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Arqueología Fantástica: ¿Paititi of the Incas? (2002)
"El Dorado" discovered in Peruvian Amazon, explorers claim
Story Filed: Saturday, July 27, 2002 5:02 PM EST
Lima, Jul 27, 2002 (EFE via COMTEX) -- An international team of explorers claims to have found the legendary Inca city of gold that the Spanish knew as "El Dorado," deep in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon.
The quest began on June 30, when more than two dozen researchers began combing the wild and unexplored jungle region along the basin of the Madre de Dios River.
El Dorado, called "Paititi" by the region's Indian population, is known as the last bastion of the Incas as they sought refuge from advancing Spanish conquistadors.
The leader of the expedition, the Polish-Italian journalist and explorer Jacek Palkiewicz, told EFE Saturday he was very pleased with the expedition and felt "certain" he had found El Dorado.
After two years of research and exploration, Palkiewicz said, the lost city had been found in an area adjoining the Manu national park, southeast of Lima.
The journey to El Dorado has allowed the researchers to confirm all the written accounts and myths surrounding the lost city, including reports that it was a 10-day walk from Cuzco, the ancient capital of the Inca empire.
Palkiewicz said he was most surprised to learn that stories of the city being under a lake were completely accurate.
The lake has been discovered in a four-square-kilometer (1.5-square-mile) plateau totally covered in vegetation.
Russian specialists taking part in the expedition used terrestrial radar to confirm the existence of an underwater network of caverns and tunnels.
According to legend, the treasures of the last Inca rulers were buried under the lake.
He added that a final extensive expedition would be carried out in October and would include scientists specializing in the study of caves.
Palkiewicz said he had found traces of pre-Inca constructions, which indicate that the Incas had only begun to colonize the area shortly before arrival of the Spanish conquistadors.
The man described by Britain's Guardian newspaper as a "self-styled academic" did not rule out the existence of other Inca constructions, but said the dense jungle and the region's torrential rains prevented the team from investigating further.
The expedition, which was made up of scientists from Argentina, Italy, Poland, Russia and Peru, used terrestrial radar and satellites to locate the lost city.
The journey was planned after two previous visits to the area and was given a further boost by the discovery of a 16th-century manuscript ostensibly proving that El Dorado had been discovered by Jesuit missionaries.
In the manuscript, which was found in the Vatican archives of the Society of Jesus, the pope authorizes the Jesuits to evangelize the Indians of Paititi.
Palkiewicz, a teacher of survival skills who has written some 20 books about his journeys to the most remote areas of the planet, has extensive experience in the Amazon jungles.
In 1996, he led another expedition that succeeded in locating the true source of the Amazon River.
His most recent expedition had a budget of more than $1 million and received the symbolic support of Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, Poland's Aleksander Kwasniewski and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Efforts to locate the legendary city began with the arrival of Spanish conquerors in 1532.
Rumors of a jungle city that supposedly held priceless treasures to be used to pay the ransom of the last Inca ruler, Atahualpa, prompted searches of the region.
Many previous El Dorado expeditions ended in disaster on account of the region's hostile environment and difficult terrain.
One such failed expedition took place in 1925, when famous British explorer Col. Peter Fawcett disappeared in western Brazil while looking for the city.
In 1970, a French-American expedition led by Serge Debru disappeared, most likely at the hands of Huachipairi Indians.
A 1997 expedition led by Norwegian anthropologist Lars Hafksjold also disappeared after setting out for the Madidi River, not far from the site of Palkiewicz's discovery.
By David Blanco Bonilla.
Copyright (c) 2002. Agencia EFE S.A.
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Lima, 25 July 2002
EXPEDITION "PAITITI 2002" HAS CONCLUDED SUCCESSFULLY
Under the patronage of the PERUVIAN GOVERNMENT
Ministerial Risolution N° 206-2001-ITINCI/DM
In collaboration with: Geographical Society of Lima, Ponteficia Universitad Catolica of Lima, Russian Science Academy, University of Padua, Geophysical Dep. of Saint-Petersburg State Mining Institute
Leader Ph.D. Jacek Palkiewicz
In these last days the scientific investigation which tried to reveal the enigmas of the mysterious "lost city" of Paititi or "El Dorado", patrimony of Latin America history, as also it is called has concluded.
"The result of the investigation is surprising" the expedition chief Dr. Jacek Palkiewicz says - "Now we are on the traces of a very concrete reality, not far from the place where the last Incas probably found the last shelter and where they hid their fabulous golden treasures during the Spanish invasion in the year 1532. We have localized a highland with pre-incas civilizations stone buildings covered by a luxuriant vegetation and above all a lagoon under which, we presume, there is a labyrinth of caverns and tunnels. An ideal place to hide Incas patrimony, the same the conquers didn't succeed in taking possession of."
The mythical Paititi is situated at 105 km north east of Cuzco in the unexplored basin of the Alto Madre de Dios, on the slopes of the Andes (1,000 m): geographic places which are considered as white spaces on the topographic maps.
