Interesting Facts

The Mystery of Puma Punku’s Precise Stonework

Pumapunku's stone blocks were meticulously carved and polished to interlock with neighboring stones, forming a puzzle-like structure. The joints between them are incredibly precise. These characteristics show an intricate knowledge of descriptive geometry and stone cutting, indicating the use of highly advanced technology that would have seemed impossible at the time.

Puma punku is the name of a sizable temple complex that is a component of Tiahuanacu, a bigger archaeological site, and is situated close to Tiwanaku in Bolivia. The origin of the temple is unknown, but based on carbon dating of organic material discovered on the site, archeologists think the complex may have been constructed by the Tiwanaku Empire, one of the most significant civilizations before the Inca Empire, which thrived between 300 and 1000 AD.

The stonework at Puma Punku is what I find most fascinating. A terraced earthen mound called Puma Punku was previously covered in massive megalithic blocks, each weighing several tens of tons. The red sandstone and andesite stones were carved with such accuracy that they lock together perfectly without the use of mortar.

These stone blocks exhibit an astonishing level of technical skill and accuracy. Even a razor blade cannot pass through the rocks. Some of these blocks have’machine’ quality finishing and perfectly drilled holes. This is said to have been accomplished by a culture that lacked a written language and was unaware of the wheel’s existence. Something isn’t right here.

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Extraordinary craftsmanship is displayed in the stones. Photo credit:

In assembling the walls of Puma punku, each stone was finely cut to interlock with the surrounding stones and the blocks fit together like a puzzle, forming load-bearing joints without the use of mortar. One common engineering technique involves cutting the top of the lower stone at a certain angle, and placing another stone on top of it which was cut at the same angle. The precision with which these angles have been utilized to create flush joints is indicative of a highly sophisticated knowledge of stone-cutting and a thorough understanding of descriptive geometry. Many of the joints are so precise that not even a razor blade will fit between the stones. Much of the masonry is characterized by accurately cut rectilinear blocks of such uniformity that they could be interchanged for one another while maintaining a level surface and even joints. The blocks were so precisely cut as to suggest the possibility of prefabrication and mass production, technologies far in advance of the Tiwanaku’s Inca successors hundreds of years later.

Some of the stones are in an unfinished state, showing some of the techniques used to shape them. They were initially pounded by stone hammers—which can still be found in numbers on local andesite quarries—, creating depressions, and then slowly ground and polished with flat stones and sand

The stones are enormous in size. The biggest of these blocks is estimated to weigh 131 metric tons and measures 25.6 feet long, 17 feet wide, and 3.5 feet thick. Given their enormity, since the temple’s discovery, there has also been discussion about how they were moved to Puma Punku. The red sandstone stones were brought from a quarry about 10 kilometers away from Lake Titicaca, according to chemical tests. Around 90 kilometers away across Lake Titicaca, on the Copacabana Peninsula, quarries produced the smaller andesite blocks that were utilized for carvings and stone facing.

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An example of high-precision small holes. Photo credit:

On the basis of inferential evidence, one could contend that Puma Punku was not constructed by the Tiwanaku, but rather by a more developed civilisation. It’s possible that contamination in the samples tainted the carbon dating data or that Puma Punku was constructed by a different civilisation that crossed the ocean, erected the complex, and then disappeared. Some people think that Puma Punku could not have been created without the aid of extraterrestrial entities.

Today, the complex is in total disrepair, with enormous chunks of granite stacked on top of one another. An earthquake that may have been accompanied by a tidal wave from Lake Titicaca appears to have completely devastated the location.

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This block seems to get the most attention, as there is a perfect groove with identically spaced precision-cut 6mm holes drilled along the cut. Photo credit:
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More drill holes in what was once a lintel, with extraordinary detail that is just still visible. Photo credit:
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Stone block with a set of blind holes of complex shape. Photo credit:
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The numerous H-shaped blocks all match each other with extreme precision and fit into each other like Lego blocks. Photo credit:
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The Plataforma Lítica, or stone platform on the east side has the largest blocks, the heaviest being 131 tons made from red sandstone and quarried 10 km away. Photo credit:
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