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Finds in the lake Titicaca : hundreds of victims shed light on Tiwanaku culture

In earlier times a more stable state, without rituals and Religion is unthinkable. You took on the role of political institutions, including the reward and punishment of the population. So it was also in the Andes. Findings from the lake Titicaca give information about Tiwanaku – probably the first state in the Region. Out of an Abundance of precious objects, researchers conclude that a rocky reef close to the island of the sun in the middle of the lake, a ritual center of culture between the 8. and 10 century. There, the religious Elite reinforced in ceremonies, the Power of the emerging state, as the Team of Christophe Delaere, of the University of Oxford in the "Proceedings" of the American National Academy of Sciences ("PNAS").

Amateur scuba divers discovered once the reef

on the border of Peru and Bolivia well-3800 meters above sea level, lake Titicaca has in the mythology of the Inca culture of outstanding importance. The Inca ruled the Region from about 1400 to 1532. But much earlier, in the period 500 to 1100, was the basin of the lake, the heartland of the Tiwanaku state, whose capital of the same name at the South end of the lake. A Central religious place was, according to the researchers, the Isla del Sol (island of the sun) on today's Bolivian side of the huge lake that is more than 15 Times larger than the lake of Constance.

a long time scientists had assumed that the Religion had played a crucial role in the formation and consolidation of the Tiwanaku state. However, for a long time lacked evidence of appropriate rituals that would support this theory.

The archaeological site in the lake Titicaca.Photo: Teddy Seguin

in Front of the North-Western shore of the island of Japanese hobby had discovered by divers in 1977, a rocky reef, and there incense, and small animal figures found. This is the Khoa reef expeditions found the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s hundreds of objects, including animal bones, pottery, and figurines made of Gold and silver. Some of them came from Inca times, other from Tiwanaku times. An exact assignment was, but in the case of many objects is difficult. In addition, the researchers assumed that the reef accumulated under the sediments even more Fund has hidden pieces. Therefore, the Team Delaere, exploring the Khoa reef, since 2013, in a further underwater expedition.

thousands of objects under the surface of the water

the researchers found about five to seven meters below the water surface on an area of 2400 square meters, a Plethora of objects: incense burners, in the Form of Pumas, gold jewelry, bones of llamas, birds, frogs and fish, mussels, and more than 1000 of ceramic. By radiocarbon Dating (C14) the scientists of the age the period between about the years 800 and 960 – the time of the Expansion of the Tiwanaku state.

"The luxurious Gold, shell and stone ornaments underline the expensive display of wealth during the ceremonies, because these materials were the most valued in the Andes," the authors write. "For example, the Spondylus had to be obtained shells through trade from the warm sea waters of the coast of Ecuador, almost 2000 kilometers away."

A Bolivian community at the excavation site.Photo: Teddy Seguin

in view of the Abundance of the material, the researchers conclude that the animal sacrifices and the valuable victims were presented gifts on a regular basis. At that time a part of the Khoa was situated to the Riffs over the surface of the water. The rituals took place, of all places, on the Isla del Sol, is for the researchers, no coincidence: "the island of The sun and, in particular, the Khoa reef are close to the geographical centre of the lake," they write. "Therefore, it is not surprising that the Tiwanaku Elite took advantage of this place for the expensive and very important ceremonies." In these ceremonies, a fire is likely to be used, because the Delaere and his colleagues found in several Places, remnants of wood coal.

The reef as the center of the faith of the world

had been reserved During the access to the island and the reef is difficult, and an exclusive group of people, "could have testified to the inhabitants of the surrounding villages, the ceremonies from a distance". To that time, the entire shore of lake Titicaca have been densely populated. With the help of these rituals, the Religion, have strengthened the emerging state. "The quantity and quality of the offerings showed that the reef was at the center of that faith."

religions and rituals were used by the researchers, mainly to control supernatural forces and to manipulate as well as to promote the cohesion of the group. Religious deities took on the role of the "supernatural Punisher". They should be an incentive for the population to cooperate and to obey moral Codes. At the same time, the supernatural powers of the people were able to reward that kept to the rules.

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Therefore, according to the researchers, these rituals of a major role for the cohesion within the group, especially since there were probably no secular institutions to have standards to enforce. In this respect, the rich offerings of Khoa are likely to have contributed Riffs instrumental in the Tiwanaku state was flourishing around the lake. (fsch/dpa)

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