Monday, June 15, 2020

Was there Writing in Ancient South America? – Part I

Critics look at the chronicles of the Conquistadors and see that the Inca did not have a written language and decide that there never was a written language in Andean South America. However, the two are not mutually exclusive. In fact the writings of ancient Spanish and Jesuit scribes provide a different story.
Blas Valera was born in Levanto, Chachapoyas, Peru, in 1545, son of Luis Valera, one of the men who accompanied Pizarro in the conquest of the Inca Empire

Ancient chroniclers like Blas Valera and Fernando (Hernando) de Montesinos, the only ones who noted the existence of Pirua, Capac Raymi Amauta, Capac Yupanqui Amauta, Cuis Manco and Pachacuti VII and IX. In fact, no other chronicler mentions any of the pre-Inca rulers in Montesinos’s chronology or even suggests the possibility of such a lengthy line (Sabine Hyland, The Jesuit and the Incas: The Extraordinary Life of Padre Blas Valera, S.J., university of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 2003, p102).
    Valera’s years of research and travel through the Chachapoyas resulted in at least four works. His first was an account of the conversion of the Andean peoples to Christianity, written in 1579. Most of his magnum opus—a massive history of native American civilization written in Latin was destroyed in 1579 when Cadiz fell to the English. What remained made its way into the hands of another chronicler Garcilaso de la Vega, who included it in his own chronicle of the Incas the Cometarios Reales de los Incas y Historia General del Peru (p72-73).
    In fact, the archaeology of Peru supports the theory that an extensive empire existed in days long prior to the first Inca, of which both Valera and Garcilaso both wrote. In fact, almost all of the early chroniclers tell the story of beginning in the Andes of four brothers and four sisters who emerged from the south and made their way to what is now Cuzco, where hand-held golden staff showed them where to settle.
    When taking all the writings of numerous early chroniclers, the fact emerges throughout Andean Peru that there are pockets of ancient writings, characters, and symbols carved in rock—some obviously writing and others bordering on design. However, that they are ancient, and had specific meaning to the ancient inhabitants seems obvious.
Map of the areas were ancient writing has been found

In fact, unknown alphabetical or syllabary signs at Sahpuayacu, Huari, Huayti, and elsewhere are plentiful, though few have so far been discovered or uncovered from the thick-growing forests. In addition, some of the ruins of the areas are quite reminiscent of the destruction found in 3 Nephi. As an example, in Huari, Peru, there is an inscription of an unknown and ancient race, 265 miles north of Lima and 190 miles east of Chimbote, in what would have been along the eastern seashore of the Land of Promise.
    In a 155-year-old article of an event that occurred 112 years earlier, the manuscript as headed: “Historical account of a large, hidden, and very ancient city, without inhabitants discovered in the year 1753. Within its pages is a description of this ancient abandoned city on a very old manuscript now found in the Public Library of Rio de Janeiro, written by early Spanish South American explorers: 
    “Large portions of the city were totally ruined and buried in large and frightful openings of the earth, and upon all this ground not a blade of grass, tree, or plant was produced by nature, but only heaps of stones and some coarse rough works. Its entrance was through three arches of great height, and the middle one is the largest, while the two side were less.
    “Upon the largest and principal arch we discovered letters, which from their great height could not be copied. There was one street the breadth of the three arches with upper storied houses on either side, the fronts of carved stone blackened from an ancient blaze. 
Inscriptions on the walls of the buildings

There were inscriptions on the walls, with low doors, and the regularity and symmetry with which they were constructed appeared to be one long house, but being in reality a great many nearly connected houses, some having open terraces.
    “There were no tiles used on the houses, with the roofs made of burnt bricks and others of freestone slabs. The interior of the houses was dark, no light able to enter, with vaulted ceilings causing an echo with discussion in the empty rooms
    “Beyond the houses along the single street was a regular square and in the middle a black stone of extraordinary height and size, topped with the statue of an ordinary sized man, his arm extended pointing to the north.
    “There were four obelisks in the square, and on the right side was an edifice of great size, with a large entrance salon, evidently the residence of an important person in the city.  On the opposite side of the square were the ruins of a very large temple building with visible naves and aisles of stone, with vestiges of benches set up in rows. On the ruined walls were the remains of figure and pictures inlaid in the stone, with geometric lines and different emblems, including crows and other minutia.
    “In the grounds all about we found several deep cuts and frightful excavations. The river was awash with gold ‘pay-dirt’ as well as some ancient mined silver. On the portico of the temple we saw other writing characters.
    “About a half mile from the village was a building as it might be of a country-house, with a front 250 paces long. The entrance was by a large portico, and we ascended a staircase of many colored stones which opened into an immense salon, with each one bearing its own water source and spout.
    “There is no question that the ruins well showed the size and grandeur which must have been there, and we wondered what could have caused these ancient inhabitants to leave this idyllic place” (Brazilian Quarterly of the Institute of Historical and Geographical Magazine, Rio de Janeiro, July 21, 1865).
    These inscriptions of Huari, Peru, resemble shorthand consonants; but three of the characters are remarkable. One appears to be a representation of a large running bird, such as an emu or ostrich. Neither exists in modern South America. Another is a barelegged man in a short tunic, or one of those individuals who appear in H. G. Wells’ novels of worlds in 2500 AD, and shapes of things to come, or in Professor J. B. Haldane’s lively scientific sketches of the future. The third appears to be the head of a horse—though the Philippine species is supposed to have been unknown in North, Central or South America before the coming of the Spanish jennets (small Spanish horse) of the conquistadors.
    There are other quite different characteristics of some pre-Inca culture in a rock at Sahpuayacu, in a territory not known to have ever been conquered by the Inca. The area lies beyond the historically sleepy Tacana Indian town of Ixiamas, in tropical forests and the foothills of the Andes. It is next to a forest that will likely become the richest Amazonian forest site in Bolivia which lies about 190 miles east of Cuzco—beyond the Madidi River near Alto Madidi along the Serrania del Tigre mountain range in northwestern Bolivia, in the rough, pristine country of the Madidi National Park.
Map of the Cuzco valley to Alto Madidi and Ixiamas

This area was outside the bounds of the old Inca Peruvian empire, and archaeologists claim these inscriptions at Sahpuayacu are a puzzle confusing to all. Some claim they are merely conventional inscriptions, or pictographs cut on the rock in the idle moments of some savage, or primitive gentleman, who lived in the days of tom-foolery, dismissing them as conventional, or merely ornamental, since one sign appears three times and three others twice each in the two rows of characters.
(See the next post, “Was there Writing in Ancient South America? – Part II,” for more information on the early writing capability in Andean South America and what happened to the ability)


  1. Now that is one of the most interesting things I have ever read.

  2. Those glyphs are typical of the reformed Egyptian on the Anthon Caractors document attributed to Joseph Smith.