Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Tiwanaku and Titicaca’s 4000-foot Leap – Part III

Continued from the previous post, covering the massive, high-altitude Lake Titicaca and the adjacent ruins of a once-thriving city complex where about 40,000 inhabitants lived in what was one of the largest native American civilizations in documented history, called Tiwanaku. The problem is, at it present height of 12,500 feet, it is far to high in elevation to have supported such colossal numbers where corn won’t grow and few food supplemental crops will bloom.
    Consequently, here we are confronted with a colossal mystery—traces of a huge city lie at the southern side of the lake. In the fifteenth century, Spanish conquistador Pedro Cieza de León reported his astonishment at seeing ancient gateways hewn from solid stone 30 feet long and 15 feet high and pivoting. These ruins of Tiahuanaco, in Bolivia, are extensive. It is obvious that a great city once existed here. But at 13,000-feet, maize (corn) will not bear fruit—yet, endless agricultural terraces, now abandoned, rise as high as 18,400 feet above sea level, and continue up under the snow to some unidentified altitude. Such an abundance of cornfields must have supported a huge population.  The region is too high and too barren to do this now.
    There seems no question that the site of Tiahuanaco, or Tiwanaku. was once lower in elevation, since if the Andes were some 5000-feet, or even 4000-feet lower, maize would ripen around Lake Titicaca and the city of Tiwanaku could support the large population for which it was evidently built.
Artist’s rendition of the seaport city of Puma Punku on the outskirts of Tiahuanaco based on the ruins now extant
In addition, Tiwanaku was built as a sea port with a huge ocean quay, with docks and harbors—the ruins of which are easily seen today. This obviously suggest, that when the city was built, it was some 12,500-feet lower, at sea level. Not fully understood until recently, in 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, north-western Argentina, northern Chile and Peru
One of the several quays with numerous wharfs for ships that lies twisted and broken on the outskirts of the city complex of Tiahuanaco

The remains near the stadium of Tiwanaku show five distinct landing places, harbors with moles and a canal which heads inland. The docks are vast—and one of the wharfs is big enough to take hundreds of ships. It is also important to realize that the docks fact in the opposite direction from the lake, an the mooring rings on the stone piers were so large that they could only have been used by ocean-sized vessels, not smaller vessels meant to sail on a lake.
    Today, as we look at these ruins, 200 miles from the sea, it is hard to understand why such a quay with docks and wharfs for large ships was even built. Until one realizes this harbor and city were built at sea level when the eastern region of this vast area was underwater prior to the rising of the Andes Mountains. Understanding that this harbor and city were thrust about two miles into the sky, we can easily see that it had to have been from the upthrust of the Andes to their present lofty height.
    As these mountains rose, they trapped part of the bay or sea between some of their rising peaks, lifting what is now called a lake high into the air with the city and harbor. The force of the upthrust toppled all the buildings, broke up the harbor, and left nothing but huge, multi-ton stones hurled abut like wooden child’s blocks.
Everywhere one looks around the area of Tiwanaku and Pumapunku, one finds the toppled stones of ancient buildings, walls and temples, many of which weigh several tons
Certainly, this upthrust did not take place over long-drawn out periods of time, since the watermarks on the cliffs are seen in only a few intermediate surf lines showing that the elevation could not have proceeded little by little. The explorer Colonel Percy Fawcett, who travelled this region early last century, spending ten years in the Amazonian and forested Andes, was persuaded by the evidence that Tiwanaku had been destroyed by a terrible seismic upheavals which accompanied the raising of the Andes to their present height (Percy Harrison Fawcett, Exploration Fawcett, “The Travel Diaries and Notes of Colonel P.H. Fawcett,” Hutchinson, London, 1953).
    There is some evidence that the monoliths of the city were not entirely finished when the catastrophe struck and suddenly raised the whole city and lake 12,500 feet. Cast-down builders’ tools were found in the ruins when the Spaniards came upon the place in the 16th century.  The heaps of blocks of dressed and masoned stone bear evidence of sudden abandonment as though discarded by men taken by surprise and fleeing for their lives.
    After the disaster, the populace lay buried in gullies that had become mass graves, covered by silt. Fragments of skeletons, both of animals and men, lay scattered among the ruins.  Jewels, pottery and tools were found mixed in utmost confusion. This massive uplifting exposed or raised the continental shelf which is now the desert lowlands of Peru and northern Chile.
    It is of interest to know that today the least known and unexplored areas of the great Amazon Basin, which is about the size of the continental United States, is located on the borders of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, Venezuela and the Guianas. Now tradition, legends and myths handed down from generation to generation by illiterate natives do not always state the bare truth, but sometimes evidence of fact can be discerned. One such legend, or tradition regarding this ancient land in an ancient time is that of the Ugha Mongulala tribe of the western Amazon jungle, as told in 1972 to the German journalist, Karl Bruggar, who met an Indian chieftan named Tatunca Nara in the Amazon.
    Brugger tape recorded the interview with the chief, which included the tale of his tribe, the Ugha Mongulala, who claimed their story was recorded in their Guechua language in a codex called the Akakor Chronicles, and begins at the year zero, which it is claimed corresponds to the year 10,481 BC on the Gregorian calendar. The statement made by Tatunca Nara claimed that in the beginning (he stated in the year “zero”), the state of the entire region all about was “still flat and soft like a lamb’s back, the Great River still flowed on either side.” But then came a cataclysm: “The Great River was rent by a new mountain range and now the river flowed swiftly toward the East.” In addition, “...glimmering golden ships appeared in the sky. Enormous blasts of fire illuminated the plain. The earth shook and thunder echoed over the hills." He went on to claim that the people who visited them looked like humans with fine features—white skin, bluish-black hair and thick beards. "They (the Ugha Mongulala tribe) had no tools as they did, which could suspend the heaviest stones, fling lightning, and melt rocks.”
Red Circle: The isolated headwaters of the 1000-mile long Purus River rises and quickly divides into numerous branches that emerge in southern Ucayali, Peru, along the eastern foothills of the Andes northeast of Cuzco and generally flows northeasterly through the rainforests of Peru and into the Amazon upriver from Manaus along the Solimōes River

