Let's take a stroll through insanity…
When we consider the evolution of the techniques used by our ancestors to build stonewalls, we imagine that they began with the crude cowan style wall built from roughly hewn blocks, full of gaps & signs of imperfections, progressing over time to building horizontally squared walls” from 90’ right angled blocks, that sat flushly on top of each other – stable & enduring. These two styles could be viewed as being the alpha & omega points of humankind’s knowledge of fitting building blocks together.
In Europe the blocks in cowan styled walls were never fitted flushly together, they were by definition cowan in nature, not perfect by any measure of capability or intention. However, when we look around the various ruins and remains of the South American continent, we are confronted with some of the most flamboyant, if not the most boastful manipulations of monolithic stones to be found anywhere in the world.
This flower pattern below from TARAHUASI centres around a stone block with 8 sides…
…The ancient Incan stone walls of Sacsayhuaman, which were built using multi-faceted blocks weighing several tonnes, appear to have been built randomly, as if in a process of chaos, without any design, but then you have to ponder the precision of the workmanship needed to achieve the flawlessly flush joints between the massive polygonal blocks which have been perfectly fitted together without mortar, each block flushly matching the edges of its neighboring blocks, fitted together with what seems to be an apparent ease expressed continuously across a very large complex?
The sides of the multi faceted blocks fit very snuggly together. The urban myth of not being able to slide a knife between the fitted blocks rings true here. The ancient “Incans” without metal tools or the wheel managed to shape & move these massive stone blocks with a high standard of accuracy that is basically baffling. I wonder how they made the block’s sides so perfectly receptive of each other? Did they shape the blocks before they put them in place?, or did they shape the blocks as part of the process of actually putting them in place? Did the builders raise these huge burdensome blocks using pulleys or hoists, or did they use the log stacking method suggested in most theories.
In the photo BELOW you can see the true scale of these huge blocks pitted against the tourist posing for a snap shot… THEY ARE MASSIVE BLOCKS, cut to fit precisely together and moved & positioned with apparent ease, time and time again!
How did the builders of these walls manage to carve blocks with which contain both straight edges & curved edges, and seamlessly fit them into these walls with no visible spaces or gaps between them and the neighbouring monolithic sized blocks of stone? …and may I remind you again that these people did not possess any knowledge of metal tools. The only metal they were familiar with was gold, albeit lots of gold, but gold is a very soft metal and absolutely useless for crafting chisels from.
The block BELOW has six sides/edges which all fit flushly with the surrounding six blocks… amazingly, other blocks at the site contain 7, 8, 9, 10 or more sides/edges, all of which are finished with the same high level of craftsmanship…
In Britain we marvel at Stonehenge and amplify the brilliance & strenuous achievement of its builders, but the original design of Stonehenge only consisted of approx 85 roughly hewn stone blocks, totalling approx 680 tonnes of rock…
The estimated volume of stone remaining today in the 3 terrace walls at Sacsayhuaman in Peru is over 6,000 cubic meters (approx 16,626 tonnes).
The longest of the three walls at Sacsayhuaman is about 400 m (1,312.3 ft) in length. Today the average height of the walls is approx 6 m (19.6 ft), but these walls were once considerably taller, but the Spanish conquistadors stripped the higher parts of the walls which were constructed from smaller sized blocks, to build most of old Cuzco.
Some historians speculate that the Incans were not responsible for erecting the larger monoliths which form the lower levels of the terrace walls. These historians are of a view that the Incans simply built on top of the larger blocks that they found at the site. They speculate that these larger blocks were erected by a pre-Incan civilisation which remains nameless & lost to history.
The massive stone blocks used in the walls of the three terraces at Sacsayhuaman in Peru are probably the largest stone blocks used in pre-hispanic America.
The stone fitting skills show a level of precision that is unmatched anywhere on the South American continent. The blocks are fitted so closely together that a credit card will not fit between the stones.
In some places where an earthquake has shaken the stones loose, we should pay attention to the fact that the edges of the blocks on either side of the gap run parallel to each other and are a perfect match.
BELOW: Estimates for the weight of the largest Andesite monolithic blocks found at Sacsayhuaman vary from 120 tonnes to 200 tonnes.
The smallest stone in the wall.