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Thu Dec 13, 2018, 04:16 AM

Scientists Virtually Reconstruct Magnificent Pre-Incan Temple

George Dvorsky
Yesterday 8:00pm


Virtual reconstruction of the building’s northernmost section.
Image: Castro Vocal

The 1,500-year-old Pumapunku temple in western Bolivia is considered a crowning achievement of Mesoamerican architecture, yet no one knows what the original structure actually looked like. Until now.

Using historical data, 3D-printed pieces, and architectural software, archaeologist Alexei Vranich from UC Berkeley has created a virtual reconstruction of Pumapunku—an ancient Tiwanaku temple now in ruins. Archaeologists have studied the site for over 150 years, but it wasn’t immediately obvious how all the broken and scattered pieces belonged together. The surprisingly simple approach devised by Vranich is finally providing a glimpse into the structure’s original appearance. Excitingly, the same method could be used to virtually reconstruct similar ruins. The details of this achievement were published today in Heritage Science.

First, some background on the structure. Pumapunku, which means “door of the puma,” was a temple designed and built by the pre-Incan Tiwanaku culture, who lived and thrived in what is now western Bolivia from 500 AD to 1,000 AD. Hundreds of years later, the Inca (1300-1570 AD) came across the Pumapunku ruins, deeming them important and worthy of restoration. And in fact, the Incas believed it was at Pumapunku that the world began. Inspired, the Incas attempted to integrate the style of the Tiwanaku stonework in their own architecture, as seen in structures at the capital city of Cusco and the “lost city” of Machu Picchu.

Indeed, the Incas had a right to be impressed—the Pumapunku temple was an advanced Mesoamerican architectural achievement. Spanish Conquistadors and others who visited the site during the 16th and 17th centuries described it as a “wondrous, though unfinished, building with gateways and windows carved from single blocks,” as Vranich wrote in his new paper. Pumapunku displayed a level of craftsmanship that was largely unparalleled in the pre-Columbian New World, and it’s often considered the architectural peak of Andean lithic technology prior to the arrival of the Europeans. Even today, the stonework of the temple is considered so precise that ancient alien enthusiasts claim it was made by lasers and other extraterrestrial technologies.


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Reply Scientists Virtually Reconstruct Magnificent Pre-Incan Temple (Original post)
Judi Lynn Dec 2018 OP
Staph Dec 2018 #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2018, 02:46 PM

1. Now that virtual reality technology is maturing,

that would be a great way to allow folks to 'visit' all kinds of amazing places. I'd love to go into King Tut's tomb and the great pyramids, and this would be a way to do it without causing additional damage to those sites.

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