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Ancient Stonework of Peru

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Posted (edited)

post-86645-125128510832_thumb.jpgpost-86645-125128557726_thumb.jpg

If you are Interested... you might get best results by searching Incan Stonework... In Cuzco Peru some of this type of stonework is still in use ... built upon with later, smaller , less complex masonry and also spanish invader constructions. I'll look forward to some of the simple explanations for this stuff :) ,love, lightlyy

here is a good starter site... linked to other interesting ones... http://www.geocities.com/seqenenretaoii/sacsay.html

Edited by lightlyy

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post-86645-125128510832_thumb.jpgpost-86645-125128557726_thumb.jpg

If you are Interested... you might get best results by searching Incan Stonework... In Cuzco Peru some of this type of stonework is still in use ... built upon with later, smaller , less complex masonry and also spanish invader constructions. I'll look forward to some of the simple explanations for this stuff :) ,love, lightlyy

here is a good starter site... linked to other interesting ones... http://www.geocities.com/seqenenretaoii/sacsay.html

What do you need explained? Do you think the Inca were too stupid or too primitive to cut stone well, or are you going to try to convince us that your some manner of expert stonecutter and you /know/ it couldn't have been done by them with the tools available? I wasn't aware craftsmanship was an insoluble mystery.

--Jaylemurph

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Yep. That sure is ancient Peruvian stone work alright.

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What do you need explained? Do you think the Inca were too stupid or too primitive to cut stone well, or are you going to try to convince us that your some manner of expert stonecutter and you /know/ it couldn't have been done by them with the tools available? I wasn't aware craftsmanship was an insoluble mystery.

--Jaylemurph

You forgot to mention that they crudely cut rocks in gigantic pieces because they had all those advanced tools that could have made small and manageable blocks...

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You forgot to mention that they crudely cut rocks in gigantic pieces because they had all those advanced tools that could have made small and manageable blocks...

I have no pretensions 'bout knowin' nothin' 'bout no stone work, but I don't believe that's ever been pointed out to me before. It's very interesting. Like all really good answers, it has a elegant simplicity to it.

I mean, obviously, you're a blind fool for thinking the Inca could possibly do that on their own and that out past Basset Masters didn't heave them out of the living rock with their mighty computery fangs, but you do make a point. :lol:

--Jaylemurph

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You forgot to mention that they crudely cut rocks in gigantic pieces because they had all those advanced tools that could have made small and manageable blocks...

Crudely cut rocks !? Some have multiple interlocked and Perfectly joined angles ... one is famous for having 12 such angles .. but yes, some are Gigantic. No mystery here either i suppose.. and no Murph.. i don't think the Inca were stupid. Maybe this site should consider changing it's name to Easily Explained Stuff ? love, lightlyy

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Crudely cut rocks !? Some have multiple interlocked and Perfectly joined angles ... one is famous for having 12 such angles .. but yes, some are Gigantic. No mystery here either i suppose.. and no Murph.. i don't think the Inca were stupid. Maybe this site should consider changing it's name to Easily Explained Stuff ? love, lightlyy

Ok, let ,me put it this way: most of those stones were ground(probably the oldest stone working technique humanity knows... it exists since the Neolithic ... to fit in with other stones. An advanced technique would be to cut the stone into manageable and stack able units...like say the Egyptians of the Old Kingdom used.

So...no nothing advanced here...only the determination of getting a job done. In this case, to build foundations and fortifications.

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I think the answer is somewhat more complex than "not being able to cut the stones small enough" , as the evidence clearly show they knew how to do more than cutting the stones.

Personally i have been pondering upon the possibility that they were made the way they were to be better protected against earth quakes? Then it would make more sense to make them large and heavy with many corners locked into eachother instead of just bunch of small blocks stacked upon eachother, at least sensible enough to try it out and see how that would work.

Cheers,

EA

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I think the answer is somewhat more complex than "not being able to cut the stones small enough" , as the evidence clearly show they knew how to do more than cutting the stones.

Personally i have been pondering upon the possibility that they were made the way they were to be better protected against earth quakes? Then it would make more sense to make them large and heavy with many corners locked into eachother instead of just bunch of small blocks stacked upon eachother, at least sensible enough to try it out and see how that would work.

Cheers,

EA

Your speculations are consistent with some of the professional observations regarding the building methods.

