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Explorers Unearth Lost Inca Stronghold in Peru
Reuters ^ | Mon Mar 18, 6:12 PM ET | Missy Ryan

Posted on 03/18/2002 9:15:42 PM PST by d4now

LIMA, Peru (Reuters) - In the first major Inca find in four decades, Peruvian and British explorers say they have discovered a hidden city, perched on an Andean hilltop, that may have sheltered stalwarts of South America's legendary empire as they made a last stand against Spanish conquerors.

Located on a narrow ridge around 11,000 feet up in Peru's windswept, southern Andes, the Inca citadel of Corihuayrachina is a mysterious gathering of religious platforms, funeral towers, and food storehouses.

British scholar and guide Peter Frost told a news conference on Monday he first spotted the ruins in the rugged, isolated Vilcabamba region some 300 miles south-east of Lima three years ago.

Frost said the site was the biggest of its kind found since 1964 and could have been occupied by the Inca when they took to the hills after the Spanish conquest. It is about 22 miles southwest of the famous Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.

The Incas once ruled a vast swath of South America stretching from Colombia to Chile, but Spain's Francisco Pizarro and his band of 160 treasure-hunters, using cannons and horses, brought that empire to a bloody end in 1533.

Some Inca, moving with an army of 50,000 to the more remote Vilcabamba area, held out against the invaders for nearly 40 years.

"It's a jigsaw puzzle. What we're finding are more pieces ... to get a better sense of what was happening in that area," said Frost, who has lived for 30 years in the Inca's imperial capital Cusco in southern Peru, gateway to Machu Picchu.

European diseases like measles ravaged the empire, cutting its population from an estimated 32 million people in 1520 to 5 million in 1548.

Frost said he found Corihuayrachina -- eyeing it from afar but not able to actually reach it -- when he was leading a group of tourists through the remote region in 1999.

Funded by the Washington-based National Geographic (news - web sites) Society, Frost was finally able to set foot on the cloud-shrouded site two years later in June, 2001, trekking four days along winding mountain paths with a team of scientists and excavators.

UNTOUCHED BY SCIENCE

"This was an area totally untouched by science," said Peruvian archeologist and expedition co-leader Alfredo Valencia, who along with local workers hacked away at the thick leaves and vines covering squat buildings and murky tombs.

But Frost said the scientists were still in the early stages of puzzling out who inhabited Corihuayrachina, how they lived, and why they chose to live in such an inhospitable place.

"If (the site) was occupied after the Spanish conquest, what will we find? If we find human remains, will they show European diseases?" Frost said.

Like most of the scores of native shrines, tombs and temples across this Andean nation, the explorers said the site had been looted over the years by local grave-robbers and now the graves were only filled with pottery fragments and bones.

But unlike Machu Picchu, discovered in 1911 by American explorer Hiram Bingham, Frost said the recent find was not home to the Inca elite.

Machu Picchu has been named a United Nations (news - web sites) World Heritage site and draws throngs of tourists from across the globe.

Unlike Machu Picchu, only stone foundations some 2-3 feet high remain of the new find's structures, which were originally constructed with adobe or wood.

National Geographic is due to release a television special chronicling the Corihuayrachina discovery (news - web sites) in May.


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: archaeology; chachapoyas; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; incas; machupicchu; peru
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1 posted on 03/18/2002 9:15:42 PM PST by d4now
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To: d4now
Cool.
2 posted on 03/18/2002 9:18:13 PM PST by Travis McGee
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To: d4now
Wonderful! I'll look forward to the telecast.
3 posted on 03/18/2002 9:21:53 PM PST by brat
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To: blam
bump
4 posted on 03/18/2002 9:28:33 PM PST by d4now
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To: brat
Also at nationalgeography.com

City Occupied by Inca Found on Andean Peak in Peru

It gives proper credit to National Geo.

