Puma Punku (or Puma Pumku), a mysterious site located in Bolivia, has astounded archaeologists. It is part of a larger archaeological complex known as Tiahuanacu, and is considered to be one of the most important sites of Andean history.
An Austrian explorer named Arthur Posnansky performed a study on Puma Punku back in 1926. According to him and his supporters, Puma Punku is considered to be one of the oldest archaeological sites on the face of Earth, dating back to 13,000 BCE. Another group of archaeologists used the (unreliable) carbon dating method to date the site to about 400 AD.
The most intriguing thing about Puma Punku is the stonework. The red sandstone and andesite stones were cut in such a precise way that it’s as if they were cut using a diamond tool, and they can fit perfectly into and lock with each other. Another phenomenon of engineering is that each stone weighs up to 800 tons. Interviews with modern day stone masons have revealed that even with today’s advanced technology, it would be almost impossible to replicate the precision observed in the stones found at Puma Punka.
The way the blocks are scattered probably means that the buildings were probably destroyed by something or someone.
According to the local myths, Puma Punku is related to the Gods and the time of the first creation. The legend states that the first inhabitants had supernatural powers and were able to move stones from the ground and carry them through the air using sounds. The Inca tribes accept those legends and deny that their ancestors built it.
Isn’t it possible that these buildings were built by the ‘Gods’—as in super advanced beings—as the legends say? Taking into account our definition about myth, it is possible.
However, it is important to also see the other side of the coin. It is true that these stones could be manufactured with either stone or metallic tools, since Andean cultures were skilled with metals. Ropes and wood could have been used to transfer the blocks and put them in place. Adding to the fact that stones from Puma Punku were later used for churches and houses in nearby cities, the logical assumption that it was built by pre-Andean civilizations becomes stronger.
We still do not have a definite answer as to who the creators of Puma Punku are; however, archaeologists have recently used radar to discover what seems to be an underground chamber. Head archaeologist Domingo Mendoza stated that his team believes the chamber may be a tomb about 10 feet underground.
No excavations have yet been done, but it may answer the question of the site’s origin.
You can read an interesting pre-1900 description of the area here.
Puma Punku is an intriguing place and deserves a visit.