Skip to comments.Kuelap - The Machu Picchu Of Northern Peru (Chachapoyas - White, blonde haired people)
Posted on 10/07/2006 3:43:02 PM PDT by blam
Kuelap the Machu Picchu of Northern Peru.
The mysterious super fortress of the Chachapoyan Cloud People
Kuelap is the largest building structure of the Americas. It is estimated to contain 3 times more material than Egypts largest pyramid. Peru considers Kuelap to be as good as Machu Picchu and is trying to make this its equal 2nd major destination. It is twice as old as the Incas and in remarkably better condition before restoration.
Kuelap is an unknown giant just waking up. Peru is a huge country the size of the 5 west coast states, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and Montana. At present 99% of the tourists only go from Lima to the south while only 1% goes to the void north of Lima. Until this new century, the largest unexplored mountains in the in the Americas was in this zone. The Andes would stretch from San Francisco to London, with only the Himalayans higher. When the Spanish arrived, the Incas ruled the Andes.
The reason this zone is America's best kept secret is that the first dirt vehicle road came only 35 years ago. Previous to this the natives say that few came or went by their only access, -- a two-month walk on ancient Inca major routes. One Inca highway goes through here in a partially explored zone from Columbia to the Inca heartland. Another unexplored lateral route goes from Levanto and Kuelap to the coast through Cajamarca where the Inca was captured. This former Kuelap East-West road may have been the gold and feather route used by the spectacular Moche and Chimu cultures from the coast to the Moyobamba jungles zone. No other cultures reached their superior level of goldsmiths, and hundreds of pyramids.
Kuelaps mystery has barely been studied. Construction began about 800AD at the same time that the Andes most spectacular empire began its expansion from Bolivia. This was the Tiahuanaco or Wari Empire, known as The Golden City Building Era of the Andes, or the Middle Horizon. The Wari (or Huari) built most of the Inca roads and trails and almost every ancient city. They were in power 300 years compared to less than 100 years of the Incas. The Wari evolved to an empire of cities sustained by a sophisticated transportation system implying specialization of labor, engineers, artisans, etc. Today the Wari Empire is barely known because the Spanish did not discover and document them with their gold. A parallel comparison would be similar to the Mayans which the Spanish ignored because of their decline in power and gold. Today the worlds interest in the Mayan Culture has grown to pass the Aztecs, as studies reveal their ability to write and build spectacular cities & structures. A great reference book about the complete Andes history is The People and Cultures of Ancient Peru by Luis Lambrates, translated into English by the Smithsonian Institution Press.
Now it seems that Kuelap was not built by the empire but rather a confederation of the Chachapoyan Cloud People to stop the Wari invasion. A relative short distance across the Marinon River was the most advanced stronghold cities of the Wari in the north of Peru at Cajamarca and Huamachuco. A glaring fact is that on the other side of the river, all of the pottery and artifacts mirrors the Bolivian style of the empire. The total lack of Wari artifacts in this zone would indicate the Wari either could not defeat the Chachapoyans, -- or were themselves defeated at Kuelap causing the collapse of the empire at that time.
The greatest mystery of the Chachapoyan Cloud People was, who were they? How would they know to start construction of mountain top citadels and fortresses 250 years before the Wari advanced to conquer them? Was it a coincident that Kuelap was completed at just the right time to stop them? John Hemming wrote in Conquest of the Incas that Kuelap was the strongest fortification in the Americas, and if the Inca could have made a stand there, - the Spanish horses and artillery would be useless and history might have been different today. Keith Muscutt wrote in his book that this zone was so heavily populated in the past, -- it would be unlikely today to go to any likely peak in the cloud forest, and NOT FIND a lost stone citadel. Being made of stone, these ruins can be found today. I have been approached 10 times in the last couple of years by pioneers wanting me to see an undiscovered ruins they have found on their land.
Vanquished cultures of the Andes usually were displaced to lower areas and the jungles. An interesting fact was the Incas first began their conquest after Inca Pachacutec defeated the Chancas from Wari. At that time the Chancas were the former Wari Empire culture, - but now in decline. Later when the Incas were approaching their peak, the former Wari nation bolted and fled from the Inca influence. Their king said that their elite class were like the Incas in that they came from a strange land elsewhere, so their pride wouldnt allow them to remain under Inca domination. So, where did the former Wari flee as the most secure place of the entire Andes? They fled down in the lower slopes below Kuelap in the jungle of Lamas. Did they perceive that the Incas couldnt defeat the Chachapoyans to get to them? Even today these former Wari people contrast drastically in their customs, clothing and appearance from the jungle cultures. Now ANOTHER large stretch of speculation of displaced cultures being forced to lower jungle areas. PERHAPS one could conclude and believe a predominance of the fair skin and often blond people living in the nearby jungle of Rodrigues de Mendoza were the former Chachapoyan Cloud People?
