Friday, November 21, 2008


Artist’s conception of El Dorado from the Steven Spielberg/Dreamworks animated feature “The Road to El Dorado”

El Dorado, the legendary lost city of the Incas which lured the Spanish conquistadors—and many others since— on fruitless quests deep into the South American jungles, may be lost no more. According to Jacek Palkiewicz, famous for his 1996 discovery of the true source of the Amazon river, El Dorado is located in tunnels and caves at the bottom of a lake near the Peruvian Amazon.

Believed by many to be the final refuge of the Incas as they fled the Spanish with the last of their treasure, the city was called Paititi by the natives. In legends and, most recently in the Spielberg/Dreamworks animated feature The Road to El Dorado, it was purported to possess a waterfall, square lake and buildings studded with gold, silver and precious stones. Palkiewicz believes the city was evangelized by catholic missionaries, but that its location was kept secret by the Vatican to avoid a gold rush and mass hysteria. In October the Polish-Italian Palkiewicz returns to the site with a well financed mission, fully expecting to bring back astonishing news. “We are just a step away from the city,” he told the Discovery News (Discovery. com). We have pinpointed a 1.5-square-mile plateau with a lake and pre-Incan stone buildings totally covered in vegetation. Terrestrial radar confirmed the existence of an underwater labyrinth of caverns and tunnels. An ideal place to hide the Inca treasure the conquerors didn’t succeed in finding.”


The last great adventure of our times


Jesuit manuscript test his existence.

The attempt to move the myth to the frontiers of science

They have motive to be happy Jacek Palkiewicz and Carlo Lenci, the two protagonists of the Project "Paititi 2002", that looks to disclose the mystery of the El Dorado. It's of these days the news of the recovery of a resounding document (Peruana Historia, 1567-1625) in the Roman Archive of the Society of Jesus. The Italian archaeological review "Archeo" has published in world exclusive this exceptional manuscript, from which it results that the Church not only knew about the existence of Paititi, synonymous of the El Dorado, but that also the Pope told the authorization the Jesuit missionaries to evangelize the inhabitants.

Since the most remote times, the man has had a particular attraction for the unknown and the not defined. Technological civilization has not even succeeded in extinguishing the spirit of the exploration and today, as once, in the human being well gladly the myth of the island of the treasure, that stimulates and it attracts its imagination, independently from the age, from the social status or from the place of origin.

So, one of the most fascinating and recurrent dreams in the history of the humanity, the mythical "lost city" Paititi, swallowed by the forest in an inaccessible place of the Amazonas, from almost five centuries it keeps on seducing the imagination. Paititi comes from the quechua word “Paikikin” which means "the same as the other”, which has also been translated as “the same as Cuzco”. In 1681 the Jesuit Fray Lucero wrote that according to the native ones that he met, the lost city is found "beyond forests and mountains, east of Cuzco". The news was confirmed three years later from another monk, Manuele Rodriguez, in the book "Amazonas and El Maranon."

After the sensational recovery of megalithic constructions of Machu Picchu, to the beginning of the 900, the researchers believed that it dealt with the not be found Vilcabamba, last capital of the empire Incas. However in 1965 the American explorer Gene Savoy brought to the light in the zone of Espiritu Pampa, a whole buried city: the true Vilcabamba. To surprise, in the lost shelter, there was no the famous gold, that had to be hidden in 1532 from the Spanish invaders. Only in the 500 the conquistadores brought in country 754 gold tons in admirable manufactured articles or reduced in simple ingots of the actual value of 9 milliard dollars. At least 200 tons they lie in the holds of sunk galleons and a hundred was raided by the pirates. The Amazonian rivers are gold loads; well 13 tons, that is the ten percent of the auriferous production of Peru originates from the alluvial sediments.

The myth of the mysterious lost city Paititi was magnified after sometime, he deformed and it kept on reaping a lot of victims; but to the light of the eternal temptation of the gold, it increased its proselytes. It was a true army of adventurers to look for the incommensurable treasures. Their history is reported in sagas by now epic. Good part of this people has not returned anymore, swallowed by the environment dominated by a extreme climate, from the fierce animals and from the hostile indians.

The western world is rediscovering the mysterious pre-Columbian civilization. Eminent historians as John Hemming, authoritative archaeologists of the caliber of Victor von Hagen and famous writers of novels of success, see Antoine B. Daniel, author of the three recent volumes "Incas" (1 million circulation in Europe), have brought the glorious past to the light of "earth of the Incas", reawakening the attention of a vast public.

To this wave of interest for the shine of the fabulous kingdom it unites the scientific project "Paititi 2002", conducted by Jacek Palkiewicz and Carlo Lenci, that try to tear the secret of the fabulous golden city in the basin of the Rio Madre de Dios in the south-east of Peru. The mission has character multisubject, it unites the historical-geographical search to different aspects: archaeological, anthropological, ethnobotanic, geologic, ethnographyc.

The international team (Italy, Peru, Poland, Argentina) has to the shoulders two years of work. The labyrinthine historical searches, the ancient documented unpublished recovered in the General File of Indies in Seville, the recognitions on the place, deep investigations effected by archaeologists and reliable testimonies of native and of missionaries, all of this converges to have a valid base to finally face tangled enigmas of the El Dorado. It's been born a hold collaboration with researchers of the University in Padua, of Trieste and of the Pontifical Universidad Catolica of Lima, as well as the Peruvian Geographical Society. It was important the contribution of the particular satellitar images and of the sophisticated georadar (grounds penetrating radar), to individualize underground artificial structures, those that the American Army has used for the first time in the punitive attack in Afganistan.

The project have support of the Peruvian Government (Ministerial Resolution N° 206-2001-ITINCI/DM of September 13 th 2001) and patronage of the President of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski.

The last recognition has taken place in the last October; three weeks of fatiguing work in the zone considered the door of access to Paititi. The pluvial forest introduces the usual traps, from the poisonous spiders to the repugnant reptiles, from the wasps to the puma and jaguars. The dense tangle of bushes is nearly an insuperable barrier. On the topographical maps there are still ample white stains which is write "Insufficient Data". The expedition could not count on the collaboration of the natives because they have a sacred terror of the region according to them infested by the spirits of the evil. The march that lasted ten hours a day has been extremely difficult for dizzy precipices in the Andean buttresses. It was necessary to continually open the path and to ford turbulent anonymous rivers.

The unexpected advance of the rainy season has prevented the pursuance of the searches. Some met evidences (amidst petroglifi of Pusharo, pyramids of Pantiacolla and another archaeological sites) preannounce an fascinating hypothesis that enters in the mystery and it grazes the science fiction.

Persecuting from the bad time, from the insects, from wounds and bruises, constantly wet, the leader of the expedition Palkiewicz has decided to interrupt the expedition.

To the light of the new document of the Jesuits the search will take back with more enthusiasm in June 2002.

February 2002

El Dorado, hunting the legend

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