Saturday, June 13, 2015

Saksaywaman Cuzco Peru Represents Aquila as the Quechua ch'aska kancha "Stellar Constellation" Cha(s)kay Waman, the Falcon Constellation

This text posting relating to the decipherment of the megalithic walls of Saksaywaman, Cusco, Peru, precedes the actual decipherment posting and the many images that follow in subsequent postings. However, this initial material is essential for subsequent understanding.

Cusco viz. Cuzco, Peru (Quechua: Qusqu or Qosqo) is the historic capital of the Inca Empire. Saksaywaman is its famed so-called "fortress". We looked at Google Earth aerials of Saksaywaman (the underlying images are copyrighted 2015 by CNES and Astrium, with whom we are not affiliated) and the main part of the site behind the jagged Saksaywaman megalithic lines of walls has the shape of a falcon (caracara) -- our decipherment, upon which we elaborate extensively further below. If Machu Pichu indeed marks Ophiuchus, as previously deciphered by us, then it was likely that neighboring Saksaywaman could have represented the stars of Aquila, and so it is.

Saksaywaman via Google Earth, CNES and Astrium
(used here as fair use)

 Tracing of the falcon at Saksaywaman by Andis Kaulins

The result of the tracing alone is a falcon, as below

As we read at the Wikipedia, Saksaywaman has more spellings than one can imagine because people have no idea what the right term for the site was:
"Saksaywaman, Saqsaywaman, Sasawaman, Saksawaman, Sasaywaman or Saksaq Waman (Quechua language, waman falcon[3] or variable hawk,[4] hispanicized spellings Sacsayhuamán, Sacsayhuaman, Sacsahuaman, Saxahuaman and others) is a citadel on the northern outskirts of the city of Cusco, Peru, the historic capital of the Inca Empire." [Saysaywaman link added]
The key thing to observe is that Waman is a Quechua language word meaning "falcon" viz. "variable hawk", a meaning about which there is little doubt, whereas the scholars have uncritically adopted the folk etymology that the preceding Saksay means "satiated, full" (from a homophonic term) so that Saksaywaman is erroneously said to mean the "(get) satiated falcon".

Of course, that currently assigned meaning of "satiated" is nonsense.

In the Quechua language (Ketschua in German) as can be read at the website of Philip Jacobs at, the Quechua term for stellar constellation, i.e. "star group", is ch'aska kancha whereby kancha means "group", so that ch'aska can only mean star(s) or a similar meaning and in fact it is a variable form of the term for "night", whence the term Saksay is similar to Cha(s)kay meaning "night", so that Saksay Waman actually means "night falcon", or, simply "the falcon constellation", and that is Aquila, and it is precisely Aquila and the neighboring stars that are portrayed in the middle section of the giant stones of the site of Saksaywayman in Cusco, Peru.

Aquila is the central groups of stars at Saksaywaman. Quechua Pachapacariq ch'aska, the "Venus" of the northern suyu, has before us been identified by some as the star Altair in Aquila. Altair is the brightest star in a "line" of 3 prominent stars. See Robert S. McIvor, Star Patterns on the Aztec Calendar Stone, ADSABS.HARVARD.EDU, Research Papers -- Articles de recherche SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS), Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 94, p. 59, where he notes that this line of three stars are individually called Comdormi (condor), Suyuntuytapas (vulture) and Guamantapas (falcon).

Guaman is the same as Huaman viz. Waman in SaksayWAMAN, i.e. FALCON.

