|Alternative name||Tiahuanaco, Tiahuanacu|
|Location||Tiwanaku Municipality, Bolivia|
|Founded||c. 110 AD?|
|Official name||Tiwanaku: Spiritual and Political Centre of the Tiwanaku Culture|
|Designated||2000 (24th session)|
|Region||Latin America and the Caribbean|
Tiwanaku (Spanish : Tiahuanaco or Tiahuanacu) is a Pre-Columbian archaeological site in western Bolivia near Lake Titicaca and one of the largest sites in South America. Surface remains currently cover around 4 square kilometers and include decorated ceramics, monumental structures, and megalithic blocks. The site's population probably peaked around AD 800 with 10,000 to 20,000 people.
The site was first recorded in written history in 1549 by Spanish conquistador Pedro Cieza de León while searching for the southern Inca capital of Qullasuyu.
Some have hypothesized that Tiwanaku's modern name is related to the Aymara term taypiqala, meaning "stone in the center", alluding to the belief that it lay at the center of the world.The name by which Tiwanaku was known to its inhabitants may have been lost as they had no written language. Heggarty and Beresford-Jones suggest that the Puquina language is most likely to have been the language of Tiwanaku.
The age of the site has been significantly refined over the last century. From 1910 to 1945, Arthur Posnansky maintained that the site was 11,000–17,000 years oldbased on comparisons to geological eras and archaeoastronomy. Beginning in the 1970s, Carlos Ponce Sanginés proposed the site was first occupied around 1580 BC, the site's oldest radiocarbon date. This date is still seen in some publications and museums in Bolivia. Since the 1980s, researchers have recognized this date as unreliable, leading to the consensus that the site is no older than 200 or 300 BC. Most recently, a statistical assessment of reliable radiocarbon dates estimates that the site was founded around AD 110 (50–170, 68% probability), a date supported by the lack of ceramic styles from earlier periods.
The structures that have been excavated by researchers at Tiwanaku include the terraced platform mound Akapana, Akapana East, and Pumapunku stepped platforms, the Kalasasaya, the Kantatallita temple, the Kheri Kala, and Putin enclosures, and the Semi-Subterranean Temple. These may be visited by the public.
The Akapana is an approximately cross-shaped structure that is 257 m wide, 197 m broad at its maximum, and 16.5 m tall. At its center appears to have been a sunken court. This was nearly destroyed by a deep looters excavation that extends from the center of this structure to its eastern side. Material from the looter's excavation was dumped off the eastern side of the Akapana. A staircase with sculptures is present on its western side. Possible residential complexes might have occupied both the northeast and southeast corners of this structure.
Originally, the Akapana was thought to have been developed from a modified hill. Twenty-first-century studies have shown that it is an entirely manmade earthen mound, faced with a mixture of large and small stone blocks. The dirt comprising Akapana appears to have been excavated from the "moat" that surrounds the site.The largest stone block within the Akapana, made of andesite, is estimated to weigh 65.7 tonnes. The structure was possibly for the shaman-puma relationship or transformation through shape shifting. Tenon puma and human heads stud the upper terraces.
The Akapana East was built on the eastern side of early Tiwanaku. Later it was considered a boundary between the ceremonial center and the urban area. It was made of a thick, prepared floor of sand and clay, which supported a group of buildings. Yellow and red clay was used in different areas for what seems like aesthetic purposes. It was swept clean of all domestic refuse, signaling its great importance to the culture.
The Pumapunku is a man-made platform built on an east-west axis like the Akapana. It is a rectangular, terraced earthen mound faced with megalithic blocks. It is 167.36 m wide along its north-south axis and 116.7 m broad along its east-west axis and is 5 m tall. Identical 20-meter-wide projections extend 27.6 meters north and south from the northeast and southeast corners of the Pumapunku. Walled and unwalled courts and an esplanade are associated with this structure.
A prominent feature of the Pumapunku is a large stone terrace; it is 6.75 by 38.72 meters in dimension and paved with large stone blocks. It is called the "Plataforma Lítica" and contains the largest stone block found in the Tiwanaku site.According to Ponce Sangines, the block is estimated to weigh 131 metric tonnes. The second-largest stone block found within the Pumapunku is estimated to be 85 metric tonnes.
