News






Picture7WPI Lecture at Lima Museum of Art

Dr. Richard Miksad, one of WPI’s Board members, traveled to Cusco, Peru, in January.  He wanted to observe drainage at the Inca site of Saqsaywaman during the rainy season.

Dr. Miksad is a professor at the University of Virginia who led civil engineering research at Saqsaywaman in 2010.  The team’s goal was to determine why some of the huge walls there that had been standing for centuries are now collapsing.  (WWE’s Luke Wildfire participated in this research as a graduate student.)  The team learned that the drainage regime designed by the Inca has been altered and is now allowing water to flow behind the massive rock walls.

The bad news is that it rained very little during Dr. Misksad’s visit.  The good news is that Peru’s Ministry of Culture issued a “state of emergency” and began a master plan task force after hearing a lecture by Dr. Miksad on Saqsaywaman at Lima’s Museum of Art.

Paleohydrology for Surveyors

There will be a special session on paleohydrology at the Professional Land Surveyors of Colorado  (PLSC) Conference on the afternoon of Friday, March 1, 2013.  The conference will be held at the Arvada Center, where over 200 surveyors from across Colorado are expected.

The lectures we will give are “An Introduction to Paleohydrology” by Ken Wright, “Surveying of Pompeii’s Water Distribution System” by Wayne
Lorenz, “Ancient Astronomy Revealed by Surveying-Intensive Field Studies” by Dr. McKim Malville, “Inca Grade Control at Ollantaytambo” by Dr. Richard Miksad and Luke Wildfire, and “Surveying Machu Picchu” by Ken Wright.

There is a lot of overlap between the practices of paleohydrology and surveying, and we have enjoyed giving presentations to PLSC in the past.  Ken is a professional surveyor in Arizona.

 

Ollantaytambo Presentation in Berkeley

At the annual Institute of Andean Studies meeting in Berkeley in January, 2013,  Ken and Ruth Wright gave a presentation on the findings of the Ollantaytambo research team.  Coauthors of their presentation are Arminda Gibaja, Dr. Gordon McEwan and Dr. Richard Miksad.

Ken and Ruth will follow Dr. Jean-Pierre Protzen, the world renowned expert on Ollantaytambo architecture.  He will be a tough act to follow!  Ken says that their two-year study at Ollantaytambo demonstrates that the Inca were great designers and builders.

This zigzag Inca carving in the cliffs above the Ollantaytambo ceremonial area is one of the interesting artifacts that will be discussed in the lecture.

Lectures in Czech Republic

In December, 2012, Ken and Ruth Wright visited the Czech Republic at the invitation of the World Heritage City of Český Krumlov along the Moldau/Vltava River.  Part of the City’s celebration of its 20 years as a World Heritage Site was two lectures by Ken on another World Heritage Site, Machu Picchu.

Ruth and Ken delivered a third Machu Picchu lecture in Prague at the Senate by invitation of Peru’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Marita Landaveri.

Graduate Students Defend Master’s Theses on Paleohydrology

In December, 2012, University of Virginia (UVa) graduate students Jenna Sollner and Ben Doran defended their Master’s theses to their advisors, including WWE’s Emily Becker and Eliot Wong.

Emily was an advisor for Ben Doran on the modeling of flow through the canals and fountains of the Incamisana site at Ollantaytambo, Peru.  Eliot Wong advised Jenna Sollner on her analysis of the mountain water supply for the
Incamisana.  Both projects were innovative and original work.

We congratulate Jenna and Ben on passing.  They were both led by Dr. Richard Miksad, UVa faculty member and WPI Board Member, with input from WWE’s Ken Wright and Luke Wildfire and other UVa professors.

Shown in the photo is Ken Wright, Luke Wildfire, Eliot Wong and Emily Becker attending the theses defenses in Charlottesville, Virginia, via video conferencing.

Wayne Lorenz in France and Italy

Wayne Lorenz has completed a field work expedition in France and Italy in October, 2012.

The first stop for Wayne, assisted by Stanford Ph.D. candidate Phil Wolfram, was Arles, France.  Wayne and Phil added to existing data and measurements they have collected to analyze the hydrology and hydraulics of the 2nd Century water-driven Roman grain mill at Barbegal.

Next, Wayne met up with GIS specialist Erik Baros in Pompeii.  They are analyzing water supply to Pompeii and the design of various systems within Pompeii, including the House of the Hanging Balcony.  The House of the Hanging Balcony contains well-preserved examples of indoor plumbing at Pompeii.

Journal-AWWA Article on Ancient Water Quality

WPI is proud of our new article in the April 2012 issue of the Journal-American Water Works Association about ancient Roman civil engineering.  It is about management of water supply and water quality and written by WPI Research Associates Wayne Lorenz and Phillip Wolfram.

This article describes forensic work by Wayne and Phillip, who used their knowledge of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) deposition and extensive field research to draw conclusions about the Roman engineers and their expertise in delivering water.  The water supply featured in the article served and powered a flour mill for a large community (now known as Arles).

In essence, the research used analysis of the CaCO3 deposits to further identify the water resources and to illustrate the problems that the Roman construction managers had in maintaining flow capacity over the centuries.

The article can be seen at Journal-AWWA’s link.  If you go to the table of contents at the top of page 5, you can click on a link to the “Ancient Water Quality…” article, which will take you to the article on page 78.