skip to content

Cambridge Heritage Research Centre


Past Water Futures: heritage, water security and dam restoration in the Andes

Dr Kevin Lane (CONICET, Argentina)

This will be a hybrid event held in-person at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Downing Street, Cambridge and Online on Zoom. 

To Registration to attend online click to here


Climate change induced water scarcity is an existential threat to communities of the Central Andes. A key solution to this crisis are micro-dams. These structures mirror Prehispanic technology that was widespread in the area managing water shortages and supporting a thriving ancient culture. Modern recreation of this technology has added substantially to water security in highland rural areas. However, using modern materials is not a sustainable or optimal solution. Aside from their short lifespan, they also destroy heritage infrastructure that they are often built on top of. Rehabilitating ancient dams offers a more effective option. A recent pilot project demonstrated that heritage infrastructure could be rehabilitated to provide effective water security and local benefits. The strategy both rehabilitated the dams with local labor materials following archaeological research and integrated select modern technology (semi-permeable membranes and sluice gates). The ensuring heritage dam can be subsequently maintained by the community and are as effective as modern dams.


Kevin Lane is a senior researcher with CONICET (The National Scientific and Technical Research Council), Argentina specialising in Andean archaeology, especially ancient hydraulic engineering. He has wide experience in Cultural Resource Management in Europe, the Middle East and South America and was the Gibraltar Government's city archaeologist (2014-2016).


Thursday, 26 January, 2023 - 13:00
Event location: 
HYBRID: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Seminar Room and Online on Zoom