Could Ancient Peruvians Soften Stone?
Could Ancient Peruvians Soften Stone?

In Beyond Science, Epoch Times explores research and accounts related to phenomena and theories that challenge our current knowledge. We delve into ideas that stimulate the imagination and open up new possibilities. Share your thoughts with us on these sometimes controversial topics in the comments section below.

If you take a look at some of the masonry in South America’s megalithic structures and walls, such as the 12-sided stone at Cuzco, Peru, you’ll notice immediately that things are lining up awfully well—and extremely tightly.

Our standard history texts say the Incans, who occupied Peru at the time the Spanish conquistadores arrived, were responsible for all the structures found in the area.

But how could the Incans have managed to construct, with extreme precision, structures like Saksaywaman, with stones as heavy as 150 tons nesting and dovetailing neatly together, with no evidence of the needed technology?

The “standard” explanation is that the Incans somehow managed to use a “guess and check” method of chipping at the stone with their stone tools, then setting the stone in place, seeing how it fit, then lifting it up and chipping further, then checking again, and so on.

This method appears very likely to have been used in the 16th and 17th centuries, when conquistadores and missionaries observed the Incans at work. But what they were building at the time involved much smaller stones, and not the kind of precision in creating blocks with 12 angles. Shaping such complex blocks, and with such a tight fit, only using round stone hammers seems exceptionally unlikely. Especially when dealing with 100-ton blocks!

Even those offering explanations such as these, like archeologist Jean-Pierre Protzen, still acknowledge other problems, primarily how the Incans could have transported (and lifted up and down repeatedly) these large stones. Some of the quarries were as far as 20 miles from the building sites, and in mountainous regions, no less.

Moving big stones isn’t always mysterious—if the quarry is higher than the final site or without much elevation difference, and there’s lots of space for lots of men to drag, then even enormous stones can be moved. Take, for instance, the Thunder Stone that is the seat of the Bronze Horseman statue in St. Petersburg, Russia. Weighing in at a truly massive 1,500 tons, the Thunder Stone was moved in 1768, using only manpower and some engineering ingenuity.

But for a society with only primitive tools available, and no advanced engineering, how are 100-ton stones moved through 20 miles of mountains?

At the very least, it probably means whoever built them were more advanced than we’re currently giving them credit. But what the Spaniards said at the time indicate that the Incans didn’t possess the needed engineering skills.

So it might mean that it was someone else who built the structures.

In fact, the Incans themselves acknowledged to the conquistadores that these structures were there long before them, built by a different people. A favorite topic of speculation among the Incans was apparently trying to figure out how the ancients actually built the walls, fitting the stones in so tightly.

Saksaywaman, in the history books, is said to have been completed in 1508, but those living just a few decades later, like Garcilaso de la Vega, born in 1539 and raised in the area of Saksaywaman, professed to having no idea of how the walls were constructed. And no one else seemed to, either. 

Is it possible that the Incans built on top of the previously existing structures and Spanish chroniclers made the mistake of thinking they had built the entire structure?

If the builders were even more ancient, then wouldn’t our textbook understanding of history suggest that it’s even less likely previous civilizations would have the knowledge and ability to build such structures. 

Ancient Civilization

So we’re faced with the possibility of a civilization much more advanced than the Incans, but of which we know almost nothing about—except that they could create structures like Saksaywaman.

How the stones were moved still proves a mystery, as it does for other megalithic sites, such as the Great Pyramid of Giza. While we are capable today of transporting such stones, and lifting them up, our conception of the technological advancement of ancient peoples doesn’t always square with the achievements we have clear evidence of in these structures.

There are, however, a few theories about how the stones were shaped. Several local legends are about a liquid known to the ancients, derived from plants, which can turn rocks soft.

Explorers, such as the legendary Percy Fawcett, also brought back tales of such a substance, as did Hiram Bingham, who (re)discovered Machu Picchu. Furthermore, Jorge A. Lira, a Catholic priest, in 1983 said he was able to recreate this stone softening, but was unable to figure out how to make the stones hard again.

