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The Sayhuite Stone, a three-dimensional map found in an Inca site

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The Sayhuite Stone, a three-dimensional map found in an Inca site

The Sayhuite site is located on the route between Cusco and Abancay, in the department of Apurimac. It is delimited by 2 streams and embedded between several green hills, a small paradise on earth, whose main attraction is the Sayhuite stone: about 4 m. in diameter and 2.5 m. high, it is a huge block of granite whose upper part is carved with more than 200 symbols, whose meaning and use are still unknown and especially its use. One of the theories says that this stone represents the cosmos and living people, others speak of a construction pattern to carry, it has aqueducts, etc. There are also monoliths, carved with the profile of a throne, stairs. fountains, walls of large stones


Sayhuite is an Inca archaeological site located about 47 kilometers east of Abancay in Peru. According to historians, the place was a sanctuary related to the cult of water, with a temple that legends describe as being covered with sheets of gold the thickness of a hand. Multiple remains have been found in the place, but the strangest of all is the Sayhuite Stone.


When the Spanish arrived at Sayhuite, according to John Hemming in his book Monuments of the Incas, the temple was ruled by the priestess Asarpay who, before being captured, threw herself from the top of a nearby waterfall 400 meters high.


The remains of the temple show no trace of that gold, evidently, but scattered throughout the site are large blocks of andesite stone carved with steps, as if they had been part of a larger construction.


The strangest of all these blocks is the Piedra de Sayhuite, a huge monolith in which there are geometric and zoomorphic reliefs, such as reptiles, frogs and felines.


It was found at the top of the Concacha hill, and experts believe that it may be a kind of hydraulic topographic model. In the stone you can clearly see terraces, ponds, rivers, tunnels and irrigation canals.


What it was used for is not very clear. Arlan Andrews believes that it is a scale model to test and study the properties of water (remember that the place was a sanctuary dedicated to the liquid element), in order to carry out supply projects, or to instruct engineers and technicians .


It has been proven that the stone was remodeled several times, adding and removing elements, and changing the water courses.


The relief has dimensions of two by four meters, and today it is the main tourist attraction in the area.


Who created it is still a mystery. Although it is known for certain that the place was an Inca sanctuary, archaeologists are not sure that these were its builders.


It has been speculated that it could also be a representation of the irrigation system used by the Incas, and even a scale model of their entire empire with each of the regions represented. The jungles would be indicated by the presence of animals such as monkeys, iguanas or jaguars, while the coasts are indicated by animals such as pelicans or octopuses.


Meaning of the name

The word Saywite comes from the convergence of two Quechua words which are: Sayay-Huiti, whose meaning in the Spanish language is "stop restless", while others say it is from Sayay-Ritti, whose meaning is "stop snow".


Sectors of the Archaeological Complex


Sector I: Monoliths and Enclosures

The main area is on the high level, where the entire archaeological zone can be seen, here is the monolith in which it presents a varied iconography due to the profusion of sculpted elements on it, where you can see species of fauna that are not from the zone.


This representation is ovoid in shape whose height is 2.5 m, the lithic material is quite hard sedimentary rock. In the western sector of this monolith you can see several enclosures of various sizes, the largest is 0.5m by 0.7m; It has the shape of a pyramid and served as a dwelling for the priests.


Sector II: Areas of the stairs and fountains

It comprises a construction area whose characteristic is the succession of 9 sources with an orientation from east to west, with a stairway-archaeological-set-sayhuite-apurimac stairway in a number of sixty-eight steps, it presents a fine masonry delimited by two walls made from 0.6m by 0.4m tiles that served to celebrate the cult of water.


Sector III: Rumi Huasi Area

Located to the east of the complex, it comprises an area of ​​1200 m. This place is also known as Rumi Huasi and here is the monolith II with a cyclopean structure in a rectangular shape, the carvings are geometric (platform, stairs, circles, etc.).


Sector IV: Pyramidal Trunk definition area

Located in the south east sector, a solid structure called USNU PAMPA, 18 m. for 34 m. In this building, religious ceremonies of worship to the sun and water were carried out, constituting a place of mass concentration and worship of the god Sun and the Moon.


Sector V: Area of ​​monoliths called Intihuatana

Characterized by the presence of the intihuatana monolith, being a rectangular Inca observatory element, its dimension is 3.40 m. 0.94 m wide and 0.94 m high, there is a complex of platform fountains associated with rooms where they controlled the time.


The Saywite Stone

The Saywite stone is a large block of granite about eleven meters in circumference, four meters in diameter and almost two and a half meters high, adorned at the top with a series of complex and mysterious figures.


It represents the scale of the Tahuantinsuyo map, it has motifs in relief of the flora, fauna, topography and customs of the Incas.


Description: The monolith contains more than 200 phytomorphic and zoomorphic figures of geographical and human constructions carved in an apparent disorder and taking advantage of the relief and natural depressions of the stone.


Beneath this lithic structure there are wells, channels and passages that lead directly to the city of Concacha, which are smaller molds of carved surfaces that recall the carved stones of Kenqo in Cusco, and Vilcashuamán in Ayacucho.


Representations: For many scholars and scientists it represents the model of Tahuantinsuyo, the Oracle or the ceremonial stone of the three regions of Peru: Sierra, Costa and Selva, due to the animals found in the model.


Saw; It is represented by the llama, the condor, the pumas, toads, the snake, the lobster, the spider, the lizard, and its archaeological remains such as Machupicchu, Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Saqsayhuamac, Tipón, Pikillaqta.


Jungle; It is represented by the monkey, the iguana, the jaguar, the tigrillos and the birds of the region and archaeological remains of: Vilcabamba, Espititupampa, Choquequirao and the Lost City.


Coast; It is represented by the sea and by animals such as the pelican, the crab, the shrimp, the octopus and others that were mutilated.


Other nearby places of interest

At about 300m you can see small monoliths such as Rumihuasi or a stone house with stairways, geometric lines, and canals. Intihuatana, finally finds the "Solar Clock" that was possibly destined as an observatory of astronomical movements.


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