We find the Quechua Ayar Awka (= Aquila) prominently mentioned in Inca mythology, here via the Wikipedia article on the city of Cusco, Peru:
"The indigenous name of this city is Qusqu. Although the name was used in Quechua, its origin has been found in the Aymara language. The word is [allegedly] derived from the phrase qusqu wanka ('Rock of the owl'), related to the city's foundational myth of the Ayar Siblings. According to this legend, Ayar Awqa (Ayar Auca) acquired wings and flew to the site of the future city; there he was transformed into a rock to mark the possession of the land by his ayllu ('lineage')....
The Spanish conquistadors adopted the local name, transliterating it into Spanish phonetics as Cuzco or, less often, Cozco.... In 1976, the city mayor signed an ordinance banning the traditional spelling and ordering the use of a new one, Cusco, in the municipality publications.... on 23 June 1990, the local authorities formalized a new spelling related more closely to Quechan: Qosqo."
Cusco's ancient name is alleged to be Qorikancha i.e. "Qori Kancha" and also that would be the falcon constellation in view of the nearly identical Quechua term curiquinca "falcon, Phalcoboenus carunculatus".  One of the main types of falconidae in South America is in fact CaraCara. The same birdly analysis holds true for the Quechua term killi which is a "small falcon, Falco sparverius", for it was the similarly-named Killike Culture that occupied Cusco prior to the Inca. The name Cusco itself is then similar to qeseqenqe "small sparrow-hawk".

As can be read at Meandering the Blue Highways:
"The Inka worshipped celestial bodies and meteorological phenomena. It has been suggested that the curved exterior wall of the Qoricancha was modeled after the celestial eliptic. Most of the astronomical phenomena the Inka venerated are in the Milky Way, which the Andean culture perceives as dark animal silhouettes come to drink from the light swath of the Milky Way, including Machaguay, the water snake; Yutu, the partridge; Hamp'atu, the toad; a female llama whose eyes are Alpha and Beta Centauri; and Atoq, the fox—in some communities identified instead as a llama shepherd."
We can in this connection now further correct another major mainstream misconstruction of Inca myth and legend, one version of which has been applied incorrectly to Cusco rather than to Machu Picchu.

Our decipherment of Machu Picchu as representing the stars of Ophiuchus as the head of a puma finds substantial support in the basic content of  the oral history of Cuzco, Peru that has been passed on by the Quechua natives.  

The building of Machu Picchu as the earthly mirror-image of the stars of Ophiuchus in the shape of the head of a puma is retained in ancient Inca history as reported in Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, History of the Incas (and) Captian Baltasar de Ocampo, The Execution of the Inca Tupac Amaru  [originally 1572], translated, edited, with notes and an introduction by Sir Clements Markham, K.C.B., President of the Hakluyt Society, Cambridge: 1907.

The book is referred to as follows in the Wikipedia article on Saksaywaman, an ancient site which we decipher in the next posting.
"Located on a steep hill that overlooks the city, the fortified complex has a wide view of the valley to the southeast. Archeological studies of surface collections of pottery at Saksaywaman indicate that the earliest occupation of the hilltop dates to about 900CE.

According to Inca oral history, Tupac Inca "remembered that his father Pachacuti had called city of Cuzco "the lion city" [actually, the Spanish translated Quechua "puma" as "lion"]. He said that the tail was where the two rivers unite which flow through it [this part of the city is called Pumafi chupan], that the body was the great square and the houses round it, and that the head was wanting." The Inca decided the "best head would be to make a fortress on a high plateau to the north of the city." But archeologists have found that Saksaywaman was built by the preceding Killike culture; it was expanded by the Inca beginning about the 13th century."
Note that the term "lion" used in the literature is correctly "puma", as the Spaniards, who originally published the native legends, used their term "lion" for the "puma", rather than the native term.

