Chapter 10: “Baalbek of the New World”

“Every version of every legend in the Andes points to Lake Titicaca for the Beginning – the place,

  • where the great god Viracocha performed his creative feats
  • where mankind reappeared after the Deluge
  • where the ancestors of the Incas were granted a golden wand with which to establish Andean civilization

If this be fiction, then it is supported by fact; for it is in the shore of Lake Titicaca that the first and greatest city in all of the Americas has stood.

“Its scope, the size of its monoliths, the intricate carvings upon its monuments and its statues have amazed all who have seen Tiahuanacu (as the place has been called) ever since the first chronicler described it for Europeans… The greatest puzzle of all is the location itself: a barren, almost lifeless place some 13,000 feet – four kilometers – up among the highest Andean peaks that are permanently snow-covered. Why would anyone expend incredible effort to erect colossal edifices out of stone that had to be quarried and brought over for many miles away in this treeless, windswept desolate place?

“The thought struck Ephraim George Squier when he reached the lake a century ago… “The waters hide a variety of strange fishes, which contribute to support a population necessarily scanty… The only grain is quinoa… where the only indigenous animals fit for food are the biscacha, the llama, and the vicuna.” Yet in this treeless world, he added, “if tradition be our guide, were developed the germs of Inca civilization” from an earlier, “original civilization which carved its memorials in massive stones, and left them in the plains of Tiahuanaco, and of which no tradition remains except that they are the work of the giants of old, who reared them in a single night.”

Fishing in Lake Titicaca today.

Fishing in Lake Titicaca today.

Fishing in Lake Titicaca today.

Fishing in Lake Titicaca today.

Carrying reeds.

Carrying reeds.

Vicuna, (endangered species).

Vicuna, (endangered species).

“A different thought, however, struck him as he climbed up a promontory overlooking the lake and the ancient site… From a ridge at the southwestern edge of the plain in which the lake is situated, near where the waters flow out southward through the Desaguadero river, he could see not only the lake with its southern peninsulas and islands, but also the snowy peaks to the east… Dominating the lake is the massive bulk of Illampu, or Sorata, the crown of the continent, the highest mountain of America, rivaling, if not equally in height, the monarchs of the Himalayas; observers vary in their estimates and calculations of its altitude from 25,000 to 27,000 feet.” Southward from this outstanding landmark the uninterrupted chain of mountains and peaks “terminates in the great mountain of Illimani, 24,500 feet in altitude… Nowhere else in the world, perhaps,” Squier went on, “can a panorama so diversified and grand be obtained from a single point of view. The whole great tableland of Peru and Bolivia, at its widest part, with its own system of waters, its own rivers and lakes, its own plains and mountains, all framed in by the ranges of the Cordilleras and the Andes, is presented like a map.”

Snow on Mount Illampu, Bolivia.

Snow on Mount Illampu, Bolivia.

A Painting of Mount Illimani, Bolivia.

A Painting of Mount Illimani, Bolivia.

"Monarchs" of the Himalayas.

“Monarchs” of the Himalayas.

"Monarchs" of the Himalayas.

“Monarchs” of the Himalayas.

“Were these geographical and topographical features the very reason for the selection of the site – at the edge of a great plain basin, with two picks that stand out not only from the ground but also from the skies – just as the twin peaks of Ararat (17,000 and 13,000 feet) and the two pyramids of Giza had served to mark the landing paths of the Anunnaki?

“Unbeknown to Squier, he had raised the analogy, for he had titled the chapter describing the ancient ruins “Tiahuanaco, the Baalbeck of the New World”; for that was the only comparison he could think of – a comparison with a place that we have identified as the landing place of the Anunnaki to which Gilgamesh had set his steps five thousand years ago.

“The greatest explorer of Tiahuanaco and its ruins this century has been, without doubt, Arthur Posnansky, a European engineer who moved to Bolivia and devoted his lifetime to unraveling the mysteries of these ruins. As early as 1910 he complained that, from visit to visit, he saw less and less of the artifacts, for the local natives, builders in the capital La Paz, and even the government itself for construction of the railroad, systematically carry off the stone blocks not for their artistic or archaeological value, but as freely available building materials… Yet the little that remained – mainly because it was too massive to move – impressed him that this were remains of a civilization that disappeared before that of the Incas began, a civilization contemporary with that of Egypt and the Near East.

