The Mystery of Puma Punku: Tiahuanacu, Home to an Ancient Civilization in Bolivia


Puma Punku, (or Pumapunka as some describe it), stands for “Gate of the Puma”. This ancient location is truly a mystery on many different levels to enthusiasts.

Like many topics related to the history of ancient civilizations, Puma Punku is most definitely considered a complexing site. Puma Punku itself is actually just a small section of a mysterious city in the Bolivian Andes called Tiahuanacu , (or Tiwanaku). There are many different ideals as to the origins of the city, still the truth remains that there are some interesting points to consider in one’s own observation of how it came to be.

What is Puma Punku?

The site is located over 2 miles above sea level, and several miles from the nearest source of water, Lake Titicaca. Tiahuanacu, which is believed to have been a pilgrimage site as well as a seaport, caught the attention of a professor by the name of Arthur Ponansky in the late 19th century. He showed a special interest in Puma Punku itself, scattered about with its large stone building blocks, suggesting the structure may have fallen victim to some kind of cataclysmic event.

The age of this site is thought to be around 200 B.C.E. by the archaeological majority, but Arthur Ponansky dated it to around 15,000 B.C.E. due to the believed astronomical nature by which the site was constructed. The importance of the site to the surrounding Bolivian populous can be related to that of the great pyramids of Egypt to the Egyptians.

Inhabitants of Puma Punku

Many believe that the inhabitants of this curious location were possibly that of the Inca, or even older, the Tiahuanaco community of central South America. Questions arise involving the history of whomever truly did inhabit the area, who would have created the site prior to the invention of the wheel if pre-dating is indeed accurate.

Bodies have been discovered at the site containing traces of Hallucinogens, some of the bodies even indicating they had been sacrificed due to the state of various areas of the bodies themselves. Also the complexity of how it was created without its inhabitants’ ability to write, raises many questions in the minds of enthusiasts.

The Building Blocks of Puma Punku

It’s inhabitants didn’t leave any written work, and yet the manner in which the building blocks were constructed it seems, would have required both planning and precision. The enormous building blocks vary in size, and are thought to weigh anywhere from 30-440 tons. Even more baffling are the style in which the blocks are cut, made to fit into each other like interlocking building blocks.

The material of the blocks also raises many questions, being that the blocks consist of an extremely hard variety of granite, more importantly, that they contain traces of a rare igneous rock by the name of Diorite, which isn’t available in the immediate vicinity. More interesting still, is the manner in which the blocks were cut and shaped, which suggests the use of tools that wouldn’t have been available for thousands of years after the area was created.

Unfortunately the site has been effected by quite a bit of looting, like many locations of this caliber throughout history. The most common conspiracy in the case of Puma Punku has birthed the Ancient Astronaut Theory, which implies the area was constructed by astronauts or aliens, but like other sites of this magnitude, one can expect many different speculations based on the facts at hand.