Category Archives: BOLIVIA

Enduring Mystery Surrounds the Ancient Site of Puma Punku

Enduring Mystery Surrounds the Ancient Site of Puma Punku

High up the Bolivian altiplano,’ south of Lake Titicaca and the ancient complex of Tiahuanaco, we find the ancient ruins of Puma Punku.

Believed to have been erected by the ancient Tiwanaku culture in the bronze age, between 1,000 and 2,000 years ago, the ancient site is home to some of the most fascinating ancient stone structures on the surface of the planet.

Shrouded in mystery, the archaeological site of Puma Punku is one of the biggest headaches for mainstream archaeologists who are unable to explain how ancient cultures cut and shaped granite stone to incredible precision, transported blocks of stones that weigh more than 50 tons, and placed them in a position like a puzzle so that not a single sheet of paper can fit between them.

But if that wasn’t enough of a mystery, there’s that LITTLE magnetic anomaly present at Puma Punku.

The question that arises here is… how on Earth did the ancients transport these massive blocks of stone, tens of tons in weight across 70 kilometres from their quarry to Puma Punku?

Puma Punku: reconstruction

The Magnetic Anomaly

This mysterious feature which makes Puma Punku even stranger was spotted by researcher and author Brien Foerster.

In a video uploaded onto his YouTube account, Brien Foerster takes us on a trip to the Bolivian Altiplano where he tours through Puma Punku and shows us how certain rocks at the site – Puma Punku’s Grey Stones – display magnetic anomalies.

These curious features have been completely ignored and left unattended by scholars who have studied Puma Punku in the past.

Here is another video where we can see the curious magnetic anomaly present on the grey stones of Puma Punku.

Still, think Puma Punku is just another ordinary ancient site? Think again.

Limestone Wall In Bolivia Has Over 10,000 Dinosaur Footprints Belonging To 10 Different Species

Limestone Wall In Bolivia Has Over 10,000 Dinosaur Footprints Belonging To 10 Different Species

Cal Orcko is a small town that is situated three miles south of the city of Sucre in Bolivia. It is home to the largest and most spectacular collection of dinosaur footprints of the Cretaceous era.

Even though the site remained closed for almost eight years after this paleontological discovery, it has been opened for visitors now.

A 300-foot-long limestone wall is located in Cal Orko, Bolivia, that has over 10,000 dinosaur footprints etched on it. The footprints belong to approximately 10 different dinosaur species that walked the earth about 68 million years ago. A 1.2-kilometre-long and 80-meter-high wall exists in Bolivia’s Cal Orko. The wall is a limestone slab that dates back to the dinosaur era.

Limestone Wall

It is covered with numerous dinosaur tracks that experts believe belong to approximately ten different species of dinosaurs. Currently, more than 10,000 individual dinosaur footprints have been identified on the limestone wall.

Christian Meyer, a Swiss palaeontologist, once commented that in 1998, they were able to recover only around 3,000 dinosaur tracks. Then in 2007, the number of footprints rose to 5,000, and in the latest survey, they have encountered over 10,000 individual dinosaur footprints in the limestone slab.

The most prominent tracks on the limestone wall are those of the quadrupedal titanosaurs. The tracks of the bipedal, carnivorous dinosaurs can also be found across the entire wall.

Other dinosaur species whose footprints were found on the wall include the theropods, ornithopods, ankylosaurs, and quadrupedal ornithopods.

The wall gives an impression that the dinosaurs were walking vertically. But in reality, the wall was originally the floor of a shallow lake from the Cretaceous period. It was due to tectonic movements that the floor became vertical.

Since the limestone slab is almost vertical, it gives the impression that the dinosaurs were walking vertically, like lizards on a wall. But experts have provided a more logical explanation. The limestone slab was originally the floor of a shallow lake of the Cretaceous era that once flowed through South America.

According to geologists, the floor of the lake has moved several times as a result of tectonic plate movement. Sixty-eight million years ago, the floor was walked upon by hundreds of dinosaurs leaving behind their footprints in the process.