Inca chronicles and legends persist that the Cloud People were tall fair (skin and hair) warriors. This is reinforced by an unusually large proportion of blond, fair natives in this zone who know of no European ancestry. However Julio C. Tello and anthropologists speculate the Chachapoyans may have been a jungle culture that migrated there through the Magdalena Valley of Columbia, and preferred the mountaintops. Whatever case, the Cloud People dont fit the pattern of other Andeans. They lived behind walls in well crafted stone round houses with a pointed thatch tepee roof. One would suspect they farmed better land below the cloud forest, which wasnt leached out and eroded, but lived on the peaks.
This zone gets seasonal rains from November to April, but Kuelap is always accessible. The dry season is from June to October but still has brief showers that are usually tiny droplets. This is caused by moist air of the jungle, pushed up over the peaks causing it to chill. This humid air condensates forming almost perpetual clouds, -- just before the droplets get large enough to rain. In this environment air plants dominate so bromeliads, orchids and moss cover the trees and stone citadels. Rapid clouds coming and going create photogenic panoramas adding a veiled mystery to the peaks.
This zone is called la ceja de la selva, - meaning the eyebrow of the Amazon. Above the ceja is the nightly freeze line which is a bald grassland high on the crest of the cordillera. Below the cloud forest are often desert river valleys where often only cactus will grow. A dense forest forms a band 2/3 of the way up the cordillera, resembling an eyebrow overlooking the Amazon Basin. After the clouds were chilled being pushed over the peaks, they dive downwards and warm up so the vapor turns to gasses, and the clouds disappear before your eyes. There are spectacular rainbows every day. The rainfall may be a drastic 2 to 3 meters difference from the valleys to the peaks and only a very few kilometers vertically away. All of this creates thousands of mini ecological zones, depending on elevation, sun orientation or prevailing winds, etc. The Incas had access to many jungle medicines, -- but a majority of their best medical plants were adapted to these mini-ecological zones. Todays fad is to search for lower jungle medical plants while neglecting these more likely ones at higher altitudes, which have even a greater threat of deforestation.
Kuelaps five walls inside of walls contain over 400 buildings. Each wall is from one to two telephone poles high with its 2nd level walls being the highest, extending a kilometer along a mountain ridge overlooking the Utcabamba River. Some think Kuelap was positioned to defend the Gran Vilaya region that was heavily populated behind Kuelap and the cordillera. There are some mysterious structures inside the fortress. One is a large cone shaped stone structure, defying gravity with the top much larger diameter than the bottom. Now the inside of this tenador (ink well), is shaped like a rose bud vase, - or a light bulb without the plug. The top hole is about ½ meter diameter, and a few meters down below, it opens into a large circular room. Some think it was a prison. Others think it was an oracle observatory where the shaman can be inside to observe a special star pass over the lens to signal an exact time or event of the year. A separate odd stone structure is an 8 pointed star with the longest 4 points pointing EXACTLY to north, south, east & west. Now at the north end a high stone tower is called the mitador, or observatory. From here signals could be sent to Choctomal that could relay the signal around the valleys bend to another ruins high on the Abra Yumal Pass. This would then relay the signal to Gran Vilaya (which some think Kuelap was built to defend).
Ping for later read.
What about Nazca?
I think we are discovering a loss of very high technology from the past. The pyramids represent one aspect. The drawings appreciated only from the air are another.
Chachapoyas, which means People of the Clouds, is the name of a civilization that fought from high forest strongholds in resistance to Inca expansion and Spanish invasion. One of the last kingdoms to succumb to the Inca, its legacy includes one of South America's archaeological wonders - the defensive fortress of Kuelap. Perched on the shoulder of a 10,000-foot mountain, this 9th Century citadel comprisesan urban complex of more than 400 stone edifices - homes, palaces and temples enclosed by a 70-foot-tall stone wall.
Their architecture demonstrates decidedly non-Inca features, such as protruding geometric patterns, cornices, and friezes. Kuelap's setting is unforgettably beautiful - a tropical cloud forest festooned with orchids and steeped in mystery.
The Revash Tombs, the Karajia Sarcophagi and the extensive network of Chachapoyas paved trails also serve as a reminder of the greatness of this vanished nation. Archaeologists just now are mapping and excavating many important Chachapoyas sites. The museum in Leymebamba, which displays 200 mummies recovered from the remote Lake of the Condors, describes the extraordinary embalming methods of the Chachapoya, their lifestyle and culture. The Museum also houses a collection of knotted Quipu, the record-keeping device of the Incas.