The matter is presented in more detailed form in multi-volume series edited by Frank Salomon and Stuart B. Schwartz, The Cambridge History of the Native Peoples of the Americas, Volume 3, South America, Part 1, Chapter 10, by María Rostworowski and Craig Morris, "The Fourfold Domain: Inka Power and Its Social Foundations" where it is written at page 789:
"Some chroniclers noted that Pacha Kutiq, often called the architect of imperial Cusco, "named the whole city lion's body, saying that the residents of it were limbs of that lion". Based on these accounts, some researchers have suggested that the city's founders laid out the ceremonial core of their capital in the form of a puma (the Spaniards often used "lion" to refer to the puma), with Saksay Waman (written Sacsayhuaman, etc.), the temple-fortress perched above the city, serving as the puma's head, and the sector where the rechanneled Tullu Mayu (written Tullumayo, etc.; 'Bone River') and Saphi Mayu (written Sapphi, etc.; 'Root River') came together, forming the tail [note: Mayu is the Quechua term for the river of the Milky Way!]. This area is still called pumap chupan ('puma's tail'). Others, however, propose that Cusco's puma shape should be read metaphorically rather than literally, and that it explained social structure, royal succession, and border, with reference to an area that extended far beyond the confines of the city's ceremonial core." [emphasis added]
Past researchers and modern scholars erroneously think that the "fortress" built in the shape of the head of the puma was the site Saksaywaman, but of course, Saksaywaman is not even remotely in the shape of a puma head, nor does it much resemble "a fortress" in the sense of a stronghold, consisting in its modern remnants instead rather of various terraced rather non-defensive levels of gigantic megalithic boulders that stretch lengthwise in both directions at some distance and mark the Milky Way - as we have deciphered them in the next posting - to the left extending to Virgo and perhaps even to the stars we today assign to Libra and to the right extending to the stars we today assign to Centaurus in its extended constellational version which reaches clear to Vela.

The Cuzco rivers represent the Tullu ("thin") Mayu ("Milky Way" as that part of the Milky Way that thins out at Crux and the end of Centaurus, where it meets the "branched" part of the Milky Way, while the Sapphi (root-like, branched, radiating) Mayu ends at Vela where indeed the thin part of the Milky Way then also branches out to meet it. Below is an image of that phenomenon as clipped from a scan of the Milton D. Heifetz Historical Planisphere of the Precession of the Equinoxes for the Northern Hemisphere as constructed with the counsel of leading astronomer Owen Gingrich of Harvard University, with neither of whom we have any affiliation (we have added the text labels to the planisphere):

The megaliths of Saksaywayman mark the "rooty" end of the Milky Way, Sapphi Mayu (Crux, Centaurus and Vela) to the far right via the Inca Quechua serpent Mach'acuay (when one faces the stone terraces) and similarly mark the thin end of the Milky Way, Tullu Mayu to the far left to Virgo, perhaps extending it as far as Libra, though that is speculative.

Probative evidence that this decipherment approach is correct is found in the still discernable rock formation of the toad viz. frog at the top far right and above the stone terraces at Saksaywaman.  The Quechua Hamp'atu viz. Hanp'atu (Ampato, Wikipedia) was the "frog" viz. "toad" constellation at precisely that location. See Bryan E. Penprase, The Power of Stars: How Celestial Observations Have Shaped Civilization, Springer Science & Business Media, 2010

In terms of the poles, the proverbial "North" as the pole of the hemisphere south of the equator is of course in the other direction, and the Inca legend of the building of "a fortress" in the shape of the head of a puma surely never applied to Saksaywaman but rather to Machu Picchu.

Cuzco natives in the course of eras could have applied the "puma head legend" to their own nearby site of Saksaywaman, not really knowing what it represented, rather than to the one-hour distant and perhaps later even totally unknown actual fortress Machu Picchu, which does represent the puma's head.

Markham wrote as follows in his translation -- also importantly adding that the natives removed "later-built" constructions at Saksaywaman but left much of the megalithic terraces in situ as is, partly because of the great size and weight (in tons) of the fundamental stones, which made them difficult to move:
"After Tupac Inca Yupanqui had visited all the empire and had come to Cuzco where he was served and adored, being for the time idle, he remembered that his father Pachacuti had called the city of Cuzco the lion city. He said that the tail was where the two rivers unite which flow through it', that the body was the great square and the houses round it, and that the head was wanting. It would be for some son of his to put it on. The Inca discussed this question with the orejones who said that the best head would be to make a fortress on a high plateau to the north of the city.

