Sacsayhuaman Rebirth of the Sun Ritual Explains Ancient Masonry

Today, a "Rebirth of the Sun" ceremony is performed near this exact wall just after the summer solstice for the benefit of cultural tourists who want to learn more about the Inca way of life and belief system. This takes place near a natural prominence of bedrock with stairs allowing visitors to climb to the top more easily. Created structures of andesite stone and quartz crystal sit atop this place.

While many people believe they were thrones used by the rulers of long ago, their position indicates their use as a calendar or cosmological tracking system makes more sense. If important people sat here, they would have to swivel around uncomfortably in order to watch any ceremonies that took place on the flat ground. Other indications of their importance as solar or lunar tools come from the 13 steps used to gain access to them and the top of the mound. The steps align with the sun on solstices and there are 13 lunar cycles annually.

Just like many of the other particularly hard stone constructs in the area, it does not seem likely that the Inca themselves created these steps or andesite and quartz "thrones." They would require the same hardness of tools as the megaliths in the wall would, which means that simple copper, bronze, or stone would not do. Like many other things in these old civilizations, one group built on another that came before them. Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and many surrounding areas in Peru and nearby countries constantly changed hands from one group of people to the next. It was extremely rare to find any culture that existed in isolation, and you would have to go back many hundreds or even thousands of years to do so. The Inca became quite prominent because they assimilated other cultures into them. They had no reason to even attempt to destroy what the others built. In the case of megalithic walls, they probably could not tear them down even if they tried.

Due to the prominence of the Inca and the incredibly effective cultural destruction that the Spaniards waged on the area, there is little hope of ever knowing what the structures were originally called by the people who built them. Most historians reject the Spanish titles in favor of Quechua names wherever possible. However, locations that lack native names must still be called by their European or English terms for clarity's sake.

That is why we now refer to the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Monkeys, or the Temple of the Rainbow, which is a striking location usually not visited by tourists. In a strong example of how the Spanish attempted to delegitimize the Inca religion and cultural practices, the name and they gave it is The Devil's Door. Various ceremonies are still held there today.

Northward of the thrones or solar markers near the top of the hill, another platform or terrace exists with additional throne-like structures. All of this was uncovered in the 1990s when the structures and quite a few human skeletons were discovered. This led researchers and tour guides to call it a graveyard, but there are indications that people and place was not created by the Inca. When scientists chart the weather patterns in relation to the solidity of andesite stone, it seems that the erosion here is too advanced to fit the timeline of the Inca civilization. Who exactly was buried here remains a mystery.

Another clue about the age of the graves and structures found in this area comes from a very large stone that is broken into three massive pieces and flipped upside down. It seems highly likely that a very large earthquake or other natural disaster would have caused this to happen. When experts look back through the geological time line of the area, it seems that a period nearly 12,000 years ago when the last ice age on Earth ended could have contributed to this event. The oceans were hundreds of feet higher and the land was quite unstable at that time.