Category Archives: PERU

How ‘secret Inca city’ was found hiding below Amazon jungle rising ‘lost treasure’ hopes

How ‘secret Inca city’ was found hiding below Amazon jungle rising ‘lost treasure’ hopes

Some scholars consider the Incas to be the most powerful in the Americas, occupying the Peruvian mountains until 1572, when the Spaniards captured the last fortress.

Proof of this advanced civilization is still visible today, with Machu Picchu, the most famous tourist destination, becoming the most popular. The least known settlement of Choquequirao is hidden, however, in the shadows of this fortification of the 15th century, which is located 2430 meters above sea level.

Reachable only from a two-day hike from Cusco, this city was one of the last bastions of resistance and spans more than 18,000 square meters into the deep undergrowth of the Amazon jungle. 

Only around 30 percent of Choquequirao has been excavated and Amazon Prime’s “Mysterious World of the Inca” revealed why this location was key. 

The narrator said in 2009: “All across the former empire of the Incas we find numerous strange and mysterious places called Huaca, these were a kind of idol, which according to the Indians, had supernatural powers. 

“In addition to artificially created shrines, a Huaca could be practically anything, such as strangely shaped stones, mountains or lakes. 

How ‘secret Inca city’ was found hiding below Amazon jungle rising ‘lost treasure’ hopes
The lost city of the Inca
The place was chosen as a strategic location

“Many remained hidden from the Spanish like Choquequirao, another gem of Inca architecture escaped destruction at the hands of the conquerors. “This is thanks to its inaccessibility, as it hides in the shadows of the famous Machu Picchu. 

“It is likely that its significance was more practical than spiritual, on nearby slopes they grew cocoa, an ideal plant for the local climate.”  The series went on to reveal how this settlement was first uncovered.  The narrator added: “After the death of the last Inca, at the end of the 16th century, Choquequirao fell into oblivion.

The city hides many secrets

“The first Europeans arrived in this place only in the mid 19th century and the city, which means Cradle of Gold, was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham. 

“The character of the buildings, with typical trapezoidal windows and embrasure spaces, where residents placed their daily articles, is important, including the ingenious system of canals and precise orientation of the elegant buildings. 

“It was not noticed and thanks to the luxurious vegetation and nearly impassable terrain of the East Andes, the last ruler – Tupac Amaru – was able to rule over the last Inca territory not conquered by the Spanish.” 

However, the series went on to reveal how evidence of the last civilization may still remain below the undergrowth. 

The discovery was made in the rainforest
The discovery was made in the rainforest
Many secrets of the Inca are still surfacing

It continued: “Defended by several wild valleys and his trusted followers, he went to the very edge of the Amazon forest, forming the last secret city of the Incas. 

“After wading through the river, the Spanish force finally reached it thanks to information from a betrayer. 

“But perhaps the ruins of the palaces of the last Inca hide unknown secrets and they main contain part of the still undiscovered treasure of the Incas. 

“Somewhere the jungle is covering the last sanctuary of the great Inca sun god, but it will be many years before more is revealed.” 

Machu Picchu is both a cultural and natural UNESCO World Heritage Site, and since its discovery, a growing number of tourists have visited the site.  Now it is one of Peru’s most visited tourist attraction and major revenue generator, it is continually exposed to economic and commercial forces. 

In the late Nineties, the Peruvian government granted concessions to allow the construction of a cable car and a luxury hotel, including a tourist complex with boutiques and restaurants and a bridge to the site.  Many people protested the plans, saying that more visitors would pose a physical burden on the ruins. 

Archaeologists Discover 3,000-Year-Old Megalithic Temple Used by a ‘Water Cult’

Archaeologists Discover 3,000-Year-Old Megalithic Temple Used by a ‘Water Cult’ in Peru

The ruins of an ancient mega temple in Peru, believed to have been built some 3,000 years ago, are uncovered in an archeological excavation.

It is believed that the temple was dedicated to water worship. It was concluded by experts on the basis of the location of altars, their shape, and their position.

In the archeological complex Huaca El Toro, in Oyotún district of Peru’s Lambayeque, old megalithic remains were discovered.

Walter Alva, director of the Sipan Museum Royal Tombs, stated that the Temple is situated near the junction of two ancient rivers, the Nanchoc River and the Udima River Sacred Place.

It is precisely there where an ancient culture chose to construct a massive temple.

Although temples are not a rarity in Peru, this is the only megalithic structure that has been discovered so far in Peru’s Lambayeque region.

To the surprise of archaeologists, excavations revealed that the ancient temple had been constructed entirely of supermassive stones. The facade, as well as the side wall s of the temple, were all built using massive granite blocks.

