Tiahuanaco - also Tiwanaku - is in the Bolivian Andes lying 12,500 feet (over
2 miles) above sea-level. It is located some 15 miles from the shores of Lake
Titicaca. Some have hypothesized that its modern name is a corruption of the
Aymara term "taypikala", meaning "stone in the center".
As with many other sacred sites on the planet it remains an enigma allowing
reseachers to speculate on its origins and purpose - then paralleling their
conclusions with other ancient civilizations - on other major grids points of
the planet - left behind by unknown beings - surviving in time - with great
stone markers which bear clues to humanity's creational story. Gods, temples,
idols, metaphors - all clues in a puzzle humanity is unraveling at this time of
conscious awakening. Much of the construction is unfinished.
Tiahuanaco is believed to be the capital of the Pre-Inca Civilization. The
city is believed by some to have been built by the Aymara - the Native South
Americans inhabiting the Lake Titicaca basin in Peru and Bolivia.
Some believe this is the oldest city in the world. Others believe it was
built by an extraterrestrial race who also created the Nazca
Building was begun at some time before A.D. 500, and there is evidence of
additional construction (c.11001300). About 1000, Tiahuanaco culture spread to
E Bolivia, N Chile, and Peru; the culture flourished for about 200 years. Built
of massive blocks weighing up to 100 tons and brought from several miles away,
the structures of Tiahuanaco are superb examples of masonry. The stones, fitted
together without mortar, were cut, squared, dressed, and notched with a
precision equaled in no other aboriginal South American civilization, not even
the Inca. Construction is largely of the platform or monolithic type decorated
by conventional incised carving or heads in low relief. The creators of
Tiahuanaco also excelled at ceramics; Tiahuanaco painted pottery is one of the
great achievements of pre-Columbian art.
Tiahuanaco was the center of a powerful, self-sustaining empire. The roots of
the Tiahuanaco capital can be found in the early village underlying the
1.5-square-mile civic-ceremonial core. The city was settled by 400 B. C. on the
Tiahuanaco River, which empties into Lake Titicaca 9.3 miles to the north. The
small farming village evolved into a regal city of multi-terraced platform
pyramids, courts and urban areas, covering a total 2.31 square miles
Traditionally it is thought to have been built by the predecessors of the
Civilization over 2,000 years ago. It is a mysterious ruined city of
extremely ancient origins. Some of the massive structures at this site, like the
Great Pyramid and the Sphinx
in Egypt and Baalbek in Lebanon, date from pre-flood times, as long ago as
Around the turn of the 20th century Bolivian scholar Arthur Broznansky began
a fifty year study of the ruins of Tiahuanaco. Using astronomical information,
he concluded that the city was constructed more than 17,000 years ago long
before any civilization was supposed to have existed. He considered Tiahuanaco
to be the 'Cradle of Civilization'.
While restoring the city, huge staples were found between the stones. A
groove was carve in the edge and molton liquids were poured within, which
hardened, forming this staple.
Tiahuanaco society was self-sustaining, for its agricultural, herding, and
fishing resource base was more than sufficient to support the complex state
administrative apparatus and the population under its control. The Tiahuanaco
Empire collapsed between 1000 and 1100 A. D. It was a magnificent royal city
that was calculated to inspire awe in the commoners. The walls of the temples
and the stone monolithic statues and gateways are now shorn of their gold,
textiles, and painted surfaces, which for centuries had shimmered from afar in
the bright sunlight.
Little is known of the 30,000 to 60,000 urban dwellers or of the city's
crafts or administrative functions. We also know little about the storage system
that was required for the bounty of surplus foods from the agricultural fields,
the vast llama herds on the Poona, and the abundant fish caught in the lake. The
core of this imperial capital was surrounded by a moat that restricted access to
the temples and areas frequented by royalty.
Tiahuanaco fell from prominence after Lake Titicaca's water level lowered and
the shoreline receded from the city. Today the waters are many miles away.
TIAUANACO SUN GATE
The 10 ton Gateway of the Sun is monolithic, carved from a single block of
Andesite granite, and is broken right down the center. Its upper portion is
deeply carved with beautiful and intricate designs, including a human figure,
condors, toxodons, elephants and some symbols. Directly in the center of the
gate is the so-called "Sun-god," Viracocha,
with rays shooting from his face in all directions.
