Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Tiwanaku: Andean Cross

This Andean Cross, or Chakana, is from Tiwanaku in Bolivia. It's also known as the Inca Cross, but pre-dates the Incas by over 2500 years. It's been found all over South America and even parts of North America.

Tiwanaku is where many believe Inca culture evolved from. Dating from at least 1500 BC, it's located about 70 kms west of La Paz near Lake Titicaca and is remarkable for the huge stone figures found at the site. We spent an afternoon exploring and were blown away by the beautiful setting.

These heads are from a subterranean chamber and all convey unique features. One even has a beard leading to speculation that these early Americans had contact with visitors from far, far away...

Thor Heyerdahl, the Norwegian ethnogragher of Kon-Tiki fame, speculated that there was much more exchange between the world's various ethnic groups than had been previously thought. I was surpised to learn that Egyptian mummies had been discovered with traces of coca, a plant indigenous to South America.

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