Next stop on our tour in search of lost cities, lost people, and ancient civilizations, is a walled fortress older than the Inca Empire. When I explored bygone worlds for my second novella, Man’s Best, I discovered Kuelap.
I had heard of popular ancient cultures such as ancient Egypt, the Greek and Roman Empires, the Megalithic and Mayan civilizations, but I’d never heard of Kuelap. This ancient civilization is cloaked in mystery and is profound proof of an advanced people who may have been guided by something, or someone, other than earth bound humans.
The Short of It
Kuelap perches atop mountain cliffs on the slopes of the Andes located in northern Peru, and overlooks the Utcubamba Valley. It is about 9,843 feet (3000 meters) above sea level. Only the massive ruins of this once great city remain. These ruins, which span over 1,968.5 feet (600 meters), reveal an advanced culture of people who challenged the laws of gravity.
The Long of It
The people of Kuelap have been associated with the Chachapoyas culture known as the Warriors of the Clouds. Radiocarbon dating of the ruins reveals construction of the fortress began in the 6th century AD and was inhabited until the Early Colonial period (1532-1570). Kuelap was rediscovered in 1843. The Cloud People and People of the Clouds are also names used in reference to this culture of Andean people.
Although Kuelap is considered the largest ancient ruins of the Americas, covering 25,00 square miles in its original state, it wasn’t until 2004 that is was placed on the World Monument Watch list in an effort to call attention to its deterioration.
Kuelap has been called a citadel and a fortress. In its prime, it was protected by towering walls made from large limestone blocks that loomed over 60 feet (19 meters) tall and surrounded more than 400 buildings. Kuelap was originally thought to be have been built to protect its people from invaders, but it appears to archeologists that it may have been more than just a military structure. Some of the buildings indicate religious and civil services.
The sheer magnitude of the this structure gives one pause to stop and ask: How? The advanced engineering, not only of the complex itself, but also the highly sophisticated rainwater drainage system, is an indication that the Kuelapans managed to accomplish feats beyond what archeologists once thought possible at this time in Earth’s history.
How did a people, who some consider less advanced, manage to build such a fortress atop a mountain and transport hefty blocks of stone to build their walls and buildings? It’s a mystery that remains unsolved like so many of the enigmas that restrict our studies of ancient civilizations.
What is even more perplexing, is the entrance to the citadel. This entry is a pie-shaped alleyway almost 197 feet (60 meters) long that grows narrower the closer to the city an interloper advances. It becomes so narrow that only one person at a time can make it through. Archeologists reason that this is a highly refined military strategy devised to protect the Cloud People from invading forces.
Who did they need protection from? Some suggest the Wari, who were a people that thrived around 500 AD to 1,000 AD, in the south central Andes and costal area of Peru. But no one knows for sure.
In drawing parallels between the Kuelapans and the Mayans, one finds similarities.
- Both vanished and no one is for sure how or why.
- Both show evidence of being an advanced, sophisticated society.
- Both built impressive stone cities and monuments that have stood the test of time and intrigued explorers and scholars.
- Both civilizations are as much a mystery as their disappearances.
Kuelap was discovered 60 years before the much sought after tourist destination of Machu Picchu—an Incan citadel in the Andes—but we know more about other cultures than we do the Kuelapans, why? Could be that Kuelap is not as easy to travel to as other ruins in South America, but I’m just guessing, as is much of the speculation regarding this mysterious lost people.
Earlier in the post I noted the Kuelapan link to the culture of the Chachapoyas. Pedro Cieza de León, a Spanish conquistador and chronicler, described the Chachapoyas as being fair-skinned and beautiful. He wrote:
They are the whitest and most handsome of all the people that I have seen in Indies, and their wives were so beautiful that because of their gentleness, many of them deserved to be the Incas’ wives and to also be taken to the Sun Temple.
This description led many to conclude that the Chachapoya were blonde haired and European in appearance.
If speculations are true, and the Cloud People of Kuelap were part of Chachapoya culture, then perhaps they too were fair- skinned and European looking, which is in itself a mystery.
(ProbeNote: The Sun Temple (Qurikancha) was the most important temple in the Inca Empire and was dedicated to Inti, the Sun God.)
The Probe’s Mission Statement
The Probe is a blog devoted to the exploration of the unexplainable, to finding the truth in occurrences that resemble science fiction, and to researching and reporting on topics that could be flung upon the wall of weird. New posts are featured every week.
I was able to find some excellent Beta readers, thank you Jessica, Rick, and 58. They offered several valid revisions that needed to made to my Young Adult novel The Other Kind, so I’m currently revising, yet again, and will keep revising until we get it just right.
If you have a topic that could be flung upon the wall weird, leave me a comment. I’ll research it and write a blog on what I find.
I like to poll my google+ communities, to discover what their thoughts are on various blog topics, but I never know exactly where to put these results. So let’s try here. Let me know what you think.
QUESTION: Do you believe there is truth to the stories of the lost continents of Atlantis and Lemuria?
375 members of the Ancient Alien community voted with much discussion following and still continuing.
24 members of the Ancient Knowledge community voted.
I want to believe 4%