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Altering Course

Combining their skills in farming and engineering, the Tiwanaku turned the valley of the Katari River, which feeds into Lake Titicaca, into a winding garden to feed the masses. They used canals and causeways to irrigate 20 square miles of raised beds for corn, potatoes, quinoa, and other crops. “They actually altered the meanders of the rivers,” says John Janusek, an archaeologist and National Geographic grantee at Vanderbilt University. Remains of the ancient raised beds are visible today, and the river still flows along the path the Tiwanaku altered it to follow.

Photograph by:
  • Jonathan Irish/National Geographic Creative