The Mystery of Sayhuite

The Mystery of Sayhuite
June 3, 2013 Lainie Liberti

Another of Peru’s greatest anomalies:

The mysterious site of Sayhuite, is one of Peru’s greatest anomalies, baffling archeologists as to its origins and purpose. Located in the province of Abancay about four hours from Cusco by car, the site is one of the lesser visited tourist attractions. And this was a site I was really excited to see.

Early one morning,  I climbed into a crowded collectivo ready to brave the windy mountain roads. The crowded van shifted with each turn, hugged the side of the mountains, traversed the narrow cliffs and passed above farms resting in the valley below.

After four hours, the collectivo stopped in Abancay and the first leg of the journey was over. Next, I found a taxi driving willing to take me to the site and negotiated a rate.  For 50 soles, Javier agreed to  take me to the site and wait for me while I explored.


Most that venture out of Cusco to visit Sayhuite are aware that the site consists of several carved rocks, with the Sayhuite monolith as the most famous. The site is highly regarded by the Peruvian people as a glimpse into the sacred minds that only the Inca’s understood.  But since the true purpose of  Sayhuite is unknown, the mystery adds to the intrigue. And some question the site itself was created by the Incas.

Who created Sayhuite?
What was the purpose?
What did it represent?

Sayhuite04 Sayhuite05

Those answers died with the original builders and users, from many years past.
There are many theories but no one can really say for sure.


Some regard Sayhuite as a place of religious worship by a water cult with a priestess in charge.

Sayhuite is located on top of the hill called Concacha. The  monolith measures four meters wide and two meters long. The surface is carved with more than 200 figures of geometric and zoomorphic shapes, mostly felines, reptiles, frogs, and serpents. These animals all have sensual flowing qualities, representing a close association with water.  The entire rock itself is even formed in the shape of a feline head. It is said to have been transported to the hill since it is not a natural outcrop.

Or could Sayhuite be a scale model of an ancient city?

Researcher Brien Foerster and Dr. Arlan Andrews believe the Sayhuite monolith was once a water irrigation testing site. They demonstrate  water flow in this video.


Or how about my theory, a representation of a large craft, perhaps one that once set out to escape a great flood in times of catastrophic earth changes?

Nobody knows for sure at this point. 

Just beyond the  Concach hilltop into the valley below, there we found several other carved rocks scattered through the grassy knolls.


The carved style is very different than the Sayhuite monolith above, reminiscent of some of the other ancient sites within the Sacred Valley. The most amazing was a rock with carved stairways and ascending platforms which is cracked down the center.


There are unusual squares, circles, geometric shapes and channels  carved into the surfaces as well.

Sayhuite19 Sayhuite22 Sayhuite21 Sayhuite20

Just a few feet south, there is another interesting carved rock, thought by some to be  a solar rock–when shadows are cast by the sun, they can be used to record cycles. But who really knows?



Whatever these rocks may have been used for during the Inca or pre Inca civilizations, they look as if they served a specific purpose, but today, no can be sure of what that could be.

Sayhuite14 Sayhuite18



Sayhuite is, and will remain an enigma.

And yet, another reason why I love Peru so deeply.


Be sure to check out some of my other favorites archeological anomalies found here in Peru:

The Elongated Skulls of Paracas | The Nazca Lines | The Tattooed Mummy of Cao  | Coricancha | Chavin de Huantar  |  Tucume, the Largest Pyramid Complex in the World


  1. Shara 11 years ago

    AMAZING!! Another piece of history I never knew about! Thank you for always educating us! 🙂

  2. ardun 11 years ago

    Lainie this place is amazing!! I have only just stumbled upon your site and a little too late it seems as I have just left Peru and arrived in Bolivia. I had no idea about this spot. Thanks for sharing it, hopefully I will get a chance to return in future.

    • Author
      Lainie Liberti 11 years ago

      Thanks Ardun! Keep us posted if you head back our way. Safe travels!

  3. Jay B. 11 years ago

    Never heard of this piece! I watched the video – very interesting! They´ve got some good points, if anything it looks like an ancient engineering model for sure.. but it could pass for a work of modern art as well:)

  4. Dolores Bulit 10 years ago

    I visited Sayhuite circa 1996 and had the same feeling: that this place is even more exciting tan Macchu Picchu itself because it is a great enigma!. I was showed the place by a local anthropologist and thought nobody else visited. I am glad I found your site to remeber those old great times in Peru 🙂 I also have a 7 year old son, Vito, who attends our family alternative education project here in Argentina, just 20 km north from Buenos Aires. Cheers and thanks for traveleducation and Peru blogging! Dolores.

  5. Escape Hunter 10 years ago

    Scale model of an ancient city… that’s what I first thought of, I see you had the same idea.
    Or probably a model as a plan for something they wanted to build?

  6. Awesome post .i hope everybody will like your post

  7. Danakil Horst 9 years ago

    Of course, these were all carved using stone tools by the Inca who, elsewhere, and in historically verifiable times, used impressive, but vastly different stonework. And … Oh! Look! A flying pig!

  8. bunny 8 years ago

    Maybe this was to practice stone masonry.
    For the bigger monuments. they had to be taught and practice their craft before being allowed to tackle the real thing.

  9. Joanne 7 years ago

    It looks like a 3 dimensional map.

    • Hernan Fuentealba 4 years ago

      I thought the same. it has the same water irrigation system as machu picchu

  10. Anne Peterson 7 years ago

    I suspect these were training rocks. Basically, these are the rocks where people were practicing their technique in order to go on and create the buildings and walls. They probably also made small scale designs, rough drafts, of designs the rulers could see before building it.

  11. Eddy 7 years ago

    Looks to be best way for water flow to be most effective for planting, filling reservoirs, saving the most precious resource. Thats also why the whole “map” is on angle.Water flow! They designed some of their cities this way, with a pitch angle to get water resvoirs filled.

  12. Jardinera 6 years ago

    I have a home in Merida which has many carved rocks just like this without the stairs and not elevated. Diminutive in size. The animals are intertwined and carved so a different group is seen by all angles. I think it has to do with the sun position on a daily basis and seasonal one. Stalae are done this way around here. All limestone.

  13. Dina 5 years ago

    Sayhuite device It is an earthquake detector that works when water is poured from the top, due to disturbances in the flow of water through and around the lateral perforations exits , one can know from which side the waves are coming and their magnitude. Simple.

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