Hidden Treasure Chamber Discovered Under Machu Picchu
Hidden Treasure Chamber Discovered Under Machu Picchu
I have always been intrigued by buried treasure and secret hidden chambers at temples all over the world, so when a well-known French archaeologist and explorer announced that he and a team of researchers discovered a secret door and possible lost secret treasure. They say it could be the most important archaeological find ever unearthed within the walls of Peru’s famed Machu Picchu citadel. The Cusco branch of the ministry of culture however has blocked the archaeologist, Thierry Jamin, and the Instituto Inkari NGO from excavating in the ruins.
Jamin and other researchers announced that their electromagnetic equipment has revealed a hidden chamber concealed behind the walls, which were built around the year 1450. They think the secret space could possibly house the tomb of Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, the Inca ruler that experts believe Machu Picchu was built for in the 15th-century. Jamin says there is a great possibility that the crypt would contain a treasure filled with gold, silver and other precious metals, making it the largest discovery ever at the famed site. The project however has met with much controversy and resistance from the government.
Jamin tells me that when he and the Instituto Inkari presented their evidence to the local ministry of culture in the Cusco region along with their plan to excavate the area, their request was quickly denied. According to David Ugarte, the director of the ministry of culture in the Cusco region, “Archaeologist Thierry Jamin was in Machu Picchu based on the authorization given to him by the Ministry of Culture in Lima to carry out observational studies and tour the citadel, but when he proposed, above all, to excavate based on some hypothesis, because a laser scanner had detected an Inca tomb that was surrounded by children, and at the same time there were some steps lined in gold. It has been completely denied because this goes against the reality.”
The ministry of culture and park directors said they worried the excavation project could jeopardize the stability of the structure. Past excavations have caused partial collapses of the historic walls and they said they worried the Inkari group was after the precious metals and not taking into account the historic nature of the site. “In terms of Thierry Jamin, he seemed to us to be more of an adventurer looking to find a treasure and not to do scientific research,” Ugarte added.
All of this started in February of 2010 when French engineer David Crespy was taking some measurements of the ruins and small passages of Machu Picchu. At the heart of the ciudadela, he noticed the presence of a strange “door”, located at the foot of one of the main buildings and leading to a small path which seems to be almost never used by the tourists, or even the archaeologists from the site.
Crespy immediately knew it was an entrance that had been sealed by the Incas. He alerted the archaeologists and the people in charge of Machu Picchu, and after a tour of the site they promised to start investigating in the near future. But after months and months, despite several emails, phone calls and emails, he never received any news from Peru about his possible discovery.
In August 2011, Crespy found an article in the French newspaper Le Figaro Magazine about the famed research work of Thierry Jamin in Peru and he decided to contact him directly. Thierry Jamin, had been investigating several archaeological sites in the North of Cusco, and was able to confirm David Crespy’s information. Between September and November 2011, along with other archaeologists, he went to Machu Picchu on several occasions to investigate the famous location. His preliminary conclusions were that it was indeed an entrance, sealed by the Incas. This site was also strangely similar to the burial sites that had been previously discovered in the valleys of Lacco-Yavero and Chunchusmayo. The “door” was located in the center of one of the main buildings of the city, the “Temple of the Three Doors”, which dominates the entire urban section of Machu Picchu and created hope that the location could be a burial site of prime importance.
Historians believe that Machu Picchu belonged to the lineage of the emperor Pachacútec, the Inca who transformed the small Andean State into the most powerful empire of the American continent. This would also explain that Pachacútec would have been buried in the city of Patallacta, the original name of Machu Picchu. It is very possible that this burial chamber is somehow connected to this sovereign of the XVth century. It would be a huge event for the History of Peru and pre-Colombian America since no mummy of the Inca emperor has ever been discovered.
On March 22nd, 2012, the Peruvian Ministry of Culture gave the green light to Thierry Jamin’s team to research a series of electromagnetic surveys intended to confirm, or not, the presence of a funeral chamber in the basement of the building. With the use of a georadar “Golden King DPRP”, the research team succeeded in confirming the existence of two entrances, located behind the famous door. The researchers also succeeded in obtaining a 3D representation of a staircase that leads to a main room, and possible burial chamber.
A few days later, new echos were discovered with a Rover CII New Edition and a CaveFinder, two devices designed to specifically detect subterranean cavities. The data collected confirmed the presence of a staircase, several cavities, among which a vast quadrangular room that is about three meters wide. Georadars have also detected the existence of great quantities of metals. The use of a Molecular Discriminator of Frequencies was used to highlight the presence of golden and silver objects.
Finally, the use of an endoscopic camera was introduced into the elevations between the entrance stones, confirming the claim that the stone blocks placed in the entrance of the building had only the function of closing the entrance and not that to support the internal structures of the building.
