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Ancient

The Ancient Walls

by Richard Nisbet

© 2003-2014 by Richard Nisbet. All rights reserved. Except where indicated, all photos and text by Richard Nisbet. Reprinted with author’s permission.

Sacsahuaman was supposedly completed around 1508.

Depending on who you listen to, it took a crew of 20,000 to 30,000 men working for 60 years. 

sacpan_sm

Panorama photo of Sacsahuaman (Click to enlarge – JPG/256K)

Here is a mystery:

The chronicler Garcilaso de la Vega was born around 1530, and raised in the shadow of these walls. And yet he seems not to have had a clue as to how Sacsahuaman was built. He wrote:

“….this fortress surpasses the constructions known as the seven wonders of the world. For in the case of a long broad wall like that of Babylon, or the colossus of Rhodes, or the pyramids of Egypt, or the other monuments, one can see clearly how they were executed…how, by summoning an immense body of workers and accumulating more and more material day by day and year by year, they overcame all difficulties by employing human effort over a long period. But it is indeed beyond the power of imagination to understand now these Indians, unacquainted with devices, engines, and implements, could have cut, dressed, raised, and lowered great rocks, more like lumps of hills than building stones, and set them so exactly in their places. For this reason, and because the Indians were so familiar with demons, the work is attributed to enchantmet..”

Surely a few of those 20,000 laborers were still around when Garcilaso was young. Was everyone struck with amnesia? Or is Sacsahuaman much older than we’ve been led to believe?

rn_inca10Sacsahuaman (1975)  © 2003-2004 by Richard Nisbet

Archaeologists tell us that the walls of Sacsahuaman rose ten feet higher than their remnants. That additional ten feet of stones supplied the building materials for the cathedrals and casas of the conquistadors.

It is generally conceded that these stones were much smaller than those lithic monsters that remain.

Perhaps the upper part of the walls, constructed of small, regularly-shaped stones was the only part of Sacsahuaman that was built by the Incas and “finished in 1508.” This could explain why no one at the time of the conquest seemed to know how those mighty walls were built.

There are no other walls like these. They are different from Stonehenge, different from the Pyramids of the Egyptians and the Maya, different from any of the other ancient monolithic stoneworks.

rn_inca6Sacsahuaman © 2003-2004 by Richard Nisbet

The stones fit so perfectly that no blade of grass or steel can slide between them. There is no mortar. They often join in complex and irregular surfaces that would appear to be a nightmare for the stonemason. There is usually neither adornment nor inscription. There is Elfin whimsy here, as well as raw, primitive and mighty expression.

rn_inca7Sacsahuaman © 2003-2004 by Richard Nisbet

Most of these walls are found around Cuzco and the Urubamba River Valley in the Peruvian Andes. There a few scattered examples elsewhere in the Andes, but almost nowhere else on Earth.

Mostly, the structures are beyond our ken. The how, why and what simply baffle. Modern man can neither explain nor duplicate.

Mysteries like this bring out explanations scholarly, whimsical, inventive and ridiculous.

Through these photographs and snippets of lore and opinion, these pages hope to entertain, tantalize and perhaps even to inspire.

rn_inca7Sacsahuaman © 2003-2004 by Richard Nisbet
rn_inca8Sacsahuaman © 2003-2004 by Richard Nisbet rn_inca9Sacsahuaman © 2003-2004 by Richard Nisbet
rn_sacs1Sacsahuaman © 2003-2004 by Richard Nisbet

“How were such titanic blocks of stone brought to the top of the mountain from the quarries many miles away? How were they cut and fitted? How were they raised and put in place? Now one knows, no one can even guess. There are archaeologists, scientists, who would have us believe that the dense, hard andesite rock was cut, surfaced and faced by means of stone or bronze tools. Such an explanation is so utterly preposterous that it is not even worthy of serious consideration. No one ever has found anywhere any stone tool or implement that would cut or chip the andesite, and no bronze ever made will make any impression upon it.”    A. Hyatt & Ruth Verrill —-America’s Ancient Civilizations

Jean-Pierre Protzen proved the Verrills wrong. He went to Cuzco and showed how river rocks could be used as hammers to pound stones into the desired shape.

