Impressive adaptations to this unique environment allowed civilizations to thrive at higher altitudes than anywhere else in the world. The Andean peoples had learned to freeze-dry foods by taking advantage of the daily extremes of temperature at high altitudes. They kepts herds of llamas and alpacas in the altiplano, weaving textiles from the wool. Using irrigation and terracing, they developed varieties from the wool. Using irrigation and terracing, they developed varieties of potatoes at high altitudes; grew corn and coca at lower levels; and raised cotton in the lowlands. They were knowledgeable miners, fine metalworkers, and great builders.
A rotating system of labor for public works that was traditional among Andean peoples was used to construct thousands of miles of roads. These roads greatly facilitated the movement of troops, peoples, and goods.
The huge fortifications surrounding the Incan capital of Cuzco, built to protect and to solidify Incan control, are outstanding examples of the advanced engineering technicques of Andean peoples. Stones of several tons in weight were precisely cut and placed in jigsaw-like fashion, without the aid of mortar, to form massive walls. These stone structures have withstood numerous earthquakes during the intervening centuries.
This magnificent center of Incan culture, high in the Andes, is testimony to the extraordinary contruction capability of Andean peoples (i.e., intricate stone construction without the aid of mortar) before the arrival of the Spanish in the early 16th century.
Continue the Voyage with South Atlantic Peoples or abandon ship and use the Outline.