Monday, December 24, 2012

The Mystery of Tiwanaku / Phase 8

From about 1-300 AD. Tricolor pottery in geometric designs, decorated with images of stylized animals was being made at Tiwanaku.
Tiwanaku Bottle depicting Wiracocha (Viracocha)

The construction of the Kalasasaya complex continued.  Large stones of exceptional workmanship characterize Tiwanaku monumental architecture. In contrast, to the masonry style of the Inca.  Tiwanaku stone architecture usually employs rectangular ashlar blocks in regular courses, and monumental structures were frequently fitted with elaborate drainage systems.
Tiwanaku-Kalasasaya Complex Courtyard
The Kalasasaya (kala for stone; saya or sayasta for standing up) or Stepped Stones Complex is a major archaeological structure that is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tiwanaku. The Kalasasaya is a low platform mound with a large courtyard that is surrounded by high stonewalls. The Kalasasaya is about 120 by 130 meters in dimension and aligned to the cardinal directions. Like the other platform mounds within Tiwanaku, it has a central sunken court (The Subterranean Temple). A monumental staircase through an opening in its eastern wall can reach the sunken court.
Tiwanaku- Ashlar blocks
The walls are composed of sandstone pillars that alternated with sections of smaller blocks of Ashlar masonry and incorporate tenon heads of many different styles. Ashlar blocks were cemented together by gravel and clay.
Tiwanaku- Close-up of a Tenon head
East of the main entrance to Kalasasaya Complex is the Templete Semisubterraneo, or the Semi-subterranean Temple (or Subterranean Temple). Some think this temple represents the Underworld, while Kalasasaya symbolizes the Earth. Made of red sandstone, the Subterranean Temple measures 26 meters by 28 meters in area and includes a rectangular sunken courtyard. Its walls are decorated with 175 intriguing sculptures of human faces. Some of the faces strongly resemble modern depictions of aliens, which naturally has led to some interesting speculations.
In the Museum in La Paz-The Subterranean Temple Collection
Many theories for Tiwanaku's architecture construction have been proposed. One is that they used a measurement called a luk’a, which is a standard measurement of about sixty centimeters. Another argument is for the Pythagorean Ratio. This idea calls for right triangles at a ratio of five to four to three used in the gateways to measure all parts. Lastly, some argue that Tiwanaku had a system set for individual elements dependent on context and composition. This is shown in the construction of similar gateways ranging from diminutive to monumental size proving that scaling factors did not affect proportion. With each added element, the individual pieces shifted to fit together.
Tiwanaku, Kalasasaya Complex Entrance

The Kalasasaya Complex is a large courtyard over three hundred feet long, outlined by a high gateway. It is located to the north of the Akapana Pyramid and west of the Subterranean Temple.  The walls of Subterranean Temple are covered with tenon heads of many different styles postulating that it was probably reused for different purposes over time.  The largest stone block in the Kalasasaya Complex is estimated to weigh 26.95 metric tons.
Tiwanaku areaial vew of Kass.Comp.

Aerial View of the Kalasasaya Complex