Some of the megalithic stones bear messages on their surfaces. The symbols suggest that the massive granite blocks were hauled from sacred places.

The temple was used as a center for the worship of water. In front of the megalithic construction are altars representing the cult of water. Water is thought to have been considered divine at the time.

The temple was surrounded by tiny wells or “pocitos” that the ancient people used to predict rainy seasons.

Based on archeological evidence the researchers concluded that from around 1,500 BC to around 292 AD, as many as three construction phases took place.

The oldest of the three construction phases saw the use of smaller conical adobes where its builder used stones of smaller dimensions. The second construction phase was an evolution in construction techniques where larger stones were used.

It was in the third construction phase that its builders opted for the use of megalithic stones.

The temple features a circular column where archeologists discovered evidence of sedimentation of rains and rituals.

The temple faces the mountain and experts argue the structure was used strictly for ceremonial practices. They discovered signs of burning rock at the site. The ancients may as well have used the site to perform rituals linked to fertility.

The discovery also features a tomb from the Final Formative period during which the temple is thought to have lost importance. The archaeologists also uncovered around 20 tombs that belonged to the Chimu-Inca culture, indicating the tombs were probably reused in later times.

All of the tombs feature pottery fragments as well as metal objects that were placed as offerings next to the tombs.

Archeologists explained that the site is regarded as the central water cult temple for the entire Zaña Valley.

Around 300 BC when the Chavin culture lost power, the temple lost its importance which coincides with the appearance of smaller theocratic societies, farmers and warriors.

To build this site, ancient people had to move stones from mountains around 1.86 miles (3 kilometers) away.

Nazca Line Discoveries in Peru Suggest the Mysterious Geoglyphs Are Pervasive

Nazca Line Discoveries in Peru Suggest the Mysterious Geoglyphs Are Pervasive

In Peru, the Nazca Lines are the most mysterious archeological geoglyphs. For nearly a century, these humanoid, geometric forms and animal glyphs have confused experts.

Scientists from Japan now claim that up to 143 new images have been found near the UNESCO World Heritage site. One was discovered using new artificial intelligence and it is believed that this technology could now reveal a flood of more glyphs.

The Nazca Lines have been studied since 2004 by a group from Yamagata University in Japan headed by Prof. Masato Sakais, a specialist in Andean archeology.

They suspected that there were new geoglyphs still to be discovered. This was “based on an on-site investigation begun in 2010 as well as aerial pictures” reports Asahi.com. The Nazca Lines are on a plateau on the pampa and are some 250 miles (80 kilometers) south of Lima the capital of Peru.

A press release from IBM Research describes the manmade phenomena as “shapes of varying complexity – from simple geometric shapes and plants to zoomorphic designs of animals — some several hundreds of meters in length, etched into the terrain”.

The lines date from anywhere between 500 BC to 500 AD and they were created by pre-Incan people. They were possibly used as solar calendars or more likely for ceremonial purposes and many can be considered to be ritual art.

Asahi.com reports that “until now, it was thought that 80 or so geoglyphs exist”. However, the team from Yamagata University used drones and 3D data to identify up to 143 new geoglyphs. According to a press release by Yamagata University, ‘these geoglyphs depicted people and many different animals (including birds, monkeys, fish, snakes, foxes, felines, and camelids). One of the new images “shows a two-headed snake that appears to be devouring two people”.

Two-headed snake geoglyph, approximately 98 feet (30 meters) long.

The geoglyphs are of two types, depending on how they were made. The first category comes from the Early Nazca Period and consists of images made by removing black topsoil to reveal white sand.

The second type which was created somewhat later was made by placing earth and stones on the surface. It seems that some of the first types were used for ceremonial purposes and the second type was “produced beside paths or on sloping inclines and are thought to have been used as way posts when traveling” according to Yamagata University.

However, the Japanese team was faced with a number of challenges. They could not manage all the data that they retrieved. So the team and their faculty entered into an academic partnership with IBM Japan Ltd to exploit the tech company’s “extensive initiatives to analyze and leverage large, complex data sets, such as remote sensing and geographical data, with AI” reports Yamagata University.

Strange humanoid image found in the Nazca Pampa.

Yamagata archaeologists collaborated closely with IBM researchers, after a feasibility study that demonstrated the company’s Watson Machine Learning Community Edition, could help in identifying glyphs.

They utilized IBM PAIRS Geoscope, when they surveyed the Nazca Pampa, recently. This is a cloud-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that can analyze data from multiple datasets and is especially useful when it comes to geospatial evaluations.

The team used LiDAR, that uses lasers to make a 3D representation of the lines in the desert. They also used images from satellites and drones.

Data from on-the-ground geographical surveys were all collected. All this diverse data was inputted into PAIRS and its AI was able to integrate and evaluate the data in a matter of minutes where previously such an analysis would have taken months.

