Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Were There Other Cities Vacated by the Nephites at the Time Mosiah I Left the Land and City of Nephi – Part VIII

Continued from the previous post, regarding the ancient settlements that were built by early Peruvians along the ancient road that ran from Cuzco to Lake Titicaca. We have covered the area from Cuzco southward to the Pukará region in the previous posts.
Pukará to Juliaca road through the mountains of Pukarani and Intikancha where old fortresses guarded the way northward toward Cuzco, these two flanking the three possible movements around or through these hills

About 40-miles beyond Pukará is the ancient settlement of Pukarani on the east side of the ancient road. In the Titicaca region are six mountains or ancient settlements called Pukarani, an Aymara word meaning fortress (pukará) or in this case of Pukarani, “the one with a fortress.” The settlement along the ancient road from Cuzco to Puno, named Pukurani sits upon a mountain of the same name, with the settlement situated on the mount facing northward, at 14,114-feet—an area considered to hold “great archaeological secrets waiting to be discovered.”
Top: Looking south toward the Cerro Pukarani, where the ruins of (Bottom) an ancient fortress high on the northern slope that is an area archaeologist believe will yield many secrets

This site is referred to as the citadel of Filiation Estuquiña, occupying the top of a small hill called cerro Pukarani. It is characterized by the presence of clumped enclosures surrounded by a defensive stone wall, bordered by several agricultural terraces.
    Five miles to the south of Pukarani on the west side of the ancient road that passes between these two areas is another mountain, this one called Intikancha (“wall that encloses”), which also has an ancient site, this one on the south side of the mountain and also called intikancha. These two fortresses are north of Lake Chacas, and a little north of Juliaca and Puno, the latter now a port city at 12,565 feet, but anciently was merely a settlement. It is presently along the northwest rim of Lake Titicaca, surrounded by mesas and plains along the Collao plateau, where llamas and alpacas have grazed for millennia, and today along with cattle make up a large measure of Puno’s economy. The settlement area itself is in a narrow valley between the 3,240-square mile lake and the mountains, a distance of about two miles in width to the foothills.
    Anciently, the early Peruvians who settled here grew quinoa  and potatoes along with other tubers, and along with lake fishing fueled their sustenance. Also, anciently, the lake had two islands off the Puno coast where the Uros culture lived, today those have expanded to several dozen additionally man-made islands and are tourist attractions.
    Beyond Puno the lake shore runs south and a little east to Copacabana (kota kawana, meaning “view of the lake”), which sits between two large hills on a peninsula across the narrow 2,620-foot wide Tiquina Strait, which connects the larger and smaller parts of the lake. Titicaca, which means “puma mount,” suggesting this area was home to those felines millennia ago, is really in two parts, with the larger northern sub-basin called Lago Grande or Lago Chucuito, and separted by the Tiquina Strait from the southern, smaller sub-basin, which is called Wiñaymarka, or Lago Pequeño for “little lake.”
    The ancient sites of the Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun) and the Isla del Luna (Island of the Moon), both house ancient ruins just off the shore. Until the late 19th century, Bolivia owned all this territory clear to the Pacific when they ceded it to Peru and Chile as a result of the War of the Pacific, giving Tacna to Peru and Arica to Chile and making Bolivia a land-locked country.
Top Left: The Pilkokaina (Pillkukayna or Pilco Kayna) Temple, better known today as the Temple of the Sun, on the shore of the rocky, hilly Isla del Sol. Note the trapezoid-shaped entrance, reminiscence of ruins (Top Right & Bottom) at Machu Picchu, Huánuco Pampa and Ollantaytambo, and throughout Peru, a construction style dating long before the Inca, though archaeologists and tourist groups love to give the Inca credit for creating it

