Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tiwanaku

One of the most important pre-Inca civilizations in South America is the empire of Tiwanaku. At its height, it included half of Bolivia, southern Peru, northern Chile and northwest Argentina. Tiwanaku dates back as early as 1500 B.C. while the current archaeological site, a small piece of this once great empire, includes ruins from the 8th to 10th centuries A.D. The early Andean peoples utilized many technologies that would become integral to the success of the Incas: copper smelting, bronze production, solar calendars and a raised field agricultural system. Tiwanaku still maintains its cultural importance to the modern descendants of the Aymara and Quechua people.

The religious significance of Tiwanaku is visible in its temples, monoliths, and other spiritual architecture. Through trade and religious influence, Tiwanaku grew to be the center of the Andean world. Archaeologists speculate that the fall of this empire was due to a devastating drought around 1000 AD. The Incas would incorporate what was left of the people, the land, and the religion of Tiwanaku into their own empire. Much of the remnants of Tiwanaku has been destroyed over the centuries mainly by the Spanish who came spreading Catholicism and destroying images of, what they believed to be, false idols.

The remaining structures of the Tiwanaku empire leaves a lot to the imagination. Alejandro, our very knowledgeable guide, showed us around the archaeological site explaining what is known and what is theorized about these fascinating relics.

2 comments:

foster said...

Mind-blowing! What beautiful detail!

Addie said...

I love it-totally going to play that to review hours in a day, months in year, weeks in a year. Nice job! Great pics