“It appears that the Inca technique of fitting the blocks together was based largely on trial and error. It is a laborious method, particularly if one considers the size of some of the huge stones at Sacsahuaman or Ollantaytambo. What should be kept in mind, however, is that time and labor power were probably of little concern to the Incas, who did not have a European notion of time and had plenty of tribute labor from conquered peoples at their disposal.”  Jean-Pierre Protzen —Scientific American —Feb. 1986

© 2003-2014 by Richard Nisbet.
All rights reserved.

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“Cusco Tales” by Richard Nisbet

A slice of Cusco life. Mostly true stories by a gringo who has had an ongoing love affair with the town for 28 years. Funny, irreverent, adventurous, literate…the places and people of Cusco. The bars and discos, the peddlers and priests, the guides, the gurus…and the girls. Laced throughout with Inca history as well as views of contemporary and ancient culture. Comes with a CD-ROM “The Ancient Walls”…a gallery of fotos of the Inca ruins some dating back to 1975…with commentary. More info at www.cuscotales.com 230 pages, soft cover.      Read few exerpts from this fascinating book.

About the Author

Richard Nisbet is author of the book “Cusco Tales.” He has been an actor, theatre director, college instructor, photographer, film maker, carpenter, owner of a post production studio in Santa Monica and has also poked his nose into many other ventures. He has two daughters, both smarter than himself, and two grandchildren, who’ll hopefully be smarter than all of us. Richard now divides his time unevenly between Cusco Peru and Santa Monica, CA

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Ancient

The Janibekov effect and other indirect evidence of the existence of antediluvian civilization

Recently, in the northeast of Siberia, archaeologists have discovered the sites of ancient people thirty thousand years old. Before that, it was believed that the first people appeared there fourteen, fifteen millennia ago, that is, approximately when mammoths, cave lions and woolly rhinos disappeared. 

People were still considered to be responsible for the disappearance of these animals. Allegedly, the ancient people, who lived by hunting and gathering, mercilessly exterminated these animals for several centuries until they completely destroyed their population.

The decline in the number of rhinos and other animals does not coincide with the appearance of humans in this region, said the professor of evolutionary genetics at the Center for Paleogenetics Love Dalen.

New archaeological data refute this theory and testify in favor of some kind of global catastrophe that happened about 13 thousand years ago.

According to one of the versions, regular global cataclysms on Earth occur due to a regular change of poles (the Janibekov effect).

The Janibekov effect is the intermediate axis theorem, or the tennis racket theorem in classical mechanics – a statement about the instability of the rotation of a rigid body about the second principal axis of inertia. (Wikipedia)

The Janibekov effect and other indirect evidence of the existence of antediluvian civilization
The Janibekov effect and other indirect evidence of the existence of antediluvian civilization

It is believed that periodically, in the interval from 600 to 650 thousand years, the earth’s poles change, which is accompanied by global catastrophes. This is usually accompanied by powerful volcanic eruptions, intensified seething of mud springs, increased degassing, earthquakes and tsunamis, which ultimately leads to fatal changes in the climate and topography of the planet’s surface.

These practically proven facts about the global catastrophe that happened on Earth 13 thousand years ago also indirectly confirm the possible existence of an ancient (antediluvian) civilization in the northern part of the planet.

There is almost no intelligible evidence of the high development of antediluvian civilizations. There are controversial and unrecognized by science artifacts, legends, myths, traditions, strange anomalous areas, the poorly explored bottom of the ocean, probable places for mining stone and other minerals. 

All of this is either poorly researched or deliberately rejected and declared falsification. There are unique ancient structures made of stone, and their design features, construction methods and quality of stone processing are so high that sometimes they even surpass the capabilities of modern civilization.

The Janibekov effect and other indirect evidence of the existence of antediluvian civilization
The Janibekov effect and other indirect evidence of the existence of antediluvian civilization

According to the testimony of some enthusiastic researchers, namely, they are trying to unravel the mysteries of history and return historical science itself to the mainstream of truth, traces of some ancient civilization have been preserved on the Kola Peninsula. 

Most likely – Atlantis, (or Hyperborea), because somewhere in this area supposedly was the legendary island of Atlantis.

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Ancient

A fierce embodiment of Earth: The Mayan structure used for direct dialogue with the gods

Scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) working in Guatemala have found evidence of the ritual significance of the classic Maya pairings. They found a structure the likes of which had never been found in Mesoamerica.

According to EurekAlert, archaeologists visited the city of Ksultun, where an ancient bathhouse was found earlier. She received the name Los Sapos. Scientists have long known that the Maya built a kind of steam room – their baths, according to their principle of operation, were designed for profuse sweating.