The unique climate fluctuations at Cal Orko, Bolivia are believed to be the reason behind the spectacular presence of paleontological remains.

Why is it that there is such a concentration of dinosaurs remains in this area? Experts believe that it has something to do with the unique climatic fluctuations of the area. The large feet of the dinosaurs sank into the mushy shoreline of the lake that used to exist there.

When drought hit the area, the tracks solidified. Wet weather returned once again and sealed the footprints below layers of sediment and mud. Experts believe that this wet-dry pattern was repeated as many as seven times which led to the prints getting preserved on the floor of the lake.

And the best part was that tectonic activities shifted the floor into a vertical viewing angle, enabling this wonderful paleontological spectacle to be viewed by the species that continued living on this planet after the dinosaurs.

The Cal Orko Parque Cretacico hosts a museum, and models of dinosaurs, fossils, and related paleontological information and offers a guided, one-hour tour to a few selected areas of the dinosaur footprint wall.

Today, guided tours are offered to visitors to get a glimpse of the dinosaur footprints. Visitors are provided with a helmet as a safety requirement because of the cement factory that is located near the wall.

The guides point out the footprints of the Theropods (carnivorous dinosaurs) and Sauropods (long-neck herbivores). Lengths of the footprint trackways range from 26 feet to as long as an amazing 65 feet.

This amazing limestone slab serves as a record and offers a glimpse of the ever-changing history that took place in the Cretaceous era.

Lost cities of the Amazon featuring terraces and PYRAMIDS are discovered

Lost cities of the Amazon featuring terraces and PYRAMIDS are discovered

A massive urban landscape that contained interconnected campsites, villages, towns and monumental centres thrived in the Amazon rainforest more than 600 years ago.

In what is now Bolivia, members of the Casarabe culture built an urban system that included straight, raised causeways running for several kilometres, canals and reservoirs, researchers report May 25 in Nature.

Such low-density urban sprawl from pre-Columbian times was previously unknown in the Amazon or anywhere else in South America, say archaeologist Heiko Prümers of the German Archaeological Institute in Bonn and colleagues.

Rather than constructing huge cities densely packed with people, a substantial Casarabe population spread out in a network of small to medium-sized settlements that incorporated plenty of open space for farming, the scientists conclude.

Airborne lasers peered through dense trees and ground cover to identify structures from that low-density urban network that have long eluded land-based archaeologists.

Earlier excavations indicated that Casarabe maize farmers, fishers and hunters inhabited an area of 4,500 square kilometres. For about a century, researchers have known that Casarabe people fashioned elaborate pottery and constructed large earthen mounds, causeways and ponds. But these finds were located at isolated forest sites that are difficult to excavate, leaving the reasons for mound-building and the nature of Casarabe society, which existed from about the year 500 to 1400, a mystery.

Prümers’ team opted to look through the Amazon’s lush cover from above, aiming to find relics of human activity that typically remain hidden even after careful ground surveys.

The scientists used a helicopter carrying special equipment to fire laser pulses at the Amazon forest as well as stretches of grassland. Those laser pulses reflect data from the Earth’s surface. This technique, called light detection and ranging, or lidar for short, enables researchers to map the contours of now-obscured structures.

Looking at the new lidar images, “it is obvious that the mounds are platforms and pyramids standing on artificial terraces at the centre of well-planned settlements,” Prümers says.

Lost cities of the Amazon featuring terraces and PYRAMIDS are discovered
The Lidar images revealed the cities architecture, consisting of stepped platforms topped by U-shaped structures, rectangular platform mounds, and conical pyramids
Two images of exactly the same area of the Salvatierra site. Left: a photo mosaic from drone footage; right: Lidar image. The discovery shows Amazonia was home to an early ‘urbanism’ created and managed by indigenous populations for thousands of years

Prümers’ team conducted lidar surveys over six parts of ancient Casarabe territory. The lidar data revealed 26 sites, 11 of them previously unknown.

