“Tiahuanaco” is the Spanish spelling for this site and is what I will use in this post. Located in Western Bolivia it was first discovered by the Conquistador Pedro Cieza de Leon who came upon the ruins in 1549 as he was searching for the Inca capital. It’s now believed that Tiahuanaco was inhabited around 1500 BC when it may have been a simple and small farming site. It is also believed that the site became a ceremonial and cosmological center sometime around 300 BC lasting until around 300 AD. Some researchers believe the site was a place of pilgrimage and achieved an important place before the Tiwanaku people began to expand their empire.
It’s most likely that since the fall of the Tiwanaku this site has been looted and destroyed by locals and others. For example the locals took stones from the site to use in their own building and wall construction. The railroad used material from the site to build their railroads. And the military used to use the site for target practice! The result was that no standing buildings survived at the site and all that remains are the foundations that now form the foot of reconstructed walls in modern times! Further, buildings originally at the site appear to have been used for different purposes over time and this explains why there is a mix of artifacts today.
Back in the 1960’s the Bolivian government launched an effort to “restore” the site and “reconstruct” at least parts of it. One of these “restorations” involved reconstructing the wall around the temple (Kalasasaya). It is believed that the original wall stones resembled a Stonehenge style meaning the stones stood upright and were evenly spaced apart. The reconstruction of the wall, however, was NOT based on research nor is the modern wall of high quality stonework. Additionally, the famous Gateway of the Sun which is now within the Kalasasaya compound was MOVED there and, thus, is NOT in its original position! Also, the Gateway of the Sun was cemented back together after it was split apparently by an earthquake. Continue Reading