These baths were believed to have religious significance. They also sent here for treatment, brought women in labor. However, new research showed that the importance of such structures was even more important. The fact is that the Los Sapos bath, dating from the early classical period (250-550 AD), turned out to be unlike any other ancient Mesoamerican bath.

The researchers concluded that this was not just a place for direct dialogue with the gods. The Maya considered this bath itself an amphibian goddess. Outside, near the entrance to it, scientists found an image of this little-known deity. The goddess is depicted squatting with legs on which iguanas and reed toads sit.

“No other structure in Mesoamerica – a bathhouse or anything else – is like this building,” says STRI archaeologist Ashley Sharp. the amphibian that personified this bath.”

According to lead author of the study, Mary Clarke, the name of this goddess remains undeciphered, although it is written next to the image. Preliminary analysis of the inscription led scientists to speculate that this goddess was responsible for the cycles of pregnancy. The connection between the ideas of the birth of children and the figures of reptiles is often traced in the Maya of the classical period.

She also noted that the Los Sapos baths have been actively used by the Sultun community for about 300 years. But then something important and frightening happened. The fact is that in the “doorway” archaeologists unearthed the remains of an adult man who was buried there around 600 AD.

The analysis showed that after that no one used the bath for another 300 years. Only three centuries after the funeral, someone re-entered this structure. It is interesting that this person or several people had a strictly defined goal – they dug out a burial place and took with them part of the remains.

The rest of them they put in another place, and in the vacated grave they lit a fire. Subsequently, they repeatedly put various offerings to the gods in this grave. Dogs, birds, reed toads and iguanas were sacrificed. Archaeologists found the remains of a child in this pit, as well as numerous stone tools and ceramic shards.

“Archaeologists often find clusters of artifacts that were probably dedicated to places of worship, but rarely is there such an obvious connection between artifacts and objects,” Sharpe says. “From the image on the outer wall of Los Zapos, we know it was a ‘steam room’ “It was a rare occasion for us to associate offerings with the role that this structure played in the life of the community.”

According to the authors of the work, the offerings were probably an attempt to seek help from the goddess who personified Los Sapos. Moreover, it could even be the last attempt to please a supernatural being and prevent the loss of their lands, which were abandoned shortly after the Mayan collapse in 900 AD.

“This supernatural figure is the fierce embodiment of Earth,” Clarke concludes. “When she is unhappy, she can take revenge or deny people the things they need to survive. they negotiated with this goddess for their survival. “

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Ancient

Secrets of the Forbidden City are being solved by modern archaeologists

If we compare the millennia during which palaces were built and restored in China with an epic novel, then the Forbidden City in Beijing is its last impressive chapter.

An exhibition celebrating the 600th anniversary of the completion of the Forbidden City opened in Beijing on September 10.  Photo: Jiang Dong / CHINA DAILYAn exhibition celebrating the 600th anniversary of the completion of the Forbidden City opened in Beijing on September 10. Photo: Jiang Dong / CHINA DAILY

The previous pages of this story, although no less amazing, were partially or even almost completely lost during the rise and fall of dynasties and turned into ruins, similar to archaeological puzzles. Experts are still solving them. However, in the heart of Beijing, there is a 720,000-square-meter palace complex built of wood and clay bricks – the last surviving structure of its kind in the world. This area, which served as an imperial palace from 1420 to 1911 and where 24 emperors once lived, celebrates 600 years since the completion of construction this year.

In honor of this event, the Umen Gate galleries at the entrance to the Imperial Palace Museum became a kind of lobby, where visitors to the exhibition “Eternal Splendor: Six Centuries in the Forbidden City” enter. It will run until November 15th.

“There is so much that has happened in 600 years that can be said,” says Zhao Peng, director of the museum’s architectural heritage department and chief curator of the exhibition. “It is best to focus on the ‘city’ itself, that is, on architecture: to understand how this place was formed and modified … This is the crystallized wisdom and talent of the ancient Chinese. “

Yet it is not easy to select just 450 items, including structural elements and imperial relics, to reveal a panorama of such architectural splendor. In order to chronologically show how the complex originated, expanded and developed with the help of the exhibits, 18 significant years were selected from the entire centuries-old history. 

“These time periods help to see a fuller historical picture,” Zhao says.

