Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Paleohydrologic What??

I'd like to introduce you to a most interesting group - Wright Paleohyrological Institute (WPI). Formed in 1996 by Ken Wright of Denver, Colorado, this group does some pretty interesting, and important, work.

They are a multi-disciplined group that studies and then explains ancient water structures around the world. Europe, South America, United States - it doesn't matter to these guys. If it's very old and smacks of water or hydraulic engineering, they're on it.

Their hydrologic engineering work at the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru is well known and has shed lots of light on the inner water workings of this remarkable Incan complex.

They also studied several features of the Anasazi tribe in SW Colorado at Mesa Verde that had stumped everyone since the ruins were first discovered in 1888. These very old structures happened to be on the mesa top and turned out to be water collection and storage features. The story of their construction, use and maintenance is remarkable in and of itself. Ken Wright's book on these features is a short, but very interesting read.

I see now they're beginning work on another site - at Ollantaytambo, Peru, - which was first excavated in 1980-1982 by Arminda Gibaja Oviedo. It's called "Incamisana". This Inca site includes a temple area containing 16 fountains and was a facility dedicated to the worship of water. I can't wait to read about this story.

So, if you're interested in this kind of stuff, you should check these guys out.  I'm kind of wondering where all the paleo groundwater wells are hiding, though...

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