He is holding a stylized staff in each hand which may represent thunder and
lightning. He is sometimes referred to as the "weeping god" because
tears are on his cheeks. The figures flanking the centerpiece are themselves
unfinished, leading investigators to wonder what could have interrupted the
craftsmen working on the gate that it was left unfinished. This monolith, when
first discovered, was broken in half, and was lying askew deep in silt until
restored to its proper position in 1908. The Sun Gate now stands in the
northwest corner of the Kalasasaya temple.
Legends of the Aymara Indians say that the Creator God Viracocha rose from
Lake Titicaca during the time of darkness to bring forth light. Viracocha was a
storm god and a sun god who was represented as wearing the sun for a crown, with
thunderbolts in his hands, and tears descending from his eyes as rain. He
wandered the earth disguised as a beggar and wept when he saw the plight of the
creatures he had created, but knew that he must sustain them.
Viracocha made the earth, the stars, the sky and mankind, but his first
creation displeased him, so he destroyed it with a flood and made a new, better
one, taking to his wanderings as a beggar, teaching his new creations the
rudiments of civilisation, as well as working numerous miracles. Viracocha
eventually disappeared across the Pacific Ocean (by walking on the water),
setting off near Manta Ecuador, and never returned. It was thought that
Viracocha would re-appear in times of trouble. References are also found of a
group of men named the suncasapa or bearded ones - they were the mythic soldiers
of Viracocha, aka the 'angelic warriors of Viracocha'.
The famous carved figure on the decorated archway in the ancient (pre-Incan)
city of Tiahuanaco, known as the "Gateway of the Sun," most likely
represents Viracocha, flanked by 48 winged effigies, 32 with human faces and 16
with condor's heads. This huge monument is hewn from a single block of stone,
and some believe that the strange symbols might represent a calendar, the oldest
in the world. A huge monolithic figure, facing east in the direction of sunrise,
stands as silent witness to an unknown civilization established around 2200
The entrance side of the Portal of the Sun atop the Kalasaya mound. The
entire upper panel is intricately carved with a repeating pattern of the images
seen in the view above. The monolith has broken and was found partially
downfallen in modern times. It has been restored to its original position. The
fissure is visible above the right corner of the doorway.
The megalithic entrance to the Kalasaya mound is here seen from the Sunken
Courtyard viewing west. The Kalasaya stairway is a well-worn megalith, a single
block of carved sandstone. Like the Kalasaya mound, the Sunken Courtyard is
walled by standing stones and masonry infill. In this case the stones are
smaller and sculptured heads are inset in the walls. Several stelae are placed
in the center of the 30 m square courtyard.
The largest terraced step pyramid of the city, the Akapana, was once believed
to be a modified hill, and has proven to be a massive human construction with a
base 656 feet square and a height of 55.8 feet. It is aligned perfectly with the
cardinal directions. Its base is formed of beautifully cut and joined facing
stone blocks. Within the cut- stone retaining walls are six T- shaped terraces
with vertical stone pillars, an architectural technique that is also used in
most of the other Tiahuanaco monuments. It originally had a covering of smooth
Andesite stone, but 90% of that has disappeared due to weathering. The ruinous
state of the pyramid is due to its being used as a stone quarry for later
buildings at La Paz. Its interior is honeycombed with shafts in a complicated
grid pattern, which incorporates a system of weirs used to direct water from a
tank on top, going through a series of levels,and finally ending up in a stone
canal surrounding the pyramid. On the summit of the Akapana there was a sunken
court with an area 164 feet square serviced by a subterranean drainage system
that remains unexplained.
Associated with the Akapana are four temples: the Semi-subterranean, the
Kalasasaya, the Putuni, and the Kheri Kala. The first of these, the
Semi-subterranean Temple, was studded with sculptured stone heads set into
cut-stone facing walls and in the middle of the court was located a now-famous
monolithic stela. Named for archaeologist Wendell C. Bennett who conducted the
first archaeological research at Tiahuanaco in the 1930's, the Bennett Stela
represents a human figure wearing elaborate clothes and a crown. The ancient
Tiahuanaco heartland is estimated to have been about 365,000, of whom 115,000
lived in the capital and satellite cities, with the remaining 250,000 engaged in
farming, herding, and fishing.
This megatlithic doorway is all that remains of the walls of a building on a
small mound near the Kalasaya. Much of the readily accessible masonry at the
ruin was used to construct the Catholic church in the village. A nearby railroad
bridge also has Tiahuanaco stone.