The Kalasasaya is a large courtyard more than 300 feet long, outlined by a high gateway. It is located to the north of the Akapana and west of the Semi-Subterranean Temple. Within the courtyard is where explorers found the Gateway of the Sun. Since the late 20th century, researchers have theorized that this was not the gateway's original location.
Near the courtyard is the Semi-Subterranean Temple; a square sunken courtyard that is unique for its north-south rather than east-west axis.The walls are covered with tenon heads of many different styles, suggesting that the structure was reused for different purposes over time. It was built with walls of sandstone pillars and smaller blocks of Ashlar masonry. The largest stone block in the Kalasasaya is estimated to weigh 26.95 metric tons.
Within many of the site's structures are impressive gateways; the ones of monumental scale are placed on artificial mounds, platforms, or sunken courts. Many gateways show iconography of the Staff God. This iconography also is used on some oversized vessels, indicating an importance to the culture. This iconography is most present on the Gateway of the Sun.
The Gateway of the Sun and others located at Pumapunku are not complete. They are missing part of a typical recessed frame known as a chambranle, which typically have sockets for clamps to support later additions. These architectural examples, as well as the recently discovered Akapana Gate, have unique detail and demonstrate high skill in stone-cutting. This reveals a knowledge of descriptive geometry. The regularity of elements suggests they are part of a system of proportions.
Many theories for the skill of Tiwanaku's architectural construction have been proposed. One is that they used a luk’ a, which is a standard measurement of about sixty centimeters. Another argument is for the Pythagorean Ratio. This idea calls for right triangles at a ratio of five to four to three used in the gateways to measure all parts. Lastly, Protzen and Nair argue that Tiwanaku had a system set for individual elements dependent on context and composition. This is shown in the construction of similar gateways ranging from diminutive to monumental size, proving that scaling factors did not affect proportion. With each added element, the individual pieces were shifted to fit together.
As the population grew, occupational niches developed, and people began to specialize in certain skills. There was an increase in artisans, who worked in pottery, jewelry, and textiles. Like the later Inca, the Tiwanaku had few commercial or market institutions. Instead, the culture relied on elite redistribution.That is, the elites of the empire controlled essentially all economic output but were expected to provide each commoner with all the resources needed to perform his or her function. Selected occupations include agriculturists, herders, pastoralists, etc. Such separation of occupations was accompanied by hierarchical stratification within the empire.
The elites of Tiwanaku lived inside four walls that were surrounded by a moat. This moat, some believe, was to create the image of a sacred island. Inside the walls were many images devoted to human origin, which only the elites would see. Commoners may have entered this structure only for ceremonial purposes since it was home to the holiest of shrines.
To ancient Andean cultures, mountains were considered venerated,and could even be considered as a holy or sacred object. The site of Tiawanaku is at the highest elevation of any known Andean civilization, and sits in the valley between two sacred mountains; Pukara and Chuqi Q’awa.Temples found in the Andean mountains would be the location of ceremonies to pay gratitude and honor to the gods and spirits. Locations like Tiawanaku would be a place of worship that would help unify Andean peoples through shared symbolism, and would be considered an epicenter of pilgrimage, worship, and ritual acts.
Tiwanaku rose as the center of religious ceremonies for pre-Columbian civilizations. These ceremonies would often times be big dramatizations for both the general public and elites to experience. Some ritual acts that have taken place at Tiwanaku were human sacrifices.Human sacrifice was used in several pre-Columbian civilizations; typically to serve the purpose of appeasing a god in return of good fortune. The Akapana temple was used for several ceremonies and sacrificial dedications at Tiwanaku. Researchers have found the remains of elaborate dedications involving humans and camelids while excavating the Akapana temple.
