Enduring Mystery Surrounds the Ancient Site of Puma Punku
Enduring Mystery Surrounds the Ancient Site of Puma Punku

Puma Punku in Bolivia is one of the world’s most mysterious ancient sites. This remains true for both academic archaeologists and historians as well as rogue historians who investigate the hypothesis of advanced prehistoric civilizations or ancient assistance from extraterrestrials. 

Puma Punku covers a large part of the massive ancient city of Tiwanaku and it is located just southeast of Lake Titicaca in the Andes. The city predates Inca presence in that part of South America. 

The mystery lies in the precision and complexity of the structures that pervade the ruin. The finely cut doorways and remaining stone blocks bear no chisel marks and many interlock with very fine precision. 

According to Jason Yaeger, professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin, the city was already abandoned when the Incas conquered the area in 1470. The Incas spared no expense, however, incorporating Puma Punku and the rest of Tiwanaku city into their empire and culture.

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The Incas believed the city was the place where Viracocha, their deity of creation, created the ancestral people of all ethnicities and sent them out into the world to populate their respective lands. 

“They [the Incas] reconfigured the existing structures to accommodate the ritual activities required in their own cosmology,” said Yaeger, according to an article for the School for Advanced Research. “Transforming these spaces into ‘memory theaters,’ the Inca celebrated and materialized Tiwanaku as the place where Viracocha created the first couples of all ethnic groups and thus established the ethnic differences that formed one of the bases of Inca governance.”

Yeager said the Incas held the fallen stone portraits near Puma Punku to be models of the first humans from their creation myth. These stone figures, however, are actually thought to depict the city’s former rulers.

The exact origin and age of the site is disputed. 

According to radiocarbon dating results released by anthropology professor William H. Isbell of the University of Illinois, the site was constructed between approximately 500 and 600 A.D. Others, however, say the radiocarbon dating is inaccurate and the structure may have been built many thousands of years before that.

Built With Needle-Fine Precision 17,000 Years Ago?

Arthur Posnansky. (Wikimedia Commons)

Arthur Posnansky. (Wikimedia Commons)

Early explorer and engineer Arthur Posnansky, one of the first modern explorers of the site, dated Puma Punku to about 15,000 B.C.; modern archaeologist Neil Steede stands behind Posnansky’s claim. 

Posnansky used the astronomical alignments of the site’s main temple to date it. “They built the temple itself as a giant clock,” Steede said in an interview with Forbidden History.

On the first day of spring, the sun rises directly above the center of the temple, through a stone archway. The sunrise moves along the horizon as the days of the year pass. Posnansky expected to find the sun rise above cornerstones on either side of the temple on the summer and winter solstices, but found it rose some distance off. 

Looking at where the sunrise would have been 17,000 years ago on the solstices, however, the cornerstones align. 

Bolivian archaeologist Dr. Oswald Rivera agrees that the temple was built with astronomical alignments. The buildings are deliberately oriented to the cardinal points, he told Forbidden History. But, he said, the builders made a mistake; that’s why the sun doesn’t rise over the cornerstones on the solstices. 

Steede disagrees that the meticulous builders would have made such an error. The stones fit together with such precision he couldn’t even wedge a needle between them at any point. “After observing the perfection with which this site is built … to suggest that such things as the solstice markers are misaligned, I find incredible,” Steede said. Posnansky’s measurements have been confirmed by modern engineers, though his conclusions remain contentious. 

Other features of the site include a complex irrigation system and smoothly drilled holes and channels in certain stone blocks that seem to defy the stonework of the Incas or known pre-Inca peoples in the region.

Yaeger wrote: “Landscapes and monumental buildings form enduring structures that shape human experience, perception, and interaction in ways that are not entirely arbitrary. Prominent places are magnets for meanings, becoming symbols that accumulate meanings over time.”

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