Monthly Archives: December 2013
It sounds like a plot from an Indiana Jones film, but explorers claim to have found ruins hidden deep in a dense and dangerous Amazonian jungle that could solve many of South America’s mysteries – and lead to one of the world’s most sought-after treasures.
The multinational team, including Britons, has located the site in a remote region in central Ecuador which it believes could represent one of the great archaeological discoveries.
They have already unearthed a 260 ft tall by 260 ft wide structure, made up of hundreds of two-ton stone blocks, and believe there could be more, similar constructions over an area of about a square mile.
Investigations of the site, in the Ecuadorian Andes mountain range, are at an early stage and theories as to what it contains vary.
Some of those involved believe it could be the mausoleum of Atahualpa, the last Incan emperor who was captured by the conquering Spaniards, or hold the Treasure of the Llanganates, a vast haul of gold and other riches amassed by his followers to pay for his release.
In exchange for his freedom, Atahualpa is said to have offered to fill a room with gold. But the offer was rebuffed and he was executed in 1533.
His body is said to have been exhumed, mummified and later hidden by his followers in the region in which the new site has been found. According to legend, great treasures – which had been amassed for the ransom – were either buried with him, or separately.Drawings of Atahualpa, the last Incan emperor (ALAMY)
The search for the tomb and the riches has been one of the world’s greatest historical treasure hunts, inspiring many, thus far unsuccessful, expeditions.
Others believe the newly discovered site dates back far earlier, to unknown, pre-Inca cultures from before 500 BC, citing what appear to be rudimentary tools found there.
Local legend has it that the area was once populated by a civilization of exceptionally tall people and the apparently outsized nature of some of the approximately 30 artifacts found have led some to describe the area as the Lost City of The Giants.
The site, in the Llanganates National Park, Ecuador, is being investigated by a team of British, French, America and Ecuadorean explorers.
Among them is Bruce Fenton, an Ecuador-based Briton and researcher into the region’s indigenous cultures, who has been involved in the project for about three months, after he heard of recent discoveries made by local trekkers. He is planning two visits to the site before the end of the month. Also involved is Benoit Duverneuil, a French-American archaeologist, who undertook an expedition there earlier this year.
The Ecuadorean government has been told of the discovery and an official expedition by archaeologists and paleontologists is expected to take place. The site is already attracting groups interested in recovering artifacts.
It is only about 20 miles from the town of Baños de Agua Santa, but it takes about eight hours to trek to it through swampy and mountainous jungle. The site is about 8,500ft above sea level and in cloud forest, where it rains most of the time. One route to it is known for the risks posed by attacks of Africanized – “killer” – bees.
The precise extent of the structure and the possible wider development has not yet been gauged. The vast structure is a wall, sloping at a 60 degree angle, with a flat area at the top where many of the artifacts have been found.
The team believes the summit was used for some form of human activities, possibly sacrifices. Some have suggested that it could have been the venue for human sacrifices, with the incline deliberately engineered to allow a head to roll down the side.
The area is affected by regular landslides and much of the structure is covered by mud and vegetation, making investigations difficult.
There are several other large mounds – also covered in mud and vegetation – within a square mile, which the explorers think could be more man-made structures, as well as what appears to be a road.
The team believes the structure already discovered could contain rooms and Mr Duverneuil, who undertook an expedition to the site in April and May, believes it could be Atahualpa’s mausoleum.
“This could be one of the biggest archaeological discoveries ever,” he said. “It would be huge. We just don’t have structures of this type and size in this part of the world. But we are some way from declaring that yet.
“It looks like a paved wall, an ancient street or plaza with a 60 degrees angle, perhaps the roof of a larger structure. Many of the stones were perfectly aligned, have sharp edges and seemed to have been sculpted by human hands. But there is still a chance that this could be a very unusual natural rock formation.”
He has also not ruled out a connection to either the Panzaleo culture, which was established around 600 BC and saw the construction of large temples dedicated to its gods, or the Canari people, who were rivals of the Incas and joined forces with the Spanish during the conquest.
But Mr. Fenton suspects it may date back earlier than any of these groups. He believes the site once held a city, built there to capitalize on the gold found in the region’s rivers, and could be the size of Machu Picchu, the Inca city in southern Peru.
“This is a very inhospitable area and is still considered very dangerous because of the landscape,” he said. “The only thing around there of any value would have been gold. It seems artifacts are spread over a wide area of inhospitable jungle and this only makes sense if a long-lost settlement is present.”
Unlike in Peru, where much attention goes to Inca sites such as Machu Picchu, Ecuador’s archaeological ruins attract a limited number of tourists and government spending is limited.