Curiously, marks on some of the stones at Saksaywaman look remarkably like stray marks on our modern concrete—indicative of being molded or scraped into shape.  

While this remains speculative, we can be sure that stone hammers and repeated lifting up and down aren’t responsible for the precision and power needed to create Saksaywaman. Structures like this invite us to learn more about our past, and realize that the ancients might have been far more advanced than we give them credit.

* 12-sided stone photo via Shutterstock; Saksaywaman photo via Shutterstock

  • art7

    They look like artistically poured concrete…

    • Sueychop

      Good for you.

    • Duncan Fell

      you are right. I don’t believe they are super tight I think it’s a monolithic geocast, such as concrete that has been detailed at the end.

  • Sueychop

    They were the fallen angels or “watchers” of the Book of Enoch. Genesis actually mentions them when it says that the “watchers (Nephillim) came down and procreated with human women and had giants as their offspring.” That’s all it says in Genesis, but if you read the Book of Enoch, which was at one time as accepted as the same authenticity as Genesis, you will understand that pre-human and human history is actually revealed in the Bible. Their offspring the giants were all killed in God’s judgement of them and it is their spirits are called “demons” and it is they that haunt the earth.

    Don’t be fooled by the coming Great Deception.These “Nephillim/Annanaki” left the earth at one point and many were chained in darkness but many were allowed to escape to the outer universe only to return at the end of time. They will return as our “Gods” and “ancestors” who left us here and have “returned to us.” They are nothing of the sort and all who buy into their lies will be destroyed.

    Hold on to your belief in Jesus and if you don’t love your life to the death you will be rewarded with a crown of glory when our real God Jesus returns.

  • IceTrey

    From the edge to the middle the stones are carved in a concave manner. Then it’s only the edge that has to be precisely fit.

    • Dave_Mowers

      Or carved with acid to look like an “edge.”

  • chiliboots

    They certainly have that ‘packed marshmallow’ look: somehow softened in place.

  • Dimitri Ledkovsky

    People! Humans with goofy looking faces, notoriously sensitive bodies and wandering mind brains (like ours) CERTAINLY did NOT build the pyramids and the Peruvian wonder structures. You’ve got two choices: Divine intercession or extra-terrestrials. Or pick a mixture of both. But for sure you’ve got to drop the idea that man had anything to do with it. It helps the cause of general intelligence to be humble at times.

    • AndyUK

      You’re assuming that man is the same as he is now. Maybe we’ve changed, maybe we’ve got smaller, maybe we’ve lost the ability to make things levitate, I dont know, but I think you’ve got more than two choices.

    • R. A.

      I assure you, there are more than those two choices. The only see those two is because you can’t see all the others behind your assumptions.

  • AndyUK

    Maybe they were giants? Suddenly the 20 mile walk and weight of the stones might not be so unrealistic.

  • janos

    Saksaywaman. Sounds like a dialectic variation of “Sexy Woman”.

    • Kratoklastes

      The very first time I heard the name of that place, that is precisely what I thought… “Waman, you so SAK-SAY!”

  • nobodyouwantoknow .

    The ancient S. Americans used oxalic acid extracts to soften carbonate rocks — they learned this from certain birds that pick leaves from a tree ) and rub it on cliffs to dig mini cave nests. The Egyptians apparently used fast-setting cement ( activated with arsenic — Romans did the same ) — see Joseph Davidovits re: geopolymers @ wikipedia,or I don’t know if the Inca stone is limestone or silica — if the latter, then a strong allkali would be needed to dissolve the stone, and an acid (e.g., vinegar &c ) to revert back to silica.

    • Kratoklastes

      The Davidovits theory is certainly more plausible than, e.g., space aliens or levitation or giants – and has the attractive attribute that it also doesn’t refer to the collection of ludicrously-inaccurate Iron Age tribal superstitious gibberish in the Bible (which, for the life of me, I still capitalise for no good reason).

