Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Peruvian Calendar

According to Hans Schindler-Bellamy, an English professor in Vienna, and authority on pseudoarchaeology that investigated the work of Austrian engineer Hanns Horbiger and German selenographer Philipp Fauth, claims the famous Sun Gate or Gateway of the Sun in Tiwanaka, Peru was a calendar.

This monolith was carved in the form of an arch or gateway by the Tiwanaku culture, an Andean civilization of Bolivia that thrived around Lake Titicaca in the Andes of western South America. The Gate is approximately 9.8 feet tall and 13 feet wide, and was carved from a single piece of stone. Its weight is estimated to be 10 tons (Fernando Cajías de la Vega, La enseñanza de la historia  Bolivia, Andrés Bello Publisher, 1999, p44).

When rediscovered by European explorers in the mid-19th century, the megalith was lying horizontally on the ground and had a large crack through it. It presently stands in the location where it was found, although it is believed that this is not its original site, which location remains uncertain (Alan L. Kolata, The Tiwnaku; Portrait of an Andean Civilization, Wiley-Blackwell Publishers, Hoboken, NJ, 1993).

Top: The Sun Gate with Viracocha, or the Creator God, in the center and the calendar markings on either side; Bottom: Yellow is used to enhance the 30 Chasquis on the Gate that represent 30 solar years)


Some elements of the Gate’s visual images and symbols spread throughout Peru and parts of Bolivia. Although there have been various modern interpretations of the mysterious inscriptions found on the object, the carvings that decorate the gate are believed to possess astronomical significance and may have served a calendrical purpose (Giulio Magli, Mysteries and Discoveries of Archaeoastronomy: From Giza to Easter Island, English trans., Springer Science & Business Media, New York, 2009).

The Calendar of Tiahuanaco, which was written by Hans Schindler-Bellamy and Peter Allen, was awarded for its excellence by the Sociedad Arqueológica de Bolivia in 1958. This book is a disquisition, or elaborate and lengthy writing on the time measuring system of the oldest civilization of the Americas. It was published by Faber & Faber in London in 1956, and discusses at length the large monolithic Sun Gate of Tiahuanaco, claiming it was originally the centerpiece of the most important part of the so-called Kalasasaya, the huge chief temple of Tiahuanaco. The upper part of the Gate is covered with a remarkably intricate sculpture in flat bas relief that has been described as a "calendar" for almost as long as the monolithic gateway has been known to exist—thus the so-called Sun Gate has been called the Calendar Gate.

The Gate represents the eleven pillars on the calendar wall, with each pillar marking the position of the setting sun on 1/20th of the Earth’s orbit and a sidereal lunar month. This corresponds to the distance between one and a half pillars, representing 3/40th of the orbit, and though it undoubtedly depicts a "solar year," it cannot however be made to fit into the solar year as we divide it at the present time.

A reconstruction of how the Gate of the Sun may have been seen incorporated into a wall and was part of an entrance within the Kalasasaya compound (Based on a drawing by Edmund Kiss (1937)


After many futile attempts had been made, by employing a Procrustean chopping off of toes or heels to make the calendar work, the sculpture—which indeed has a highly decorative aspect—was eventually declared generally to be nothing but an intricate piece of art by mainstream archaeologists.

On the other hand, Schindler-Bellamy and Allen continued to insist the sculpture was a calendar, though one of a special kind, designed for special purpose, and, of course, for a special time. Hence it must refer exclusively to the reckoning of that time, and to certain events occurring then. Consequently, we cannot make the calendar "speak" in terms of our own time, but let it speak for itself and listen to what it says and learn from it. When we do so, the writers claim, we gain an immense insight into the world of the people of that era, into the manner of thinking of their intellectuals, and generally into the way their craftsmen and laborers lived and worked.

To describe these things in detail would make a long story—it took Schindler-Bellamy and Allen and their helpers many years of hard work to puzzle out the Tiwanaku system of notation and its symbology, and to make the necessary calculations (before the age of computers). The result was a book of over 400 pages, The Calendar of Tiwanacu.

