The probable age of Tihuanacu. This is curve of the variation of the obliquity of the ecliptic according to the knowledge of present-day astronomy.
It is reckoned
from 1930 A.D. to the year 15,450 B.C. The calculation was made, on the basis of
the formula of the International Ephemeris Conference of Paris, with the
respective factor corresponding to the year 1930. The equation is the
eps (t) = 23° 27' 8.26" - 468.44" t - 0.60" t2
+ 1.83" t3 (1*)
In order to calculate the approximate
age of Tihuanacu there was taken as the FUNDAMENTAL POINT OF DEPARTURE the
probable obliquity of the ecliptic marked by the priest-astronomers on the
gigantic Temple of the Sun of Tihuanacu, that mother of the prehistoric American
cultures. Those ancient architects, leaders of a herd-like people, obtained this
angle in the manner set forth in this volume. That is to say, by measuring and
marking the angle of "solar amplitude" as the principal basis for the
construction of that building which indeed constitutes a "stone calendar".
Today anyone possessing the rudiments of astronomy or geodesy can verify those
data in this temple. Thus, this angle which is still mensurable at the present
time in the aforementioned building of Tihuanacu
is established with all certainty, since today the sun rises at the solstices
with the slight difference of 36' on the outer corners of the east wall of the
Sun Temple. That is to say, when the observer is located at the center of the
west wall. This angle is 49° 22.7'. (3*)
Naturally refraction (4*)
has been taken into consideration, as well as the geographic location of
Tihuanacu and the height above sea-level which are as follows:
Latitude south: 16° 34.4' ; Longitude: 4 hours 35.3' west of
Greenwich ; Height
above sea-level: 3,845 m.
Thus the angle which we have established probably corresponded to that of the
obliquity of the ecliptic at the time of the construction of the Solar Temple of
Tihuanacu of the Second Period, a building erected as a result of "pressing
calendarian needs" in that period of the social, political and religious
center of the Americas. The determining of the cardinal dates of the year was
absolutely necessary at that time in order to obtain the most satisfactory
agricultural results. This was the case since that population, owing to its
density in the zones between the mountain ranges where it lived, had an urgent
need to cultivate all tillable land intensively to avoid famine. The immediate
consequence of a lack of sufficient food would have been social revolutions.
These, naturally, would have been extremely dangerous in the governing of an
enormous "herd-like population" led by a minority, or rather by that
"caste of leaders", the Khollas.
This temple of the Second Period served as a true calendar and it is built on
the astronomical meridian. Today it shows the only slight variation from the
meridian of 1 ° 6' 30". (5*)
enormous solar observatory shows in its ground plan that it has approximate size
of a block of houses in the city of New York, or it is 128 m. 66 cm. long by
118m. 36 cm. wide. Within it there are set the remains of another Solar Temple,
but of the Third Period, of much smaller dimensions (6*)
and whose "calendar wall"
is located outside the temple of the Second Period, forming a sort of BALCONY.
This, let us say modern solar observatory belongs without any doubt to the Third
Period and its "calendarian wall", which is located to the west of
both temples, is orientated even better, since its variation with relation to
the meridian is only 0.7° to the east.
The probable age of Tihuanacu of the Second Period, calculated on the basis of
the variation of the obliquity of the ecliptic, would be approximately 15,000
B.C. Naturally, this calculation is in no sense definitive. For example, the
factor [t3] of
the formula of the International Ephemeris Conference of Paris may well vary in
the light of future astronomical knowledge. If the curve of the obliquity of the
ecliptic should, for reasons as yet unknown to us, be more inclined, the
calculated age of Tihuanacu would also be somewhat less. But it is an
established fact that whatever calculation might be used to determine the age of
the Temple of the Sun of Tihuanacu, on the basis of the variation of the
obliquity of the ecliptic from those times until today, would demonstrate that
that American solar observatory is more ancient than any monument of man in the
world of which we know up to this time. (7*)
(1*) Connaissance de temps.
(2*) Popular speech today designates it
(3*) An average of the observations of
the author and those of the professional astronomers, Arnold Kohlschütter,
Frederick Becker and Rolf Müller. Dr. Hanns Ludendorff, Director of the
Observatory of Potsdam, was also making observations in Tihuanacu in 1926.
(4*) For observation toward the pillar
SE, whose horizon is 0° 16', the refraction is 0° 21.8'; toward the pillar NE,
whose horizon is 2° 47', it is 0° 10.2'.
(5*) A completely destroyed temple to
the east of the one we are considering and which without any doubt belongs to
the First Period, shows a deviation from the meridian of 2° 50'.
(6*) Cf. the General Map of the Temple
of the Sun Kalasasaya (PI. III).
(7*) Consult: Posnansky, Guía general
de Tihuanacu e Islas del Sol y la Luna, La Paz, (8*) Bolivia, 1912; id.,
gran Templo del Sol en los Andes. La edad tie Tihuanacu. Astronomía
prchistórica", Boletín dc In Sociedad Geográfica de La Paz, 1918, No. 45,
pp. 36—46; id., "Kulturvorgeschichtliches und die astronomische
Bedeutung des gr. Sonnentempels von Tihuanacu", Das Weltall, Jg. 24, Heft
2, Berlin, 1924; id., "Comentarios a la Esfinge Indiana", Anales del
XXI Congreso de Americanistas, The Hague, 1924 (this work first appeared with
numerous illustrations in La Natión of Buenos Aires and afterwards in La Paz in
a separate brochure published by the Institute Tihuanacu de Antropología, etc.,
1925); id., "Nuevos datos cronológicos ref. a Tihuanacu", Proceedings of the
XXlll International Congress of Americanists, Sept., 1928. New York, 1931; Rolf
Müller, "El concepto astronómico del gran templo solar de Tihuanacu",
Andes de la Sociedad Científica de Bolivia, Vol. I, No. i, 1930; id., "Der
Sonnentempel von Tihuanacu. Versuch einer astronomischen Altersbestimmung",
Baesler Archiv, Potsdam, 1931.
(8*) Before making a trip to Europe in
1911 which lasted two years and which was made for the purpose of editing the
first volume of the present work, the manuscript of the Guía de Tihuanacu was
left in La Paz for editing. As the author was not able to correct the proofs
personally, a number of grave printing errors slipped in, one of which was
rectified in "Comentarios a la Esfinge Indiana".