Two sites, Cotoca and Landívar, are much larger than the rest. Both settlements feature rectangular and U-shaped platform mounds and cone-shaped earthen pyramids atop artificial terraces. Curved moats and defensive walls border each site.

Causeways radiate out from Cotoca and Landívar in all directions, connecting those primary sites to smaller sites with fewer platform mounds that then link up to what were probably small campsites or areas for specialized activities, such as butchering prey.

Lidar Image of the Cotoca site, revealing an array of elaborate and intricate structures unlike any previously discovered in the region, including 16ft-high terraces covering 54 acres – the equivalent of 30 football pitches – and 69ft-tall conical pyramids

The Casarabe society’s network of settlements joins other ancient and present-day examples of low-density urban sprawl around the world, says archaeologist Roland Fletcher of the University of Sydney.

These sites raise questions about whether only places with centralized governments that ruled over people who were packed into neighbourhoods on narrow streets, such as 6,000-year-old Mesopotamian metropolises, can be defined as cities.

Some past urban settlements organized around crop growing spanned up to 1,000 square kilometres or more in tropical regions. These include locales such as Southeast Asia’s Greater Angkor roughly 700 to 800 years ago and interconnected Maya sites in Central America dating to at least 2,300 years ago. Today, extended areas outside large cities, especially in Southeast Asia, mix industrial and agricultural activities over tens of thousands of kilometres.

Clusters of interconnected Casarabe settlements ranged in area from 100 square kilometres to more than 500 square kilometres. Spread-out settlements of the comparable areas include 6,000-year-old sites from Eastern Europe’s Trypillia culture.

Tropical forests that have gone largely unexplored, such as Central Africa’s Congo Basin, probably hosted other early forms of low-density urban development, Fletcher predicts.

Only further excavations guided by lidar evidence can begin to untangle the size of the Casarabe population, Prümers says. Whether primary Casarabe sites represented seats of power in states with upper and lower classes also remains unknown, he adds.

Casarabe culture’s urban sprawl must have encompassed a considerable number of people in the centuries before the Spanish arrived and Indigenous population numbers plummeted, largely due to diseases, forced labour and slavery says archaeologist John Walker of the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

Whatever Casarabe honchos had in mind as their tropical settlement network spread, he says, “we may have to set aside some of our strongly held ideas about what the Amazon is, and what a city is, to better understand what happened.”

Three images that prove the Ancient Builders of Puma Punku had access to advanced technology

Three images that prove the Ancient Builders of Puma Punku had access to advanced technology

Perhaps the biggest mystery involving Puma Punku is, how ancient mankind managed to transport these huge blocks of stone from quarries within 10 to 100 km.

How did they manage to achieve this type of precision cuts and how did they place the blocks in such a perfect manner? Engineers and constructors around the world today cannot answer nor replicate these achievements done by ancient mankind thousands of years ago.

Scientists cannot come to a conclusion and answer how were these amazing blocks of stone transported. Some of them believe that it was accomplished by the large labour force of ancient Tiwanaku. Several theories have been proposed as to how this labour force transported the stones from the quarries to Puma Punku, but these theories remain speculative.

Another puzzling mystery at Puma Punku is the assembly of the walls. 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. The precision challenges today’s engineering abilities.

The answer to these and other enigmas can be solved by a different approach and different thinking methods.

By looking at images from Puma Punku you can notice a perfection that is baffling, you will notice the elegance in every single construction at Puma Punku, but most importantly, you will notice a mysterious pattern that could help explain how ancient man achieved all of this, thousands of years ago.

Three images that prove the Ancient Builders of Puma Punku had access to advanced technology

This image is one of the best examples of advanced technology present at Puma Punku. We are looking at andesite blocks, a material that is extremely difficult to work with.

Can anyone explain how ancient mankind managed such perfection, elegance, and precision? We believe that this is one of the best examples of highly advanced tools that were made available to ancient man, thousands of years ago.

One of our favourite images of Puma Punku is where you can see small holes that are placed with such perfection apart that it is hard to believe that primitive man achieved this with sticks and stones.

