Puma Punku - also called “Puma Pumku” or “Puma Puncu“, is part of a large temple complex or monument group that is part of the Tiwanaku Site near Tiwanaku, Bolivia. In Aymara, its name means, “The Door of the Puma“. The Puma Punku complex consists of an unwalled western court, a central unwalled esplanade, a terraced platform mound that is faced with megalithic stone, and a walled eastern court. The Puma Punku is a terraced earthen mound that is faced with megalithic blocks. It is 167.36 meters wide along its north-south axis and 116.7 meters long along its east-west axis. On the northeast and southeast corners of the Puma Punku it has 20-meter wide projections that extend 27.6 meters north and south from the rectangular mound. The eastern edge of the Puma Punku is occupied by what is called the “Plataforma Lítica.” The Plataforma Lítica consists of a stone terrace that is 6.75 by 38.72 meters in dimension. This terrace is paved with multiple enormous stone blocks. The Plataforma Lítica contains the largest stone slab found in both the Puma Punku and Tiwanaku Site. This stone slab is 7.81 meters long, 5.17 meters wide and averages 1.07 meters thick. Based upon the specific gravity of the red sandstone from which it was carved, this stone slab has been estimated to weigh 131 metric tons. The other stonework and facing of the Puma Punku consists of a mixture of andesite and red sandstone. The core of the Puma Punku consists of clay. The fill underlying selected parts of the edge of the Puma Punku consists of river sand and cobbles instead of clay. Excavations at the Puma Punku have documented “three major building epochs, in addition to small repairs and remodeling.”
The biggest mystery that surrounds Puma Punku is the etchings in the stone. There is no debate that the precision of the cuts are “machine like” to perfection. Even today, with all of our technology, it would be difficult to replicate these etchings. Consider that the only way primitive man could have made these cuts in these stones is with tools laced with diamonds. Diamonds are the only thing strong enough to cut into these stones. Yet, no tool has ever been uncovered or discovered nor has any diamonds been found on or even remotely near the site. In fact, even the stones were transported from over 300 miles away. No tools? No diamonds? The largest stone found weighs 131 metric tons? This leaves many to wonder how did they do it? Where did they get the technology? Ancient astronaut theorists believe that they had help from the heavens.
At its peak, Puma Punku is thought to have been “unimaginably wondrous“, adorned with polished metal plaques, brightly colored ceramic and fabric ornamentation, trafficked by costumed citizens, elaborately dressed priests and elites decked in exotic jewelry. Current understanding of this complex is limited due to its age, the lack of a written record, the current deteriorated state of the structures due to treasure hunting, looting, stone mining for building stone and railroad ballast, and natural weathering.
The area within the kilometer separating the Puma Punku and Kalasasaya complexes has been surveyed using ground-penetrating radar, magnetometry, induced electrical conductivity, and magnetic susceptibility. The geophysical data collected from these surveys and excavations have revealed in the area between the Puma Punku and Kalasasaya complexes the presence of numerous man-made structures. These structures include the wall foundations of buildings and compounds, water conduits, pool-like features, revetments, terraces, residential compounds, and widespread gravel pavements all of which now lie buried and hidden beneath the modern ground’s surface.
Determining the age of the Puma Punku complex has been a focus of researchers since the discovery of the Tiwanaku site. As noted by Andean specialist, Binghamton University Anthropology professor W. H. Isbell, a radiocarbon date was obtained by Vranich from organic material from lowermost and oldest layer of mound-fill forming the Puma Punku. This layer was deposited during the first of three construction epochs and dates the initial construction of the Puma Punku at 1510 ±25 B.P. C14 (AD 440; calibrated, AD 536–600). Since the radiocarbon date came from the lowermost and oldest layer of mound-fill underlying the andesite and sandstone stonework, the stonework must have been constructed sometime after 1510 ±25 B.P. C14. The excavation trenches of Vranich show that the clay, sand, and gravel fill of the Puma Punku complex lie directly on the sterile middle Pleistocene sediments. These excavation trenches also demonstrated the lack of any pre-Andean Middle Horizon cultural deposits within the area of the Tiwanaku Site adjacent to the Pumapunku complex.
It is theorized the Puma Punku complex as well as its surrounding temples, the Akapana pyramid, Kalasasaya, Putuni and Kerikala functioned as spiritual and ritual centers for the Tiwanaku. This area might have been viewed as the center of the Andean world, attracting pilgrims from far away to marvel in its beauty. These structures transformed the local landscape; Puma Punku was purposely integrated with Illimani mountain, a sacred peak that the Tiwanaku possibly believed to be home to the spirits of their dead. This area was believed to have existed between heaven and Earth. The spiritual significance and the sense of wonder would have been amplified into a “mind-altering and life-changing experience“ through the use of hallucinogenic plants. Examinations of hair samples exhibit remnants of psychoactive substances in many mummies found in Tiwanaku culture mummies from Northern Chile, even those of babies as young as one year of age, demonstrating the importance of these substances to the Tiwanaku.
As was characteristic of civilizations around this time, the Tiwanaku actively incorporated human sacrifice into their culture. The remains of dismembered bodies have been found throughout the area. Ceramic artifacts depict imagery of warriors, masked with puma skulls, decapitating their enemies and holding trophy skulls, adorned with belts of human heads with their tongues torn out.
There is no absolute certainty as to what exactly took place in Puma Punku because they left behind no written records of any kind. All legends have been handed down through the generations. Scientists today are still scratching their heads and wondering, who were these ancient builders? How did they build this city? What technology did they use? Where did they get that technology? And even more, where did these ancient people go? Like the Mayans, they left no clue as to where they went or why they abandoned their city. A city that dates back 4000 to 7000 years ago.
Ancient astronaut theorists believe they know the answers. And just like the stars above, those answers exists in the heavens. They believe that the answers come from out of this world. Could there actually be other worldly possibilities?
Learn more about Puma Punku here:
Sources: The History Channel and Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumapunku
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