The echos from the geo-radars are clear and the diagnosis from the technicians of several different companies specialized in geo-radars confirmed the fact. They seem to match with a classic burial chamber of pre-hispanic time and is oriented Eastward as was most of the pre-hispanic burial sites. This could lead to the discovery of a Mausoleum, the one that emperor Pachacútec built in the XVth century for his own grave but also for his entire lineage.
After submitting his Final Report to the Peruvian Ministry of Culture (approved by the ministry on September 5th 2012 by a new Directory Resolution), Thierry Jamin set out his plan to open the door sealed by the Incas more than 5 centuries ago. On May 22th 2012, Thierry Jamin submit an official request to the Peruvian authorities in which he asked for the authorization for him and his team to open the burial chambers.
This new project was called “Project of Archeological Investigations (including excavations)”, with the possible exhumation of some high grade funeral material by opening of the access panel covered by stones. Directed by Thierry Jamin and Hilbert Sumire (Official Director of the Archaeological Project), the operation was composed by a team of professional experts recognized internationally such as peruvian architect and conservator Victor Pimentel Gurmendi, Director or Conservation on the project.
Between the months of June to October 2012, the “2012 Machu Picchu Project” was evaluated by several services of the Ministry of Culture in Lima. During the course of these evaluations the project was transferred to the Direction of the Historic National Sanctuary of Machu Picchu in order to get their opinion about its viability.
On July 19th 2012, archaeologist Piedad Champi Monterroso wrote a negative report on the project. “The entrance discovered by David Crespy should be considered only as a simple retaining wall, archaeologist Hilbert Sumire is only a “tourist guide” and Thierry Jamin’s team is a group of “treasure hunters”. Without any technical evidence of her claims, she also added that moving the stones of the building where the entrance was discovered would put the integrity of the entire structure at risk.
Peruvian historian Teodoro Hampe also said that the cavities discovered under the “Temple of the Three Doors” by the Inkari Team could be the burial chambers of the panaca, or lineage of the emperor Pachacútec. However, he added, the imperial mummy would have been brought to Lima during the 16th century by the Spanish conquistadors and hidden with other mummies in a secret crypt located under the foundations of the San Andrés hospital.
At the time, the Regional Director of Culture, David Ugarte Vega Centeno, announced that the application for a license by the Inkari Institute, to achieve the opening of the burial chambers discovered at Machu Picchu, would not be approved by the Regional Office because the project would serious risks to the legendary Inca City.
In September 2013, an additional team of archaeologists from the National Historical Sanctuary of Machu Picchu performed various measurements and multiple scanners of the “Temple of the Three Doors” and the entrance discovered by David Crespy in February 2010. A project was then presented by the leaders of the Machu Picchu park to open the underground chambers. A project that would rival the one offered by the Inkari Institute.
Since the controversy began, the access to the entrance leading to the cavities became prohibited. A sign now indicates (“construction work”) and it is impossible to approach the site. (On my visit to the area last month, I personally asked my guides last month to show me the area and they were not able get access for me.)
On July 14, 2014, the Inkari Institute officially submitted a new research project led by Peruvian archaeologist Hilbert Bustincio Sumire, whose objective was the opening of underground cavities discovered in April 2012, and the study of archaeological material contained in the possible burial chambers. The project was expanded and American anthropologist Haagen Klaus Dietrich, from the George Mason University joined the group as a specialist in the study or organic funerary material. On September 4, 2014, the Regional Director of Culture of Cusco sent a letter to the Inkari Institute, and again rejected opening underground cavities.
A subsequent technical report, said that the Machu Picchu Project of the Inkari Institute was “non-viable” due to the existence of a competing project, presented by the officials of the Historical Sanctuary of Machu Picchu. Based on two “Technical Reports “, archaeologist Sabino Quispe Serrano, attaché to the Dirección de Coordinación de Calificación de Intervenciopnes Arqueológicas, declared the research project presented by Thierry Jamin and the Inkari Institute as “unfair”.
Another report was written by archaeologist José Miguel Bastante Abuhadba who is co-director of the government project. Archaeologist Piedad Champi Monterroso then granted José Miguel Bastante Abuhadba support for the archaeological work and interdisciplinary research of the hidden chamber to be executed in the field of Machu Picchu in 2017.
As reported by The Peruvian Times, a grand plan to remodel Machu Picchu was approved by the government last year that would invest $14.6 million into its re-conceptualization. The plan places emphasis on the problem of the increasing amount of tourists every year and take place over the next three years.
In 2014 Machu Picchu registered 1,079,426 visitors, not including those 200 or so daily trekkers that the site receives. This exceeds the limit that Peru and UNESCO agreed on as the site should only accept 2,500 on a daily basis.