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Amazing Ancient Inca Architecture – in 3D

An indigenous Peruvian stands by the famous wall at Cuzco, Peru, built by the ancient Inca, in this 1907 photo from the archives of the U.S. Library of Congress. The two images comprise a stereogram – meaning that if you look at the images and cross your eyes, a 3D version of the photo will appear between the two. For larger versions, visit the LoC page.

Many ‘alternative history’ authors, including Graham Hancock, have made note of the seemingly impossible size/weight of the blocks, and the ingenious method of cutting and fitting these huge pieces of masonry together so tightly that no mortar is used, and no gaps are left between the stones.

The segment of Inca masonry shown above is not a specialized example – see the image below of the walls of the fortress of Sacsayhuamán to witness the scale of building done in this fashion (click to megasize the megaliths – and I mean that, it’s a 20,000px wide image):

Walls of Sacsayhuaman
(Creative Commons Licence: Original author Martin St-Amant)

(h/t @Jason Colavito)

    1. Maybe the real mystery here
      Maybe the real mystery here for many of us is how did social organization manage to mobilize people to such spectacular feats of workmanship and sheer brute effort. I am not discounting alien intervention or some unknown as yet higher tech, but really it is most probable these structures were built simply by human ingenuity and will – a real whole hearted dedication some religious system such that almost super human efforts were made.

    1. Here before us
      I wish I could remember the source, but I recall reading that one of the first Spanish chroniclers to see Sacsayhuamán wrote that when he asked the Inca who built these megaliths, their reply was, “It was here before us.”

      The Inca were expert engineers, however. Just look at Machu Picchu, and not just the perfectly aligned rock walls, but the incredible drainage system the entire complex sits atop. No ancient aliens needed.

      1. I’m Sorry To Disapoint You!
        Rick MG

        The Inca didn’t build Machu Picchu either. In fact, the Inca may not have known of the existence of Machu Picchu. The Inca were not builders! The Inca were a very powerful warriors who conquored the previous inhabitants of Peru less than 100 years, maybe less than 50 years, before the Spanish came. The Inca are from somewhere in Chile or western Argentina.

        1. Inca
          Nope, the Inca most certainly did build Machu Picchu. They conquered parts of Argentina and Chile, but they’re from the Peruvian highlands, particularly the Cusco region. I’m sure a Peruvian reader will be along shortly to give you a history lesson! 😛

          I once made the mistake of tweeting an article about Tiahuanaco and saying it’s in Peru — wow did I get some angry messages! I now have Tiahuanaco’s exact location, right down to the longitude and latitude, forever etched into my brain.

          1. OK, I See Your Point And The Stones Were Quaryed On Sight!
            Rick MG

            But, many of the outside walls were built on the edges of sheer cliffs? How do you think the Inca builders did that? That’s my problem with the Inca building Machu Picchu!

        1. Puma Punku
          I was listening to a Graham Hancock interview recently, and he mentioned that archaeologists have only excavated less than 10% of the Puma Punku site — yet experts assert their opinions as if we know all there is to know about it already. We know nothing, and potsherds found in the area only tell us people were living there at that time — they could have found the ruins exactly as modern explorers did. In my mind, Puma Punku is just as important as the shafts in Egypt’s Pyramid of Khufu. Espcially as the Hindu swastika is found there.

          PS Yes, I know Puma Punku is in Bolivia, not Peru. 😉

          1. Amazonia
            The whole of Amazonia must be littered with undiscovered ruins. It’s only now we’ve acquired the tools to pin-point them from the air.

          2. Puma Punku still stumps me I
            Puma Punku still stumps me I must admit. That is either very high tech workmanship or is the result of some very clever jigs and fixtures for working hard stone.

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