Although researchers speculate that the Akapana temple was used for ceremonial rituals, it may have also been used as an observatory of the cosmos. The Akapana temple is alligned in a way that it is alligned with the peak of Quimsachata, which conveniently gives it an ideal view of the rotation of the Milky Way from the southern pole.Other temples like Kalasasaya have an idealized view of the sunrises of the Equinox, Summer Solstice, and Winter Solstice. However, it is difficult for researchers to understand what symbolic and functional value these monuments had to the Tiwanaku. That being said, the Tiwanaku were able to study and interpret the positions of the sun, moon, Milky Way and other celestial bodies well enough for them to have significance in their architecture and monuments.
Aymara legends place Tiwanaku at the center of the universe. This is likely due to the importance of its geographical location. The Tiwanaku were highly aware of their natural surroundings and would use their landscape and understanding of astrology as a point of reference in their architectural plans. The most significant landmarks on Tiwanaku are the mountains and Lake Titicaca.Lake Titicaca is located just 20 kilometers west of Tiwanaku. However, Lake Titicaca has since retracted in size due to drought. Before, Lake Titicaca likely met the shores of Tiwanaku. The spiritual value of the lake, along with its location, helped to give more religious significance to the site of Tiwanaku. In the Tiwanaku worldview, Lake Titicaca is the spiritual birthplace of their cosmic beliefs. According to Inca mythology, Lake Titicaca is the birthplace of the great creator Viracocha. Viracocha was responsible for creating the sun, moon, people, and the cosmos. Viracocha is considered to be one of the most important deities and has been seen depicted in several ancient Andean civilizations including the Inca, Moche, and Tiwanaku. At Tiwanaku, in the Kalasasaya temple, is located a monolith known as the Gate of the Sun. Atop this monolith is carved a deity seen holding a lightning bolt and snuff. Many speculate that this is a representation of Viracocha because this figure is depicted wearing a sun crown. However, it is possible that this figure is a representation of a deity that the Aymara refer to as “Tunuupa”. Tunuupa holds several similarities to Viracocha like legends associated with creation and destruction.
The Aymara are thought to be descendants of the Tiwanaku. The Aymara have a complex cosmic belief system that is similar to the cosmology of several Andean civilizations. The Aymara believe in the existence of three spaces; The Arajpacha: the upper world, Akapacha: the middle world or the inner world, and Manqhaoacha: the lower world.The upper world is considered to be where celestial beings live and is often associated with the cosmos and Milky Way. The middle world is where all living things are, and the lower world is where life itself is inverted. Aspects of this belief system can be found decorated on the monuments of Tiwanaku. Birds, for example are representative of the upper world. Symbols of some birds known as camelids can be found decorated on the Gate of the Sun. Symbolism for the underworld is often times represented by reptiles and things from the ocean. Some researchers speculate that the "underworld" is representative of more than just death, and could be a representation of things found "below"—and for highland societies, things "below" could be considered to be in places like the ocean. At Tiwanaku, representations of snakes can be found on the Fraile Monolith. The middle world is usually represented by pumas or jaguars. In cultures like the Moche and Inca, the puma is a representation of strength or new life.
As the site has suffered from looting and amateur excavations since shortly after Tiwanaku's fall, archeologists must attempt to interpret it with the understanding that materials have been jumbled and destroyed. This destruction continued during the Spanish conquest and colonial period, and during 19th century and the early 20th century. Other damage was committed by people quarrying stone for building and railroad construction, and target practice by military personnel.
No standing buildings have survived at the modern site. Only public, non-domestic foundations remain, with poorly reconstructed walls. The ashlar blocks used in many of these structures were mass-produced in similar styles so that they could possibly be used for multiple purposes. Throughout the period of the site, certain buildings changed purposes, causing a mix of artifacts found today.
Detailed study of Tiwanaku began on a small scale in the mid-nineteenth century. In the 1860s, Ephraim George Squier visited the ruins and later published maps and sketches completed during his visit. German geologist Alphons Stübel spent nine days in Tiwanaku in 1876, creating a map of the site based on careful measurements. He also made sketches and created paper impressions of carvings and other architectural features. A book containing major photographic documentation was published in 1892 by engineer Georg von Grumbkow, With commentary by archaeologist Max Uhle, this was the first in-depth scientific account of the ruins.