Cajamarca is a city of colonial charm, rolling Andean countryside, and home to the important archaeological sites of Ventanillas of Otuzco and Cumbemayo. It is a place of great historical significance - in this city Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro captured, imprisoned, ransomed, and executed Inca Emperor Atahualpa, unleashing the destruction of Inca civilization. Travelers may stroll in the town square - site of the first and decisive battle between the Spanish and the Inca - and visit the ransom rooms that were filled with gold and silver by legions of loyal Inca subjects in the attempt to buy the freedom of their doomed regent.
A separate odd stone structure is an 8 pointed star with the longest 4 points pointing EXACTLY to north, south, east & west.
I wonder WHEN it was pointing "Exactly" to the cardinal directions.
"Kuelaps mystery has barely been studied. Construction began about 800AD at the same time that the Andes most spectacular empire began its expansion from Bolivia. This was the Tiahuanaco or Wari Empire, known as The Golden City Building Era of the Andes, or the Middle Horizon."
BTW, these are the guys who domesticated cocaine. It is very popular with many people around the world. It was probably very popular in ancient times as well. Egyptian mummies from one period have cocaie molecules inside the body cells ~ meaning they used it in life ~ which means somebody would have had to have brought it from the Andean highlands!!!!
So who were these intrepid narcotic "mules" ~ bet they weren't blue eyed blonds eh!??
Who are these people and why do we know so little about them? (Get a large grant and go find out for us, lol)
Exiled miners of King Solomon? (Ofir?)
Thanks. I'll be in Indy for Thanksgiving...I'll go look.
Some of this stuff popped up about the time a guy named Selig (from Indianapolis) went from Naptown to Brazil to assist in setting up an enormous developmental effort in the jungle.
I've subsequently discovered that a guy named Carvalho/Carvajal (same name, one Spanish, one Portuguese) made the first trip down the Amazon by starting over in the Andes, and then made his way to the plains in what is now Southern Ecuqador, etc., and moved from there (with some companions) to the East Coast. He had a diary which no one ever paid any attention to until recently. I'm betting Selig was simply the first guy to believe that diary. This is where all the stories of folks with blond hair come from. He also said there were large cities out there with hundreds of thousands of people. More recently another Carvajal has been using the older information as a guide to find massive settlements ~ and he's been finding massive settlements (or rather, their raised bed farms, still there).
One of the more interesting ways to determine how old a culture is, is if they have a solar observatory. Such an observatory needs only three markers. The equinox marker in the middle, and the two solstice markers on either side of it.
The distance between these three matter, because the axis tilt of the Earth is considerably less than it used to be. This long-term shift is known as "the precession of the equinoxes." This change isn't measured in relation to the sun, but rather to the other stars in the sky. Every 26,000 years the Earth's axis goes through a cycle of pointing to different parts of the sky.
Concurrently, on Earth it seems that the yearly axis shift becomes less and less.
In human terms, this would mean that the two solstice points will have moved closer together in our present day, and knowing how much shift happens every year, we can tell when the observatory was originally built.
Thanks. Very fascinating.
I had a female engineer (Zulma) from Peru in my organization years ago and asked her about the blonde headed people I'd heard about. She said, "yes, they're there in the mountains".
Thanks, good info...I never would have thought of that.
Here's what I found about the mushrooms.
"Perhaps no other ethnobotanical is more shrouded in mystery and intrigue than the Amanita Muscaria mushroom. Some scholars have suggested that the Viking berserkers ate the mushroom before battle to enter a frenzied state. Others have claimed that it is the legendary intoxicant Soma, worshipped as a God by early Hindus. In Western culture, it is the mushroom of fairy tales, a symbol of both poison and magic. For generations, the tribal shamans of Siberia and the Pacific Northwest have ingested Amanita Muscaria to enter Altered States of Consciousness."
extremely fascinating! i was a latin american studies major at the U of Pittsburgh 28 years ago and never heard of this civilization. but this piece says Kuelap was just discovered 35 years ago. so it makes sense that they wouldn't exactly be in the textbooks back then.
Yup. From the sound of things, you'd be hard pressed to find much in the books today too.
The hallucinogen in amanita muscaria is the only hallucinogen that is NOT metabolized by the human body and just goes right out in the urine. It may then be used by another devotee.
The Sa'ami in the far North of Scandinavia, used it in pursuit of visions in their old religion. The Apostolic Charismatic Church of the First Born in the United States, where it still uses a narcotic as a sacrament, uses peyote.