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Ok, let ,me put it this way: most of those stones were ground(probably the oldest stone working technique humanity knows... it exists since the Neolithic ... to fit in with other stones. An advanced technique would be to cut the stone into manageable and stack able units...like say the Egyptians of the Old Kingdom used.

So...no nothing advanced here...only the determination of getting a job done. In this case, to build foundations and fortifications.

Thank You questionmark .. since a picture is worth a thousand words.. the link i provided (post #1.. page 1) has several good pictures showing the immense scale of some of the constructions. If the stones were "ground" as you say ,and i'm not disputing your statement, that leaves two possibilities ... either they were hoisted and lowered repeatedly until they fit PERFECTLY , as they do.. not just at the surface but entirely through.. or.. the builders had methods of measurement so accurate as to make them fit Perfectly without repeated lifting and lowering. Either way is still a complete mystery to me.. but then everything in existence is a complete mystery to me. I can't help but wonder how long it might take to grind even one of those stones into shape... let alone all of them... has that much time passed yet? Of course if it takes one worker a thousand days to grind a stone.. a thousand workers could grind a stone in one day.. hey! move over!!!! and no.. i'm not suggesting alien intervention but i am suggesting that ,perhaps, we don't fully understand all the possibilities of the physical environment in times past or all of the capabilities of Peoples past. To be honest.. it always astounds me when people look at such things and conclude that they are completely ordinary and easily explained .. excuse me if i am still mystified? thanks, love, lightlyy

Edited by lightlyy

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Thank You questionmark .. since a picture is worth a thousand words.. the link i provided (post #1.. page 1) has several good pictures showing the immense scale of some of the constructions. If the stones were "ground" as you say ,and i'm not disputing your statement, that leaves two possibilities ... either they were hoisted and lowered repeatedly until they fit PERFECTLY , as they do.. not just at the surface but entirely through.. or.. the builders had methods of measurement so accurate as to make them fit Perfectly without repeated lifting and lowering. Either way is still a complete mystery to me.. but then everything in existence is a complete mystery to me. I can't help but wonder how long it might take to grind even one of those stones into shape... let alone all of them... has that much time passed yet? Of course if it takes one worker a thousand days to grind a stone.. a thousand workers could grind a stone in one day.. hey! move over!!!! and no.. i'm not suggesting alien intervention but i am suggesting that ,perhaps, we don't fully understand all the possibilities of the physical environment in times past or all of the capabilities of Peoples past. To be honest.. it always astounds me when people look at such things and conclude that they are completely ordinary and easily explained .. excuse me if i am still mystified? thanks, love, lightlyy

Maybe they drew the shapes on the quarry wall or floor then cut it out like a cake and then reassembled it.

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I believe there is a widespread prejudice against polygonal masonry, which is probably a consequence of it resulting less pleasing to the modern western eye than regular, symmetric masonry.

Indeed, Polygonal masonry is much more complex and advanced than symmetric masonry as it requires to work very complex angles in order to achieve the almost perfect fit we see in ancient megalithic stonework. that the megalithic builders of Sachsaywaman were perfectly able to shape neat square blocks is widely proven by the wonderful stonework of the Qorikancha, also in Cuzco and Ollantaytambo. Here below are pictures I took of the fortress of Ollantaytambo in 2007, possibly the finest example of ancient stonework in all of Peru.

ollantamuropolinl0.jpg

ollantaportagi5.jpg

See also the "throne of the Incas" on Rodadero Hill, just in front of Sachsaywaman, Cuzco:

tronoyq4.jpg

The level of craftmanship which is shown by the stonework of Ancient Peru is unparalleled in all of the ancient world. To pretend the ancient Peruvians used dolerite balls to shape granite and diorite is ludicrous.

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I think the answer is somewhat more complex than "not being able to cut the stones small enough" , as the evidence clearly show they knew how to do more than cutting the stones.

Personally i have been pondering upon the possibility that they were made the way they were to be better protected against earth quakes? Then it would make more sense to make them large and heavy with many corners locked into eachother instead of just bunch of small blocks stacked upon eachother, at least sensible enough to try it out and see how that would work.

Cheers,

EA

Which is most probably the bigger part of the explanation, I was talking mostly about the technique used using my typical exaggerated formulating.