Von Grumbkow had first visited Tiwanaku between the end of 1876 and the beginning of 1877, when he accompanied as a photographer the expedition of French adventurer Théodore Ber, financed by American businessman Henry Meiggs, against Ber’s promise of donating the artifacts he will find, on behalf of Meiggs, to Washington's Smithsonian Institution and the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Ber’s expedition was cut short by the violent hostility of the local population, instigated by the Catholic parish priest, but von Grumbkow’s early pictures survive.
In the 1960s, the Bolivian government initiated an effort to restore the site and reconstruct part of it. The walls of the Kalasasaya are almost all reconstructed. The original stones making up the Kalasasaya would have resembled a more "Stonehenge"-like style, spaced evenly apart and standing straight up. The reconstruction was not sufficiently based on research; for instance, a new wall was built around Kalasasaya. The reconstruction does not have as high quality of stonework as was present in Tiwanaku.As noted, the Gateway of the Sun, now in the Kalasasaya, is believed to have been moved from its original location.
Modern, academically sound archaeological excavations were performed from 1978 through the 1990s by University of Chicago anthropologist Alan Kolata and his Bolivian counterpart, Oswaldo Rivera. Among their contributions are the rediscovery of the suka kollus, accurate dating of the civilization's growth and influence, and evidence for a drought-based collapse of the Tiwanaku civilization.
Archaeologists such as Paul Goldstein have argued that the Tiwanaku empire ranged outside of the altiplano area and into the Moquegua Valley in Peru. Excavations at Omo settlements show signs of similar architecture characteristic of Tiwanaku, such as a temple and terraced mound.Evidence of similar types of cranial vault modification in burials between the Omo site and the main site of Tiwanaku is also being used for this argument.
Today Tiwanaku has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, administered by the Bolivian government.
Recently, the Department of Archaeology of Bolivia (DINAR, directed by Javier Escalante) has been conducting excavations on the terraced platform mound Akapana. The Proyecto Arqueologico Pumapunku-Akapana (Pumapunku-Akapana Archaeological Project, PAPA) run by the University of Pennsylvania, has been excavating in the area surrounding the terraced platform mound for the past few years, and also conducting Ground Penetrating Radar surveys of the area.
In former years, an archaeological field school offered through Harvard's Summer School Program, conducted in the residential area outside the monumental core, has provoked controversy amongst local archaeologists.The program was directed by Dr. Gary Urton, of Harvard, who was an expert on quipus, and Dr. Alexei Vranich of the University of Pennsylvania. The controversy was over allowing a team of untrained students to work on the site, even under professional supervision. It was so important that only certified professional archaeologists with documented funding were allowed access. The controversy was charged with nationalistic and political undertones. The Harvard field school lasted for three years, beginning in 2004 and ending in 2007. The project was not renewed in subsequent years, nor was permission sought to do so.
In 2009 state-sponsored restoration work on Akapana was halted due to a complaint from UNESCO. The restoration had consisted of facing the pyramid with adobe, although researchers had not established this as appropriate.
In 2013, marine archaeologists exploring Lake Titicaca's Khoa reef discovered an ancient ceremonial site and lifted artifacts such as a lapis lazuli and ceramic figurines, incense burners and a ceremonial medallion from the lake floor.The artifacts are representative of the lavishness of the ceremonies and the Tiwanaku culture.
When a topographical map of the site was created in 2016 by the use of a drone, a "set of hitherto unknown structures" was revealed. These structures spanned over 411 hectares, and included a stone temple and about one hundred circular or rectangular structures of vast dimensions, which were possibly domestic units.
Viracocha is the great creator deity in the pre-Inca and Inca mythology in the Andes region of South America. Full name and some spelling alternatives are Wiracocha, Apu Qun Tiqsi Wiraqutra, and Con-Tici. Viracocha was one of the most important deities in the Inca pantheon and seen as the creator of all things, or the substance from which all things are created, and intimately associated with the sea.
Lake Titicaca is a large, deep, freshwater lake in the Andes on the border of Bolivia and Peru, often called the "highest navigable lake" in the world. By volume of water and by surface area, it is the largest lake in South America.