Try: http://www.evilchili.com/mediaview/4588/Swedish_Midsummer_Feast for a recent video on the situation.
It was processed through animals as well; reindeer in northeast Asia and cattle in India (sacred cows).
A lot of these details are in R. Gordon Wasson's writings.
Still, this little film is the best visual I've ever seen of people drunk on Amanita.
The nonpotable X on the plastic water jugs disguises the real substance in there. On some of the clips you can see that it is clearly urine!
Again, this is strictly in the interest of science so you should not let your eyes stray.
It's always the court jester who is a midget who has the magic dust. The highest incidence of dwarfism in any European group is among the Sa'ami.
And then there's Santa Claus, the red and white decor, the flying reindeer, helpers, etc.
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There's a program that just came on the Discovery Channel titled: Ice Age Columbus: Who were the first Americans? Looks interesting, it starts out in Iberia, hee, hee.
There are those who believe the Sa'ami "wintered over" in NW Scandinavia during the last glacial maximum.
Seems it never iced up ~
During that period of time they became somewhat "different" from the other European people, and vice versa.
Although some of the genetic differences are identified as disease, what we are talking about in modern times with modern populations is a statistical norm with some folks ending up with a bunch of "different" genes they didn't even know were in the family.
Northern European "problems" traced to Sa'ami origins are celiac disorder, Scandinavian porphyria (3 different genes for that one), extra sinus nodes in the heart muscle, varities of type II diabetes, and so on. I think a double count of red cones in the retina is part of the "package" as is the elimination of blue cones. THat way you can see a small fire many miles across the ice in the darkest of night.
All of these "conditions" are actually very normal for a population that never eats wheat, barley or rye, has only low glycemic index vegetables available, survives on high fat fish and sea mammals, and lives through a Polar winter many months long.
Eskimos have the same "problems".
Does that mean they would have dark eyes?
Technical error ~ big time ~ they got a guy suffering from scurvy. However, they've been out there eating seal after seal after seal.
Seal skin is full of vitamin C. They'd been chowing down on something better than oranges.
Another technical error ~ these people living at the edge of the ice for tens of centuries probably had the same adaptation so many Sa'ami appear to have ~ the body does not, when chilled, protect core heat. It lets your blood keep flowing to your arms and legs to save your life. So, the guy who fell in the ice would not have gone unconscious in that water so fast. His arms and legs would not have numbed up and quit working.
He'd simply dogpaddled to the breathing hole he fell in and they'd pull him out.
He's got about 4 hours to live before he has to get warm and dry BTW. Ordinary white people only have a half hour or so.
I see technical errors in almost all these 'made for tv' documentaries. When the girl was brought along on the 'hunt', I knew where they'd wind up.
They were convinced they'd found something different since it had European roots.
This is kind of a dramatization of what we were told about way back then.
Women never accompanied anyone on the "long hunts" since that wa for biological survival.
This was a "short hunt".
The logic of it all is so compelling just thinking about it you get an idea of how steeled they were to the harshest of discipline ~ without it, they were just seconds from death.
Seeing that blade I went over and looked at my own collection ~ got bunch of 'em. Hmmmm. Like a time machine seeing that.
J D Adovasio did most of the work there and has aretty good book titled, The First Americans.
However Stephen Oppenheimer (DNA) shows those people coming across Siberia 25,000 years ago and then becoming exiled during the Last Glacial Maximum.
They made it all the way around the world first. The polar people move North to South and South to North with the movement of the great herds through the cycles of the advances and restreats of the glaciers.
As they move they spread their genes.
That's why the Eskimos look so much like the Samurai clans that dominated the area around Fukuoka for so many centuries (that, BTW, is the highest concentration of Emeshi on Earth). Darndest thing ~ you could be looking for Nanuk and find Hiro.
According to the Sagas, if I read them correctly, the far more recent discovery of America saw the birth of the first baby from a mother whose own father was the High King of Ireland.
The documentary pretty much concluded the way I would have concluded it. All the early skeletons in the Americas are not from Mongoloids, they came a few thousand years later.
Did you see this one?
Everybody's doing it!
Another map...I was under the impression most of these discoveries were taking place in the Moche Valley, but I can't see it named on the map.
Moche Valley - irrigation channels.
Would that site be Meadowcroft?
This is where the found a firepit, stone tools and bone fragments at 10,000 BP and decided to dig deeper, finding more specimens at lower and lower (earlier and earlier) levels.
I'm not sure, but I believe Meadowcroft was dug before the Cactus Hill, Va or Topper, SC sites.
Yes, Meadowcroft. JM Adovasio spent thirty years digging there. Below is his book on the subject. It's a very good book too.