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Archaeologists Virtually Recreate Pumapunku

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Bolivia Tiwanaku PumapunkuBERKELEY, CALIFORNIA—According to a Gizmodo report, archaeologist Alexei Vranich of the University of California, Berkeley, employed historical data, 3-D printed pieces, and architectural software to create a virtual reconstruction of Pumapunku, a ruined 1,500-year-old temple in western Bolivia. Built by the Tiwanaku culture between A.D. 500 and 1000, the temple was restored and reused by the Inca between A.D. 1300 and 1570, and described by Spanish conquistadors as a “wondrous” structure with “gateways and windows carved from single blocks.” Vranich and his team manipulated architectural fragments of the structure, re-created with a 3-D printer at four percent of their actual size, to build a hypothetical model, and then fed that information into architectural software. “What we found out is that it appears they were making prototypes for each type of stone type, and then would have copied one after the other,” he said. “It’s almost like it was a pre-Columbian version of Ikea.” Vranich’s reconstruction also suggests the temple’s gateways were built in graduated sizes to produce a mirror effect. “It would create an effect as if you were looking into infinity in the confines of a single room,” he said. For more, go to “The Water Temple of Inca-Caranqui.”

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