The name translates to “The doorway of the puma” This amazing site in Western Bolivia is only about a ten minute walk to another equally breath taking site of Tiwanaku and is considered to be part of the same complex.
Tiwanaku positioned in the Titicaca Basin, is about 6 miles away from the great Lake Titicaca. The Titicaca Basin is about 12,500 feet above sea level and sits on the border with Peru, half is in Peru and the other half in Bolivia This is a vast region of the Andes Mountains called the Altiplano, or “high plain”, the largest plain of this type outside of the Himalayas. The Tiwanaku culture predated the Inca, and their history is known largely from archaeological research. They had no written language and first signs of habitation have been estimated to date from about 400 BC. There is evidence that the culture began to flourish around 500 AD. It seems that at its peak 400,000 people lived in and around the Tiwanaku site, centering around Puma Punku and other sites in the area. Trade and farming flourished during this period. Agriculture was very well organised and complex irrigation systems were used to supply water to the neatly arranged raised fields. It is assumed that decades of drought around the period of 1000 AD brought about the demise of this once great empire, and the city of Tiwanaku was abandoned, its heritage lost and it’s people migrated into the surrounding mountains. It would be another 500 years until the Inca culture developed.
The Puma Punku site has been dated by archaeologists to about AD 536 and later. Amazingly just like many other megalithic sites on earth it is aligned with incredible prescision to the cardinal points. Little is known about its construction but some of the sand stone blocks that go to make up the stone terrace (Plataforma Lítica) situated on the eastern edge of the site, are of megalithic proportions.
Platform Blocks showing key cuts
This platform is over 22 feet wide and 127 feet long and is constructed from accurately cut and placed red sandstone blocks that were quarried from about 6 miles away. Each of the huge sand stone slabs were tied together with bronze locking keys which were either cast or hammered into place. The largest of these blocks measures 25 feet 7 inches wide by 17.0 feet long and has a thickness of 3 feet 6 inches. Using specific gravity calculations for red sandstone this block would weigh in at around 130 tons! This poses an interesting question, how was this block along with its smaller counterparts cut with such incredible accuracy and moved into place with such precision? Old theories about using tree trunks as rollers seem highly unlikely since the altitude of the site is well above the tree line.
The other interesting feature of the site is the H blocks, these appear to have been made in a prefabricated fashion and some theories have been put forward that they were cast using some form of concrete. Closer inspection however disproves this theory, the stone is igneous andesite which was quarried from the shore of lake Titicaca. The site of the quarry is about 56 miles from Puma Punku so it is possible that the stones could have been shipped across the lake but would have had to be moved overland about 6 miles to their final positions.
Igneous andesite is a very hard stone to work yet close inspection of the H blocks shows clear evidence of intricate machining including precision straight cuts and rows of symmetrically placed tiny holes drilled deep into the stone. If accurate measurements are taken of the remaining H blocks, (there are nine in view at the site), although they appear very much the same, there are variations meaning that no two stones are identical. Some of the H blocks appear unfinished on close inspection.
Brien Foerster has spent a great deal of time carrying out research into the site. Interestingly most of the excavations at Puna Punku have been confined to the top three feet of soil. There have been a number of ultra sound scans of the site and there appears to be clear evidence of buried masonry and subterranean chambers as yet unexplored. The H blocks also demonstrate some very strange magnetic anomalies if a compass is held close to them.
Take a look at one of Brien Foerster’s recent You-tube videos for more details!