Puma Pumku

Description: Puma Pumku is part of a large temple complex or monument group that is part of the Tiwanaku Site near Tiwanaku, Bolivia. In Aymara, its name means, "The Door of the Puma".

The largest of these stone blocks is 7.81 meters long, 5.17 meters wide, averages 1.07 meters thick, and is estimated to weigh about 131 metric tons and composed of red sandstone transported up a steep incline from a quarry near Lake Titicaca roughly 10 km away.

Archaeologists argue that the transport of these stones was accomplished by the large labor force of ancient Tiwanaku. Several theories have been proposed as to how this labor force transported the stones although these theories remain speculative.

In assembling the walls of Pumapunku, each stone was finely cut to interlock with the surrounding stones and the blocks fit together like a puzzle, forming load-bearing joints without the use of mortar. The precision with which the angles of the stones were cut to create flush joints is indicative of a highly sophisticated knowledge of stone-cutting and a thorough understanding of descriptive geometry. Many of the joints are so precise that not even a razor blade will fit between the stones. Much of the masonry is characterized by accurately cut rectilinear blocks of such uniformity that they could be interchanged for one another while maintaining a level surface and even joints. The blocks were so precisely cut as to suggest the possibility of prefabrication and mass production, technologies far in advance of the Tiwanaku’s Incan successors hundreds of years later. Tiwanaku engineers were also adept at developing a civic infrastructure at this complex, constructing functional irrigation systems, hydraulic mechanisms, and waterproof sewage lines.