The mysterious Amazonian "pyramids" (1998-2002)

As for me, it makes a dozen years when I am interested in the story of this lost city and when I dedicate a big part of my searches to the study of the permanent presence of the Incas in Amazonian forest, realizing every year several expeditions.

South Americam Magazine
Revealed for the first time in the "South American Explorer Magazine", (N°1, October, 1977), the "pyramids" of Paratoari do not stop it feeding the most crazy hypotheses...

Graduaded of the university François Rabelais of Tours (France E.U.) in History and Geography (DEUG of History & Geography, License of History & Geography, Masters of Modern History) and of the university of Toulouse le Mirail (France E.U.) in History & Archaeology (DEA of Studies on the Latin America), my interest for this history was born there are about twenty years following the discovery of curious satellite photos. They had been realized in December, 1975 in the southeast of Peru by an American satellite of observation of the Earth (ERTS), Landsat II. We had located on some of them a kind of immense "amphitheatre", placed at the feet of a mountain of average height, inside which the mysterious "dots", symmetrically arranged, seemed to indicate the presence of an unknown archeological site. In full virgin forest ! And in this zone where exactly we look for, for fifty years, the lost city.

The "pyramids" of Paratoari
Revealed by the archaeologist Rodolpho Bragagnini in May, 1976, the "pyramids" of Paratoari are localized in the National park of >Manú, Department of the Madre de Dios, in the southeast of Peru.
(Photo : Landsat II, December 31st)

In the bend of the years '70/ '80, reconnaissance planes had noticed that these famous "dots" in question were, really, gigantic pyramids, situated at the feet of this mountain, the Sierra Baja of Pantiacolla (in quechua language, Pantiaj Colla means "the place where gets lost the princess").

The set was four kilometers long, and, for what I was able to notice myself during various later flyings with the Air Force of Peru, we count approximately 22 "pyramids", of which some have 150 to 200 meters. There are the other semicircular or rectangular formations of big sizes in the same perimeter. In the time (1979-1980), the set thus let think of an immense sanctuary, even a whole city, gobbled up in the jungle. Here hid maybe the rests of an ancient Inca city. Maybe even the vestiges of Paititi, the queen of the South American lost cities.

Herbert Cartagena and Thierry Jamin
Thierry Jamin and Herbert Cartagena, want to drill the mystery of the "pyramids".
(Photo : Florence Dugowson, July, 2002)

With my accomplice Herbert Cartagena, a French-Peruvian explorer, discoverer, in 1979, with his wife Nicole, of a small Inca city, Mameria, situated to the West of the "pyramids", I organize several expeditions in this region, between 1998 and 2005, to bring a definitive answer to the mystery of pyramids, old man then of about twenty years.

In a a little bit general way, it is about expeditions that we make at first there with 4X4, since Cusco, the ancient inca capital, situated in the South of Peru, in the Andes Cordillera, until some pueblos situated in the margins of the Amazonian forest, on the other side of the mountain range. We cross then passes in 5.000 meters, in the direction of the Amazonian plain, by following an old passable runway. Then, towards the end of this runway, we leave the 4X4 to embark on dugouts with engines (peque-peque). We so go back up streams, farthest possible, through the forest. Until the moment when we have to continue on foot, with all the logistics on the back. And we use machete to progress through the jungle, up to the zones which we want to investigate.

At feet of the "pyramids" of Paratoari
In August, 2001, the explorers' team reaches finally at feet of the "pyramids"…
(Photo : Florence Dugowson, August, 2001)

And so we managed to reach these famous "pyramids", in August, 2001, after several fruitless attempts. In this time, we cannot investigate that a small part of the site. Because the vegetation is there so dense, the relief so chaotic and the set is so vast as it turns out difficult to investigate everything at one time. We succeed nevertheless in drawing some conclusions and to formulate some hypotheses.

At first, these "pyramids", certain authors of which did not hesitate to make an Egyptian or atlante city, even an extraterrestrial (!) base, are really of natural origin and we found no city in their foot. They constitute a relatively rare case in geology, the result of a phenomenon of catastrophic erosion known under the name of "teeth of the devil", or formations in "chevrons". However, some of them appear to have been worked by the man.


Inca hatchet
At feet of the "pyramids", on a bank of the Rio Inchipiato, Ignacio Mamani discovers one day an inca hatchet. The proof is made: the Sons of the Sun frequented this place…
(Photo : Florence Dugowson, August, 2001)

We discover, indeed, during expeditions realized the next years, an impressive quantity of Inca objects, giving evidence of the presence of the Sons of the Sun in this zone put off by Peru, virgin of any archaeological investigation. We bring to light various stone machetes, in military usage, others in metal, champi. The one of them is apparently domestic use and gives to think that she can result only from a permanent establishment..

The inhabitants of the forest, the Machiguengas, consider these "pyramids" as a big sanctuary of the "Ancient". They give to this site the name of Paratoari. They speak to us about the presence of socabones, or tunnels, in some of them, and someone would lead straight ahead in the mountain. They also use, in everyday life, objects of a priceless value, seeming to indicate the presence, near, of an important city.


Inca mortar
In the community of Llactapampa, not far from the Paratoari, the inhabitants use a considerable number of inca objects discovered in the region. Where from do they result ? Here, a magnificent mortar with head of tortoise.
(Photo : Florence Dugowson, August, 2001)

I discover one day, in a nearby community of the "pyramids", a magnificent inca mortar, discovered by a young Indian in a river situated in the North of Paratoari. A considerable quantity of archaeological material is regularly reported by this stream, the Rio Negro, which takes his source on the other side of the sierra of Pantiacolla.

Over the years, I acquire the conviction of a narrow link between the "pyramids" of Paratoari and the important Inca city of which I suspect now the presence a few kilometers away from there, maybe on the other side of the mountain. The purpose of the expeditions which are then going to be linked, between 2003 and 2005, will exactly be to localize this famous city.


Machiguenga of the Palotoa Teparo community
A Machiguenga of the community of Palotoa-Teparo. Does he know the secret of the "pyramids"?
(Photo : Florence Dugowson, August, 2001)

We know, indeed, the interest of the Incas and the numerous South American cultures for mountains, emanations of the goddess Pachamama, the Earth Mother. Certain mountains are today still considered in countries Andean as natural powers, which we call apus. The pyramidal shape played, besides, a key role in the cosmogony of the Andean peoples. It is the case of Machu Picchu. This famous site, discovered in 1911, is overhung by three conical mountains, or pyramidal, among which the most famous and the highest are the Huayna Picchu. It is not certainly a fate. From then on, let us imagine a place, known for the Incas, where would raise themselves about twenty Huayna Picchu...

During an expedition realized in July, 2002, I locate, to the feet of the "pyramids", several cyclopean stony blocks, indubitably of Inca origin. It is a question it seems of "piedras cansadas or “tired stones”, cut fashionably Inca and abandoned along the way for an indefinite reason. The size of these stones gave us to think that they were intended for the construction of big buildings, such as those of Cusco, Pisac or Machu Picchu.

For more details : Thierry Jamin, Pierre-Albert Ruquier, « L’Eldorado inca. A la recherche de Païtiti », éditions Hugo & Cie, Paris, novembre 2006. Buy the book on-line : click here.

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