Sun Gate sculpture of Viracocha


Thorough analysis of the Sun Gate sculpture revealed the astonishing fact that the calendar is not a mere list of days for the "man in the street" of the Tiwanaku of that time, telling him the dates of market days or holy days; it is believed to actually be, and pre-eminently a unique depository of astronomical, mathematical, and scientific data—the quintessence of the knowledge of the bearers of Tiwanaku culture.

The enormous amount of information the calendar has been made to contain and to impart to anyone ready and able to read it is communicated in a way that is, once the system of notation has been grasped, singularly lucid and intelligible, counting by units of pictorial or abstract form.

The different forms of those units attribute special, very definite and important additional meanings to them, and make them do double or even multiple duty. By means of that method "any number" can be expressed without employing definite "numerals" whose meaning might be difficult, if not impossible, to establish.

"It is only necessary to recognize the units and consider their forms, and finding their groupings, counting them out, and rendering the result in our own numerical notation. Some of the results seem to be so unbelievable that superficial critics have rejected them as mere arrant nonsense. But they are too well dove-tailed and geared into the greater system (and in some cases supported by peculiar repetitions and cross-references) to be discarded in disgust; one has to accept them as correct. Whoever rejects them, however, also accepts the onus of offering a better explanation, and Professor Schindler-Bellamy has the "advantage of doubt," at any rate.

The "solar year" of the calendar's time had very practically the same length as our own, but, as shown symbolically by the sculpture, perhaps the earth revolved more quickly then, making the Tiwanakuan year only 290 days, divided into 12 "twelfths" of 94 days each, plus 2 intercalary days.

These groupings (290, 24, 12, 2) are clearly and unmistakably shown in the sculpture. The explanation of 290 versus 365¼ days is lengthy and space here is unavailable; but it also gives the beginning of the year, the days of the equinoxes and solstices, the incidence of the two intercalary days, information on the obliquity of the eliptic (then about 16.5 degrees; now 23.5) and on Tiwanaku’s latitude (then about 10 degrees; now 16.27), and many other astronomical and geographical references from which interesting and important data may be calculated or inferred.

The Tiwanaku were an advanced civilization, accomplishing things far beyond their time


Tiwanku scientists certainly knew, for instance, that the earth was a globe which rotated on its axis, because they calculated exactly the times of eclipses not visible at Tiwanku, but visible in the opposite hemisphere. Obvioulsy, this causes one to wonder if they had sailed some distance from an earlier home.

A few more facts revealed in the calendar are both interesting and surprising. As indicated by an arrangement of "geometrical" elements we can ascertain that the Tiahuanacans divided the circle factually astronomically, but certainly mathematically} into 264 degrees (rather than our 360).

They also determined—ages before Archimedes and the Egyptians the ratio of pi, the most important ratio between the circumference of the circle and its diameter, as 22/7, or, in our notation, 3.14+. They could calculate squares (and hence, square roots). They knew trigonometry and the measuring of angles (30, 60, 90 degrees) and their functions—they could calculate and indicate fractions, but do not seem to have known the decimal system nor did they apparently ever employ the duodecimal system though they must have been aware of it. They were able to draw absolutely straight lines and exact right angles, but no mathematical instruments have yet been found.

We do not know the excellent tools they must have used for working the glass-hard andesite stone of their monuments, cutting, polishing, and incising.

They must have employed block and tackle for lifting and transporting great loads (up to 200 tons) over considerable distances and even over expanses of water from the quarries to the construction sites. In fact, it is difficult to see how all the calculations, planning, and design work involved in producing the great city of Tiwanaku could have been done without some form of writing, and without a system of notation different from the "unit" system of the calendar sculpture.

But the calendar science-sculpture, and similar slightly older ones also found at the site, must also be regarded and appreciated from an aesthetic point of view, a great artistic achievement in design and execution-and an absolute masterpiece of arrangement and layout.

Again, much is left unknown about the Tiwanaku civilization, but the calendar science-sculpture, and similar slightly older ones also found at the site, must also be regarded and appreciated from an aesthetic point of view, a great artistic achievement in design and execution-and an absolute masterpiece of arrangement and layout.

Which leaves only to ask “Where did they come from?” with their advanced skills, technology and knowledge. The answer seems to be “Only from an area of the world where such development is centuries ahead of the normal development one expects to find in a new world where man is believed to have stepped out of the stone age.

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