Pedro Cieza de Leon, who traveled throughout what is now Peru and Bolivia in the years 1532-1550 reported in his Chronicles that, without doubt, the ruins of Tiahuanaco were “the most ancient place of any that I have yet described.”

Another site near Tiahuanako with notable remains is Puma-Punku, so named by the Indians…

“…Here the clamps (to hold the stone blocks together against earthquakes) were made of bronze. That this was so is known because some of these bronze clamps have actually been found. This is certainly a discovery of immense significance, for bronze is a most difficult alloy to produce, requiring the combination of a certain proportion of copper (about 85-90%) with tin; and whereas copper can be found in its natural state, tin must be extracted by difficult metallurgical processes from the ores in which it is contained.

“How was this bronze obtained, and was its availability not only part of the puzzle but also a clue to the answers?

“Putting aside the customary explanation that the colossal and intricate structures of Puma-Punku were “a temple,” what practical purpose did it serve?… The German master architect Edmund Kiss… believed that the mounds and remains flanking and fronting on the four-part collapsed section were elements of a harbor, for the lake had extended that far in antiquity. But this leaves open and even reinforces the question, what was going on at Puma-Punku? What did it import and what products did it ship out at this barren altitude?

“Ongoing excavations at Puma-Punku have uncovered a series of semisubterranean enclosures constructed of perfectly shaped stone blocks. They remind one of the sunken plazas of Chavin de Huantar, and raise the possibility that these were elements – reservoirs, pools, sluice-chambers – of a similar waterwork system.

“…There is absolutely no plausible explanation for these artifacts except to suggest – based on our own present technology – that these were matrixes, dies for the casting of intricate metal parts for some complex and sophisticated equipment that Man in the Andes, or for that matter anywhere else, was absolutely incapable of possessing in pre-Inca times.

“…Arthur Posnansky, who first presented his extraordinary work and insights in the 1914 extensive volumes of Una Metropoli Prehistorica en la America del Sur and, after another three decades of devoted research, in the four-volumed Tihuanacu – Cuna del Hombre de las Americas, combines with an English translation (in 1945). This edition was honored with an official foreword by the Bolivian government (the site ended up in the Bolivian part of the lake after its partition from Peru), and celebrated “the 12,000th year of Tiahuanacu.”

“…The most outstanding (and controversial) conclusion of Posnansky: that Tiahuanacu was millennia old, that its first phase was built when the level of the lake was about one hundred feet higher and before the whole area had been engulfed by an avalanche of water – perhaps the famous Great Flood, thousands of years before the Christian era… Posnansky, (after much study of the area) concluded that there had been three phases in the history of Tiahuanacu; that it was settled by two races – first the Mongoloid people, then Middle Eastern Caucasians – and at no time by the negroid people… The main interest was and remains on three major components of the site.

“The one at the southeastern part of the ruins is a hill known as the Akapana. It was probably given originally the shape of a stage-pyramid, and is presumed to have acted as the fortress guarding the site… Rumors however persisted that it was a place where gold was hidden, and in the eighteenth century a Spaniard named Oyaldeburo was given a mining concession for the Akapana. He cut through the eastern side of the hill to drain off the water, searched the bottom of the reservoir, tore down structures of beautiful ashlars, and dug deep into the hill wherever he found channels and conduits.

“…That some processing might have taken place in the Akapana is further suggested by the discovery on the surface and in the soil removed from the “reservoir” of large quantities of dark-green rounded “pebbles” that ranged in size from three fourths of an inch to two inches. Posnansky determined that they are crystalline, but neither he nor others (to our knowledge) conducted further tests to determine the nature and origin of these globular objects.

A few more paragraphs, in the book, explain the vast systems of conduits in Tiahuanacu, apparently leading to the Akapana. Mr. Sitchin continues:

“The indications were of extensive ground and underground waterworks at Tiahuanacu; and Posnansky devoted to them a whole chapter in his ultimate work, titled Hydraulic Works in Tihuanacu. Recent excavation have uncovered more stone conduits and water channels, confirming the conclusions of Posnansky.

