Disappearance of Tiwanaku

Home > Tiwanaku

About the year 1150 AD, the empire of Tiwanaku disappears. No one knows for sure what caused this collapse.

There are different opinions.

One which handles a great theory about it is Arthur Posnansky. Why the tiwanakotas have not completed their great works? He said that both the first time as the second succumbed by a seismic cataclysm that brought the flooding of Lake Titicaca.

The remains found in a totally chaotic way, mixing equipment, tools, pottery, human bones, animal bones, etc., suggested that a natural phenomenon, such as floods and earthquakes, were a disaster in cities and ended the lives of its inhabitants.

Posnansky doesn’t share the idea that a large-scale war activity was the cause of the destruction of an entire civilization because there is no evidence of burials of combatants and their horses. Rather, the layers where incomplete skeletons found show signs of having been transported and deposited by the force of water and covered with earth.

To destroy an entire civilization must have happen a cataclysm of large-scale, sudden, and certainly at night, which took the unsuspecting city dwellers.

Few were saved, those who reached the heights of nearby hills, but insignificant in number as to reconstruct the whole civilization.

The researcher José Bellido Huidobro, aligns with Posnansky theory, but goes further and suggests that the reason for its disappearance was a great flood that affected not only the Tiwanaku empire but to all of America.

Ponce Sanjinés has a different view of these two researchers. He indicates that the disappearance of Tiwanaku was due to a military confrontation with Mollo culture, which became important in the area, and with crop failures associated with long periods of drought, climate change, contributed to the decline of Tiwanaku and subsequent emergence of regional lordships.


Pdf format:

      Documents you can find on the internet:

  • Coastal Colonies and the Collapse of Tiwanaku: The Coastal Osmore Valley, Perú, Bruce Owen, Society for American Archaeology 57th Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh March 20, 1992
    "Although the Tiwanaku state (500 AD-1000 AD) is often said to have planted colonies
    in the coastal valleys of southern Peru and northern Chile, recent systematic survey and excavation in three potential colony sites finds no evidence of Tiwanaku state colonies in the coastal Osmore valley, not even at Loreto Viejo, a frequently cited "colony". Instead, immigrants from the Tiwanaku settlements in the middle Osmore valley moved to the coast as or after Tiwanaku collapsed. Radiocarbon dates, site descriptions, and excavated material support a preliminary reconstruction of the repercussions that Tiwanaku's collapse had on the southern Peruvian coast.", 10 pag.


  • Tihuanacu, Cuna del hombre americano, Tomo II, Arthur Posnansky, 195
  • Arqueología política. Tiwanaku un estado precolombino, Dr. Carlos Ponce Sanjinés, Producciones CIMA, La Paz, 2001

More bibliography

Home > Tiwanaku

Other subjects

Periods of its history

Who built Tiwanaku

An advanced civilization

The area of Tiwanaku

The culture evolution

Tiwanaku age
Radiocarbon dating

Diversity of names and meanings

Sequence of historical events

What leaves us Tiwanaku

Various theories

A brief summary of Tiwanaku


Visita virtual

Panorámicas de Tiahuanaco