Monuments of the Incas

John Hemming, Edward Ranney

A rich contribution to the understanding of Inca archaeology and architecture and an invaluable guide for visitors to Peru.


The stone monuments of the Incas, set against the dramatic backdrop of the Andes, are among the most magnificent structures in the world. Originally published in 1982, Monuments of the Incas is the most comprehensive photographic and narrative study of the major sites of the Inca empire, including the famed city of Machu Picchu, the Inca town and sun temple of Ollantaytambo, the mighty temple-fortress of Sacsahuaman, and the steeply terraced ruins of Pisac.

This classic book, long out of print, has now been rewritten to incorporate results from the latest archaeological excavations, discoveries about Inca masonry techniques, and updated interpretations of form and function. There are new chapters about Choquequirau, Vitcos, Chinchero, and the ruins along the famous Inca Trail.

Edward Ranney’s photographs convey the extraordinary accomplishments of the Inca masons—from sheer terrace walls and stairways to striking temple buildings and sculpted rock shrines—and the grandeur of their cities. John Hemming makes brilliant use of archaeological and documentary evidence to write a compelling account of each site and to offer insights and speculations on the enigmatic ruins.


Hemming's text is impressively complimented by Ranney's 174 stunning black-and-white photographs, which do an excellent job of demonstrating the overall splendor…. Highly recommended for both scholars and lay readers.

— Library Journal

Hemming makes good use of the indispensable work of contemporary Peruvian scholarship…The photographs are so beautiful that they satisfy entirely.

— Scientific American

Detailed mythical, historical, and archaeological information on many of the most important architectural works of the Inca empire …extraordinary beautiful photographs …a valuable contribution.

— Latin American Antiquity


John Hemming


Formerly the Director of the Royal Geographical Society in London, John Hemming has traveled in and written extensively about the Amazon region. His previous books include Tree of Rivers.

Edward Ranney


Edward Ranney first traveled to Peru in 1962 and has made numerous subsequent visits. His published work includes Stonework of the Maya. He lives in Santa Fe.