Who Built Puma Punku?

High in the Bolivian Andes lies the ancient city of Tiwanaku, the centre of an empire that predates the Incan Empire by four hundred years Long since deserted, the city contains the ruins of advanced irrigation systems, walled courts and a temple complex called Puma Punku

Since its discovery in 1549, archeologists have marvelled at the precise stone work and geometrically perfect carvings, thought impossible to create with stone tools So if the people of Tiwanaku didn’t create the monuments of Puma Punku, who did? Puma Punku is located 44 miles west of the Bolivian capital La Paz, close to the largest lake in South America, Lake Titicaca Its name means Door of the Puma, and was believed to be where the great god Viracocha first created people from rock As such the place became a centre of worship and sacrifice, as evinced by the dismembered human remains found at Tiwanaku Puma Punku is built on a raised mound, and constructed using Red Sandstone from nearby Lake Titicaca, with stone facings from the Copacabana Peninsula approximately 90 kilometres away

Similar to its more famous cousin Machu Picchu, the buildings are composed of interlocking stones, held in place with precise, geometric cuts instead of mortar This is a pattern also seen in slabs of granite known as H blocks, which have a level of precision that is deemed by author and local tour guide Brien Foerster to be impossible with the stone tools uncovered at the site How could a geographically isolated people produce such fine stonework? According to Erich von Daniken the answer could be extraterrestrial in origin To begin with there is the question of how the stone was transported there in the first place Puma Punku is located on the Altiplano, nearly 4 kilometres above sea level

As such, the climate is unsuitable to trees that could have been used as rollers for the stones The largest single block is known as the Gate of the Sun, and is nearly 3 metres tall and estimated to be 101 tonnes Such an object would be extremely difficult to move without significant mechanical help Additionally, archeological evidence shows pre-Columbian South America lacked the metallurgy skills to craft metal tools strong or precise enough to create the edges on display at Puma Punku

Instead, local legends suggest an otherworldly explanation According to Spanish chronicler Pedro Cieza de Leon, the Inca claimed the complex was built over the course of one night And at least one legend recalled that the stones were floated into position to the sound of a trumpet, which could be, according to David Hatcher Childress, a sonic lifting device In addition to this, the carvings themselves reveal tantalizing clues, not only of aliens, but of other human races Carved faces embedded into the walls resemble the well known alien species “The Grey”, together with other humans the Tiwanaku would have otherwise had no knowledge of, such as these figures who seem to be wearing turbans

And a bowl known as Fuente Magna, discovered in the late fifties, appears to be inscribed with a form of Sumerian cuneiform This is incredible, considering the ancient Sumerian civilisation and Tiwanaku were over 13,000 kilometres and two thousand years apart The Sumerians themselves, according to ancient astronaut theorist Zecharia Sitchin, were in contact with alien visitors, which would explain the appearance of both the carved faces and Fuente Magna Erich von Daniken goes so far as to suggest that Puma Punku is a form of dock or port built by aliens years before the city was founded When the Tiwanaku people first encountered the remains, they constructed the city in the same style, to honour the beings they viewed as gods

However, von Daniken’s evidence is problematic For example, carvings in Mesopotamia, such as steles depicting the Code of Hammurabi, were produced around two thousand years before Puma Punku They used much of the same technology available to the Tiwanaku and are as smooth and precise as the H blocks Granite is a hard stone to carve, even with iron tools But techniques using heat treatment and abrasive materials have been shown to create similar, though not exact, results to the stones seen at Puma Punku

And on a forensic level, the telltale signs of stone hammers and abrasives can be seen on the stonework As for how the stones arrived at Tiwanaku, the population of the city is estimated to have been around 400,000, meaning raw manpower can’t be dismissed as a method of transport And according to Charles Ortloff and Alan Kolata from the University of Chicago, the Tiwanaku civilisation collapsed because, during the 11th century, the region underwent a significant shift in climatic conditions, which made agriculture impossible With this in mind, it is plausible that if the Altiplano were once fertile enough to support a sizeable agriculture, then it could have supported trees Wooden logs could have been used to roll the stones to the site, either from the valley or the Altiplano itself

Critics of the ancient astronaut theories of Sitchin and von Daniken often accuse them of falling into the “argument from ignorance” fallacy When they are presented with something they don’t fully understand, they overlook rational explanations in favour of an alien intervention When we encounter Puma Punku, it stretches the limits of our understanding as to how a society without iron tools could produce such breathtaking work However, by attributing Tiwanaku achievements to aliens, perhaps we are saying far more about the prejudices of our own culture, than we are about their abilities

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