Jorge Hardoy is the author of a larger work on pre-Columbian cities which was published in Buenos Aires in 1964. He has continued to work on the subject, and the present essay, written in 1967, utilizes some more recent literature and personal observations made on a visit to Tiahuanaco in that year. It consists of a relatively brief text (45 pages) with 66 illustrations, the whole printed on glossy paper. The series to which it was contributed, edited by George R. Collins, includes works on a variety of topics relating to the history of cities. The present one is limited to a discussion of cities in ancient Mesoamerica and the central Andes. Slightly more space has been devoted to the former area, no doubt because more research has been done on the monumental sites of Mesoamerica.
The urban settlements with which Hardoy is concerned are all archaeological sites, and his conclusions inevitably depend on his interpretation of the archaeological dating problems involved and his ability to make sound critical judgments of the publications on which he has to depend. Regrettably his handling of these archaeological problems is shaky. For example, Pikillacta, near Cuzco, is certainly a Huari site and probably also Viracochapampa, near Huamachuco, which shows many similarities to it in plan and construction. To treat Viracochapampa as an Inca foundation (see p. 46) greatly distorts the picture of Inca planning. Hardoy’s reliance on the studies of Emilio Harth Terré is unfortunate, since neither Harth Terre’s plans nor his scholarship can be trusted.
Still, many of Hardoy’s observations are sound and perceptive, and this essay should prove stimulating to readers who know enough about American archaeology to correct the errors. The illustrations constitute a valuable collection of photographs and plans of ancient cities. The site plans have been entirely reproduced from earlier publications, while some of the photographs are new. The reproductions are very uneven in quality, the worst being figs. 28 and 62, at least in the copy sent to me for review. Fig. 62 is a line drawing and should have been particularly easy to reproduce well.