I noticed that, whenever Puma Punku is being discussed, people often ask whether or not the
were designed to interconnect. I found two sources that may shed light on
this question, it won't completely demystify the Puma Punku riddle but it might help getting a bit closer to the true intentions of the builders. But
first, let's have a look at two rather special block fragments that can be found at the Puma Punku site:
These seem to be unrelated at first, but when looking closely at the fractures and edges, it seems likely that these were once part of a single block.
They also seem to contain an H-Block segment, as the following animation shows (own work):
The horizontal lines of the cornices align perfectly when assembled in this fashion. It's important to mention that the stylized H-Block as shown
above is much smaller
than the original ones, which suggests that these two fragments may have been a model
of what the final
construction might have looked like (at least in parts). There are also other hints that the builders of the time in that region seemed to use smaller
scale stone models to illustrate design principles as can be seen here
Punku, note the steps) and also here
(Sayhuite Boulder, Peru).
Early illustration of miniature model block at Puma Punku
There are even other features that are found in both large and small sizes, like the embossed cross elements shown below (larger images of each block
can also be viewed here
If we now consider that these are in fact models for a life-size version, one could probably assume that the front face patterns of the H-Blocks (and
those of some of the other blocks at Puma Punku) mainly served ornamental and not so much functional purposes. This seems to be substantiated by the
fact that we find at least three different types of H-Blocks at the site (all varying slightly in dimensions and artwork). The design of the blocks,
in general, also seems to be inspired by the Chakana
(or Andean Cross) which is a common feature
throughout Andean culture and architecture.
In addition to the above, it should be mentioned that German archaeologist Max Uhle and geologist Alphons Stübel already proposed a similar solution
for a probable H-Block configuration as intended by the builders. In their publication
"The Ruins of Tihuanaco in the Highlands of Ancient Peru"
, one of the
earliest but definitley most extensive archaeological descriptions of Puma Punku, they come up with the diagram below (also see "Part Two: Text"
For those interested in accurate measurements of the various blocks at Puma Punku, it may be worth taking a closer look at Uhle's and Stübel's
, since they provide a lot of detailed information about the site,
including pretty precise depictions of the many megaliths they encountered during their field trip back in 1892 (see examples below, click thumbnails
for larger versions).
The entire PDF can be donwloaded here
via the download button in two versions
(48mb or 176mb, the large file size is due to the many drawings included in the publication).
While there have been quite a few attempts of a theoretical reconstruction of the site, for example
I haven't seen any that takes into account the model character of the smaller blocks as indicated in this thread.
Open questions remain
To me, the industrial-style look, the modular layout and the unknown stoneworking methods are still intriguing (to say the least). It's almost a
contradiction when looking at the overall finish
of the stonework and, embedded therein, the ornamental features known from traditional Andean
Please note that this thread focused mainly on the H-Blocks and their implementation in the overall design concept. Of course there are many other
elements at Puma Punku that indeed seem to be more of functional rather than ornamental nature (eg. various ancient water pipe segments, blocks with
t-grooves meant to interconnect via metal clamps and a number of strangely shaped blocks of unknown purpose).
However, I do hope that digging deeper into the ground will bring to light even more hints and insights allowing us to, step by step, unravel the
mystery of this fascinating site.
SOURCES AND LINKS:
01. Monolithic Madness: H-Blocks Puma Punku
02. The Ruins of Tihuanaco in the Highlands of Ancient Peru
03. Puma Punku Reconstruction: Visualization 1
04. Puma Punku Reconstruction: Visualization 2
05. More information about geologist Alphons Stübel
06. Influence of the Chakana/Inca Cross on Andean Architecture
07. Bio of archaeologist Max Uhle
edit on 11-6-2017 by jeep3r because: formatting