The researchers found a 15 foot (5 meters) long geoglyph of a humanoid figure. This figure appears to be “brandishing some form of the club” reports Fox News. Furthermore, “AI analysis of aerial footage indicated there are more than 500 other candidate sites” reports Ashai.com. One of these was subsequently proven to be a site of ritual art.

These finds are important in themselves but also demonstrated how AI could be used to speed up the process of identifying new Nazca Lines.

The new technology will be used along with fieldwork to further study the images that have been found. This will result in a map of the new geoglyphs and will help in the development of a comprehensive map for the entire location.

Not only can they help to locate new Nazca Lines, but IBMs technology can also help to preserve the UNESCO World Heritage site. “Professor Sakai and others have carried out activities to preserve this heritage site” in recent years report Yamagata University.

The mysterious glyphs are being threatened by the growth of nearby urban areas. It is hoped that AI technology can also play a part in determining the distribution of the lines so that they can be better protected.

Ancient temple found under Lake Titicaca in peru

Ancient Hidden City Discovered Under Lake Titicaca in Peru

Archeologists discovered the remains of an ancient civilization under the waters of the lake five minutes far from the town of Tiquina on the shores of Titicaca Lake.

Christophe Delaere, an archeologist from the Free University of Belgium, made the discovery 10 years ago using the information provided by local residents. Under the lake, according to the BBC 24 submerged archeological sites were found.

Santiago de Ojjelaya, the most prominent of these places, has recently been decided by the Bolivian Government to build a museum on the site that preserves both the submerged structures and those which are on land.

Lake Titicaca.
Lake Titicaca.

The project is supposed to be finished in 2020 and will cost an estimated $10 million. The Bolivian government is funding the project with help from UNESCO and is backed by the Belgian development cooperation agency.

The proposed building will have two parts and cover an area of about 2.3 acres (9,360 square meters). One part of the museum will be on the shore, and it will display artifacts that have been raised from the lake bottom.

The second part will be partially submerged, with enormous glass walls that will look out under the lake, allowing visitors to see the “hidden city” below.

Old pottery from Tiwanaku at the Ethnologisches Museum, Berlin-Dahlem.

According to the Bolivia Travel Channel, the museum will facilitate the beginning of an archaeological tourism enterprise, which “will be a resort and archaeology research center, geology and biology, characteristics that typified it unique in the world [sic],” according to Wilma Alanoca Mamani, holder of the portfolio of the Plurinational State.

Christophe Delaere said that the building’s design incorporates elements of architecture used by the Andean cultures who inhabited the area.

Jose Luis Paz, who is the director of heritage for Bolivia’s Ministry of Culture, says that two types of underwater ruins will be visible when the building is complete: religious/spiritual offering sites, primarily underwater, and places where people lived and worked, which were primarily on the shoreline. He went on to say that the spiritual sites were likely flooded much later than the settlements.

Chullpas from the Tiwanaku epoch.

A team of archaeological divers and Bolivian and Belgian experts have located thousands of items in the underwater sites. Some of these pieces will be brought up, but the majority will remain underwater as they are quite well-preserved.

Wilma Mamani said that more than 10,000 items have been found including gold and ceramic pieces and various kinds of bowls and other vessels.

The items are of pre-Inca Tiwanaku civilizations. Some of the artifacts have been estimated to be 2,000 years old, and others have been dated back to when the Tiwanaku empire was one of the primary Andean civilizations.

Gateway of the Sun, Tiwanaku, drawn by Ephraim Squier in 1877.

Tiwanaku was a major civilization in Bolivia, with the main city built around 13,000 feet above sea level, near Lake Titicaca, which made it one of the highest urban centers ever built.

The city reached its zenith between 500 AD and 1000 AD, and, at its height, was home to about 10,000 people. It’s unclear exactly when the civilization took hold, but it is known that people started settling around Lake Titicaca about 2,000 BC.

The Gateway of the Sun from the Tiwanaku civilization in Bolivia.

According to Live Science, the city’s ancient name is unknown, since they never developed a written language, but archaeological evidence suggests that Tiwanaku cultural influence reached across the southern Andes, into Argentina, Peru, and Chile, as well as Bolivia.

Tiwanaku began to decline around 1,000 AD, and the city was eventually abandoned. Even when it fell out of use, it stayed an important place in the mythology of the Andean people, who viewed it as a religious site.

Besides the obvious benefits of being able to study and share the artifacts of ancient civilizations, the project has another benefit as well. Most of the people who currently live in the area make their living in agriculture or fishing.

This project brings the possibility of new jobs for local residents, which can keep people from leaving the area due to a lack of opportunities, helping revitalize local communities.