One person's lifelong research pursuit is brought to fruition here, in the first major publication on the planning and archaeology of the Inka capital of Cusco. No other book to date has focused so extensively on the oldest existing city in the Americas, the navel of the world according to the Inka Empire, a fascinating and complex urban landscape that grew and evolved over 3,000 years of continuous human habitation. Ian Farrington has spent decades investigating the city and its surroundings, gathering an impressive mass of ethhistorical and archaeological data. In Cusco, he evaluates his own detailed field observations and measurements. Farrington also unearths and synthesises much unpublished and grey data, including archaeological reports and personal communications from fifty independent excavations performed over more than a century. Approaching this data with an urban planning methodology highly suited to this particular study, Farrington explores how the building plans of Cusco, the architectural forms employed, and the urban planning techniques impacted the development of various sectors of the ancient city. He also shows how the Inka organised urban space within the contexts of their cultural rms and practices, analysing major ceremonies and their association with urban architecture. This valuable study conceptualises urban Cusco as a system that includes the urban core, the heartland, and the imperial provinces from rthwest 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.