Based on a personal interest in the subject matter, I would like to bring up the topic of Cyclopean Masonry
which mainly refers to stonework in
Characteristic for this architecture are massive limestone boulders that are fitted together with minimal clearance between adjacent stones and no use
of mortar. This building style cannot only be seen in Greece but in other parts of the world as well.
In many cases the creators of these massive stone structures are either unknown or subject to intense debates. The discussion seems to be more
difficult when sites involve different periods of settlement and building activities.
In some cases the architecture displays different styles of masonry, whereas the foundation layers often refer to an earlier period while containing
massive stones (up to several hundred tons) featuring precision fitting
with little or no space left to adjacent stones. Layers added on top
tend to consist of increasingly smaller stones with the topmost layers often using mortar.
Here goes an early definition of the various cyclopean building styles:
Harry Thurston Peck, writing in 1898, divided Cyclopean masonry into four categories or styles:
1. The first style (...) consists of unwrought stones of various sizes in which the gaps are, or were, filled with small stones.
2. The second is characterized by polygonal stones, which fit against each other with precision.
3. The third style includes structures in Phocis, Boeotia and Argolis. It is characterized by work made in courses and by stones of unequal size, but
of the same height. This category includes the walls of Mycenae, the Lion Gate, and the Treasury of Atreus.
4. The fourth style is characterized by horizontal courses of masonry, not always of the same height, but of stones which are all rectangular. This
style is common in Attica.
Source: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, 1898.
But let's have a look at a few examples of cyclopean structures:
1. Citadel of Mycenae, Greece
2. Treasury of Atreus, Greece
Note: The lintel stone on top of the entrance is estimated to weigh approximately 120 tons (which would roughly be the
equivalent to the weight of two M1 Abrams battle tanks, just for comparison)
3. Keramikos Cemetary, Greece
4. Messene, Greece
5. Sacsayhuaman, Peru
Precision Fitting even around corners(!):
In my view, some aspects of the cyclopean building styles are so unique, that I couldn't resist thinking about a potenital connection between the
sites in Greece and those of Peru, Sacsayhuaman in particular.
A comparison reveals some of the interesting similarities:
Whoever created these early structures left us an amazing cultural heritage in architecural terms but not a lot of clues as to how they achieved this
incredible work. Whether this has been done with manpower, ordinary tools or something more sophisticated, I'll certainly always remain deeply
impressed by the awe-inspiring sight of such masonry!
P.S.: I hope you enjoyed the comparison and I know there are already some threads touching on Incas, Peru, Mycenae etc., but I thought this might
illustrate the story from a different perspective ...
Further reading: Mysteries of Ancient Greece