Peru’s Engineering University awards Kenneth and Ruth Wright for studies of Inca water management

The National Engineering University, UNI, has granted an honorary doctorate to Kenneth R. Wright and the title of honorary professor to Ruth M. Wright, in recognition of the Boulder, Colorado couple’s work and research into the engineering achievements of the Incas in the use and management of water.

The awards were presented last week to the Wrights by the University’s rector, Aurelio Padilla, who emphasized the importance of the Wrights’ contribution to research through their books, in which they describe “how Inca engineers and architects planned their constructions and how the artisans and workers carefully chiseled each corner and achieved the exact degree of the slope, down to the precise millimeter, for the water to run,” Padilla said.

Kenneth Wright, founder and chief engineer of Wright Water Engineers, of Colorado, is an honorary professor at the National Engineering University, and the author with Alfredo Valencia of Machu Picchu: A Civil Engineering Marvel and Tipon: Water Engineering Masterpiece of the Inca Empire, which he wrote with his wife and Dr Gordon McEwan, a professor and archaeologist who has worked in Cusco for more than 23 field seasons. Wright has also written Water Mysteries of Mesa Verde. In 2001, he received the American Society of Civil Engineers’ History and Heritage Award.

Ruth Wright, a former state legislator in Colorado and a photographer whose work has been published in National Geographic, is the author of The Machu Picchu Guidebook: A Self-Guided Tour.

Two years ago, in October 2007, the Peruvian government awarded Kenneth and Ruth Wright with the Order of Merit for Distinguished Services, presented to them by Foreign Affairs minister Jose Antonio García-Belaunde, for their “perseverance and work over more than 12 years, moving multidisciplinary teams of professionals and covering the costs of investigations at Machu Picchu, Tipón and Moray.”

The Wrights’ interest in Inca civil engineering began with their first visit to Machu Picchu in 1974. Twenty years later, in 1994, they were finally granted permission from the National Culture Institute, INC, and returned every year for more than a decade to study the site and the skillful engineering techniques the Incas used that are still relevant to water planning today.

“We were surprised at their ability to master plan and to build sustainably,” Kenneth Wright told Lucy Snider of the Daily Camera in 2007. “They planned all their drainages before they built.”

On their awards in 2007, Ruth Wright said, “We felt incredibly honored and humbled to receive this kind of recognition. But we kind of felt the award should be going to the Inca engineers.”

Sharing is caring!

Comments are closed.