In 1406, Zhu Di, the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), proposed to move the capital from Nanjing (today it is the administrative center of Jiangsu Province) to Beijing in order to better guard the northern borders. Zhu Di himself lived in Beijing as a prince.The Forbidden City was built according to rules derived from centuries of Chinese history.

The construction was completed in 1420, after almost ten years of preparation and three years of active work. The following year, the capital was officially moved to Beijing.

“A striking feature of the Forbidden City is how, despite the changing eras, certain architectural forms are strictly adhered to,” Zhao says. “This reflects traditional Chinese thought that emphasizes the importance of ritual and harmony between people and the sky.”

The Forbidden City was built according to rules derived from centuries of Chinese history. The exhibition presents “Notes on the Study of Crafts” (Kaogongji) – a treatise that spells out the basics of building a palace. It was published during the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC) and is part of the classic Chinese work Zhou Rituals (Zhouli) on rituals and notions of order.

“Notes on the Study of Crafts” regulate the symmetrical layouts of the capital cities, in the center of which on the north-south axis should be a palace. The historic districts of modern Beijing, including the Forbidden City, fully comply with this rule.

“Finally, this ideal layout, which has been guided for nearly 2,000 years, has been faithfully embodied in Beijing,” Zhao says.

Following the rituals is reflected in the architectural details.

For example, only the roof of the Hall of Higher Harmony – the most prestigious structure in the palace, where the most important ceremonies took place – can be decorated with ten figures of deified beings. The simpler the roof is decorated, the lower the status of the building.

The Hall of Supreme Harmony also has 11 rooms – more than any other building in the complex. (In ancient Chinese architecture, a room was a square space between four columns.)

Roof shape is another important indicator by which you can determine the status of a building. For example, the roof of the Hall of Higher Harmony is four-pitched and two-tier, its ends protrude and bend upwards. Only buildings of the highest status can have such a roof.

In 1734, Emperor Yongzheng of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) issued an official guide to the construction of palaces. The book, which is over 2,700 pages, spells out all the architectural criteria, including the size of the columns and the decoration of the roofs. According to Zhao, this is an important milestone in the history of the fusion of rituals with Chinese architecture.

The Forbidden City in Beijing has two older brothers. When Zhu Yuanzhang founded the Ming Dynasty and became emperor, he made the capital of his hometown, which is today in Fengyang County, Anhui Province. However, the construction of a huge palace complex for unknown reasons suddenly stopped, and Zhu Yuanzhang decided to build an imperial city in Nanjing.

The Gate of Supreme Harmony is one of the most visited attractions of the palace complex. Photo: Courtesy of CHINA DAILY

Both imperial cities fell into ruins, but some important details have survived to this day, such as stone fences and tiles in the galleries of the Umen Gate. They help to imagine what the early architecture of the Forbidden City might have looked like.

“The original appearance of buildings can often be seen in the paintings,” says the deputy director of the architectural heritage department of the museum, Di Yajing.

No matter how the new emperors followed the precepts of their ancestors, it is clear that they wanted to decorate their new home. “The Ming emperors preferred simple yet stately architecture, and therefore large buildings were built during their reign,” Di says. “However, the Qing emperors tended to be more sophisticated.”To understand whether the pictures correspond to historical reality, you need to conduct additional checks

Sometimes this was a forced decision, since it was difficult to find giant pieces of valuable timber to renovate the palace. However, the Qing emperors demonstrated their wealth and status with handicrafts of the most skillful work. Thanks to Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799), who adored fine arts, this trend reached its peak. In 1766, he ordered the construction of the Palace of Serenity and Longevity in the Forbidden City, where he planned to live after leaving the throne. The garden of this palace has become a real treasure trove of exceptional decorative objects.

The lacquered gauze fabric, which used to be placed on the window, allows visitors to appreciate its uniqueness, because the garden has never been opened to the public before. The decor of this silk combines techniques such as paper cutting, gilding, dyeing and varnishing. This means that several artisans worked on its creation at once. 12-ply fabric is paper thin.

“We tried to replicate this decor, but even modern manufacturing techniques did not help us,” Dee says. “This lost technique reminds us that cultural heritage must be carefully preserved.”

Complex renovation of the main buildings of the complex has been going on since 2002. Although it was originally planned to be completed by a round date this year, in the end the architects decided not to rush to complete the work with full responsibility and respect for history.

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