Reference: Jasper Copping (2013, Dec. 15). Explorers hot on the trail of Atahualpa and the Treasure of the Llanganates in Ecuador. www.telegraph.co.uk Retrieved December, 26, 2013 from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/ecuador/10517904/Explorers-hot-on-the-trail-of-Atahualpa-and-the-Treasure-of-the-Llanganates.html?goback=.gde_1120277_member_5819967942300819460#!
- Explorers on trail of Incan treasure (calgaryherald.com)
New golf course development in Coastal Ecuador is taking into account environmental factors and seeking to be amongst the most Eco-friendly in the world.
The developers will open the first 18-hole championship level golf course in Coastal Ecuador by January 2016.
Located in the scenic Coastal Location of Ecuador, the 1500-acre development is the newest and most exclusive residential resort community in Latin America and has been designed to protect the indigenous flora and wildlife of the area.
The layout encompasses woodlands, meadow lands, ridge lines and riparian valleys coupled with dramatic elevation changes making for a signature golf experience. The developer’s goal is to create a course that blended seamlessly into the unique topography of the land, they sincerely believe in creating one of the most visually stunning courses in all of Central and South America.
This peninsula location is one of the most desirable destinations in Ecuador for those who seek to retire comfortably or invest in a vacation home in increasingly popular Latin America, this location is internationally acclaim as the one of the best micro climates in the world.
International climate experts have section Ecuador Coastal Region in three:
1. The tropical wet forest of the north – Esmeralda, Bahia, Manta
2. The tropical savannas of the centre and southeast – Manta, Puerto Cayo, Olon
3. The dry forest of the west and southern peninsula – Salinas, Anconcito, Playas
This Golf Club Villa development seats right on the peninsula, therefore: ‘The wonderful year round climate and scenic beauty of the region will be a perfect location for an active lifestyle that can include championship golf, hiking, birding, mountain biking and rafting, as well as many other activities.
It is one of the fastest growing retirement and tourism destinations in the country due to its lush vegetation, vibrant population of rare birds and the hiking opportunities. It is also an Eco-tourism destination.
Ecuador’s Coastal Peninsula has been a claim internationally as one of the top destinations to buy a property because of its infrastructure, business services, medical care and telecommunications combined with a desirable but affordable standard of living, some of the finest ecotourism in the world, bird-watching, scores of exotic beaches and islands, snorkeling, diving, sport fishing, white water rafting, rock climbing, fine restaurants, and a multitude of historical sites.
Request all details: email@example.com
Christmas is time to Make a Difference and Help the Public Schools here in Ecuador. In the past few weeks our intercultural family decided to celebrate the Holidays by given to the local community. Being a part of all these local festivities in such a short period of time has not only been incredibly fun but has also got me thinking about how important and rewarding is to get involve with the local community while living in Ecuador.
Celebrating Local Christmas traditions helps me keep grounded. Celebrating this traditional holiday brightens up my mood for weeks as I become absorbed in preparations for the event and the excitement of the day itself.
Traditional celebrations are some of the core aspects of any culture. Whether it is a wedding, a harvest festival, a religious holiday, or a national observance, our celebrations are woven tightly into our overall cultural identity.
When you move overseas, part of the excitement of living in a new culture is exploring and joining in the celebration of the local holidays and traditions of the country. Some of these experiences will provide memories that will last a lifetime.
Celebrating a special day can also help you connect with fellow compatriots in your area who can add to your mutual support group. When we host our last expats gathering, I meet a new couple who had just spent an exhausting couple of months going through the trials of getting settled into a new job, finding appropriate housing, and jumping through the usual bureaucratic hoops that accompany any move to a new country. They were extremely grateful for the chance to wind down, meet new friends and exchange tips on local life.
Experience Something Unique: Burning of the Año Viejo!
This is a unique experience that you will remember years later. We will celebrate New Year the Ecuadorian style, meaning we were off to burn the dummies! The origin of Año Viejo – made of paper mache and/or wood and sawdust – is a bit of a mystery. Dummies today take the form of political figures, super heroes, manga and anime characters, or famous movie characters. They range from doll size to absolutely, ridiculously huge. They are real works of art. When you burn the dummy at midnight you are burning away the bad things from the old year, then welcome 2014, and celebrate among firework explosions the rest of the night. It is an enormous, amazing conflagration of a fire ceremony.
So next time you see one of your traditional holidays approaching on the calendar, start planning. Invite your friends, involve the kids, and create your own lasting memories.
Here I share with you pictures of our visit to a Public Local School for a Christmas Celebration: