Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Flood That Destroyed Tiwanaku – Part II

Continuing with the so-called flood that destroyed Tiwanaku and Puma Punku as the Andes shot upward 12,000 feet in an eyelash during the Crucifixion and became the mountains “whose height is great” that Samuel the Lamanite prophesied about (Helaman 14:23). 
    The city of Tiwanaku is situated near the southern shore of Lake Titicaca, in Bolivia. Even in ruins, it is an impressive site. Its principal structures include a huge stepped pyramid of earth faced cut andesite stone (the Akapana Pyramid) and a rectangular enclosure known as the Kalasasaya, constructed of alternating stone columns and rectangular blocks. The entrance to the Kalasasaya is a monolithic gateway decorated with carved figures.
Akapana Pyramic is one of the three important temple sites at Tiwanaku, being a huge truncated pyramid, with sides perfectly adjusted with the cardinal points of the compass

    The Akapana Pyramid was once believed to be a modified hill, and has proven to be a massive human construction with a base 656 feet square and a height of 55.8 feet. It is aligned perfectly with the cardinal directions. Its base is formed of beautifully cut and joined facing stone blocks. Within the cut- stone retaining walls are six T- shaped terraces with vertical stone pillars, an architectural technique that is also used in most of the other Tiwanaku monuments. 
    It originally had a covering of smooth Andesite stone, but 90% of that has disappeared due to weathering. The ruinous state of the pyramid is due to its being used as a stone quarry for later buildings at La Paz. Its interior is honeycombed with shafts in a complicated grid pattern, which incorporates a system of weirs used to direct water from a tank on top, going through a series of levels, and finally ending up in a stone canal surrounding the pyramid. On the summit of the Akapana there was a sunken court with an area 164 feet square serviced by a subterranean drainage system that remains unexplained.
    Tiwanaku is obviously, an example of engineering so monumental that it dwarfs even the work of the Aztecs. Stone blocks on the site weigh a up to 65 tons. They bear no chisel marks, so the means by which they were shaped remains a mystery. The stone itself came from two different quarries. One supplied sandstone and was situated 10 miles away. It shows signs of having produced blocks weighing up to 400 tons. The other supplied andesite was located 50 miles away, raising the question of how the enormous blocks were transported in an age before mechanical devices.
The megalithic stonework of Tiwanaku is still impressive even as ruins and these ruins were very ancient even at the time of the Conquest. Today, only a few ruins are left but the remains of the reservoir system are clearly visible. They still demonstrate high precision evidence of complicated cut stone conduits and overflow pipes. The latter were found throughout the Tiwanaku complex, which would suggest that the whole city had a complete drainage and the proper water flow. Their inhabitants were familiar with bronze, metallurgy and other techniques involved in colossal construction. Once, Lake Titicaca was bigger and its waves washed the steps leading to the entrance of an enormous palace but today the lake is about 125 miles long. Nothing like it was ever built before in the Americas, even in the very distant past.
    According to the Aymaras, the original Tiwanaku was built through a technique brought to the Andes by Viracocha, a white and bearded God—a people who did not have their roots in the Andes. How old is the city's name? It is just as big puzzle as Tiahuanaco's stone statues. Tiahuanaco: "Guanaco place," "Originated from a creator," "Light God" are only a few often mentioned names. No one can even say with certainty if the term "Tiahuanaco" is of Aymara- Colla- or Quechua-origin. When the fourth Inca, Mayta Capac witnessed the place around Titicaca Lake for the first time, he too saw only the ruins and ordered the building of a town on the ruins and for the people to forget the past: "Before us nothing is worthy of mention...Nothing happened here.”
    Who built this mysterious city and when? Local Indians told about a time of darkness "when sun was not even there..." no doubt a carry over from the crucifixion when darkness filled the land for three days (3 Nephi 8:20-23).
An artist' layout of Tiwanaku based on the various ruins once existing at the site