This being settled, the Inca sent to all the provinces, to order the tucuricos to supply a large number of people for the work of the fortress. Having come, the workmen were divided into parties, each one having its duties and officers. Thus some brought stones, others worked them, others placed them. The diligence was such that in a few years, the great fortress of Cuzco was built, sumptuous, exceedingly strong, of rough stone, a thing most admirable to look upon. The buildings within it were of small worked stone, so beautiful that, if it had not been seen, it would not be believed how strong and beautiful it was. What makes it still more worthy of admiration is that they did not possess tools to work the stone, but could only work with other stones. This fortress was intact until the time of the differences between Pizarro and Almagro, after which they began to dismantle it, to build with its stones the houses of Spaniards in Cuzco, which are at the foot of the fortress. Great regret is felt by those who see the
ruins. When it was finished, the Inca made many store houses round Cuzco for provisions and clothing, against times of necessity and of war; which was a measure of great importance1."


1This fortress of Cuzco, on the Sacsahuaman Hill, was well de-
scribed by Cieza de Leon and in greater detail by Garcilasso de la
Vega, ii. pp. 305 — 318. Both ascribe it to Inca Yupanqui or his son
Tupac Inca, as does Sarmiento. The extensive edifices, built of
masonry of his period, were no doubt the work of Tupac Inca who
thus got credit for the whole. These later edifices were pulled down
by the Spaniards, for material for building their houses in the city.
But the wonderful cyclopean work that remains is certainly of much
more ancient date, and must be assigned, like Tiahuanacu, to the far
distant age of the monolithic empire."
THIS POSTING IS Posting Number 85 of
The Great Mound, Petroglyph and Painted Rock Art Journey of Native America

Saksaywaman Cuzco Peru Represents Aquila as the Quechua ch'aska kancha "Stellar Constellation" Cha(s)kay Waman, the Falcon Constellation

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Sky Earth Native America 1:
American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
Volume 1, Edition 2, 266 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Sky Earth Native America 2:
    American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
    Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
    Volume 2, Edition 2, 262 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Both volumes have the same cover except for the labels "Volume 1" viz. "Volume 2".
    The image on the cover was created using public domain space photos of Earth from NASA.


    Both book volumes contain the following basic book description:
    "Alice Cunningham Fletcher observed in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist
    that there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures in Native America, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska,
    geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens.
    See Alice C. Fletcher, Star Cult Among the Pawnee--A Preliminary Report,
    American Anthropologist, 4, 730-736, 1902.
    Ralph N. Buckstaff wrote:
    "These Indians recognized the constellations as we do, also the important stars,
    drawing them according to their magnitude.
    The groups were placed with a great deal of thought and care and show long study.
    ... They were keen observers....
    The Pawnee Indians must have had a knowledge of astronomy comparable to that of the early white men."
    See Ralph N. Buckstaff, Stars and Constellations of a Pawnee Sky Map,
    American Anthropologist, Vol. 29, Nr. 2, April-June 1927, pp. 279-285, 1927.
    In our book, we take these observations one level further
    and show that megalithic sites and petroglyphic rock carving and pictographic rock art in Native America,
    together with mounds and earthworks, were made to represent territorial geographic landmarks
    placed according to the stars of the sky using the ready map of the starry sky
    in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below".
    That mirror image of the heavens on terrestrial land is the "Sky Earth" of Native America,
    whose "rock stars" are the real stars of the heavens, "immortalized" by rock art petroglyphs, pictographs,
    cave paintings, earthworks and mounds of various kinds (stone, earth, shells) on our Earth.
    These landmarks were placed systematically in North America, Central America (Meso-America) and South America
    and can to a large degree be reconstructed as the Sky Earth of Native America."

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