Secrets of Tiwanaku

Lost Artifacts and Hidden Rooms?

In December 2017, fellow megalithic researcher J.J. Ainsworth, and I, stayed in Tiwanaku for a few days to thoroughly explore the sites of Tiwanaku and Puma Punku, looking for any anomalies or things we’d previously missed. I have visited the area ten times over twelve years and was part of the Ancient Aliens TV show in an episode focused on the mystery of Puma Punku, but I had never had more than one day to explore the complex. This time I had four.

Both sites look like they have been hit by a tidal wave, or some other kind of cataclysm. The stones, some weighing up to 80 tons, were scattered like toys around both sites, and were often deeply embedded in the mud. Some excavation has been done there, most recently at the Kantatalita Temple at Tiwanaku, and Puma Punku, where it has now been revealed that it is actually a great platform pyramid, similar to, but much larger than Tiwanaku’s Akapana pyramid. The massive pyramid would once have touched the edge of Lake Titicaca. The legendary lake, however, is now about 20 miles away.

Lake Titicaca is the origin point of the great bearded god, Viracocha, who was said to have emerged from the waters on to the Island of the Sun, created a team of stone or mud giants, and instructed them to build all the megalithic sites and carve statues of their great god along the Path of Viracocha that included Tiwanaku as its genesis point.

“Punctuating the city center were dozens of stone sculptures carved to mimic human and human-animal forms and the Inca considered these remnant genera of giants from a prior world of proto-human giants who had been turned to stone.”

( /2017/11/living-stone-beings-from-tiwanaku-bolivia-in-europe/)

There are many humanoid statues thought to represent Viracocha in numerous forms at both Tiwanaku and Puma Punku. These are on display on site as well as at various museums, including the Tiwanaku museum in La Paz. I have always been fascinated by these, as they show abstract form, with what looks like geometric ‘fish-scales,’ elaborate belts, and headdresses that resemble those found at the Toltec site of Tula in Mexico, as well as other ‘Tiki’ sites all over the Pacific. Some even resemble statues found at Göbekli Tepe in Turkey and Sulawesi in Indonesia. One of the most interesting ones has a bird head (that was last seen on display in the Berlin Museum).

Two are still in-situ in the Kalasasaya temple, and numerous examples are displayed in the on-site museum, with the largest one, a staggering 24-feet tall, in a special part of the museum (featured in the AR cover image for this issue). The Bennett Monolith was found on its back in the sunken temple. It was subsequently kept for some time in La Paz but is now back at the site museum. There are further examples in the sunken temple that are in much rougher form, and do not have the same style or class as the sophisticated Viracocha statues already mentioned.

Some of the statues are made of andesite quarried from Cerro Khapia, across the lake in Peru; and a trail of huge monoliths called ‘lazy stones’ still exist on this ancient route towards the site. We explored and discovered several that mark the path of the stones, some weighing about 40 tons. However, it seems they chose this specific source because it had the properties they required to create these Viracocha statues, perhaps because they believed the stones were imbued with some kind of energy or even the spirit of earthly gods or goddesses.

“Native community members tell endless stories of having witnessed them walking around at night, sometimes in the distance, sometimes approaching fleshy humans to ask for some help, or to follow them on some dangerous venture.”


During my exploration of the eastern part of Tiwanaku called the Kantatalite temple—a raised area, that has been recently excavated and is thought to possibly be a low pyramid—I noticed in the distance at the base of this low hill, behind the fence, some greyish andesite stones. I thought nothing of it, but when I left the site, I needed a cold drink, as it was a very hot day; so I exited through the northern gate and walked east along the road toward a restaurant. After quenching my thirst, I took a right turn to take a quick look at the greyish white blocks I had previously spotted.

To my great astonishment, I found, half-buried and facing upwards, an unrecorded Viracocha statue that had been broken into two pieces. Badly weathered, it was still clearly one of these humanoid statues with its base still embedded in the ground, suggesting this was its original location. Its precise position may be relevant, because it is exactly 1,000 feet directly east of the Ponce Monolith found at the center of the square enclosure within the Kalasasaya temple and precisely 750 feet from the sandstone statues in the Sunken Temple. It might have faced west, looking back directly across the site, through the megalithic doorway and into the eyes of its andesite brother, the Ponce Monolith. Its current orientation, however, seems to be toward the Akapana Pyramid to the southwest, so it is still unclear if its location has any geodetic significance.

Having looked through all the archaeological records and papers, I had found no mention of this particular statue. It looked like it may well have been buried beneath mud and long grass for, potentially, hundreds or even thousands of years, but the landowner had recently cut the overgrowth back, clearly revealing this new discovery. I explored the entire area right up to the fence and further east and south of the main site and found several sizable stones, hundreds of pieces of pottery, and landscape-shaping, suggesting a considerable rectangular area that, because it is outside the perimeter of the Tiwanaku archaeological area, has not been excavated. The dimensions are difficult to calculate, as it is still partly buried and may be damaged in other ways. It currently measures 108 inches (9 feet) tall, with a 30-inch base, and a 78-inch main statue.

On the same day that I had pondered the statue’s discovery, I walked back to the on-site museum and noticed some huge statues standing in a shaded, out-of-bounds room. A corrugated iron sheet blocked the entrance, but I managed to slip behind the iron and, with some extra effort, to get through the entrance and take many photos of these extraordinary statues, apparently in storage. The main ones were at a site called Pokotia, about seven miles southeast of Tiwanaku. I had seen old photos of these sophisticated kneeling statues, but this was the first time I gotten close enough to inspect them and managed to get detailed photographs. Similar statues guard the church in the town square.

“The two statues sometimes referred to as Peter and Paul guard the entrance to the town of Tiahuanaco’s church, but according to (Arthur) Posnansky, they originally come from Pokotia.” (Protzen, Jean-Pierre; Nair, Stella. Stones of Tiahuanaco: A Study of Architecture and Construction (Monograph Book 75) Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press.)

Pokotia is an important site. Another statue discovered there is much smaller but has huge implications, since, possibly there is Sumerian script carved on it. This discovery has caused a sensation, because the Fuente Magna Bowl, found close to Lake Titicaca, had similar text that some researchers believe to be Sumerian and proto-Sumerian. This had led to considerable speculation about a possible connection between the Middle East and South America in the distant past. (For more on this see the following article by Adriano Forgione on page 45.)

This epic day of discovery had not yet ended, though. In the on-site museum, I shortly discovered, yet another secret room that, previously, had always been locked, but on this day building work was underway, and the entrance had been left unguarded. So, I sneaked in, closed the door behind me, and photographed everything in sight. Over 30 stone artifacts and statues were in this hidden room. I have never seen any of these particular pieces mentioned in any book, website, or videos; and none of my researcher friends knew anything about them either.

Tiwanaku and Puma Punku are still revealing their secrets. It is known that tunnels have been found inside the Akapana Pyramid; that elongated skulls and strange metal alloys have been unearthed; and that strange, very sophisticated, stone pieces are still being uncovered at the sites. A majority of the complex has yet to be excavated, but with discoveries like these being made in the current era, it seems that the secrets of Viracocha and his magnificent temples may yet be brought to light.


Megalithomania is the author Hugh Newman’s travel company. Tours of Peru and Bolivia are planned for November 2018. For more details on how you can join Newman and J.J. Ainsworth in, hopefully, gaining access to these newly explored rooms and the Viracocha statue, visit Newman’s webite:

By Hugh Newman