Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘Inca

Ancient Aliens Debunked

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puma-punku

I saw a fascinating show the other day. Well, part of a show. Ancient Aliens Debunked. It was a far more interesting show than I had imagined. I not only recommend it for people who have seen Ancient Aliens, but also for people who haven’t. Ancient Aliens Debunked can be watched at the link I provided. Well, at least for people who have some interest in the ancient aliens theory or just an interest in the ancients. I found the show fascinating for a number of reasons. (Quelle surprise.)

OK, background and refresher for noobs to the topic. The ancient aliens theory is a theory that in the past humans had contact with aliens. Erich von Däniken would be the most well known proponent of this theory, from his 1968 book “Chariots of the Gods.” The History Channel came out with a series about the theory called … Ancient Aliens. It’s inspired at least two blog posts on my part, here and here. Basically the series was very disappointing to me. It played fast and loose with the facts, and was clearly meant to give credence to the ancient aliens theory without actually examining it critically.  In other words, anyone who was seriously interested in the ancient aliens theory is going to be disappointed by the show. However, the same people should like the Ancient Aliens Debunked show, since at the very least it separates the wheat from the chaff. If you’re gonna promote a theory widely regarded as a crank theory, wouldn’t one want to examine the actual facts in evidence?

And that’s what Ancient Aliens Debunked does. I leaned a number of things I didn’t know. Always good. The one segment I watched was on  Pumapunku. Or Puma Punku. This is a large pre-Incan temple complex or monument group in Bolivia. It was built by the Tiwanaku civilization, and surrounded by city and farmland where as many as 400,000 people lived. Around the year 1,000 the civilization abruptly collapsed, possibly due to environmental change. The Incans believed Pumapunku was built by the Gods and was where the world began. Ancient aliens theorists believe Pumapunku was built thousands of years before the conventional dating, and required the use of advanced technology. Evidence for this is that the stones used to build the complex weigh as much as 800 tons, they were made of granite and granodiorite, and carved with incredible precision. The Tiwanaku civilization simply could not have moved such stones, nor carved these stones with the copper tools they had. Not to mention they didn’t even have a written language, how does one coordinate and plan such a massive construction without writing?

All sounds pretty convincing, or at least difficult to explain, right? Not really. It’s easy to make things sound mysterious if one picks and chooses one’s facts, and makes up facts if the real facts don’t fit. Let’s start with the purported age of Pumapunku. The conventional age dates the Tiwanaku civilization the the few centuries prior to 1,000 ad or so. How did ancient alien theorists come up with an age of over ten thousand years? Simple, one “researcher” decades ago calculated the age of Pumapunku by looking at celestial alignments, and concluded that it was built more than ten thousand years ago so that the stars would match the alignments. The problem of course is that any “alignments” in the ruins are purely subjective, and using this method one could “prove” Pumapunku is any age one wants.

OK, the Tiwanakuans didn’t have a written language. Um, so what? They did have language, and they most certainly can draw pictures. It’s not like they had to come up with modern blueprints, we are talking stacked rocks here. But wait, how about the amazing precision of the cut blocks and how they were put together? Again, easy. The idea that these blocks were cut and fitted with fabulous precision is simply … a lie. The blocks exhibit  great variety, no two are alike, and their rather crude precision is exactly what one would expect for blocks carved with stone tools.

Wait, how could granite and granodiorite have been carved with stone or soft copper tools? Well, for one thing, the blocks at Pumapunku are not made of granite and granodiorite, they are made of sandstone and andesite. And both of these are relatively soft and easy to work stones. Not to mention that the quarries where these blocks were made have been found, with partially made blocks. And while copper is very soft, Tiwankua was a Bronze Age culture, IE they had discovered how to make much stronger copper alloys by adding other metals to the mix. This isn’t just speculation, archeologists have found many examples of the stone working tools the Tiwankuans made.

Lastly we come to moving these giant 800 ton blocks. Oops, another lie. While some early estimates of the blocks had numbers as high as 800 tons, modern more accurate measurements place the largest block at 113 tons, and the vast majority of blocks are much smaller. And on many of the blocks grooves and other structures have been carved that are clearly meant to attach ropes to the blocks. The illustration at the top of the page shows one such carving. Obviously if one had some sort of alien levitation device, one wouldn’t need to go to the trouble of carving slots and holes for ropes. As a final blow to the levitation idea, all of the blocks clearly have drag marks on one face.

