Several hundred years ago, the Inca Empire reigned over the West of South America. It was an immense civilisation, which stretched out over the Andes for several centuries. But what we know less about is that long before the golden age of the Incas, the area was occupied by another civilisation even more mysterious. Its name: the Tiwanaku Empire.
According to historians, it could have reached 10,000 to 20,000 members at its height. And, to their great surprise, they have discovered evidence that this civilisation practised religious rituals at the bottom of Lake Titicaca. “Our study proves that the Tiwanaku people, who appeared near Lake Titicaca between 500 and 1,100 AD, was the first in the region to offer valuable objects to their gods”, reports Jose Capriles, anthropologist at the University of the State of Pennsylvania.
A complex society
For the experts, it’s proof that the religion existed in this part of the world a great deal earlier than we had previously thought. Amidst the sediment, they actually found incense burners in the shape of pumas with fragments of charcoal on the debris, as well as a number of stone, gold and shell ornaments.
In any case, their presence at the bottom of the lake is not mere coincidence. According to the scientists, these objects would have been specially designed to be submerged: “the presence of anchors nearby the offerings suggests that the officials probably deposited these objects while the rituals were held on boats”, continues Jose Capriles.
According to the researchers, these symbols are proof of the emergence of a complex society. A society that could have been expanding, and that could have begun to explore the surrounding area. Five centuries later, the Inca civilisation will have in the end taken its place. And that is what History has remembered.
Check out the video above for the incredible images of this new discovery...