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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Mystery of Tiwanaku / Phase 9

 

At the Kalasasaya Complex above the Main Entrance is an elaborate bas-relief frieze depicting a central deity,  standing on a stepped platform, wearing an elaborate headdress, and holding a staff in each hand.

 

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Monolithic statue at  Entrance of  Kalasasaya Complex

In one  legend Viracocha,  destroyed the people around Lake Titicaca with a Great Flood, saving two people to bring civilization to the rest of the world, these two beings were Manco Cápac, the son of Inti (sometimes taken as the son of Viracocha), which name means "splendid foundation", and Mama Ocllo, which means "mother fertility" (Pachamama).  Pachamama is a goddess revered by the indigenous people of the Andes. Pachamama is usually translated as Mother Earth, but a more literal translation would be "Mother world" (in Aymara and Quechua mama = mother / pacha = world or land; and later widened to the modern meaning as the cosmos or the universe). Pachamama and Inti are their most benevolent deities; they are worshiped in parts of the Andean mountain ranges, also known as the Tawantinsuyu (the former Inca Empire) stretching from present day Ecuador to Chile and northern Argentina to Peru the center of the ancient Inca Empire with its capital city in Cuzco.  This particular statue is made of green basaltic Andesite.   One of the most puzzling aspects of the Tiwanaku construction projects was the lack of nearby quarries. The source of the green Andesite stones, the material from which the most elaborate carvings and this monolith are made is on the Copacabana Peninsula, across Lake Titicaca. One theory is that these giant Andesite stones (the largest weighing 40 tons) were transported some 90 kilometers across Lake Titicaca on reed boats, then laboriously dragged another 10 kilometers to the city of Tiwanaku.  You will note the lines carved into a statue that it was carved in a certain way.  Statues of deities were not exact copies of how that deity looked, but rather an artistic representation of what the people of Tiwanaku thought of their deities.  Everything it wore had in its hands, and what it was portrayed doing, had a religious significance in their culture.

 

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Green Andesite pillar

In most cases the ancient civilizations had little, if any, advanced technology that would help them move these monoliths. The most notable exception is that of the ancient Greeks and Romans who had cranes and tread wheels to help lift colossal stones.  Published scholars base most of these weights on estimates; however, there have been numerous false estimates of many of these stones presented as facts. To help recognize exaggerations, an introductory description shows how to calculate the weight of colossal stones by calculating volume and density.  The weight of a stone can be calculated by multiplying its volume and density. The density of most stones is between two and three tons per cubic meter. The average weight of granite is about 2.75 metric tons per cubic meter, limestone 2.3 metric tons per cubic meter, sandstone or marble 2.5 tons per cubic meter. Some softer stones may be lighter than 2 tons per cubic meter like volcanic tuff or basalt, which weighs about 1.9 tons per cubic meter. Since the density of most of these stones fluctuates, it is necessary to know the source of the stone and volume to obtain accurate measurements.

 

Densities of common rocks:
(in g/cm3 / ton/m3)
````` Material:            Density:
Sediments                 1.7–2.3
Sandstone                 2.0–2.6
Shale                         2.0–2.7
Limestone                 2.5–2.8
Granite                      2.5–2.8
Metamorphic Rock    2.6–3.0
Basalts                       2.7–3.1

 

Andesite is a volcanic-basaltic rock usually with 60% Si03 (quartz) and various other elements are involved as well, including pyroxene, feldspar, and plaigiase.  In Tiwanaku, Bolivia several ashlars weighing 100 to 130 tons, was transported 6 miles (9.7 km).  It is believed that the transporting was done by land or water (or a combination of both), in the later case often by special-built ships such as obelisk carriers. For lifting operations, ancient cranes were employed since ca. 515 BC.  However, we do not know if the people of Tiwanaku had any equipment like that or what they used to transport 100-130 ton stones.

How Stones Could Have been loaded on boats:

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It should be stressed that all numbers are estimations, since only in the rarest cases were monoliths actually weighed.   The distance from Tiwanaku to quarry in Copacabana area is 36.61 miles. Area where Andesite stones near Lake Titicaca were found (area where they were probably unloaded from boat-transport) is 10.09 miles from Tiwanaku.  Here Ancient Astronaut technology could have been used to move the heaviest of stones, stones weighing more than 100 tons.  First, we must consider how the Tiwanaku could have moved some of the smaller stones they used in building their structures.  Those stones weighing in the area of 40 tons such as that used in making the monolithic statue above.

 

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The Copacabana Peninsula today

 

The Qala Yampu Experiment

In Aymara, qala means stone, and yampu means totora boat.  The prehistoric city of Tiwanaku, near the southern shore of Lake Titicaca, was abandoned around 1250 AD, some 200 years before the Inca established their Andean empire. Its monumental ruins have often been compared to Stonehenge in that no one knows how an ancient civilization could have made them. It is puzzling not only because some of the stones weigh as much as 130 tons, but because there are no quarries nearby in the case of Andesite,  but rather on the other side of Lake Titicaca on the Copacabana Peninsula.  Again, Andesite was not the only type of stone they used as I earlier stated.

 

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Tiwanaku stone route

One theory is that these giant Andesite stones were transported across Lake Titicaca on reed boats of ancient design to the closest shores to Tiwanaku, and then laboriously dragged 10 kilometers to the city. Archeologists wanted to test this theory by recreating the Tiwanaku building process with a multi-national team of volunteers, aided by leading Aymara experts in totora boat building.

 

This project was to (in part):

1.  Quarry a 9-ton stone.
2.  Build a totora boat to carry the stone and sail it across the lake. 
3.  Load and unload the stone using only natural ancient means.

 

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Dried totora that was used to build the boat

 

Reed boat manufacturing in this region includes gathering and joining bundles of totora reeds and fastening them with rope made from dried out prairie grass or ichu.

 

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Tiwanaku boat progress size and shape

 

The reed bundles are connected with more ichu to build the spine of the boat. Finally, the row of bundles was pounded into a crescent shape. The theory was to emulate the ancient design successfully. The raft's porous nature should filter out water from the waves kicked up by the high winds of the Altiplano. If not, they could be swamped and lose the stone or worse. 

 

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Loading the nine-ton Andesite stone on the boat

 

Once in the lake the boat-absorbed water, this is the nature of totora. The absorbed water acted like ballast, having a tremendous stabilizing effect. Originally, the boat only drafted about 15 inches. Once the stone was loaded the boat drafted about double that in the center where the weight was located, but considerably less away from center. The boat held the weight of the 9-ton stone. If poles had been placed correctly on the deck of the boat to distribute the weight, the boat could have easily carried double the weight.  Nevertheless, this is still nowhere near the weight of a stone weighing 40 tons.

 

 

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Boat carrying stone across Lake Titicaca