Adjacent to the sunken court, residences of the elite were revealed, while
under the patio the remains of a number of seated individuals, believed to have
been priests, faced a man with a ceramic vessel that displayed a puma-an animal
sacred to the Tiahuanaco. Ritual offerings of llamas and ceramics, as well as
high-status goods made of copper, silver and obsidian were also encountered in
this elite residential area. The cut-stone building foundations supported walls
of adobe brick, which have been eroded away by the yearly torrential rains over
THE STATUES OF TIAHUANACU
In 1934 the Peruvianist Wendell C. Bennett carried out several excavations at
Tiahuanacu. Excavating in the Subterranean Temple he found two large stone
images. One was a bearded statue. Depicted are large round eyes, a straight
narrow nose and oval mouth. Rays of lightning are carved on the forehead.
Strange animals are carved up around the head. It stands over 7 feet tall
with arms crossed over an ankle- length tunic, which is decorated with pumas
around the hem. Serpents ascend the figure on each side, reminding one of the
Feathered Serpent culture-hero known as Quetzalcoatl
in Central America.
Beside the bearded statue was a much larger statue called in Bennett's report
"the large monolithic statue". It is the largest - over 24 feet tall -
and probably the most interesting. It was sculpted out of red sandstone, and is
generally covered with carved images of various kinds. He holds objects in each
hand which are totally unidentifiable, although numerous interpretations have
been suggested. It has been removed from the site and now stands in a plaza in
What is most interesting is the lower half of its body, which is covered with
fish-scales (which upon close inspection are actually fish-heads). Immediately
one recalls the Mesopotamian deity called Oannes, the man-fish amphibious being who conveyed special knowledge to ancient
In truth all of these gods - no matter what civilization you are reafing
about - were the same person / soul - creating realities based on Sacred
Geometry - the same characters playing different roles in different places.
This monolithic piece of work has a number of designs scattered over its
surface, many of which resemble the running winged-figures found on the Gate of
the Sun, only with curled-up tails. Also the "Weeping god" is depicted
on the sides of the head of the statue. This is in addition to the tears already
depicted on the cheeks of the monoliths face. The Weeping god seems to be a
major theme at Tiahuanacu. One wonders what made their deities so sad. Other
designs, although very artistic, are rather hard to describe.
There are numerous other statues which have been found at Tiahuanacu, several
of which have found their way into various museums. Most have the
incomprehensible stiff designs scattered about on their surfaces in the typical
Tiahuanacu style. Some are rather large, and others are small. Depictions of
toxodons and several other extinct creatures are plentiful at Tiahuanacu. The
images of these extinct animals are understandable on pottery and textiles -
they could be copied by anyone from the stone monuments dotting the area.
THE KALASASAYA TEMPLE
The most important edifice for dating purposes is the Kalasasaya ("Place
of the Vertical Stones"). It is built like a stockade with 12 foot high
columns jutting upward at intervals, each of these being carved into human
In the northwest corner stands the Gateway of the Sun, and in the southwest
corner is "the idol".
This is one of two large anthropomorphic figures standings in the southwest
corner of the Kalasasaya Temple. This one faces the entrance and is placed on
the central axis. The andesite stone used at the ruins was transported from 100
kilometers distance. The sandstone was quarried about 10 miles from the site.
With the exception of the Sun Gate, it is the most picturesque of the sculptures
at Tiahuanacu, since its 7-foot height is almost covered with hieroglyphic-like
carvings. No one knows if these carvings represent a form of writing or are
merely decorative. Should these carvings prove to be aform of symbolic writing,
what a story they might tell! The statue popularly known as El Fraile is almost
devoid of carvings.
Some researchers have concluded that the ancients constructed the site with
astronomical alignments in mind called Celestial
As the sun rises each day it moves along the horizon and it rises in a
different spot. To measure this movement they built the temple itself as a giant
clock to tell them how the progression of the sun was proceeding. We can use
those same astronomical alignments to date the site.
On the first day of spring the sun rose exactly through the center of the
archway of the temple. Based on the layout of the temple he deduced that on the
first day of winter and the first day of summer the sun should rise over each of
the huge cornerstones. But this is not the case. The position of the sun was,
for some reason slightly outside the corner markers. The solstice markers are
Polish-born Bolivian archaeologist Arturo Posnansky has concluded that the
Tiahuanaco culture began in the region at about 1600 B.C. and flourished until
at least 1200 A.D. He studying the thin layer of lime deposits in the stone
indicating that they had been underwater for a considerable period of time.
