Mysterious Tihuanaco may be the world’s oldest city. "The City of Tiahuanaco is also full of mystery. Lying at a height of some 13,000 feet, it lies on a plateau that looks like the surface of a foreign planet.
The atmospheric pressure is nearly half as low as at sea level and the oxygen content of the air is similarly small. This isolation and altitude makes the very construction of the city all the more remarkable..
“There is evidence that the city was once a port, having extensive docks positioned right on the earlier shoreline of the now inland waterbed. One of these wharves is big enough to accommodate hundreds of ships."
“According to Incan legends, Tihuanaco was built by a race of giants whose fatherland had been destroyed in a great deluge that had lasted for two months.”.
Click and drag photo to resize. Script from The Java Script Source
Many of Tihuanaco’s buildings were constructed of massive finished stones, many tons in weight, that were placed in such a manner that only a people with advanced engineering methods could have designed and transported them. … “The particular andesite used in much of the Tihuanacos construction can only be found in a quarry 50 miles away in the mountains.”
The closest body of water to this seaport City is Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. “The mystery starts with an ancient waterbed that covers an area of 3200 square miles, being 70 miles wide and 138 miles long.
The inland waterway is ..littered with millions of fossilised seashells. The lake also features a range of oceanic types, as opposed to freshwater marine life. Creatures brought to the surface in fishermen’s nets have included examples of seahorses. During the 19th Century Professor P. M. Duncan, studying the lake, noted the existence of siluroid, cyprinoid and other marine fishes in the lake.”
“Legends have persisted over the centuries that there are stone structures beneath the waters of Lake Titicaca, much the same kind as can be found on the lake's shore. The Indians of that legion have frequently recounted this tradition, but until recently there has been no proof of such structures.
In 1968 Jacques Cousteau, the French underwater explorer, took his crew and equipment there to explore the lake and search for evidence of underwater construction. Although severely hampered in their activities by the extreme altitude, the divers spent many days searching the lake bottom, in the vicinity of the islands of the Sun and Moon, but found nothing man-made.
Cousteau concluded the legends were a myth.”
Ancient Temple Ruins Found Under Lake Titicaca
LA PAZ, Bolivia (Reuters) - The remains of what is thought to be a 1,000- to 1,500-year-old temple have been found below the waters of South America's lake Titicaca, a scientific expedition said Tuesday.
``We've found what appears to have been a 200-meter (660 feet) long, 50-meter (160 feet) wide holy temple, a terrace for crops, a pre-Incan road and an 800-meter (2,600 feet) long containing wall,'' said Lorenzo Apis, the Italian scientist leading the expedition in a region of the lake around 90 miles northeast of the Bolivian capital La Paz.
Lake Titicaca. Click and drag photo to resize.
The expedition ``Atahuallpa 2000,'' backed by the international scientific group Akakor Geographical Exploring, made over 200 dives into water 65 to 100 feet deep to record the remains on film and with photographs. The expedition will publish complete findings of its 18-day study in November and plans to eventually raise archeological remains to the surface.
The ruins were found in an area of the lake between the town of Copacabana and the popular tourist destinations of the Island of the Sun and Island of the Moon.
The research involved 10 scientists from Italy, 10 from Brazil, five Bolivians, two Germans and a Romanian. Lake Titicaca, some 12,464 feet above sea level, lies on the border between Bolivia and Peru, and is the highest navigable lake in the world.
The Tihuanacu culture lived on its shores before they became part of the Incan empire with its base in Cusco, Peru. ``All this means our civilizations have left more footprints than we had thought,'' said Antonio Eguino, Bolivia's vice minister of culture, whose government pledged financial and technical support to preserve and protect the ruins.
Yahoo World News - August 23 2000
Relics Of Lake Titicaca Pre-Dates Incas
By Alex Bellos - September 13 2000
Lake Titicaca is 3,800m above sea level, and is the world's highest navigable lake. The ruins of what is thought to be a huge ancient temple have been discovered by archaeologists diving beneath Lake Titicaca in the Andes between Bolivia and Peru.
One international team of scientists announced the recent finding after making more than 200 dives in Titicaca.
"What appears to have been a 200-metre-long 50-metre-wide holy temple, a terrace for crops, a pre-Incan road and a 700-metre-long containing wall," said Lorenzo Epis, the Italian leading the Atahuallpa 2000 expedition. Ceramic artifacts were also found on the lake’s floor.
Titicaca has long been the subject of legends about a lost underwater city, but there has been little research because of the technical difficulties of diving at altitude. While a submerged city has not been found, Mr. Epis said the ruins appeared to be 1,000 to 1,500 years old.
It thus pre-dates the Incas and could point to the Tihuanaco people, who lived on Titicaca’s before becoming part of the Incan empire.
"This means our civilizations have left more footprints than we had thought," said Antonio Eguino, Bolivia’s vice-minister of culture. However Mr. Eguino denied that the structure was a temple.
"The information we have indicates they found a wall that we believe was part of a terraced agricultural field," he said. "There is no evidence indicating the wall was part of a temple."
"It is difficult to say at this stage exactly what the wall is, but it is obviously an enormous construction," Dr. Eduardo Vinhaes, 38, a doctor and diver in the team, said. The group found what they believe to be a temple a short boat ride away from the site of the wall.
"We set out to look for signs of ancient civilizations but we found something completely different and much bigger than we expected," Dr Vinhaes said. In addition to the practical difficulties, the research project had to contend with a worried public, who had not been informed of the project. Diving was delayed for four days because of the district of the local population on the Island of the Sun, for whom the lake is sacred.
Mr. Eguino criticized the way the group treated the Bolivian archaeologist who guided them to the site, noting that he was not even mentioned at their news conference.
Source; The Independent Bangladesh