The Incas and Quechua were better metallurgists then the Egyptians, but that should not be surprising as they had at least 2000 years longer to experiment( America's metallurgy was discovered around 1500 BCE).Yet in this case they used mostly abrasive methods to get the stones in form. As we can see, except for these foundation walls they hardly used any masonry techniques at all for their other buildings but mostly used stones as are to build their houses and palaces:

the_inca_quarry_trail_hor02.jpg

What is questionable is whether the gigantic boulders used were actually quarried and brought to the construction site (would be quite a feat as anyone who knows the Peruvian Quarry Trail could testify) or they were used because they were in the vicinity and had just to be moved a few yards and bought to form.

Yet, there are points of comparison with other cultures, and that is thatthey achieved these amazing construction feats at a time where a highly efficient agriculture and administration, making it possible to free large numbers of people to do these jobs.

And that is mostly the "big secret": efficient administration.

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Maybe they drew the shapes on the quarry wall or floor then cut it out like a cake and then reassembled it.

Most likely they picked a stone that could fit and worked both parts until they had a match. That was their habitual construction technique as you can see from the Machu Pichu image above (this time just fitting the stone roughly).

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I have studied some of the stonework of Peru myself, and to me it looks like there are at least two different builders, both incan and pre-incan, it seems like the Incans may have built on top of already existing foundations. It makes absolutely no sense that they would take so much time into such great stone work in some places, and be so totally sloppy and bad at the very same in other places, sometimes even one place show the difference between this stone work, having one part of really wonderful and complex stone work, mixed in with really sloppy ugly work that seem to have been performed later by someone else.

In several places it seems like the obvious older work was much greater in quality than the later work, by looking at what is the foundation compared to upper parts of structures and buildings.

Of course it could be possible that there were only a few with the needed skills and experience to build the more complex work and that these for some reason stopped building, because of deaths or diseaes, and that other less experienced people took over which could explain it. But the amount of work seem to indicate there were two different cultures separated in time working there.

PS: Beautiful photos Dark_lord, feel free to post some more of those :)

-EA

Edited by darkbreed

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Those ancient Inca stone works are not as great against earthquakes as has always been assumed.

I have visited Machu Pichu, and there is a wall, built with those irragular stones, that's been cracked by an earth quake.

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Most likely they picked a stone that could fit and worked both parts until they had a match. That was their habitual construction technique as you can see from the Machu Pichu image above (this time just fitting the stone roughly).

I was replying to the pictures in the first post. Just a thought. The pics in your post of Machu Pichu have similar building method to some of the stone structures in Ireland. Even fog hanging around. Are you sure Machu Pichu isn't in Ireland. I can feel a conspiracy coming on :blink:

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Those ancient Inca stone works are not as great against earthquakes as has always been assumed.

I have visited Machu Pichu, and there is a wall, built with those irragular stones, that's been cracked by an earth quake.

I think you are referring to the retaining wall of the so called "Main Temple" (Temple of the Sun) on the Sacred Square.

But you are citing one of the very few examples of Incan (pre-Incan?) stonework built of square blocks. :w00t:

Square masonry does not claim to have any anti-seismic property at all (except for that which results from the sheer weight of the stones themselves or the interlocking devices, such as bronze or copper clamps which were sometimes placed inbetween the blocks).

It is polygonal masonry which has well known anti-seismic properties. The true polygonal walls of Peru are only paralleled in the ancient world by the megalithic constructions of pre-historic Italy and Greece, whose anti-seismic properties have made them withstand tens, perhaps hundreds of destructive earthquakes in the course of thousands of years.

I very much agree with Darkbreed that one easily sees in a number of sites in Peru, including Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, Pisaq and Cuzco, that the most advanced type of masonry (that is, polygonal, cyclopean masonry) is also the oldest; and one can easily compare it to the relative rudeness of the superimposed Inca structures. This is something which is also found in the prehistoric Mediterranean, when the classic Greeks and the Romans built upon pre-existing cyclopean masonry of unkown date and origin using more "primitive" techniques, such as those of square masonry, which have not withtstood as well the passing of time.

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I think you are referring to the retaining wall of the so called "Main Temple" (Temple of the Sun) on the Sacred Square.

But you are citing one of the very few examples of Incan (pre-Incan?) stonework built of square blocks. w00t.gif

No, it was a crack in a typical Incan wall with irregalar, polygonic shaped stones. I was there in 1991, so they may have repaired it by now (and made the crack nearly invisible).

.