Puma Punku is one of the most important places if you want to see what ancient man was capable of. These stone structures are among the biggest ever found.

The H Blocks. A trademark of Puma Punku and perhaps one of the best examples of lost technology. The perfection present within these blocks is staggering.

It is difficult to even think that ancient mankind managed to cut, transport and stack these blocks of stone which such perfection without the use of some sort of technology. Not everything can be achieved through force.

What do you think? Is it possible that the ancient builders of Puma Punku and Tiahuanaco had access to advanced technology that has been lost in history? A forgotten, omitted piece of history that mainstream scholars do not seem to be interested in?

Archaeologists discover an underground pyramid in Bolivia

Archaeologists discover an underground pyramid in Bolivia

The government of Bolivia announced it will start exploratory excavations this year at the ancient fortress of Tiahuanaco after a buried pyramid was detected.

Excavations at the pyramid of Akapana, Tiahuanaco

Ludwing Cayo, director of the Tiahuanaco Archeological Research Center, told Efe that the formation is located in the area of Kantatallita, east of the Akapana pyramid.

In a presentation for the media, Cayo outlined a five-year for further research at Tiahuanaco, an archaeological site 71 kilometers (44 miles) west of La Paz that was the cradle of an ancient civilization predating the Incas.

The Akapana Pyramid Mound, Tiahuanaco, Bolivia

Excavations may start soon, depending on the timing of cooperation agreements with foreign universities and institutes to enroll more forensic archaeology experts in the effort, Cayo said.

Besides the pyramid, ground-penetrating radar has detected “a number of underground anomalies” that might be monoliths, but those findings require more detailed analysis.

Tiahuanaco was the capital of a pre-Columbian empire known as Tiwanaku that left a legacy of impressive stone monuments such as Kalasasaya, the semi-underground Template, sculptures of prominent figures, the Gate of the Sun, and ruins of palaces.

Bolivian researchers say Tiahuanaco began as an agricultural village around 1580 B.C. and grew to become an imperial state by A.D. 724, but was in decline by the late 12th century.

At its peak, the Tiwanaku realm occupied over 600,000 square kilometers (231,000 square miles).

Tiahuanaco has been a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site since 2000.

The Gateway of the Sun from the Tiwanku civilization in Bolivia.

It was the capital of an empire that extended into present-day Peru and Chile, flourishing from 300 to 1000 A.D., and is believed to be one of the most important cities of ancient America.  Andean legends claim the area around Lake Titicaca was the cradle of the first humans on Earth.

According to the myths, Lord Viracocha, the creator of all things, chose Tiahuanaco as the place of creation. It is unknown how old these ruins are, but some researchers suggest that they date to 14,000 years B.C.

Fox News Latino writes that at its height, the Tiwanaku realm covered 600,000 square kilometers (231,000 square miles), and “left a legacy of impressive stone monuments such as Kalasasaya, the semi-underground Template, sculptures of prominent figures, the Gate of the Sun and ruins of palaces.”

Previous excavations at the site have revealed substantial portions of the Akapana Pyramid Mound.

Previous excavations: Robotic exploration of a tunnel in the Akapana pyramid, June 13, 2006.

Archaeology’s InteractiveDig writes that in the ancient past there is evidence that the established infrastructure was razed and rebuilt by the inhabitants, and the city was abandoned.

Researchers say there was a sudden shift in 700 A.D. Previous monuments were torn down, and the blocks were used to build the Akapana Pyramid. However, by the time the city was abandoned, the project had still not been completed and laid unfinished.

10,800 Years Ago, Early Humans Planted Forest Islands in Amazonia’s Grasslands

10,800 Years Ago, Early Humans Planted Forest Islands in Amazonia’s Grasslands

Thousands of artificial forest islands were built by Amazon’s earliest human settlers as they tamed wild plants to produce food, a new study reveals.

The discovery of the mounds is the latest evidence to show the extensive impact people had on the area. From their arrival 10,000 years ago they transformed the landscape when they began cultivating manioc and squash.