Puno is a department and region in southeastern Peru. It is the fifth largest department in Peru, after Cuzco, Madre de Dios, Ucayali, and Loreto It is bordered by Bolivia on the east, the departments of Madre de Dios on the north, Cusco and Arequipa on the west, Moquegua on the southwest, and Tacna on the south. Its capital is the city of Puno, which is located on Lake Titicaca in the geographical region known as the Altiplano or high sierra.
The Wari were a Middle Horizon civilization that flourished in the south-central Andes and coastal area of modern-day Peru, from about 500 to 1000 AD.
Inca architecture is the most significant pre-Columbian architecture in South America. The Incas inherited an architectural legacy from Tiwanaku, founded in the 2nd century B.C.E. in present-day Bolivia. A core characteristic of the architectural style was to use the topography and existing materials of the land as part of the design. The capital of the Inca empire, Cuzco, still contains many fine examples of Inca architecture, although many walls of Inca masonry have been incorporated into Spanish Colonial structures. The famous royal estate of Machu Picchu is a surviving example of Inca architecture. Other significant sites include Sacsayhuamán and Ollantaytambo. The Incas also developed an extensive road system spanning most of the western length of the continent and placed their distinctive architecture along the way, thereby visually asserting their imperial rule along the frontier.
Isla del Sol is an island in the southern part of Lake Titicaca. It is part of Bolivia, and specifically part of the La Paz Department. Geographically, the terrain is harsh; it is a rocky, hilly island with many eucalyptus trees. There are no motor vehicles or paved roads on the island. The main economic activity of the approximately 800 families on the island is farming, with fishing and tourism augmenting the subsistence economy. Of the several villages, Yumani and Challapampa are the largest.
Sillustani is a pre-Incan cemetery on the shores of Lake Umayo near Puno in Peru. The tombs, which are built above ground in tower-like structures called chullpas, are the vestiges of the Qulla people, who are Aymara conquered by the Inca Empire in the 15th century.
Johan Reinhard is an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society. He is also a senior research fellow at The Mountain Institute, a visiting professor at Catholic University, Salta, Argentina, an honorary professor of Catholic University, Arequipa, Peru, and a research professor at Future Generations University.
The Chivay obsidian source is the geological origin of a chemical group of obsidian that is found throughout the south-central Andean highlands including southern Peru and western Bolivia. Chemical characterization studies using X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA) have shown that the Chivay obsidian source, also known as the Cotallalli type or the Titicaca Basin type, makes up over 90% of the obsidian artifacts analyzed from the Lake Titicaca Basin.
The Gate of the Sun, also known as the Gateway of the Sun, is a monolith carved in the form of an arch or gateway at the site of Tiahuanaco by the Tiwanaku culture, an Andean civilization of Bolivia that thrived around Lake Titicaca in the Andes of western South America around 500-950 CE.
The Kalasasaya or Stopped Stones is a major archaeological structure that is part of Tiwanaku, an ancient archeological complex in the Andes of western Bolivia that is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Pumapunku or Puma Punku is an entirely man-made terraced platform mound with a sunken court and monumental complex on top that is part of the Pumapunku complex. The Pumapunku complex is an alignment of plazas and ramps centered on the Pumapunku platform mound. Today the monumental complex on top of the platform mound lies in ruins. Pumapunku is part of the Tiwanaku Site near Tiwanacu, in western Bolivia. It is believed to date to AD 536. After Akapana, which is believed to be "Pumapunkus twin", Pumapunku was the second most important construction in Tiwanaku. Among all the names for the areas in Tiwanaku only the names "Akapana" and "Pumapunku" have historical significance; both date back to at least 1610. At Pumapunku several miniature gates which are perfect replicas of once standing full-size gateways were found. Additionally to these miniature gateways, likely, at least five gateways were once integrated into the Pumapunku monumental complex. The foundation platform of Pumapunku supported as many as eight andesite gateways. The fragments of five andesite gateways with similar characteristics to the Gateway of the Sun were found.