The tribal chief also stated that in their history it was written that: “Akakor was built up the Purus River in a valley of mountains between Brazil and Peru, and that the ancient Fathers also erected three sacred temple complexes: Salazere, on the upper reaches of the Great River, Tiahuanaco, on the Great Lake, and Manoa, on the high plain in the south." A giant pyramid was erected in the center of these sacred temple complexes and a broad stairway led up to the platform where ceremonies were conducted” (Karl Brugger, The Chronicle of Akakor, Delacorte Press, New York, 1977)
    It might be of interest to know that Tiahuanaco is the only place named that is known today and does indeed have a pyramid located in its center and the remnants of a broad staircase.
    In the year of what became known as the First Catastrophe, the course of the rivers was altered, and the elevation of the mountains and the strength of the sun changed.” During this time, "the lands were flooded. The waters of the Great Lake flowed back into the oceans. The Great River was interrupted by a new mountain range and now flowed swiftly toward the east to the Sea. Enormous forest grew on its banks. A humid heat spread over the easterly regions. In the west, where giant mountains had surged up, people froze in the bitter cold of the higher altitudes..."
    After this First Catastrophe, the empire was set in ruins. Many of the passages that linked the borders of the empire were blocked; the mysterious light that illuminated the subterranean dwellings was extinguished; the twenty-six cities were destroyed by a tremendous flood; and "the sacred temple precincts of Salazere, Tiahunanaco, and Manoa lay in ruins, destroyed by the terrible fury" (Karl Brugger, The Chronicle of Akakor, Delacorte Press, New York, 1977).
    It should be noted that Akakor was declared a fictional being by a German writer named Rüdiger Nehberg, who reportedly found no evidence to suggest the tribe or the city was real, and claimed that Nara was actually from Germany and his real name was Hansi Hauck. According to Nehberg's book, The Self Made Chief, Hauck had left Germany in 1966 and had formed an entirely new fictitious life for himself. On the other hand, it might also be of interest to consider just one of the paragraphs of the Akakor Chronicle, or at least Nara’s statement, and consider its possible meaning:
(See the next post, “Tiwanaku and Titicaca’s 4000-foot Leap – Part IV,” for more on the lake that sits astride the Peruvian-Bolivian border and located just north of the ancient city of Tiwanaku, and the value of ancient myths, legends, and traditions)

1 comment:

  1. The evidence of the sudden rise of the entire Altiplano is pretty clear, in my opinion. The fact that these ruins were buried under several feet of sediment testifies of a massive flood that swept over the area. I've heard some claim it was a "tsunami-like wave from lake Titicaca" that brought these ruins to the ground. But the wave would more likely be from the displacement of sea water from the original east coast. The massive salt water bodies and salt flats testify of trapped sea water. The slow disappearance of bodies like Lake Poopo and the declining levels of Lake Titicaca are not a man-caused, modern result of global warming, but are the continuation of a steady evaporation of large quantities of water over the last two thousand years. That's how you get the largest salt flats in the world.

    Yes, there was a catastrophic tsunami wave that scattered multi-ton stones like twigs and changed the face of the land. It was from the now drained eastern sea.

    I like that you mentioned the obvious agricultural scars that no longer make sense at the current elevation. Another example would be the large, barren, terraced hill next to Pampa Aullagas, Bolivia. There are a couple tourism companies that like to tout the hill as the lost city of Atlantis, but it's merely the skeletal remains of a once thriving farmland on a hill that no longer has any purpose but to cook in the sun of a desert at 12,400 ft elevation.

    Good stuff, Del!