This led to the creation of 4,700 of the forest islands in what is now Llanos de Moxos in northern Bolivia, the team has found.

10,800 Years Ago, Early Humans Planted Forest Islands in Amazonia's Grasslands
An aerial shot of the Llanos de Moxos region in South America shows the strangely isolated mounds of trees that grow among expansive grasslands. Scientists’ explanation for these islands: Ancient humans planted and cultivated crops, making them some of the oldest domesticated plants in history.

This savannah area floods from December to March and is extremely dry from July to October, but the mounds remain above the water level during the rainy season allowing trees to grow on them.

The mounds promoted landscape diversity, and show that small-scale communities began to shape the Amazon 8,000 years earlier than previously thought.

The research confirms this part of the Amazon is one of the earliest centres of plant domestication in the world.

Using microscopic plant silica bodies, called phytoliths, found well preserved in tropical forests, experts have documented the earliest evidence found in the Amazon of manioc -10,350 years ago, squash — 10,250 years ago, and maize — 6,850 years ago.

The plants grown on the forest islands were chosen because they were carbohydrate-rich and easy to cook, and they probably provided a considerable part of the calories consumed by the first inhabitants of the region, supplemented by fish and some meat.

The study, in the journal Nature, was conducted by Umberto Lombardo and Heinz Veit from the University of Bern, Jose Iriarte and Lautaro Hilbert from the University of Exeter, Javier Ruiz-Pérez from Pompeu Fabra University and José Capriles from Pennsylvania State University.

Umberto Lombardo, from the University of Bern, who is one of the researches involved in the study, sampling sediment cores in the Llanos de Moxos savannah.

The study involved an unprecedented large scale regional analysis of 61 archaeological sites, identified by remote sensing, now patches of forest surrounded by savannah. Samples were retrieved from 30 forest islands and archaeological excavations carried out in four of them.

Dr Lombardo said: “Archaeologists, geographers, and biologists have argued for many years that southwestern Amazonia was a probable centre of early plant domestication because many important cultivars like manioc, squash, peanuts and some varieties of chilli pepper and beans are genetically very close to wild plants living here.

However, until this recent study, the scientist had neither searched for nor excavated, old archaeological sites in this region that might document the pre-Columbian domestication of these globally important crops.”

Professor Iriarte said: “Genetic and archaeological evidence suggests there were at least four areas of the world where humans domesticated plants around 11,000 years ago, two in the Old World and two in the New World. This research helps us to prove South West Amazonia is likely the fifth.

“The evidence we have found shows the earliest inhabitants of the area were not just tropical hunter-gatherers, but colonizers who cultivated plants. This opens the door to suggest that they already ate a mixed diet when they arrived in the region.”

Forest islands are seen from above

Javier Ruiz-Pérez said: “Through an extensive archaeological survey including excavations and after analysing dozens of radiocarbon dates and phytolith samples, we demonstrated that pre-Columbian peoples adapted to and modified the seasonally flooded savannahs of south-western Amazonia by building thousands of mounds where to settle and by cultivating and even domesticating plants since the beginning of the Holocene.”

Wall In Bolivia Contains More Than 5,000 Dinosaur Footprints

Wall In Bolivia Contains More Than 5,000 Dinosaur Footprints

Cal Orko, an immense limestone slab 1.5 km (0.9 miles) long and over 100 meters high (328 ft), is situated 5 km (3 miles from downtown Sucre, Bolivia. Visitors will look through time on this steep face (72 degrees inclination) to when dinosaurs roamed the Earth more than 68 million years ago.

You will find 462 different dinosaur tracks from at least 8 different species at Cal Orko, totaling an astounding 5,055 individual dinosaur footprints. So how do thousands of dinosaur footprints come to be, on a seemingly vertical rock face hundreds of feet high? You’ll have to scroll down to find out. 

Cal Orko: A Paleontologist’s Dream… Inside a Quarry

 Believe it or not, Cal Orko is situated entirely within a limestone quarry owned by FANCESA, Bolivia’s National Cement Factory.

