Monday, March 27, 2017

The Mystery of Sacsayhuaman and its Current Threat – Part II

Continuing from the previous post regarding the mysteries of Sacsayhuaman and how it now faces threats that could destroy the outer walls.
The Sacsayhuaman complex (inside the yellow lines) seen from an aerial view overlooking the valley of Cuzco

    As stated previously, the descriptions we have from chroniclers gives us some insight into the magnificent complex known as Sacsayhuaman. In addition, Vince Lee, an author, architect, and explorer who has studied various ancient sites where people moved large megaliths, theorizes that the blocks at Sacsayhuaman were put into place by carving them precisely. The method used to match precisely the shape of a stone with the adjacent stones is unknown; it may have been scribing or by templating. The blocks would be towed up a ramp and above the wall, where they would be placed on top of a stack of logs. The logs would be removed one at a time to lower the stones into place. It fit is so tight a knife cannot separate the stones.
    Indeed, the Sacsayhuaman fortress at one time looked not only to be impregnable, as the Spanish believed it to be, but lasting through the ages. However, in recent years, problems have begun to arise surrounding the outer walls of the site. And because of a mounting problem recently discovered, the Ministry of Culture of Peru invited a group of Russian geophysicists in 2012 to perform research on the archaeological complex of Sacsayhuaman, namely on the soil problems of the former pre-Inca fortress. In the course of this work, interesting historical and archaeological data were collected and a lot of photo and video coverage was done and used for production of a documentary called “The Living Stones of Sacsayhuaman.”  It was found that the interlocking style of the stones kept them from being dislodged during movement, such as during an earthquake, even a violent one.
    The added value of the video format of these “field” data allow a rare understanding of the unique character of the building of the ancient Peruvians both form the scientific point of view and from the viewpoint of independent researchers. They also show how the interlocking stones that were used withstand earthquakes and even violent disruptions without losing their placement integrity.
The location of the soil samples taken

    The mandatory prerequisite for the selection was the integrity of the monument; the specimens were collected solely in the areas where the integrity of the construction material was already interrupted by existing cracks. These specimens were sent for analysis into the different laboratories in Khabarovsk (where the most exhaustive set of specimens was delivered, though only 10 of them were investigated so far) and from the laboratory of the Geology of Oil and Gas faculty of the South Federal University where a fragment of a processed construction block from the archaeological site was researched. As the research continues, the preliminary conclusions based at a limited number of the factual material showed stones that matched a pre-Hispanic stone quarry whose stone cliffs rose to a height of 300-feet compared to the walls of the fortress. The quarry is surrounded by the wall; assumingly, it was built after the construction of the Sacsayhuaman fortress. 
The stone quarries of Huayrange from which the huge stones cut and dressed for Sacsayhuaman were  cut and dressed fifteen miles away across very hilly terrain

    To the stone quarry from the fortress there leads a wide road, considered to be the stone quarry of Huayranga, mentioned by the chroniclers Bernabe Kobo and Polo de Ondegardo, where the stones for the construction of the fortress walls were procured. The specimens were collected for the purpose of investigation of this hypothesis. While some researchers considered the material to be an artificial material produced with unknown technologies, the experts of Fersman Mineralogical Museum in Moscow, of the Geology Department of St-Petersburg State University and of the Department of Geology of Oil and Gas of the South Federal University have expressed their opinion during the private consultations that the mentioned fine-grained limestone is deemed to be a natural formation.  
    In recent years the employees of Sacsayhuaman archaeological complex witnessed a number of destructive processes taking place at certain sites of the complex. These consisted of the large cracks coming forth in the main walls, the shift of the stone blocks and recession of the walls. Such trend may lead to an irreversible and unrecognizable change of the complex which remains to be one of the most significant monuments of the heritage of the ancient Peruvians before the Inca. That's why this issue raised a need to conduct a research to define the reasons of these continuous destructive processes taking place at the Sacsayhuaman complex.
    Despite the state of art technologies of the modern geology and geophysics, it was difficult to find the one which allows a deep look into the soil and to find out the clear causes of the adverse processes influencing the constructions of the complex. The fact that a considerable amount of the zig-zag walls have been effected by the soil movement, causing cracks to appear in the walls, is of significant importance to the stability of the ancient Peruvian construction at Sacsayhuaman.
Orange shows outer zig-zag wall sections where the fractures between the blocks are of significant size. Red areas are the sections where the walls were destroyed (yellow circle indicates the tower base for orientation purposes in viewing the site)