Along the Bolivia south side of the lake is the city of Tiahuanaco. Even in ruins, it is an impressive site, with principal structures including a huge stepped pyramid of earth faced with cut andesite (Akapana Pyramid) and a rectangular enclosure known as the Kalasasaya, constructed of alternating stone columns and rectangular blocks, with the entrance a monolithic gateway decorated with carved figures. The site extends over an area 2½ square miles and includes current excavated structures of the Akapana, Akapana East, the Pumapunku stepped platforms, the Kalasasaya Pyramid, the Kheri Kala and Putuni enclosures, and a Semi-Subterranean Temple.
    It should be noted that Tiwanaku is an example of engineering so monumental that it dwarfs even the work of the Aztecs. Stone blocks on the site weigh up to 65 tons and bear no chisel marks, causing the method of workmanship to be shrouded in mystery. The stone itself came from two different quarries, one supplying sandstone where blocks were cut weighing up to 400 tons, and the other quarry providing fine-grained igneous rock andesite. These quarries were ten and fifty miles away, raising the question of how the enormous blocks were transported in an age archaeologists claim was before the horse was domesticated in South America.
    Close examination of the structures shows an unusual technique behind their building, as the stone blocks were notched, then fitted together so they interlocked in three dimensions, resulting in great strength against earthquakes. Until very recently, orthodox archaeologists labeled Tiwanaku a ritual site. This because it obviously being built as a port with quays, docks and harbors, was nowhere near water—in its present situation, these maritime constructions cannot be used since the sites are situated 13,000 feet above sea level and miles from the nearest water.
    Faced with this mystery, the historians and archaeologists solved the problem by deciding Tiwanaku was never lived in—rather it was a massive monument to ancient gods, built as a port, presumably, so souls could sail to heaven. Such is the “professional opinions” of such scientists. However, such an idea no longer is believed. Since new archaeological discoveries clearly show it was once not only a bustling metropolis, but also the capital of an ancient empire extending across large portions of the region. Later discoveries led to the conclusion among many archaeologists that this site was once at a much lower altitude, in fact at sea level because of the many maritime signs, water marks on adjacent cliff faces, and sea water shells, animal remains, fossils, and sediment analysis.
    However, once raised upward by the gigantic uplift that brought the site to its present elevation, the ancient residents surviving the catastrophic rising of the mountains developed 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, and this discovery of the ancient system has proven a godsend for modern Bolivian farmers who have found it gives greatly increased yields over modern methods.
    It also should be noted that the original belief that Tiwanaku was a fairly recent site, dating sometime before 700 AD, and peaking around 800 AD, with 10,000 to 20,000 residents (John Janusek, Identity and Power in the Ancient Andes: Tiwanaku Cities through Time, Rutledge, New York, 2004), has now generally been rejected. Once claimed by Arthur Posnansky to be 11,000 to 17,000 years old, original radiocarbon dating placed the first occupation to around 1580 BC (Carlos Ponce Sanginés, Tiwanaku: Space, Time and Culture, National Academy of Sciences of Bolivia, La Paz, 1971); however, today researchers have recognized this date as unreliable, leading to the current consensus that the site is no older than 200 or 300 BC (David Bowman, "Tiwanaku expansion and economic patterns," Archaeological Studies, vol.5, 1980, pp107-120; John Janusek, "Vessels, Time, and Society: Toward a Ceramic Chronology in the Tiwanaku Heartland," 2003, in Alan Kolata, Tiwanaku and Its Hinterland: Archaeological and Paleoecological Investigations of an Andean Civilization, vol. 2, Urban and Rural Archaeology, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., pp. 30–89; Charles Stanish, Ancient Titicaca, University of California Press, Los Angeles, 2003).
    In the adjacent site of Puma Punku, which means, “The Door of the Cougar” in Aymara, the temple area has many finely cut stones—some weighing over 100 tonnes. The processes and technologies involved in the creation of these temples are still not fully understood by modern scholars. 
Top: The Kalasasaya ritual complex at Tiwanaku; Bottom: The Courtyard at Tiwanaku

It should be noted that Tiwanaku was an immense site where as many as 20,000 or more people resided in the late BC period. One can only wonder, this being the Land of Promise, where these Nephites went when Mosiah left Zarahemla. Were all those Nephites not living in or around Zarahemla simply cut off and left to fend for themselves as the Lamanites continued their ever present push northward, filling the gap in the city and Land of Nephit that Mosiah and the more righteous Nephites vacated?
(See the next post, “Were There Other Cities Vacated by the Nephites at the Time Mosiah I Left the Land and City of Nephi – Part IX, regarding the continuation of the ancient settlements in southern Peru adjacent to as well as north and south of Lake Titicaca)

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