      Materials science (of which Davidovits’ geopolymer science is part) is one of humanity’s great technological achievements, but it sort of gets lost behind the ‘sexier’ stuff (rockets, weapons, nuclear power, space exploration, genomics).

      To my way of thinking, if there are two competing hypotheses about a massive block of material, and one of them is technologically impossible (e.g., that the stone was quarried and dragged 20km over impossible terrain), then the remaining question is simply “Is Davidovits’ recipe right?”.

      And it goes without saying: any other competing hypotheses that include space aliens, giants, or HWHY can be ignored as having zero explanatory power outside the Deus Ex Machina. As a wise person once said: “the concept of ‘god’ does not withstand ten seconds’ critical scrutiny from anybody who has worked out the awful truth about the Easter Bunny”. Or words to that effect, anyhow…

      • R. A.

        It’s “more plausible”, is it? What makes you think you know what is or isn’t plausible? Seems to me you’re just wanking from atop a stack of assumptions.

  • Dave_Mowers

    Of course, since the stones estimated weights are so high no one has ever actually attempted to lift one of them to prove that each “stone” is in fact a separate piece and not just elaborately-carved to appear like individual stones. You know like cyclopean architecture from ancient Crete?

    Since you see the same exact types of stone work from sea-faring Minoans, Phoenicians and Canaanites and in fact the Mayans and Aztecs had near-identical mythology they supposedly learned from white men who came from the heavens or more aptly; heavenly oceans.

    IE: Celestial seas that appear to extend into the heavens from our oceans which is exactly what the ancient Greeks thought. I know, lets ignore all that and pretend aliens did it all and that these stones are in fact individual pieces cause it sounds more mysterious that way.

  • elderlyfox

    Probably used phasers for cutting, and antigrav devices for lifting. We don’t have that tech today, yet.
    Stone work examined near the Giza pyramids shows machining that is not possible today. google it.
    Open The Pleiadian Mission by Randolph Winters and discover our past that mainstream does not wish you to know.
    We first arrived here 22 million years ago with beyond light-speed travel tech. Humankind has billions, if not trillions of years history etc etc.

  • lamont

    The Bosnian pyramids date back over 10,000 years. They used a form of concrete 10x stronger than 2013 concrete. They were advanced as were the Egyptians. 70 tones stones quarried 500 miles from the Pyramids thru the desert? Hmmm I think they had to float the stone utilizing anti-gravity technology. Anti Gravity technology was discovered here in the US in the 1950’s but you didn’t hear it from me :}

  • elderlyfox

    My comment still censored?

    • Ben_Chasteen

      These came through from Scoopit, and we were not notified that these were there. I found them on accident. Sorry for such the long delay. I did not know you can use another system other than disqus to comment.

  • elderlyfox

    Still censored? WHY?

  • daveswarbirds

    I’ve been hearing about rocks softened by ancient South Americans for
    years, and remember reading in a book where some ancient pots were found
    in a cave. When one of the pots was accidently dropped and broke, a
    liquid came out that softened the rock that it fell upon.

    look to angels or aliens for answers, it’s just another example of a bit
    of ancient science or technology whose secrets were lost when the
    ancient civilization collapsed. Mankind has made many scientific
    discoveries in the distant past, some of which were lost and never
    rediscovered. Likewise, levitation of large stones by acoustic or earth
    energy manipulation methods (remember Coral Castle?) is another mostly
    lost “art”.

    I have been to Saksaywaman in person, and I agree
    that the walls were likely built by a pre-Inca civilization. It’s too
    bad we can’t use time travel or remote viewing to go back and see the
    construction for ourselves…

  • Duncan Fell

    Medieval builders in Europe created hydraulic concrete that was used in constructing their harbour’s at that time. These men were not educated in the manner that we are now and as such could not read or write. So what they knew they knew in memory and deed. This meant that their knowledge was lost when they died and when cultural or environmental reasons prevented them from passing on their knowledge. This happened in Europe within the last 700 years then it is entirely possible that this happened 10k years ago.

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