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June 27, 2003 03:09PM
<HTML>There is no point in doing this any further. Paul Heinrich has posted previously on this. The clamps are made of an arsenic bronze made for centuries in the area. and they were poured elsewhere and cold worked into the rocks-- not poured molten. here is Paul's post

From: heinrich@intersurf.com (P. V. Heinrich)
Newsgroups: sci.archaeology,alt.archaeology
Subject: Tiahuanaco, Bronze, and Mysterious Origins of Man
Date: Sat, 13 Dec 1997 21:44:52 -0600

While reviewing a previous part of the "Mysterious Origins
of Man," I noticed a very short segment where Mr. Charlton
Heston and Dr. Neil Steede discussed the implications of
copper alloy stables that hold large blocks of stone at the
Puma Punku structure at the Tiwanaku, also called
"Tiahuanaco" or "Tiahuanacu," Site. While watching this
segment, I noted it to be factually flawed and very poorly
researched about the subject matter covered by it. In this
article, I review and discuss the content of this segment
of the "Mysterious Origins of Man."

The segment of MOM concerning the metal staples starts
with Charlton Heston talking about how conventional
archaeologists claiming that man arrived in South
America about 15,000 years ago as a hunter-gatherer.

Then, Charlton Heston states:

"Yet evidence that we have seen suggests that Tiahuanaco
was designed by an advanced civilization. A chance
discovery reveals just how advanced they may have been.

While restoring the ancient temple of Puma Punku,
Dr. Rivera discovered a long-lost secret of the ancient
builders. They found a strange depression between two
blocks of stone. Upon clearing the debris, they noticed
the unmistakable glint of metal."

A factual error committed by the "Mysterious Origins of Man"
in this paragraph, is that the staples, in no way, can be
accurately claimed to be a "long-lost secret of the ancient
builders." Neither are the depressions in which the staples
lie can be considered strange for the Tiahuanaco Site. Both
the depressions and staples have been long known by both
travelers and archaeologists as evidenced by the literature
published on this site.

For example, Verrill (1929), discussing the large stones
which faced the "Tunca-Punca", now called the "Puma
Punku," stated:

"But that the stones not cemented together, but were
locked or keyed into place by immense metal staples is
evident. Everywhere about the edges of the mammoth
blocks of stones are T-shaped recesses cut deeply into
the rock, and sometimes with a perforation extending
entirely through the slab. In places, two of these
mortises still remain in line so that it is easy to
see how the metal staples held the two slabs together,"

Even earlier, Squier (1870) quoted a visitor to Tiahuanaco
Site, a Mr. D'Orbigny observed:

"It is a kind of platform of well-cut blocks of stone.
held together by copper clamps, of which only a
trace remains."

In addition, to the casual visitor, the metal staples have
long been known by the various archaeologists who have
worked at the site. These staples have been described or
noted by Mead (1915), Posnansky (1943), Bennet (1960),
Lechtman (1979, 1988, 1996a, 1996b) and Ponce Sangines
(1994) among several others.

After this introduction, Dr. Neil Steede then stated:

"Whoever built Tiahuanaco came up with an ingenious
method for holding together the huge stones which they
used to build the site. They carved a groove in the edge
and into the groove they poured a molten alloy which
later hardened into a staple. What I find amazing here
is that they had to have something like a portable smelting
plant to maintain this metal in a molten state."

It is most curious that the "Mysterious Origins of Man"
omits a critical part of their argument, the composition
of the metal staples. Had the metal staples been made of
an exotic alloy, it would have been evidence of the first
order. However, had the people involved with the
"Mysterious Origins of Man" done their homework, they
would have found that these staples are composed of
arsenic bronze (Lechtman 1979, 1988; Ponce Sangines 1994).
Arsenic bronze was smelted and used in the Central Andes
for over 600 years, 900 to 1500 AD, which includes the
period of time that Tiwanaku ( Tiahuanaco ) was built as
shown by the extensive excavations by Dr. Carlos Ponce
Sangines. Thus, the presence of arsenic bronze at the
Tiwanaku Site is consistent with the age of the site. On
the otherhand, arsenic bronze, which is inferior in quality
to copper-tin bronze and high-tech alloys now produced
by modern industrial societies, fails as evidence of the
advanced society advocated by the "Mysterious Origins
of Man."

Lechtman (1991, pp. 43) states:

"The alloy of copper and arsenic was one of the
most common metallurgical products in the central
Andean area during the late Prehistoric Period (A.C.
900-1476), and large part of that production took place
at smelting sites on the north coast of what is today is

Lechtman (1988, pp. 357) states:

"Instead, household implements such as needles and
spindle whorls (see figures 30.26 and 30.27) were
commonly fashioned by hot or cold working the alloy
(Lechtman 1981; Arnold 1986), even the so-called
architectural cramps (figure 30.28) found at the site of
Tiwanaku, Bolivia (Mead 1915; Posnansky 1945, vol. I,
figs. 14, 14a) and probably dating to Tiwanaku Phase IV
(c. A.D. 375-700) are made of copper-arsenic bronze.5"

I agree with Dr. Steede that the staples are an ingenious
method for holding the huge stones together. About these
arsenic bronze staples, Lechtman (1996a, pp. 497) states:

"In the Andes, the use of arsenic bronze for architectural
I-clamps, to help stabilize stone masonry in a seismic
prone region (Lechtman 1988, in press, Ponce 1994), is
a prime example of the choice of material with excellent
tensile properties to do the job."