Edited by Abramelin

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I was replying to the pictures in the first post. Just a thought. The pics in your post of Machu Pichu have similar building method to some of the stone structures in Ireland. Even fog hanging around. Are you sure Machu Pichu isn't in Ireland. I can feel a conspiracy coming on :blink:

Yep...and you get there through a space portal....

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I was replying to the pictures in the first post. Just a thought. The pics in your post of Machu Pichu have similar building method to some of the stone structures in Ireland. Even fog hanging around.

The system is not that different, only that in the first pics the stones are ground and polished, but the pattern absolutely identical.

And the explanation probably is that polishing stone with the available means was very time consuming so that it was only used there were it matters (foundations, walls, representative objects).

As for the stone constructions...take away the fog and the green and put on flat roofs and it could be in Greece too. Construction of this type are used almost universally where stone is available in large quantities.

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The system is not that different, only that in the first pics the stones are ground and polished, but the pattern absolutely identical.

And the explanation probably is that polishing stone with the available means was very time consuming so that it was only used there were it matters (foundations, walls, representative objects).

As for the stone constructions...take away the fog and the green and put on flat roofs and it could be in Greece too. Construction of this type are used almost universally where stone is available in large quantities.

*blinks

So... what you're saying is that people figure out the simplest, most basic way to do things first, so that diseperate cultures might do basic tasks very similarly?! Next you'll be saying pyramids are very simple forms to build, too, and that's why they appear all over the world. :(

--Jaylemurph

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No, it was a crack in a typical Incan wall with irregalar, polygonic shaped stones. I was there in 1991, so they may have repaired it by now (and made the crack nearly invisible).

Still I can't see your point here. There are tens of miles of polygonal masonry in all of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia which do not show even the slightest crack or dislodgement; and because you once saw a crack in a wall in Machu Picchu you are now claiming polygonal masonry does not have anti-seismic properties (correct me if I am mistaken :P )?

Anyway, nobody here claims the Incan (or Pre-Incan) builders were endowed with supernatural building skills. Unless you believe the Inca were aliens from Nibiru, as most human beings, they probably made mistakes. :tu:

Edited by Dark_Lord

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The way I look at what we are discussing here is that it seems we have

1.) Older unknown (pre-incan) culture whom had rather great stone masonry knowledge compared to the later cultures of the same area.

2.) Something happening that made this first culture vanish apparently in the middle of construction leaving their half-finished work left for the later people (incas) to finish.

So for me the question is Who were these original builders / culture, and what happened to them?

Even if they too were incans it still seem to be a gap there somewhere leading to a decrease in the quality of stone masonry from very good to rather crude work - why is that and where did the knowledge go?

Of course those whom know me here would also know I would see some possible connections with other cultures in other parts of the world here but I will leave that out for now as I have already been discussing that pretty much in other threads :innocent:

For me the explanation given by questionmark (if I understood him correctly) here that they buildt the "most important" parts of their construction in such complex and wonderful ways but left the upper parts and "less important" parts out and didnt care much what it looked like doesnt sound like a too good theory to me. The difference is so major that it suggests more than a simple explanation like that and it does not sound like a very standard way of construction either, looking at ancient architecture and how things were built, and still are being built for that matter, in different cultures around the world.

-EA

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The way I look at what we are discussing here is that it seems we have

1.) Older unknown (pre-incan) culture whom had rather great stone masonry knowledge compared to the later cultures of the same area.

2.) Something happening that made this first culture vanish apparently in the middle of construction leaving their half-finished work left for the later people (incas) to finish.

I'm not sure 1 or 2 really stand up to scrutiny, though. You /assume/ there was a culture that left no other signs and then completely disappeared. That's not much scratch in terms of an explanation, it only (pointlessly) raises more questions and (needlessly) complicates what we know.

Which would be fine, if there was the evidence to justify it. But there isn't.

Secondly, all these assumptions are riddled with 21rst Century prejudices. You think the bigger is better (and QM does offer an alternative to that theory that's a little more elegant...); at the same time (ironically) you're also turning a complex historical situation into a far simpler either/or situation. Maybe the Inca learned a different technique and like it better for their own reasons -- which we can't know.

It seems to me you're pulling this where you want it to go, more complex when you want to be and less when it's useful, starting with a theory and adapting the facts to it, instead of starting from the first principals of what we certainly know and then theorizing to fit the facts.

--Jaylemurph

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