Sayhuite Stone: An Ancient Hydraulic Scale Model of The Inca Empire?

Jul 4, 2016 2 comments

About 47 kilometers east of the city Abancay, in southern-central Peru, lies the archeological site of Sayhuite or Saywite, described by historians as a center of religious worship for Inca people, who held rituals and ceremonies for the worship of water. The site’s main attraction is a big granite block whose upper surface is ornamented with complex and mysterious figures resembling a three-dimensional relief map of an ancient city.

The Sayhuite Stone is about two meters long and four meters wide. The rock is carved with more than two hundred figures of geometric and zoomorphic shapes, mostly felines, reptiles, frogs, and serpents, that are sculpted into the likeness of a topographical hydraulic model, complete with terraces, ponds, rivers, tunnels, and irrigation channels. The relief map is on the upper surface of what appears to be the bottom half of a huge boulder. The rock is located on top of the hill called Concacha, where it is believed to have been transported since it is not a natural outcrop.


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Many scholars and scientists believe that the Sayhuite Stone is a scale model of the Inca empire, and its various regions are represented by the carved figures of animals and other motifs. For instance, the jungles are represented by land animals such as monkey, iguana, jaguar, etc. while the coastal areas are represented by animals like pelicans, crab, shrimp, octopus etc.

While the precise meaning and purposes of this relic remains a mystery, some researchers believes that Sayhuite Stone was used as a scale model to design, develop, test, and document the properties of water flow for irrigation and other water projects, and to instruct ancient engineers and technicians in the concepts and practices of the craft. The rock also appears to be modified several times with new material, either altering the paths of the water or adding new paths altogether. The experiments might have been carried out by pouring actual water over the stone or even liquid mercury, as researcher Dr. Arlan Andrews suspects. There are notches carved along the edge of the stone to allow the liquid to pour out.

Watch this video of Dr. Arlan Andrews testing out the model by pouring water over it.


Photo credit: christcont/Wikimedia


Photo credit: giulio.biglia/Panoramio


Photo credit: Uladzimir Taukachou/Panoramio


Sketch of the Sayhuite Stone showing the various carved figures. Photo credit:


Sketch of the Sayhuite Stone showing the various carved figures. Photo credit:


Photo credit:


Photo credit:


Photo credit:


Photo credit: Fredy Ramirez Almanz/Panoramio


Photo credit: Bruno Locatelli/Panoramio

Sources: Wikipedia / Raining Miro /


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