“The second outstanding edifice at Tiahuanacu needed the least excavating… Known as the Gate of the Sun, it has been described by Posnansky as “the most perfect and important work… a legacy and elegant testimony of the cultured people and their leader’s knowledge and civilization.” All who have seen it agree, for it is amazing not only by dint of having been cut and shaped out of a single block of stone (measuring about ten by twenty feet and weighing over one hundred tons), but also because of the intricate breathtaking carvings upon it.

“There are niches and geometric carved openings and surfaces on the lower part of the gate’s front and on its back side, but the marveling has been at the carved section on the gate’s upper front part. There a central figure, almost three dimensional though carved only in relief, is flanked by three rows of winged attendants; a lower row of images depicting only the central figure’s face framed by a meandering line, completes the composition.

Front of Gate of the Sun (Puerta del Sol).

Front of Gate of the Sun (Puerta del Sol).

Front of Gate of the Sun (Puerta del Sol).

Front of Gate of the Sun (Puerta del Sol).

“There is general agreement that the central and dominant figure is that of Viracocha, holding a scepter or weapon in the right hand and a forked lightning in the other.

By studying all the carvings, Posnansky discovered that the Gate was a solar calendar, discovered the planets that bond Heaven and Earth; the Stairway, the “trademark” of Tiahuanacu. Mr. Sitchin continues:

“He acknowledged that it was a glyph based on the Mesopotamian ziggurats, but noted that he did not think therefore that there had been Sumerians at Tiahuanacu.

All that reinforced his growing sense that the Gate of the Sun was part of a larger structural complex at Tiahuanacu whose purpose and function was to serve as an observatory; and this guided him in his most important and, as it turned out, most controversial work and conclusions.

“Official records of the Commission for the Destruction and Expiation of Idolatry, established by the Spaniards for that clear purpose (although some suspect it was also a cover for treasure hunting), attest that the Commission’s men arrived in Tiahuanacu in 1625. A 1621 report by Father Joseph de Arriaga listed over 5,000 “objects of idolatry” that were obliterated by breaking, melting, or burning. What they did at Tiahuanacu is not known. The Gate of the Sun, as early photographs show, was found in the nineteenth century standing broken in two at the top, with the right-hand part leaning dangerously against the other half.

Posnansky believed that the Gate was not damaged by the Commission, rather they might have not seen it at the time, as it was already fallen and covered by soil. Then there were doubts that whoever re-erected it did not place it on its original site. But this argument had the size and weight of the Gate against it, so the opinion was that the Gate remained on its original site. Mr. Sitchin continues:

“…A huge structure just east of it, called Kalasasaya, was delineated by a series of vertical pillars, which is what the name meant (“The Standing Pillars”), revealing a somewhat rectangular enclosure measuring 450 by 400 feet. Since the axis of this structure appeared to be east-west, some wonder whether the gate should not have stood in the center rather than in the northern edge of the enclosure’s western wall (as it now does).

“…Posnansky found along this axis various stones especially carved to permit astronomical observations; and his conclusions that the Kalasasaya was an ingenious celestial observatory is now accepted as a matter of fact.

“The most obvious archaeological remains of the Kakasasaya have been the standing pillars… Of particular interest to Posnansky were eleven pillars erected alongside the terrace protruding from the center of the western wall… His measurements (in relation with the structure)… convinced him that the Kalasasaya was built by people with ultramodern knowledge of astronomy for the precise fixing of the equinoxes as well of the solstices.

“The architectural drawings of Edmund Kiss (Das Sonnentor von Tihuanaku), based on Posnansky’s work as well as on his own measurements and evaluations, envision (probably correctly) the structure inside the enclosure as a hollow stage-pyramid: a structure whose outer walls rise in stages but only to surround a central open-air square courtyard. The principal monumental stairway was in the center of the eastern wall; the principal observation points were in the centers of the two wider terraces that completed the “pyramid” on the west.

