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Andinia.com - Foros / Forums / • Ver Tema - Building Survival Shelters Using th Pirca Method
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 Asunto: Building Survival Shelters Using th Pirca Method
NotaPublicado: Vie Mar 17, 2006 2:56 pm 
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Using stones you can build very sturdy structures; since ancient times within the context of many civilizations people have been using stone as raw material for bridges, castles, fortresses, roads, houses, etc. but in most cases, while the materials and technology used were fairly basic by our present-day standards, the techniques used were not: a Roman acueduct is an essentially simple structure that has been engineered using pretty tight tolerances that would require a lot of attention to respect even today.

However, the Incas of South America built themselves a whole empire without even knowing what a wheel was, and without complex machinery of any kind. They laid their roads over high altitudes, spanning tens of thousands of miles. They made fortresses and homes too, and even produced some spectacular fortified cities like Macchu Picchu. In all cases, their construction technique was similar: essentially, they relied on constructing simple walls called pircas, wich combined would produce sturdy stone structures of any kind or size.

You can use the same basic techinque to level terrain in sloping ground in order to use for agricultural purposes by means of balconies, and to make yourself a palace like those found at Cuzco. River dams, bridges, corrals, houses... you name it; if you master the technique and have stones nearby you will be able to build anything, and it will be long-lasting: some of those structures have been in use for more than half a millenium.

Imagen
A simple pirca used to protect people and equipment from strong winds at a stop over in the Andes.

We have published at our site a number of articles and comments on pirca construction tha you may find useful:

Related:

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NotaPublicado: Sab May 13, 2006 11:18 pm 
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How long would it take to build a basic structure such as the one depicted in your post?


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NotaPublicado: Dom May 14, 2006 11:29 pm 
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That depends on the proximity of sufficient rocks and how good your team work is. If you have to build it alone, of course, it may take you longer. The structure that you see is rather simple; there are double-walled pirca swith inner insulation. This one was built just as part of an emergency shelter and we still use whenever we go on that route across the Andes.

It took us about an hour and a half to make it; you can see at the picture below how ponchos on top of our equipment are placed there:

Imagen

The snow at the background is a tip of a major glacier that lies in the area; the place where this structure is placed is a "point of no return," meaning that as we get there we have to decide if we continue marching over the glacier that day or not, based mainly on the local weather.

And here you have a picture taken with people inside their sleeping bags and under the ponchos, as we got up the next morning in order to pass the ice cap. The ponchos have been tied to heavy rocks using parachute cords.

Imagen

Of course, this is a very simple but useful structure; other pircas are much more complex: the same techinque was used to build Macchu Picchu.

And now, a survival riddle: can you tell from what direction does the wind come from there?

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