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The mysteries of the temple of the moon, within the stone city of Tiahuanaco

The mysteries of the temple of the moon, the puma gate (puma punku), within the stone city of Tiahuanaco

Arthur Posnansky's book “Tiahuanaco, the cradle of American man” (1945) is the fundamental text for anyone who wants to approach the study of the great Andean archaeological site in a serious and objective way.

Posnansky, who was undoubtedly a great scholar of Tiahuanaco, was harshly criticized by the academic establishment (and simultaneously idolized by pseudo-scientific writers), for his famous dating of the foundation of Kalasasaya, dating back to 15,000 BC.

This dating, as I described in my article "Archeoastronomy in Tiahuanaco", it is not currently verifiable as the Austrian archaeologist took it for certain that the Kalasasaya had been built in a perfect way, oriented on the meridian, and this fact can only be assumed, but not verify scientifically.

The Kalasasaya temple
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The Kalasasaya temple

For the rest, Posnansky never mentioned, not even remotely, in his book, a civilization equipped with "technological tools" that built Tiahuanaco and Puma Punku, but instead explained in a serious and in-depth way how and why all the megalithic monuments were built of the site in question and how the Cyclopean blocks were transported.

Some pseudo-scientific authors have concentrated on underlining that it would have been "impossible" for the ancient Andean people to transport those boulders, and cut them so perfectly, and therefore they argued that Tiahuanaco and Puma Punku must have been built "by force" with technological tools typical of an "antediluvian technological civilization", of which, however, no definitive proof has ever been found.

It is another thing to support the idea that there were antediluvian civilizations, but not technological ones.

So let's go back to the Puma Punku, its functions, the reason for its construction, and how boulders weighing up to one hundred tons were transported and fitted together.

The Puma Punku site is located less than a kilometer southeast of Tiahuanaco. At first glance you notice some cyclopean boulders and various abandoned monolithic doors.

All the great scientists who have studied Puma Punku in depth, such as Catelnau, Tschudi and D'Orbigny, agree that it was the so-called Temple of the Moon, a star venerated in antiquity, as opposed to the Temple of the Sun, venerated in the Kalasasaya.

Another thesis of some writers is that there was no source of water in Tiahuanaco. This also does not correspond to the truth because an aqueduct fed by the small river called Waricoma (originating from Cerro Kentaua) flowed right in the vicinity of Puma Punku.

Posnansky argued that there were 3 periods in Tihuanaco, of which at least the first two were antediluvian.

According to the Austrian archaeologist, the Temple of the Moon began to be built in the antediluvian era, but was never finished.

Arthur Posnansky claims in his book that Puma Punku was initially conceived as a building 45 meters long and 16 meters wide.

According to the Austrian, however, it was precisely the upheaval of unprecedented power called the "deluge" that prevented the builders from completing the work in the first and second periods.

Posnansky claims that the construction of the Temple of the Moon continued during the third period, after the flood therefore, when the architect-priests of the Andean culture already knew metallurgy and therefore bronze, obtained as we know, from the fusion of tin and copper.

As for the transportation of the heaviest boulders, Posnansky explains his theory, which seems to be the most logical.

First of all, the quarry where the largest boulders were obtained was identified. It is called Quenachata and is located in the Quimzachata mountain range, about 10 kilometers from Tiahuanaco.

If you look at the ten holes located in the lower part of the most colossal boulder weighing one hundred tons (main figure), you will notice that they are about 30 cm wide.

Well, according to Posnansky, these hollows were used to insert very sturdy tree trunks called Kholo, which were transported directly from the high forest called Yungas.

Then, using the concept of leverage, at least 15 men per trunk (ten in total), were able to push the cyclopean block over slippery and almost spherical stones, obtained from river beds, which served as a cushion. Obviously, since they had a limited number of river stones, once they had transported the colossal block over a certain distance, they moved the river stones from the pavement and replaced them on the next part.

We must also realize that during the construction of Tiahuanaco and Puma Punku, the high caste of architect-priests had absolute power over masses of thousands of slave workers who were subjected to iron discipline.

According to Posnansky, the one indicated was only one of the methods for transporting colossal blocks of andesite. Another method would have been water transportation, since Tiahuanaco was a port city. From the Kjappia mountain range, located on the Yunguyo isthmus, the less heavy blocks were transported on totora boats which at first sight may seem unstable but which in reality have excellent navigability qualities and can be coupled to increase their portability.

Returning to the function of the Temple of the Moon, Posnansky points out that it was conceived to be built with a series of internal spaces, at least four rooms and twelve "niches". According to Posnansky, as many "sacred pumas", live animals, dedicated to the cult of the Moon, had to be placed in the niches.

For Posnansky, in fact, while the puma and the jaguar themselves were to be associated with the Moon, the condor or the eagle were to be associated with the Sun, whose cult however was later, and blossomed only in the third period, the post-diluvian one.

The puma, in addition to being the symbol of the Moon, was also the symbol of the night, of women and of water.

Another peculiarity of the petreous portals of Puma Punku is that in its bas-reliefs there are small holes. These holes were used to support the gold plates that were superimposed on them, with gold nails.

According to Posnansky, in Puma Punku there are the remains of four large portals, today in ruins.

In particular, what he calls "Puma Punku" is a small portal, 617 mm high and 370 mm wide, therefore not suitable for the passage of human beings. According to Posnansky it was intended for the passage of felines who were then caged in their respective niches.

As regards the possible archaeoastronomical functions of the Puma Punku, Posnansky points out that while the function of the Kalasasaya petrean almanac is known, for the Puma Punku it is much more difficult to arrive at some interpretation, precisely because the archaeological site came to us in very different conditions from how it was conceived, following the various lootings perpetrated from the Spanish conquest onwards.

The puerta del sol (Gateway of the Sun)
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The puerta del sol (Gateway of the Sun)

The Austrian archaeologist, however, intuited that the high caste of architect-priests had profound Seleno-Gnostic knowledge and was able to predict lunar eclipses, and thus control the masses of peasants who feared this event. According to him, they had noticed that lunar eclipses occurred during certain “full moon” periods. As a result they understood that during lunar eclipses the Earth casts a shadow on the Moon.

One last detail: for Posnansky the Puma Punku coincided with the port area of ​​Tiahuanaco, and therefore it was the place where the boats arriving from various ports on Lake Titicaca docked.

Travelers came to Puma Punku to pay homage to the Paximama, or Goddess of the Moon, where priests (or priestesses?) of the Moon performed their rites, sacrifices, and danced to the sound of sweet instruments, accompanied by the distant roar of the pumas, caged in the niches of the temple.

All this in contrast to the Temple of the Sun, in a combination between the condor and the puma, which kept Tiahuanaco society in balance.

Only later did the cult of the serpent arise, introduced by the new Amazonian ethnic groups who settled in Tiahuanaco, thus slowly giving rise to that concept of the Andean Trinity which is still permeated in popular culture today.

Yuri Leveratto

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