Discovery of this website presents the story of the discovery of Marcahuasi as well as the geological characteristics of the plateau. It also provides information on the village of San Pedro de Casta and how it and Marcahuasi can be accessed.
The great majority of the public does not doubt that Marcahuasi is the result of human work, but until today no one has presented evidence to support this belief. It is true that the monuments found there are impressive and quite numerous in a relatively small area (~4 square km), facts which may support such a hypothesis. The study of Marcahuasi is made difficult by the lack of information sources common to archaeological work: there are no burials or trash dumps contemporary with the monuments. Also, there are no organic remains which could be assayed by radiocarbon analysis to determine dates. There are only rocks and lichens.
Throughout the past seventy years Marcahuasi has probably been visited by hundreds of thousands. Only in 2015 the community of San Pedro de Casta estimates that the site received fifteen thousand visitors. Thus, it is surprising that in no case has a serious study been conducted of the relationships between the structures on the plateau, aside from Daniel Ruzo’s attempts in the 1950s. Not having access to GPS technology, Ruzo utilized traditional land surveying equipment to fix the lines between monuments. He was not able to reach any conclusions, mainly because of the physical difficulties involved and the fact that he focused on the major monuments only and did not notice the markers, discussed below.
If it is the case that there exist geometrical relationships between certain structures, this fact would support the hypothesis that there has been human intervention in Marcahuasi. Considering that there may be such relationships we organized two expeditions to the plateau in July, 2014 and June, 2016. These were sponsored by ECYART (Association for the Study of Traditional Arts and Sciences), based in Lima, Peru. These efforts yielded useful information geo-referencing monuments and markers, determining lines of site (orientation) (Tables 1 and 2) and confirming the geological data available on the composition of the plateau (Discovery).
At Marcahuasi we can distinguish a minimum of four types of stone structures, aside from the Inca-period barracks and funerary chullpas. We have geo-referenced many of these, particularly in the north side of the plateau. Table 1 provides their geographical coordinates, lines of sight and other data. Note that the names used here are those used by the discoverer of Marcahuasi or by the villagers in San Pedro:
- These are the most easily recognized and in fact are what attracts visitors to the plateau. They are scattered throughout, but the majority are located on the northwest side. Examples of the monuments are the Peca Gasha (Monument to Humanity, Figures 1 and 2), the helmet (Figure 3), the knight (Figure 4), the philosopher (or Easter Island head, Figure 5), the llama (Figure 6) and many others (see Discovery).
- Reliefs and engravings. These are geometrical figures or other features carved on stone, they do not necessarily depict personages. The Infiernillo (Figure 7), the Mayoralas (Figure 8), the walls of the amphitheater (Figure 9), the lined stone (Figure 10) and the chessboard (Figure 11) are examples of such items.
- These are stones of varying size which rest upon or to the side of each other, such as the Indian’s head cover (chullo, Figure 12), the man next to the hill of sights (Cerro de las Miradas) (Figures 13 and 14), the shoe (Figure 15) and the dolmen in the amphitheater (Figures 16 and 17).
- These single stones are very difficult to describe. Generally polymorphic, not taller than two meters, located near monuments and set over flat stone surfaces. They differ more than resemble each other, so it may appear somewhat arbitrary to class them as a type of structure, except that once geo-referenced as discussed below, they fall into certain patterns. Figures 18-24 depict markers M-1 to M-6 and M-10.
We will focus on the north side of the plateau, the area studied in greatest detail and in which most of the monuments, carvings, dolmens and markers are found. Near the Peca Gasha (Figures 1 and 2) are located the north altar (Figure 25), the African lion (Figure 26), scarface (Figure 27) as well as a minimum of seven markers (M-1 to M-6 and M-10).
A quick examination of the lines of sight (LOS) reveals that more than a third of structures that can be assigned LOS (Table 1) exhibit angles that are multiples of 90 degrees! This is unlikely to be a coincidence. In the case of the Infiernillo it is perfectly oriented at 0 degrees south and 360 degrees north. The circle of 360 degrees which we have used for centuries may have also been used on the plateau.
Reviewing the data from the 2014 expedition (Tables 1 and 2) and using GoogleEarth, we find that markers M-3, M-4 and M-5 are laid out on a straight line (Figure 28). The same can be said for the altar, the half-rock, M-3, M-2, scarface and the turban (M-6).
These are not all – as shown in Figure 28, we can see other lines formed by the lion, M-4 and M-2; M-5, M-1 and the turban (M-6), as well as north altar, M-4 and M-1. Thus there are several alignments involving three to six points. Many of these lines intersect at M-4 (Figure 28).
In an attempt to understand the possible significance of such a geometric arrangement, the theory proposed by R Bauval (see bibliography) comes to mind. Bauval proposes that the three main pyramids at Giza represent the stars in Orion’s belt, the constellation of the hunter.
Ancient cultures were very attentive to happenings in the heavens, in part to maintain a viable calendar, but also in order to predict a catastrophe. Perhaps the latter reason was the more important one as described by W Sullivan (see bibliography).
Could it be the case that at Marcahuasi an ancient people was able to translate what they saw in the sky into a pattern on the ground? After several attempts to relate the lines formed by the various monuments and markers to known constellations of the southern hemisphere, we found that there appeared to be an exact correlation with one of the most well known group of stars, the Pleiades. These play a very prominent role in the mythologies of cultures as different as the Zuni of New Mexico, the Polynesian and the Greek (see bibliography).