The place indicated by Palkiewicz expeditions coincides either with the exciting legend or with a ample bibliography documentation, picked up from different sources such as Juan Alvarez Maldonado at the end of 1600 or Fray Lucero who in 1681 wrote that, according to the natives he met, the lost city would be "further the lands and the mountains, ten days way towards the east of Cuzco".
The Paititi pattern is also in the exceptional recently discovered document, found in the Roman Jesuit archives considered absolutely historically true, in these Father Andrea Lopez, director of the Jesuit School of Cuzco, described, between 1500 and 1600, Paititi with its temples covered with. The Church not only know about the existence of this "kingdom" but the Pope had authorized the missionaries to convert its inhabitants.
The word Paititi probably comes from Paikikin that in Quechua means "equal to", referred to Cuzco, "umbilicus", the center of the world, according to the Incas.
The ambitious expeditions was composed of 30 participants whose leader was Jacek Palkiewicz, doctor on geographic science, journalist-explorer Polish-Italian, who has discovered different secrets of nature (in 1966 discovered the true origin of Amazon River). His investigation in the ethnographic field has conduced to a deeper study about different ethnics who are going unfortunately towards a show agony. He achieved international popularity in 1975 when he crossed by himself the Atlantic Ocean on a small life boat. Author of 15 adventure books, and many documentaries, he publishes his reports on the most important European newspapers.
This adventure auspicious by The Governments of Peru, Italy and Poland had a multidisciplinary character: it linked the historical-geographic investigation to many aspects: ethnographic, geological, ethnobotanic, ambient care with the aim to offer an efficient contribution to the scientific world.
The mission, supported by the Geographic Society of Lima and the University of Saint Petersburg, relied on the support of the most modern technology such as specific satellitar images and the sophisticated "georadar" for the underground investigations to reveal definitively the last Incas refuge, it is necessary a more technical investigation.
One of the participants, Padre Juan Carlos Polentini, an authority in this theme, doesn't hide his enthusiasm: "I have no doubts that next time nature must reveal its precious secret".
Three weeks of exploration have been documented by Leonid Kruglov who has picked up an exceptional material for a documentary to be broadcasted by Discovery Channel.
The logistic responsible Maricarmen Rodriguez, observes that the enterprise was extremely difficult for the irregular territory precariousness crossed by deep river-beds long paths in an area covered by the impenetrable jungle, the danger of poisonous snakes lying in wait to attack, unknown tumultuous rivers whish obstruct the abready meandering way, tensions and innumerable unconfortableness. All these reasons requires a remarkable physical and psychological effort"
The golden city brightness had dazzled for centuries a big number of adventures who, even bewildered by the jungle vastness, penetrated in it, convinced that, with no doubt, something they'd have found. "Travelling with the spirit hanging by a thread", as the qualified historian John Hemming (author of an excellent work "The conquest of the Incas) wrote.
Most of these people never come back; they lost themselves in those meandering ways. Most of them ended very sadly: either for illness, hunger or in bloody encounters with the natives. Gonzalo de Oviedo, chronicler of West Indies commented this odyssey "It was an unforgettable epoch of human resistance. I think that no one of these men would have accepted such a challenger, not even to enter into the Paradise"
The term El Dorado is connected to a golden city but during the centuries it has assument different meanings. Its legend is a born from the golden man tale: according to the traditions the native prince Chibcha, during the ceremony of his investiture was covered from head to foot by a thick substance and by an impalpable golden dust. So shining as a statue, at dawn, he sank in the high-lands near Bogotá, to celebrate the purifications rite. Beside he threw in the lake his jewels as his own tribute to the deep waters Gods- the golden man stopped to be a legend, stirring up the conquerors lusts. In 1969 a marvelous jewel of pre-colombian art was found; an old image of the ceremony; a small model of raft with the golden "Indian" surrounded by nine priests on it. This object is an exact copy of the investiture rite and it confirms the reality. The Chibcha raft, made of golden leaves and filaments, is exposed in Bogotá Golden Museum.
Time rolling up "El Dorado" doesn't refer anymore to a person but to the name of a place that the Spaniards believed was in the Meta River, the Orinoco tributary. Then people looked for a region inexhaustibly wealthy (rich) in Manoa area between Venezuela and Guyana. They also looked for in a mountain area of Sierra Parima in Brazil. Besides some people had concentrated their attentions on the golden kingdom of Omaguas who lived in the northern area of Amazon River. As hiding-place of Incas treasures was also considered Candire in Paraguay and Cordillera Llanganati in the Ecuadorian Andes, an inaccessible always-cloudy area. The natives and the conquerors, jealous of the secret, used to confuse and alter, on purpose, the news about the location of the place.
The unknown has always attracted humans and not even the technological civilization has succeeded to stifle their ambitious and adventurous spirit. Now a day, as in the past, in the humans frequently dozes, with an irresistible power, the myth of the Treasure Island, independently of the age, the social level, or the place of the origin. So at the end of Palkiewicz expedition, one of the most fascinating and common dream of mankind history, this epoch will stop to be only a myth, going further the science limits without leaving to seduce the fantasy of mankind.
Copyright © 2006 Jacek Palkiewicz
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• Ver: http://www.palkiewicz.com/ekspedycje/index.php?p=paiti3
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