In other words, almost everything that ancient alien theorists say about Pumapunku is a lie, and their “conclusions” are not only unsupported by the evidence, they are contradicted by the evidence. Does this mean that the ancient aliens theory is balderdash? Pretty much. At least until actual evidence of contact with aliens in the past is discovered. So far, no luck. However, I still recommend the Ancient Aliens Debunked series because I learned a lot about history and how ancient stone structures are made from just this one episode. In fact I saw a picture of Stonehenge the other day and I could clearly see the distinctive ripple pattern made when shaping a stone with stone tools. So I not only learned something about Pumupunku, I learned something applicable to any megalithic structure.

Was there any purpose to the is post besides sharing my enthusiasm about a TV show? Not really. I do find it fascinating that people can cling to and promote beliefs that are, well, silliness. It seems to be the nature of humans. As many have observed, this may be why the aliens haven’t contacted us yet, there’s no intelligent life down here. Next up, ten ways atheism is a religion. Or maybe something else.

(The above image came from Wikipedia: Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled GNU Free Documentation License. For those interested in ancient stone cutting techniques, this seems to be a good link: Ancient Egyptian Stone Technology.)

Written by unitedcats

December 6, 2012 at 11:41 am

The Peruvian Stargate: “La Puerta de Hayu Marka”

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8

Yes, there it is, the Peruvian Stargate. It’s known as “La Puerta de Hayu Marka.” Or “The Gateway To The Gods”, “Aramu Muru”, and “The Doorway of the Amaru Meru.” I know, I said Bolivian Stargate in yesterday’s post. That was to throw off people who might be tempted to cheat and google it. (You know who you are.) I found out about it on the Ancient Aliens program. “La Puerta de Hayu Marka” was reportedly located in a remote area of Peru, and was only discovered by westerners in 1996. The local natives have all sorts of colourful stories about it, and the Ancient Alien theorists have even more colourful stories about it. There is a small depression in the centre of the doorway (which is about 5 feet high by the way) that reputedly was the place where a “key” was inserted to activate the doorway.

Well, I thought, this is curious. I began a search online to see what else I could find out about “La Puerta de Hayu Marka”, and well, pretty much nothing but the various Ancient Alien sites happily copying and pasting the exact same story a million times. I was a little surprised, I would have guessed that a new and mysterious carved structure in the mountains of Peru would have merited a least some archaeological interest, even if to just point out that it is a known Inca structure of no interest. Even the skeptic sites didn’t mention it, how could this be? Is it so mysterious that they can’t explain it and are even afraid to try? Queue Twilight Zone music.

Alas, after way too much time wading through various sites, I finally stumbled upon the truth. And was profoundly disappointed. In this case, a picture speaks a thousand words, here is another image of “La Puerta de Hayu Marka:”

OK, it’s not the best photograph, but the “stargate” is visible in the shadowed area at the lower right. Note the stunning remoteness of the location. That’s Lake Titicaca at the upper left. Not visible are the locals hanging around the site to sell trinkets to credulous westerners. Buying trinkets is optional, paying the local in the hard hat who will show up to collect “admission” is not. For more money one can even see locals perform some sort of magical rite. Just don’t listen too closely to what they are chanting, because it’s likely something along the lines of “More money from gringo suckers, ha ha ha.”

Sigh. In conclusion, there’s nothing remote about this gateway at all, the conquistadors no doubt saw it. The idea that westerners first saw it in the nineties doesn’t pass the laugh test. And it’s no wonder no archaeologist has paid much attention to it, it was no doubt picked clean and destroyed by looters before there even was a science of archaeology. (Grave robbing is the world’s second oldest profession.) In fact, I would bet the farm that this was a little known Inca ruin until some guy in the nineties noticed its superficial similarity to … drumroll… a certain prop in a certain science fiction show. And the rest is history, if made-up turista trap tripe from the nineties can really be called history.

I’m really pretty disgusted by this one. At least with the things like the Nuremberg UFO woodcut, there is at least some mystery. This is just a previously unremarkable Inca ruin dressed up with story for the modern UFO crowd, no more mysterious than the various “Mystery Spots” along roadsides in the USA. And this was hyped on the History Channel? For shame.

(Welcome new and old readers. I hope you enjoyed this post. As of January 2018 I have resumed regular blogging on my new Patreon version of Doug’s Darkworld. Science, history, current events, and posts about a certain president who can hardly go a day without inspiring a blog post.)

(The top image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit and is the best darn picture of the stargate I could find. Credit and copyright: Erin Irkun. The second picture is also claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit. Credit and copyright Darren Alff. The fine travelogue of his journey to the Peruvian Stargate, with many other photos, can be viewed here.)