The stars we cite below are identified by their Greek names and their magnitude (the lower number represents greater brilliance). With the data from the 2014 expedition (Tables 1 and 2) we were able to assign four of the brightest stars:
Marker M-4 = Alcyone (2.9)
Marker M-1 (very near Peca Gasha) = Atlas (3.6)
Altar (north) = Electra (3.7)
African Lion = Merope (4.2)
Figures 29 and 30 represent the points cited superimposed on two images of the Pleiades seen from north and south.
Since five of the Pleiades are easily visible without magnification we were missing Maya (magnitude 3.9). Teygeta, another member of the cluster is rarely visible without a telescope and Asterope and Coeleno not at all. According to the position of Maya in the actual constellation it should be found in Marcahuasi to the southwest on a line with Alcyone (M-4), M-3 and M-5, an area that was not geo-referenced during the 2014 expedition.
In 2016 we obtained the data necessary to locate and identify Maya with marker M-10 (Figure 31, Tables 1 and 2).
Taking into account the variety of structures found on the plateau, the relationships between the markers and the representation of an important constellation, as well as the lines of sight reflecting the exact division of the 360 degree circle, we may have at present sufficient evidence to support the hypothesis that an ancient culture, of which we know nothing, shaped Marcahuasi.
Wikipedia – Theory of the relationship between the Giza pyramids and Orion
The Orion correlation theory was first put forward by Robert Bauval in 1983. One night, while working in Saudi Arabia, he took his family and a friend’s family up into the sand dunes of the Arabian desert for a camping expedition. His friend pointed out Orion, and mentioned that Mintaka, the dimmest and most westerly of the stars making up Orion’s belt, was offset slightly from the others. Bauval then made a connection between the layout of the three main stars in Orion’s belt and the layout of the three main pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex. He published this idea in 1989 in the journal Discussions in Egyptology, volume 13. The idea has been further expounded by Bauval in collaboration with Adrian Gilbert (The Orion Mystery, 1994) and Graham Hancock (Keeper of Genesis, 1996), as well as in their separate publications. The basis of this theory concerns the proposition that the relative positions of three main Ancient Egyptian pyramids on the Giza plateau are (by design) correlated with the relative positions of the three stars in the constellation of Orion which make up Orion’s Belt— as these stars appeared in 10,000 BC.
Their initial claims regarding the alignment of the Giza pyramids with Orion (“…the three pyramids were a terrestrial map of the three stars of Orion’s belt”—Hancock’s Fingerprints of the Gods, 1995, p. 375) are later joined with speculation about the age of the Great Sphinx (Hancock and Bauval, Keeper of Genesis, published 1996, and in 1997 in the U.S. as The Message of the Sphinx). According to these works, the Great Sphinx was constructed c. 10,500 BC (Upper Paleolithic), and its lion-shape is maintained to be a definitive reference to the constellation of Leo. Furthermore, the orientation and dispositions of the Sphinx, the Giza pyramids and the Nile River relative to one another on the ground is put forward as an accurate reflection or “map” of the constellations of Leo, Orion (specifically, Orion’s Belt) and the Milky Way respectively. As Hancock puts it in 1998’s The Mars Mystery (co-authored with Bauval):
…we have demonstrated with a substantial body of evidence that the pattern of stars that is “frozen” on the ground at Giza in the form of the three pyramids and the Sphinx represents the disposition of the constellations of Orion and Leo as they looked at the moment of sunrise on the spring equinox during the astronomical “Age of Leo” (i.e., the epoch in which the Sun was “housed” by Leo on the spring equinox.) Like all precessional ages this was a 2,160-year period. It is generally calculated to have fallen between the Gregorian calendar dates of 10,970 and 8810 BC. (op. cit., p.189)
The allusions to dates circa 12,500 years ago are significant to Hancock since this is the era he seeks to assign to the advanced progenitor civilization, now vanished, but which he contends through most of his works had existed and whose advanced technology influenced and shaped the development of the world’s known civilizations of antiquity. Egyptology and archaeological science maintain that available evidence indicates that the Giza pyramids were constructed during the Fourth dynasty period (3rd millennium BC), while the exact date of the Great Sphinx is still unclear. Hancock does not dispute the dating evidence for the currently existing pyramids, but instead argues that they may have been an architectural evolution of sites whose origin and cultural significance dated back some eight thousand years before the current monuments were built —since the Orion correlation theory claims they are oriented that way—which, it is implied, provides further evidence for the influence of astronomical, mathematical, and historical knowledge that might not have been passed down to the pyramids’ builders.
Wikipedia – The Pleiades
Pleiades as calendar, in history and in modern science. Historically, the Pleiades have served as a calendar for many civilizations. The Greek name “Pleiades” probably means “to sail.” In the ancient Mediterranean world, the day that the Pleaides cluster first appeared in the morning sky before sunrise announced the opening of the navigation season.
The modern-day festival of Halloween originates from an old Druid rite that coincided with the midnight culmination of the Pleiades cluster. It was believed that the veil dividing the living from the dead is at its thinnest when the Pleaides culminates – reaches its highest point in the sky – at midnight.
On a lighter note, the Zuni of New Mexico call the Pleiades the “Seed Stars,” because this cluster’s disappearance in the evening sky every spring signals the seed-planting season.
In both myth and science, the Pleiades are considered to be sibling stars. Modern astronomers say the Pleiades stars were born from the same cloud of gas and dust some 100 million years ago. This gravitationally bound cluster of several hundred stars looms some 430 light-years distant, and these sibling stars drift through space together at about 25 miles per second. Many of these Pleiades stars shine hundreds of times more brightly than our sun.
Sullivan, William. The Secret of the Incas: Myth, Astronomy and the War Against Time (Crown Publishers), 1996