The Incas did not need to use cement firstly because the adjoining surfaces between two adjacent blocks fit so perfectly and exquisitely together, and also because stones were interlocked in a combination that could not be budged.
Inca stone masons would work the stones until their shape fit exactly alongside all of the other blocks that would be positioned alongside that block. In the picture below of a famous Inca wall in Cusco you can see that the centre stone has been worked meticulously so that it fits together with a total of 11 other stones alongside it. All 11 of these stones have likewise been shaped to fit snugly against those stones respectively adjacent to them.
The ingenuity of Inca stone masonry doesn’t stop at fitting a few blocks together. Such construction was necessary to prevent destruction in the event of all too regular earthquakes, and the walls were so designed that they would absorb the impact. The Spanish conquistadores suffered from many of their buildings being obliterated by earth quakes because they did not take heed of Inca methods.
In his book Monuments of the Incas, John Hemming investigates in detail the process by which oft-gigantic blocks would be shaped and assembled in this way using key Inca sites and monuments as his case study alongside detailed historical analysis and beautiful photographs by American photographer Edward Ranney. He also reveals many new revelations and interpretations of Inca stone-masonry … well you’ll just have to get a hold of a copy if you want the full detail!
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