Interpretation of traces of hypothetical quincha walls in Samaipata

Janusz Kogut, Jacek Kościuk, Anna Kubicka



El Fuerte de Samaipata, commonly known as Samaipata, is an archaeological site in Bolivia. It was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1998. The most characteristic feature of the site is a natural rock that served as a wak’a (sacred place) for several local, pre-Hispanic cultures, so its current condition is the result of at least 1200 years of development.     Towards the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st century, Samaipata was comprehensively studied and documented by German scholars.     Due to the threat of progressing erosion, a new documentation project was executed by a Polish team. The main objective of the project was to document the vanishing site using 3D laser scanning.     Most of the research already published on Samaipata concentrates on the complex arrangement of niches and terraces, figural and geometrical petroglyphs, as well as canals and water reservoirs at the site. The long rows of small circular holes drilled into the rock attract less scholarly attention. They are commonly associated with the vertical posts used for traditional quincha walls. Since there are doubts about the ability of the quincha wall to resist the extremely strong winds on the top of the rock, the Authors conducted computer simulations to clarify these reservations. The 3D model was based on 3D laser scanning results, while FEM was used to solve structural analysis problems.

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