 All the structures at Tiwanaku predate the ancient Incas by an unknown, but lengthy period, for they remember Tiwanaku only as a majestic assemblage of ruins and so, the identity of Tiahuanaco builders remains unknown to the world through archaeology, but not to those who understand the Nephite builders and all they constructed, especially during that period so lightly covered from the settlement of Nephi in the Land of Nephi to when Mosiah was led into the wilderness to discover Zarahemla.
    Close examination of the structures shows an unusual technique behind their building. The stone blocks were notched, then fitted together so that they interlocked in three dimensions. The result was buildings strong enough to withstand earthquakes.
    Until very recently, orthodox archaeologists labeled Tiahuanaco a ritual site. The reason was that it was built as a port. It has docks, it has quays, it has harbors. But today they are docks, quays and harbors that can’t be used by any ship. Tiahuanaco is situated 13,000 feet above sea level and is miles from the nearest water. Faced with this mystery, the historians solved it by deciding Tiahuanaco was never lived in. It was, rather, a massive monument to ancient gods, built as a port, presumably, so souls could sail to heaven.
    This idea, like the Tiahuanaco harbors, no longer holds water. By 1995, new archaeological discoveries clearly showed it was once not only a bustling metropolis, but also the capital of an ancient empire extending across large portions of eastern and southern Bolivia, northwestern Argentina, northern Chile and southern Peru.  One of its most extraordinary accomplishments was a unique system of agriculture that involved the creation of raised planting surfaces separated by small irrigation ditches. These ditches absorbed sunlight and prevented crops from freezing, even on the high Altiplano. Algae collected from the ditches was used as fertilizer. The discovery of this ancient system has proven a godsend for modern Bolivian farmers who have found it gives greatly increased yields over modern methods.
It is another evidence of Nephi’s comment of the Lord’s instruction where he was taught not only how to build his ship, but many other things: “And I, Nephi, did go into the mount oft, and I did pray oft unto the Lord; wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things” (1 Nephi 18:3).
    The point is, that when the Andes came up during the crucifixion, as a “sign” that Samuel the Lamanite had foretold (Helaman 14:23), the entire eastern seaboard changed—the entire continent shifted, rose, (mostly in the west)  and surfaced as the mountains shot up resulting from a sudden subduction of the sub-surface plates. This sudden rise in the earth created an enormous displacement of what was then called the Sea East, with its billions of cubic feet of water suddenly rushing in and among the rising peaks, some finding its way back into the receding sea to the east, others, like Lake Titicaca, becoming trapped within the suddenly rising mountains and lifting with the rise of the mountain to form high mountain lakes.
    As has been stated about Tiwanaku: “The ruins of Tiahuanuco have been regarded by all students of American antiquities as in many respects the most interesting and important, and at the same time most enigmatical, of any on the continent. They have excited the admiration and wonder alike of the earliest and latest travelers, most of whom, vanquished in their attempts to penetrate the mystery of their origin, have been content to assign them an antiquity beyond that of the other monuments of America, and to regard them as the solitary remains of a civilization that disappeared before that of the Incas began, and contemporaneous with that of Egypt and the East.”
    This, of course, brings Tiwanaku into line with the Nephite era, being contemporary with Egypt and the Eastern civilizations from which it came, including the Jaredites form Mesopotamia. It also places it within the scriptural record in that period after Nephi settled in the land they called Nephi (2 Nephi 5:8), having built the maritime city along the eastern coast where ships could set in sailing from the Sea West, where we know that Hagoth had a shipyard where he built several ships (Alma 63:5).
The point is, that when the Andes rose at the time of the crucifixion, and the Sea East receded to where the Atlantic coast is now located along the eastern coast of South America, the displaced sea created a gigantic flood that would have covered some distance inland, sinking several cities into the depths of the sea before it eventually drained off the land or was trapped in elevated lakes to eventually drain off in newly formed rivers into the Amazonia Basin that formed when the continent shifted and rose. While this was not the Flood of Noah’s time, it was just as destructive in that localized area, sinking cities and flooding others, no doubt helping to topple many coupled with the earthquakes and storms.
    What remained after that dreadful period was a toppled city with huge megalithic stones tossed about in a jumble of rocks (as shown in the photo above) and nondescript formations; huge wharfs mangled and broken up, and the remains of a once port sea-level city resting in broken fragments across the land that was now sitting at 12,500 feet among mountains “whose height is great.”
(See the next post, “The Flood That Destroyed Tiwanaku – Part III,” for more information on the so-called flood that destroyed Tiwanaku and Puma Punku as the Andes shot upward 12,000 feet in an eyelash during the Crucifixion and became the mountains “whose height is great” about which Samuel the Lamanite prophesied)


  1. The Kalasasaya monolithic gateway reminds me of kailAsa कैलास meaning “particular form of temple” and saya साय meaning “evening” or the temple of the evening. That is for me an astronomical observatory. As for the subterranean “drainage” system, I may have an explanation, but I need to see what it looks like. The stones were cut and shaped with sound and I am surprised that you don’t know that. The transport of heavy stones is easy with leverage and a hydraulic hammer system. As for Viracocha, I recognize vira वीर (brave, heroic) and Cocha may have been originally Gotra meaning Earth.

  2. Anne: Thank you for your thoughts. How the stones were cut is an unknown factor. There are numerous suggestions that have been made, from the "sound" method you mention to alien technology from other worlds--none of which satisfactorily described conditions available to the Nephites in the 5th century B.C. Perhaps some day we will know more about this. Until then, wild speculation has little to do with our blog on the Book of Mormon.