“It was on this point that Posnansky made his most startling discovery with the explosive ramifications. By measuring the distances and angles between the two solstice points, he realized that the obliquity of the Earth against the Sun on which the astronomical aspects of the Kalasasaya were based did not conform to the 23.5 degrees of our present era.

“The obliquity of the ecliptic, as the scientific term is, for the orientation of the Kalasasaya‘s astronomical lines of sight, he found, was 23° 8′ 48“. Based on the formulas determined by astronomers at the International Conference of Ephemerides in Paris in 1911, which takes into account the geographical position and elevation of the site, this meant that the Kalasasaya was built circa 15,000 B.C.!

“Announcing that Tiahuanacu was the oldest city in the world, one that was “built before the Flood,” Posnansky inevitably aroused the wrath of the scientific community of his time; for it was held then, based on the theories of Max Uhle, that Tiahuanacu was established some time at the beginning of the Christian era.

After investigations were carried out on site by various entities from Germany and the Vatican it was agreed that:

“…The Kalasasaya was indeed an astronomical-calendrical observatory… Posnansky was essentially correct about the obliquity… The astronomical team concluded that the results could indeed indicate a date circa 15,000 B.C., but also one of 9,300 B.C. depending on the curved used.

“Needless to say, even the latter date was simply unacceptable to the scientific community… Further studies were conducted in Peru and Bolivia, teaming up with Posnansky in Tiahuanacu… different possible points were taken into consideration… Rolf Muller published a definite report in the leading scientific journal Baesseler Archiv (vol. 14) in which he stated all the alternatives and concluded that if the angle of 24° 6′ is to be accepted as the most accurate, the obliquity curve would cross this reading at either 10,000 B.C. or 4000 B.C.

Posnansky was invited to address the Twenty-Third International Congress of Americanists… conceding that this was “thorny material,” he left the matter hanging by agreeing that it needs further study.

“Such studies have indeed been conducted, even if not directly at Tiahuanacu. We have already mentioned that the calendar of the Incas indicated a Beginning in the Age of the Bull, not of Aries (the Ram)… And we have also referred to the research, along totally different lines of investigation, by Maria Schulten de D’Ebneth which led her to conclude that the Grid of Viracocha conformed to an obliquity of 24° 8′ and thus to the date 3172 B.C. (by her calculations).

“…The official 1981 report by Carlos Ponce Sangines… states that samples of organic matter found at this location (excavations on the east side of Kalasasaya) gave radiocarbon readings of 1580 B.C…This does not preclude an older age for the stone structures making up the site. Indeed Ponce Sangines himself revealed in a subsequent study… that new dating techniques called Obsidian Hydration gave the earlier date 2134 B.C. for obsidian objects found at the Kalasasaya.

“But why was Tiahuanaco established, at this site, at that early time?

“In view of our own conclusions that the original (and practical) purpose of Teotihuacan (Mexico) and its edifices was expressed by the site’s waterworks, within and alongside the two pyramids; the water channels inside the Akapana (Bolivia) and throughout Tiahuanacu assume a central role. Was Tiahuanacu established where it was as a processing facility? And if so, of what?

“…The discovery of the “small green pebbles,” Significantly, the boulders in the retaining walls in the piers of Puma-Punku (Kiss had envisioned a quay at the edge of the Lake) have also turned green. That can mean only one thing: exposure to copper, for it is oxidized copper that gives stone and soil their greenish color (just as the presence of oxidized iron rends a red-brown hue).

“What Tiahuanacu was the source of should have been clear from the very meaning of the name of its location: Titicaca… It was there, the legends tell, that the rays of the Sun had struck Titikalla, the sacred rock… It was there at the sacred rock, that Viracocha granted the divine wand to Manco Capac.

“…Titi in the Aymara language was the name of a metal – either lead or tin, according to linguists.

Titikalla, we suggest, meant the “Rock of Tin.” Titicaca meant “Stone of Tin.” And Lake Titicaca was the lake that was the source of tin.

Tin, and bronze, were the products for which Tiahuanacu was established – right where its ruins still enchant.

Continue to Chapter 11: A Land of Which the Ingots Come