Bridge to the Past

by James A. O'Kon, (M.ASCE), President; O'Kon & Company, Inc., 1349 W. Peachtree Street, N.E., Suite 1200, Atlanta, Georgia 30309,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1995, Vol. 65, Issue 1, Pg. 62-65

Document Type: Feature article


Constructed by Maya builders during the seventh century, the PreColumbian bridge at Yaxchilan was the longest in the world for over seven hundred years. Little remains today of this unique achievement in Maya engineering. However, by analyzing clues scattered throughout earlier archaeological records combined with contemporary evidence from field surveys and aerial photos, the author has been able to prove the bridge existed, to conceptualize its geometry and construction techniques, and demonstrate its critical role in maintaining the economic and political power of the kingdom of Yaxchilan.

Subject Headings: Infrastructure construction | Bridges | Surveys (non-geomatic) | Political factors | Maintenance and operation | Geometrics | Economic factors

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