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Tiahuanaco, Bolivia


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Capital city of the Tiahuanaco Empire, situated on the altiplano of the central Andes at 4000 m above sea level at the southern end of Lake Titicaca. Flourishing during the middle Horizon.

In the centre is a major ceremonial complex spread over an area 1000 m by 500 m. The largest temple platform is called the Akapana; each side measures 200 m long and it stood 15 m high. A lower, smaller platform, the Kalasasaya, 3 m high and 126 m by 118 m, stood at its base. At the northwestern entrance to the Kalasasaya stood a massive carved monolith known as the Gateway of the Sun. Made from a single slab of andesite weighing at least 10 tons, this monolith is carved in the form of a doorway with niches on either side. Above the door is a representation of the most important local deity, the Staff Deity: a human wearing an elaborate headdress with appendages ending with the heads of animals and holding a staff in each hand.

The surrounding state was large and appears to have extended into southern Peru, northern Chile, most of Bolivia, and some of Argentina. There was a sharp boundary between Tiahuanaco and the adjacent Huari state. Tiahuanaco declined in the late 1st millennium ad and was abandoned by about ad 1000.

Rep.:

C. W. Bennett, 1934, Excavations at Tiahuanaco. Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History 34, 359–494

Subjects: Archaeology.


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