Welcome to Tiwanaku
Little is actually known about the people who constructed the ceremonial center on the southern shore of Lake Titicaca more than a thousand years ago. Archaeologists generally agree that the civilization that spawned Tiwanaku rose around 600 BC. Construction on the ceremonial site was under way by about AD 700, but around 1200 the group had melted into obscurity, becoming another ‘lost’ civilization. Evidence of its influence, particularly its religion, has been found throughout the vast area that later became the Inca empire.
The treasures of Tiwanaku have literally been scattered to the four corners of the earth. Its gold was looted by the Spanish, and early stone and pottery finds were sometimes destroyed by religious zealots who considered them pagan idols. Some of the work found its way to European museums.
Fortunately, a portion of the treasure has been preserved, and some of it remains in Bolivia. A few of the larger anthropomorphic stone statues have been left on the site, and the onsite museum has a decent collection of pottery and other objects. Others are on display at the Museo Nacional de Arqueología in La Paz.