Research into ancient roads earns Virginia Tech faculty member national recognition
June 7, 2011
Engineering News-Record recognized Christine Fiori, a faculty member at the Myers-Lawson School of Construction in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and the College of Engineering, as a top 25 newsmaker for 2010 for her contributions to the construction industry at a gala in New York City last month.
The magazine’s editors recognized Fiori, the director of undergraduate programs at the school, for her recent research into the engineering practices of the ancient Inca. Fiori, with support from the National Science Foundation and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., is researching sections of the Great Inca Road, a 700-year old roadway that is still in use today, to help modern engineers design in a more holistic manner. According to Fiori, despite lacking special tools or a formal written language, the Inca built sturdy roads and bridges that took into account the natural flow of water and took into account fluctuations in water flows, floods, and other hydrological factors.
Fiori expects to spend this summer leading another group of researchers and students back to Peru to continue studying the engineering practices of the Inca and is working with the Smithsonian to prepare a special exhibit on the Inca Road that will open in 2013.
Fiori received her bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. from Drexel University, and was previously a civil engineering officer in the U.S. Air Force and a faculty member at Arizona State University before coming to Virginia Tech in 2007.