5 posted on 03/18/2002 9:34:36 PM PST by d4now
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To: d4now
Good article. Thanks for the post and bump.
6 posted on 03/18/2002 9:44:46 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
Please see post #5.
7 posted on 03/18/2002 9:50:23 PM PST by d4now
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To: d4now
But Frost said the scientists were still in the early stages of puzzling out ... why they chose to live in such an inhospitable place.

Probably for the reasons people make the same decision today: to partially escape the tender mercies of an obtrusive overbearing central government.

8 posted on 03/18/2002 9:50:45 PM PST by kitchen
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To: d4now
I just heard this on the radio. Fascinating!
9 posted on 03/18/2002 9:52:18 PM PST by scouse
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To: kitchen
to partially escape the tender mercies of an obtrusive overbearing central government.

Good deduction and very well said.

10 posted on 03/18/2002 9:53:19 PM PST by d4now
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To: blam
Should this go on the 3g list?
11 posted on 03/18/2002 9:57:05 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: d4now
http://www.cosmiverse.com/paranormal03180203.html

This page has an interesting fish from Florida

12 posted on 03/18/2002 9:57:52 PM PST by scouse
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To: d4now
Explorers Unearth Lost Inca Stronghold in Peru!!!

And 53 more votes for Al Gore...

13 posted on 03/18/2002 9:58:24 PM PST by The Magical Mischief Tour
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To: d4now
bttt
14 posted on 03/18/2002 9:59:36 PM PST by farmfriend
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To: scouse
Thank you.

It really was a very interesting FISH FROM FLORIDA

15 posted on 03/18/2002 10:08:56 PM PST by d4now
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
what's a 3g list?
16 posted on 03/18/2002 10:10:23 PM PST by d4now
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To: d4now;blam;Gods, Graves, Glyphs;
Seems like it should be on the list!

To find all articles tagged or indexed using above index words

Go here: OFFICIAL BUMP(TOPIC)LIST

and then click the topic to initiate the search! !

17 posted on 03/18/2002 10:22:04 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: d4now
The Incas once ruled a vast swath of South America stretching from Colombia to Chile, but Spain's Francisco Pizarro and his band of 160 treasure-hunters, using cannons and horses, brought that empire to a bloody end in 1533.

Is this accurate? That less than 200 armed Westerners destroyed the Incas?

18 posted on 03/18/2002 10:24:17 PM PST by ikka
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To: scouse
I once read an exstensive record of the wars between the "Conquistadores" and the Inca.
It was written by several Spanish friars who accompanied the soldiers..the detail is astounding.
The Inca soldiers were in disarray from the outset..after their leader was betrayed and murdered.
The Inca had several battlefield successes..mostly when the "Spanish" were not on horseback.
In one instance they trapped a large garrison and set the dwelling on fire..most were killed.
The Spanish recognized the "Supersticious" patterns of the Inca..and exploited it...as leaders fell..the remnants scattered..and wound up in mountain "Redoubts"..like "Vilicabamba".
The last stand was designed to keep the Spanish from ever finding "Machu Picchu"...the Spanish failed at several attempts..but eventually broke inside the main temple area..killing the leader...the Inca nation fell in resistance..as the scattered could not obtain leadership to continue.
The Inca were learning as they went..they eventually learned to not fear the horses..pikes..like something from Englands civil war period were used..and were successful...but in hand to hand fighting..the sword and minor armor prevailed...the Inca were not able to co-ordinate well..in battles..they outnumbered the Spanish 20-40 to 1..yet lost.

There is a reference that the Inca allready forsaw their fall..this came via "Astronomy" and Preist leadership...the Inca fought..but not in a unified mindset..too many believed the Prophecies..by the time of the "Vilicabamba" redoubt..too few remained..to turn the tide.

19 posted on 03/18/2002 10:28:15 PM PST by Light Speed
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To: Light Speed
Wow...thank you for posting.
20 posted on 03/18/2002 10:31:44 PM PST by d4now
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