    The georadars of “Loza” series allowed the exploration of the geologic land structure down to 656-feet below the surface. Such georadar researches allow the experts of VNIISMI to detect the areas of high humidity, the fissures in rock formations, crust fractures, underground objects, etc. It was learned that an extended zone of fissured soil goes through the area of the wall foundation. Such fissuring under the wall forms a drainage basin and a channel for the natural line gradient movement of ground waters. Uncontrollable local movement of ground waters under the wall’s foundation will lead to the washout of the easily soluble fractions of the top layer of soil and to the loss of the carrying capacity of the wall’s foundation.
    This down-warping of the soil is located directly under the foundation of the wall.
It is worth adding that this is not the only area of fissuring. There are several other locations where this is occurring.

The deteriorating stones at Sascsayhuaman

    To prevent the further destruction of wall, additional investigation of the soil under the foundation is being conducted to detect other zones of fissuring and to track their extension. Based on the data regarding the location of the fissuring areas where the surface waters are captured and from where they flow down along the natural gradient line, it is necessary to organize the lateral drainage of the surface waters and their deflection from the wall foundation.
    Extensive erosion of the surface was observed at a large number of Sacsayhuaman block stones during the georadar research. To clarify the cause of these processes the samples of materials which bear no cultural value were taken with the approval of the staff of the archaeological unit. At the moment of preparation of the initial report, comprehensive analyses were still being carried out in a number of Russian laboratories in order to obtain the precise information regarding the geological structure, characteristics and the chemical formula of the mentioned samples.
    The preliminary report, however, suggests that despite the uncertainty of the precise chemical formula of the material, the conducted experiments demonstrate that the stone blocks in the walls of Sacsayhuaman may gradually dissolve under the influence of acidic environment, which often occurs in rain precipitations of many countries, which possess heavy industry where the production cycle with utilization of various acids is being violated, such as in the mining industry. If such is found to be the case in the area, then immediate measures will need to be taken to protect the Sacsayhuaman archaeological complex. That can be done with the help of modern methods, such as covering the stone blocks with a protective coating, etc.
As to the complex itself, there can be no question that Sacsayhuaman, and several other sites in the region roundabout, was built with a technology that was far beyond and ahead of not only the capabilities of those at the time, but even today, so many people in construction cannot figure out exactly how it was done. Yet, despite this unquestionable fact, so many Book of Mormon Land of Promise theorists, neglect to even consider the Nephite history of Nephi being shown how to build a ship, not after the manner of men, but after the manner which the Lord had shown him (1 Nephi 18:2); and work timbers, not after the manner of men, but after the manner the Lord showed him (1 Nephi 18:1), and that he was shown many things directly from the Lord (1 Nephi 18:3). Might not we consider that the Lord showed Nephi how to build in an earthquake threatened land using an advanced technology that only the Lord could have known then, and even for the next 2500 years? How on earth can one deny the Lord’s hand in this?


  1. When Meso theorists are presented with this archaeological marvel they always tell me the Incan's built it. To wish I always reply that this is pre-Inca construction. I guess it isn't any different then telling the Mesos that everything in Central America is Mayan and post dates the Nephite people. The Incan's certainly did not have this technology. Good point that it came from the Lord.

  2. Vibration did the work. The rocks were positioned to form a wall first, then some sort of elastic liners were placed onto seams between rocks to provide extra support and to conduct vibration onto rocks, when the vibration source was turned on, the neighboring rocks grind each other. Provide enough time, these rocks will form a smooth, tight interface between them, thus the result we saw today. If portion of rock broke off, it ended with those strange shape and angle that are visible for our examination. As to the source of vibration (acoustic or mechanical) and elastic liner, these are beyond us.