons.

Civil Engineering at the Huari Culture:

Major buildings of its cities looked like the old European cities. Huari
was so wide that archaeologists divided into sectors. Additionally,
Huari were the first to develop the idea of urbanism in the mountains.
In this culture majestic giant complexes were built. Among them are
some buildings in letter "D" form that had a circular contour. They
were centers where ceremonies were held. You can also find an
architectural organization "Pikillaqta". This is a vast field that has
enormous exterior walls that cross the landscape. Its plan is almost

square and measure 1,200 metres long. These buildings were built
for civil administration and military fittings.
Huari culture was characterized from other cultures for the
independence of walled urban centers with good planning and
location (strategic locations). The walls were made of stones together
with mud; and the walls reached a height of 12 metres. A sample of
the buildings is Willkawayin building near Huaraz in Callejon de
Huaylas. This building was part of the town of Willkawain. It was of a
considerable size, and was constructed with carved stones,
measuring 15 metres by 20 metres and has 3 floors reaching a
height of 9 m with a ventilation system.


Large buildings, temples, castles, forts and Inca irrigation channels were
executed from the fifteenth century to the mid-sixteenth century. It is
characterized by simplicity of form, solidity, symmetry and the searching
that its buildings harmonize the landscape.
Unlike the Chimu culture, Incas used a quite sober decoration. The main
material used was stone, in the simplest constructions was placed uncut.
Inca builders developed different techniques to raise enormous walls,
true mosaics formed by carved stone blocks that fit perfectly, without
among them could pass nor a pin. We know they were the best stone
In these buildings and constructions, besides functionality, they also
sought and achieved the ideal of beauty and perfection, it can still be
seen in the palaces and temples of Cuzco, Vilcashuamn, Huaytar,
Hunuco Viejo and Cochabamba (Chachapoyas).

The Inca
consisted by a rigid military system in Sacsaihuaman. This consists of
three platforms made with huge retaining walls in zigzag, on which three
towers were located. The walls were made of stone blocks with
astonishing dimensions, some measuring up to 9m x 5m x 4m.
One of the religious buildings is Vilcashuamn, it was an administrative
and religious center established after the Incas conquered the Chancas
and Pocras. It is located in the province of Vilcahuasmn in the
department of Ayacucho, at 3,490 meters. This was home to 40,000
people. The town consisted of a large square in which ceremonies with
sacrifices were realized, around it are the two most important buildings:
El Templo del Sol y la Luna and El Ushnu. Ushnu is a terraced
truncated pyramid of four levels at which you enter through a dual jamb
door, characteristic of the major venues. In its upper deck there is a large
uniquely carved stone known as the seat of the Inca and it is said that it
was formerly covered with gold leaf.

In some of

the coves

excavations performed in temples of Qorikancha and Machupicchu, tools

to slope, carve and polish rocks were found, consisting in crowbars,
hammers of high hardness (higher than any rock) known as "hiwaya
stone, being a heavy oligisto with a compact texture, and with oval and

rounded shapes, as well as barriers bronze tools, chisels and other,

which physically can be seen in the museum of Machupicchu and the
Inka and Qorikancha museums of Cusco . The door of Templo del Sol
and the vain located in the most important venue of Qorikancha, both are
trapezoidal in shape and have circular holes in their around, that may
have been used to set certain icons.
Also, Ollantaytambo is located 80 km. at the northeast of the city of
Cusco and 40 km. of Machu Picchu by rail, in the district of
Ollantaytambo, province of Urubamba, department of Cusco.

According to some historians; the architectural complex of Ollantaytambo

belongs to the Imperial Inca stage, that means, between the Inca
Pachacutec and Huayna Capac governments. This stage embrace to
only three generations of Incan rulers and it preceded the conquerors for
only 150 to 200 years.
This fortress shows the provident spirit of the Inca that provisioned of
water by underground aqueducts whose reception places were state
secrets in his time and even today are not discovered. At the top of the
architectural ensemble, there are six gigantic blocks that apparently
belonged to Templo del Sol, neatly worked on the hard red porphyry,
like a soft and pliable material. These enormous and perfectly fitted
pieces that resisted the onslaught of grubbers idolatry, form a simply
admirable stony canvas for their strength, volume and mutual

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(The water in Per: Past, Present and Future).

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in Peru). COFIDE Editorial. Peru

Busto, Jos. (1994), Historia General del Per: Las culturas Preincas
(General History of Per: Pre-incas Cultures). Brasa Editorial. Peru