NOTE: "in press" is Lechtman (1996b) of this article.

That the staples are made of an alloy of copper and arsenic
also fails to be evidence of an advanced civilization. This
is because many of the copper ores in the Andes contain
minerals containing arsenic. When these ores were smelted,
they naturally produced an arsenic bronze. Although the
content of arsenic was later manipulated to produce alloys
with specific characteristics, this technique was well within
the capability of currently recognized cultural groups
(Lechtman 1991, 1996a, 1996b).

Furthermore, the "Mysterious Origins of Man." fails to give
any metallurgical evidence at all that the arsenic bronze
staples found at the Tiwanaku Site were poured. All that
this documentary shows is Dr. Steede simply claiming
that the staples were poured, picture of a staple in its
depressions, and a picture of metal being poured in a
modern foundry. This documentary fails completely to
provide any artifacts that might have been part of the
hypothetical smelting plant which amazes Dr. Steede so

In contrast, Lechtman (1988, pp. 357) states:

"The cramp shown in figure 30.28 is one of five such
artifacts from Tiwanaku, and their use there for
architectural construction purposes is a rare use of
metal in the Andes. The one illustrate here was cast
roughly to its present shape, and hammered extensively
at both ends to form the flanged extremities of the cramp.
Figure 30.29 shows the heavily worked microstructure
of the highly segregated alloy (2.34 wt. % As), its grains
distorted and full of deformation lines. Whether the
cramp was set into wood or masonry, it was hammered
along one surface until it fitted into the slot provided.6"

Thus, Lechtman (1988, pp. 357), in contrast to Dr. Steede,
describes and illustrates some observations. Also, they
clearly refute speculations presented by Dr. Steede. The
staples, which Lechtman (1988) refers to as "cramps,"
exhibit distorted grains and deformation lines in cross
section that characterize arsenic bronze that has been cold
worked, not poured. These features comprise a heavily
worked microstructure that demonstrates that the staples
were cast separately from the wood or stone masonry in
which it lay and then cold worked to fit the depression.

Figure 30.29 of Lechtman (1988, p. 358) clearly refutes the
claims of Dr. Steede. The caption to this figure reads:

"Figure 30.29 Photomicrograph of a longitudinal
cross section removed from one of the widened ends
of the cramp illustrated in Figure 30.28. The
microstructure is characterized by marked coring of the
dendrites in the cast-as blanks of copper-arsenic alloy
(2.34 % As). These drendrites have been severely
elongated at the upper end of the section (slightly
upset end of the cramp) as a result of appreciable cold
working. The grains here contain a high density of
deformation lines."

It is quite clear that well documented evidence exists for
the staples being first poured as blanks separate from the
masonry and then cold worked to fit individual depressions.
It can only be concluded that the "Mysterious Origins of
Man" has failed to prove that the staples were poured as
they claimed. As a result, there is a lack of any evidence
for the existence of portable smelting plants that Dr. Steede
talks about.

Then Charlton Heston states:

"Mysterious metal clamps revealed a technology far
beyond their time."

A quick review of only part of the literature concerning
these arsenic bronze staples found a lack of any significant
mystery surrounding the metal staples / cramps found
at the Tiwanaku Site. A careful review of just some of
the observations and data published on these artifacts
clearly show that they are composed of arsenic bronze, an
alloy common to the region in prehistoric times, and
they were cold worked. The latter eliminates the need
for the portable smelting plant for which evidence is
completely lacking. In summary, the claim that
"Mysterious metal clamps revealed a technology far
beyond their time." is simply nonsense unsupported
by any facts presented in this documentary and refuted
by easily finable published research.

The only minor mystery that is evident is that Verrill
(1929) described the staples as being composed of "silver."
He describes in great detail how Tiwanaku was torn up
in order to loot the silver staples. However, none of
the silver staples were observed by him. Rather, this
claim was obtained from a second hand report. Thus, it
is very likely that Verrill (1929) could be just reporting a
local legend as fact given the solid documentation for the
staples being composed of arsenic copper.

Finally, Dr. Neil Steede summarizes:

"The antiquity and technological sophistication of
Tiahuanaco should make each and everyone fully
question the origin of civilization."

As discussed above, Dr. Steede fails completely to
provide any solid evidence that the staples exhibited
any sort of technical sophistication that would give
evidence of an advanced civilization. The facts and
observations presented by readily accessible published
papers readily refute his claims. In fact, the technology
exhibited by the stables substantiate the age claimed for
the Tiwanaku Site by conventional archaeologists.