Located in the ‘El Molino’ formation, the sight of heavy mining machinery (one could argue they are today’s ‘land giants’) set against a backdrop of 68 million-year-old dinosaur footprints (Earth’s prehistoric ‘land giants’) creates an intriguing parallel.

Further up the hill is Parque Cretácico. Opened in 2006, the dinosaur museum features 24 life-sized dinosaur replicas, various exhibitions, and a viewing platform 150 meters (~500 ft) from the rock face. It’s from this vantage point that you truly grasp the sheer scale and magnitude of Cal Orko.

So Dinosaurs Can Climb Walls Now?

 Not quite. We’re looking at something 68 million years in the making. The footprints at this site were formed during the Maastrichtian age of the Cretaceous Period in the Mesozoic Era. As Ian Belcher of The Guardian explains:

“It was unique climate fluctuations that made the region a palaeontological honey pot. The creatures’ feet sank into the soft shoreline in warm damp weather, leaving marks that were solidified by later periods of drought. Wet weather then returned, sealing the prints below mud and sediment.

The wet-dry pattern was repeated seven times, preserving multiple layers of prints.

The cherry on the cake was added when tectonic activity pushed the flat ground up to a brilliant viewing angle – as if nature was aware of its tourism potential.”

Cal Orko is one of the few locations in the world where you will find a concentration of footprints from a wide variety of dinosaurs that lived at the end of the Cretaceous period. The sheer size, geological significance, biodiversity, and social behavior that can be studied here makes Cal Orko a special place.
 
Take the trail of Johnny Walker for example. Johnny Walker was the name given to a baby Tyrannosaurus rex whose 367 meters (~1200 ft) path can be traced and observed here.

Researchers in Bolivia find two skeletons with abnormally elongated skulls

Researchers in Bolivia find two skeletons with abnormally elongated skulls

Two of them are of extreme interest since they display anomalous cranial deformation: freakishly large, elongated skulls.

According to researchers one of the skeletons had an elongated head that exceeds the proportions of an artificial cranial deformation, raising the question: what could have caused such a typical feature?

Finnish archaeologists working near the village of Patapatani in Bolivia, recently found the remains of at least six individuals buried under an Aymara funerary tower which was built, thousands of years ago for people of royal status in the ancestral culture.

Interestingly two of the skeletons were of particular interest. One of the skeletons belonged to a woman and the other one of her baby, nothing out of the ordinary other than the fact that both of them had freakishly large elongated heads that were not the result of cranial deformation.

One of the aptest researchers to look into this strange phenomenon is without a doubt Brien Foerster, best known for his extensive research on the (in)famous Paracas skulls.

Brien Foerster recently took a trip to the Patapatani museum where researchers transferred the skeletons that were unearthed.

In his journey, Brien Foerster was accompanied by an American radiologist and expert in human anatomy and Bolivian researcher and author Antonio Portugal.

According to experts, based on the shape of the pelvis, the skeleton we see in the images belongs to a young woman who died in her preadolescence.

The young girl had an elongated head that exceeds the proportions of an artificial cranial deformation, raising the question of what could have caused such typical features?

In addition to the skeleton of the young girl, the fetus found in the tomb is believed to have died between nine and seven months into development. It is likely that the fetus died with the mother during birth.

In his website Brien Foerster points out that if this proves to be the case, it is very likely that the baby would have been born with an elongated skull as well, meaning that both the mother and the fetus had similar conditions.

Brien Foerster points out that the ramifications are enormous since it means that we are possibly looking at a subspecies of ancient humans that died out thousands of years ago.

Elongated skulls have been found all around the globe and are not an isolated phenomenon of the Americas.

Among the most fascinating examples of elongated skulls are to so-called Paracas skulls discovered in the Pisco Province in the Inca Region on the Southern coast of Peru.

Interestingly, the cranium of the Paracas skulls is are at least 25 % larger and up to 60% heavier than the skulls of regular human beings. But not only are they different in weight, but the Paracas skulls are also structurally different and only have one parietal plate while ordinary humans have two.