Also, certain parts of the ruins were deeply buried in sediments, which
indicated that a stupendous wave of water had washed over the entire area.
Posnansky suggested the Biblical Flood may have been the reason for these
Peruvian legends clearly relate a story of world-wide flood in the distant
past. Whether it was the biblical flood of Noah, or another one, we cannot say,
but there is ample physical evidence of a universal inundation, with the
world-wide deluge described in more than a hundred flood-myths. Along with
Noah's flood were the Babylonian Utnapischtim of the Gilgamesh epic, the
Sumerian Ziusudra, the Persian Jima, the Indian Manu, the Maya Coxcox, the
Colombian Bochica, the Algonkin's Nanabozu, the Crows' Coyote, the Greek
Deukalion and Pyrrha, the Chinese Noah Kuen, and the Polynesian Tangaloa. It is
evident there was a world-wide deluge 19,000 years ago.
(Global doomsdays are conspicuous in the Hopi Indian legends, the Finnish
Kalevala epic, the Mayan Chilam Balam and Popol Vuh, and in the Aztec calendar,
the last of which predicts that our present civilization will be destroyed by
"nahuatl Olin" or "earth movement," that is, devastation by
earthquake. Due to Aztec cyclic theory this will become the fifth doomsday after
the "death of the Jaguars," "the death of the Tempests,"
"the death of the Great Fire" (vulcanism), and "the Great
If a flourishing advanced civilization existed on the Peruvian altiplano many
thousands of years ago and was reached by the flood waters, many problems would
be solved, such as the existence of Tiahuanaco's ruins under 6 feet of earth at
an elevation of 13,300 feet. The presence of stone structures still under the
lake's waters and the existence of marine life at an impossible altitude would
also make sense.
In addition, the depiction of extinct Pleistocene animals, the traces of an
ancient shoreline, and finally, the paradox of a seaport existing at an altitude
of 12,500 feet above sea level, lead Posnansky to look for other indications
that these ruins might be extremely old. He discovered alignments with the sun
which were slightly "out of true," but which lined up perfectly once
the skycharts were moved back in time, and this lead intensive astronomical
Prof. Posnansky summed up his 50 year study in a 4 volume work entitled Tiahuanacu,
The Cradle of American Man first published in 1945. He explains his
theories, which are rooted in archeoastronomy, as follows. Since Earth is tilted
on its axis in respect to the plane of the solar system, the resulting angle is
known as the "obliqueness of the ecliptic".
One should not confuse this with another astronomical phenomenon known as
of the Equinoxes, as critics of Posnansky have done. If viewed from the
Earth, the planets of our solar system travel across the sky in a line called
the plane of the ecliptic. At present our Earth is tilted to cause this angle to
be around 23 degrees and 27 minutes, but this is not constant. The Earth's axis
oscillates slowly between 22 degrees and 1 minute to an extreme of 24 degrees
and 5 minutes. This cycle (repeating itself from one extreme to the other and
back) takes roughly 41,000 years to complete. The alignments at the Kalasasaya
temple depicts a tilt of the Earth's axis amounting to 23 degrees, 8 minutes, 48
seconds, indicating a date of 15,000 B.C.
Between 1927 and 1930 Prof. Posnansky's conclusions were studied intensively
by a number of authorities. Dr. Hans Ludendorff (Director of the Astronomical
Observatory of Potsdam), Friedrich Becker of the Specula Vaticana, Prof. Arnold
Kohlschutter (astronomer at Bonn University), and Rolf Muller (astronomer of the
Institute of Astrophysics at Potsdam) verified the accuracy of Posnansky's
calculations and vouched for the reliability of his conclusions.
There is one solution that can satisfy all of the above mysteries regarding
the ruins of Tiahuanacu. This is none other than the geological cataclysm that
inaugurated the Pleistocene Extinction, which effected the entire globe
geologically and climatically. Thus, if Tiahuanacu was built before the
Pleistocene Extinction, which occurred at the end of the last ice age around
12,000 years ago, then the astronomical alignments built into the Kalasasaya
harmonize with the apparent age of the city, and Prof. Posnansky's conclusions
seem to be correct. Tiahuanacu was most likely built close to the date of 15,000