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Tiahuanaco

feet, ruins, stones, stone and lake

TIAHUANACO, te-i-wi-nalai, Bolivia, the ruins of a prehistoric city, near the south shore of Lake Titicaca, in lat. 16° 42' S., long. 68° 42' W., about 40 miles west of La Paz city. The ruins stand on an eminence 12,930 feet above sea-level, which, from the water marks around it, seems to have been formerly an island in Lake Titicaca. The level of the lake, however, is now 135 feet lower, and its shores two miles distant. This fact, in conjunction with others, warrants the belief that these re mains antedate any others known in America; they indicate a different and higher order of art than was found to exist at the time of the Spanish conquest, in any other part of that Continent. The ancient Peruvians had but the vaguest traditions concerning them, believing that the structures of which they are the re mains were raised in remote ages, by giants, in a single night. The chroniclers of the Spanish conquest have described them, and their ac counts do not differ materially from those of modern travelers. They are in a state of ex treme dilapidation. Some of the structures seem to have been built on a pyramidal plan, and to have covered several acres; but the most remarkable features still remaining are mono lithic doorways, pillars and statutes of stone, elaborately sculptored in a style wholly dif ferent from any other remains of art yet found in America. One of these doorways is 10 feet high, 13 feet broad, with an opening six feet four inches by three feet two inches, the whole cut from a single stone. Its east front has a cornice in the centre of which is a human figure of strange form, crowned with rays, interspersed with serpents with crested heads. On each side of this figure are

three rows of square compartments, filled with human and other figures, of apparently sym bolic design. The statues are broken, so that it is difficult to state their original dimensions; but these may be inferred from the size of the head of one, which is four feet in length and of proportionate width. The whole neighbor hood is strewn with vast blocks of stone elab orately wrought, some of which measure three feet in length by 18 feet in width, and six feet in thickness. Some of these stones have been found to weigh as much as 400 tons and were transported many miles. No mortar was used in the masonry; stones grooved and tongued were held together with clamps and bronze pins. Dressing and carving of stones was done with stone and bronze tools. On some of the islands of Lake Titicaca are other monuments, of great extent, but of true Peru vian type, apparently the remains of temples destroyed on the arrival of the Spaniards. Those of the island of Coati, however, have many features in common with the ruins of Tiahuanaco, and probably belong to the same epoch, and are to be ascribed to the same un known and mysterious people who preceded the Peruvians, as the Tulhuatecas or Toltecs did the Aztecs. Not far distant from the ancient site stands the present town of the same name, largely built from stones taken from the old ruins. Consult Stirbel and Uhle, Ruinenstatte von Tiahuanaco) (Breslau 1892).