References Cited:

Bennet, W. C., 1960, The Central Andes. In W. C. Bennet
and J. B. Bird, eds., pp. 85-244, Andean Cultural History.
American Museum of Natural History, New York.

Lechtman, Heather N. , 1979, Issues in Andean Metallurgy.
In E. P. Bensen, ed., Pre-Columbian Metallurgy of South
America. Dumbarton Oaks Publications, Washington, D.C.

Lechtman, Heather N. , 1988, Traditions and Styles in
Central Andean Metalworking. In R. Maddin, ed., The
Beginning of the Use of Metals and Alloys, MIT Press,
Boston Massachusetts.

Lechtman, Heather N. , 1991, The Production of Copper-arsenic
Alloys in the Central Andean Culture Area: Highland Ores
and Coastal Smelters?," Journal of Field Archaeology vol. 18,
no. 1, pp. 43-76.


Lechtman, Heather N. , 1996, Arsenic Bronze: Dirty Copper or
Chosen Alloy? A View from the Americas. Journal of Field
Archaeology vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 477--514.

Lechtman, Heather N., 1996b, El bronce arenical y el
Horizonte Medio. In Rafael Varon, ed., pp. 66-89,
Homenaje a Maria Rostworowski. Instituto de Estudios
peruanos, Lima, Peru.

Mead, W. C., 1915, Prehistoric bronze in South America.
Anthropological Papers of the Museum of Natural History.
vol. 12, pp. 15-51.

Ponce Sangines, Carlos, 1994, Analisis espectrographico
y patron impurazas en el cobre de las Grapas Tiwanacotas.
Revista Pumapunku. vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 9-64.

Posnansky, Arthur, 1943, Tihuanacu: the Cradle of American
Man. J. J. Augustin Publisher, New York.

Squier, E. G., 1870, The primeval monuments of Peru
compared with those in other parts of the world.
American Naturalist. vol. 1, pp. 1-17.

Verrill, A Hyatt, 1929, The oldest city in the world. Travel.
vol. 53, pp. 12-16.

For more on the "Mysterious Origins of Man" a person can
go to:

[www.talkorigins.org] .


Paul V. Heinrich All comments are the
heinrich@intersurf.com personal opinion of the writer and
Baton Rouge, LA do not constitute policy and/or
opinion of government or corporate
entities. This includes my employer.

"To persons uninstructed in natural history, their country
or seaside stroll is a walk through a gallery filled with
wonderful works of art, nine-tenths of which have their faces
turned to the wall."
- T. H. Huxley</HTML>

Subject Author Posted

Is this a true anaomly

donald raab June 27, 2003 12:58PM

Re: Is this a true anaomly

John Wall June 27, 2003 01:02PM

Re: Is this a true anaomly

donald raab June 27, 2003 01:08PM

Re: Is this a true anaomly

Mercury Rapids June 27, 2003 01:16PM

Re: Is this a true anaomly

John Wall June 27, 2003 02:11PM

Re: Is this a true anaomly

Chopper June 27, 2003 02:29PM

- Is this a true anaomly

Bernard Ortiz de Montellano June 27, 2003 02:58PM

- - Is this a true anaomly

Bernard Ortiz de Montellano June 27, 2003 03:09PM

Re: - - Is this a true anaomly

Chopper June 27, 2003 03:15PM

Re: - Is this a true anaomly

donald raab June 27, 2003 05:01PM

- Re: - Is this a true anaomly

Bernard Ortiz de Montellano June 27, 2003 05:41PM

Re: - Re: - Is this a true anaomly

John Wall June 27, 2003 05:46PM

Re: - Re: - Is this a true anaomly

donald raab June 27, 2003 08:18PM

- Re: - Re: - Is this a true anaomly

Bernard Ortiz de Montellano June 27, 2003 11:21PM

Re: - Is this a true anaomly

Anthony (away) June 27, 2003 10:02PM

Re: Is this a true anaomly

Archae Solenhofen June 27, 2003 04:16PM

Re: - Re: - Is this a true anaomly

Nathaniel June 27, 2003 08:46PM

Just More Misinformation About Tiwanaku was &quot;Is this a true anaomly&quot;

Paul June 28, 2003 01:21AM

Re: Just More Misinformation About Tiwanaku was &quot;Is this a true anaomly&quot;

donald raab June 28, 2003 07:21AM

- Re: Just More Misinformation About Tiwanaku was &quot;Is this a true anaomly&quot;

Henry J. Greenberg June 28, 2003 08:00PM

Re: - Re: Just More Misinformation About Tiwanaku was &quot;Is this a true anaomly&quot;

donald raab June 28, 2003 10:19PM

- Re: - Re: Just More Misinformation About Tiwanaku was &quot;Is this a true anaomly&quot;

Henry J. Greenberg June 29, 2003 07:58AM

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