Arthur Posnansky (1873–1946), often called "Arturo", was at various times in his life an engineer, explorer, ship’s navigator, director of a river navigation company, entrepreneur, La Paz city council member, and well known and well respected avocational archaeologist. During his lifetime, Posnansky was known as a prolific writer and researcher and for his active participation in the defense and development of Bolivia. He is well known for his books, including Tihuanacu, the Cradle of American Man, Campana de Acre, La Lancha "Iris", Die Osterinsel und ihre praehistorischen Monumente, and Razas y Monumentos Prehistóricos del Altiplano Andino.
Waru Waru is an Aymara term for the agricultural technique developed by pre-Hispanic people in the Andes region of South America from Ecuador to Bolivia; this regional agricultural technique is also referred to as camellones in Spanish. Functionally similar agricultural techniques have been developed in other parts of the world, all of which fall under the broad category of raised field agriculture.
Reed boats and rafts, along with dugout canoes and other rafts, are among the oldest known types of boats. Often used as traditional fishing boats, they are still used in a few places around the world, though they have generally been replaced with planked boats. Reed boats can be distinguished from reed rafts, since reed boats are usually waterproofed with some form of tar. As well as boats and rafts, small floating islands have also been constructed from reeds.
The Andean civilizations were complex societies of many cultures and peoples mainly developed in the river valleys of the coastal deserts of Peru. They stretched from the Andes of southern Colombia southward down the Andes to Chile and northwest Argentina. Archaeologists believe that Andean civilizations first developed on the narrow coastal plain of the Pacific Ocean. The Caral or Norte Chico civilization of Peru is the oldest known civilization in the Americas, dating back to 3200 BCE.
Pukara, Puno is a town in the Puno Region, Lampa Province, Pucará District, Peru. It is located to the north-west of Lake Titicaca.
The Tiwanaku Polity was a Pre-Columbian polity in western Bolivia based in the southern Lake Titicaca Basin. Tiwanaku was one of the most significant Andean civilizations. Its influence extended into present-day Peru and Chile and lasted from around 600 to 1000 AD. Its capital was the monumental city of Tiwanaku, located at the center of the polity's core area in the southern Lake Titicaca Basin. This area has clear evidence for large-scale agricultural production on raised fields that probably supported the urban population of the capital. Researchers debate whether these fields were administered by a bureaucratic state (top-down) or through a federation of communities with local autonomy. Tiwanaku was once thought to be an expansive military empire, based mostly on comparisons to the later Inca Empire. However, recent research suggests that labelling Tiwanaku as an empire or even different varieties of a state may even be misleading. Tiwanaku is missing a number of features used to define these types of polities: there is no defensive architecture at any Tiwanaku site or changes in weapon technology, there are no princely burials or other evidence of a ruling dynasty or a formal social hierarchy, no evidence of state-maintained roads or outposts, and no markets.
Pre-Columbian Bolivia covers the historical period between 10,000 BCE, when the Upper Andes region was first populated and 1532, when Spanish conquistadors invaded Inca empire. The Andes region of Pre-Columbian South America was dominated by the Tiwanaku civilization until about 1200, when the regional kingdoms of the Aymara emerged as the most powerful of the ethnic groups living in the densely populated region surrounding Lake Titicaca. Power struggles continued until 1450, when the Incas incorporated upper Bolivia into their growing empire. Based in present-day Peru, the Incas instituted agricultural and mining practices that rivaled those put in place many years later by European conquerors. They also established a strong military force, and centralized political power. Despite their best efforts however, the Incas never completely controlled the nomadic tribes of the Bolivian lowlands, nor did they fully assimilate the Aymara kingdoms into their society. These internal divisions doomed the Inca Empire when European conquerors arrived.
The architecture of Bolivia is closely related to its history, culture and religion. Bolivian architecture has been constantly changing and progressing over time. Subject to terrain and high altitudes, most of Bolivia's Pre-Columbian buildings were built for housing, mainly influenced by Bolivian indigenous culture. The arrival of Spanish settlers brought many European-style buildings, and the Spaniards began planning to build big cities. After Independence, the architectural style became Neoclassical and many churches and government buildings were built. In modern Bolivia, like many countries, skyscrapers and post-modern buildings dominate, and of course there are special styles of architecture to attract tourists and build.
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