In search of the ruins of Megantoni (2011)

A few minutes before the departure of the expedition to Megantoni, Thierry Jamin and Hermogenes Figueroa raise the logos of their main industrial partners.
A few minutes before the departure of the expedition to Megantoni, Thierry Jamin and Hermogenes Figueroa raise the logos of their main industrial partners. (Photo : Thierry Jamin, July, 2011)

After the brought to light, during his campaigns of 2009 and 2010, of thirty new archeological sites, Thierry Jamin is persuaded by the presence of a major lost city hidden somewhere, in the northeast of the department of Cusco, near the border with the Madre de Dios. Several meditative testimonies a few months before on behalf of quechua farmers and Natives Matsiguengas indeed state the existence of an important site "maybe bigger than Machu Picchu", in a lost zone of Megantoni. According to Jamin, "the probability that it is about of Paititi are immense".

An inca road in the heart of the forest of Megantoni. Identical to roads met to Lacco and Chunchusmayo, to where does it lead ?
An inca road in the heart of the forest of Megantoni. Identical to roads met to Lacco and Chunchusmayo, to where does it lead ? (Photo : Thierry Jamin, July, 2011)

Guided by Matias, a Matsiguenga of the National Sanctuary of Megantoni, the main objective of Thierry Jamin and his companions, during the campaign "Inkari 2011", was to search for these monumental ruins, situated near the sources of the Timpía and Ticumpinia rivers. Left with a month of delay, the expedition of the team Inkari will show itself particularly painful because of the difficulties of the ground.

In charge of a heavy logistics, intended for the subsistence of the group during a month, walking in a wet and closed jungle, Thierry Jamin and his companions go at first to the valley of Cusirini or Teperachi, situated in the heart of the sanctuary of Megantoni, cradle of Matsiguengas. There, they discover several sections of the inca road a part of which they had already recognized by going through the valleys of Lacco and Chunchusmayo. It was for them a good indication. This road, always covered with stones, went north-south and went up towards their zone of search, baptized "With Zone", because of the permanent presence of curious one coat of clouds. In the same region, they discover very numerous terraces of culture and breast walls, as to Mameria. This immense agricultural zone was cultivated in the inca time and must be necessarily connected to a center of population importing… maybe that of their searches.

 

One of our companions of the region of Túpac Amaru, in front of a wall of concentration, discovered in the valley of Cusirini, in the heart of the Sanctuary of Megantoni.
One of our companions of the region of Túpac Amaru, in front of a wall of concentration, discovered in the valley of Cusirini, in the heart of the Sanctuary of Megantoni. (Photo : Thierry Jamin, July, 2011)

After two weeks of difficult walking, reached on the banks of the Cusirini river, the exhausted team will not go farther. Several carriers decide same to abandon our explorers. Most of the companions of Thierry Jamin, same Hermo, its right hand, refuse to continue. Human problems appear. The atmosphere degrades. Danilo Christidis, the Brazilian cameraman of the team, falls ill and it is necessary to repatriate him towards Cusco with Dominique Lizé, representative of the French company SeD Logistique, one of the partners of this campaign 2011. In reality, Thierry cannot count more than on his companion Justo Figueroa and on some carriers. But it is insufficient to reach the famous ruins of Matias.

 

Some of carriers, heavily charged. In the center, the permanent smile of the young Dante, the mascot of the expedition "Inkari 2011". Down from his 16 years, a strong kid as a man !
Some of carriers, heavily charged. In the center, the permanent smile of the young Dante, the mascot of the expedition "Inkari 2011". Down from his 16 years, a strong kid as a man ! (Photo : Thierry Jamin, July, 2011)

In against heart, Thierry decides to return on Cusco. Along the way, he and his team discover an active volcano (!), and three complete archeological sites, comparable to those whom they had updated in 2009 and 2010. Situated in a valley of the North of Lacco, they seem to lead any right towards the zone where are the ruins indicated by the Matsiguenga.

In spite of his great disappointment and his feeling of frustration, Thierry remains persuaded more than ever, that the answer to the enigma of Paititi hides somewhere in the last Andean folds of the Sanctuary of Megantoni. Elements accumulated during this expedition confirm, it seems, the presence of a major site not far from there.

 

On the way back, our team has the surprise to discover, in full jungle, an active volcano !
On the way back, our team has the surprise to discover, in full jungle, an active volcano ! (Photo : Thierry Jamin, August, 2011)

A few months later, the team of Inkari restarts on the tracks of an archeological site located in the entrance of the valley of Lacco. For more than a year, inhabitants of the district of Lares, evoked the existence of a citadel, a few kilometers away from distance of the archaeological complex of Hualla Mocco. Thierry Jamin wanted to have the clear heart of it. Accompanied with a part of the team Inkari and the superintendent of the Ministry of Culture, he leaves in October, 2011 on the tracks of this small lost city. Under the direction of two premises, the explorer reaches finally the site of Umapata, situated in 2.870 meters in height. It is about a real small inca citadel populated with hundred of buildings, lanes, terraces of culture and with magnificent temples.

This unexpected update comes to complete the searches of Thierry Jamin and of the group Inkari realized these last two years in the valley of Lacco. The name of Umapata comes from the quechua language and means "the entrance in the mountain". It is indeed about of the first inca citadel built in the entrance of the valley of Lacco. This discovery allows Thierry Jamin and his companions to conclude splendidly this difficult campaign "Inkari 2011".

 

Detail of a temple in the inca citadel of Umapata.
Detail of a temple in the inca citadel of Umapata. (Photo : Thierry Jamin, October, 2011)

Untraceable quoted of Paititi remains still hidden from the explorers and from the modern science. But how long still ? The hour comes where this ultimate bastion of the inca civilization, will return triumphantly to the front of the History. It is the promise of the legend of Inkari…

 

From left to right : Daniel Merino, Thierry Jamin, Justo Figueroa and their local guide, pose in front of a portada of the citadel of Umapata.
From left to right : Daniel Merino, Thierry Jamin, Justo Figueroa and their local guide, pose in front of a portada of the citadel of Umapata. (Photo : Thierry Jamin, October, 2011)

For more details of the last expeditions of Thierry Jamin and the discoveries of his team: see his next book, to appear soon in the Cherche Midi Editor (Paris)…

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