Wednesday, 30 January 2013


“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” - Marcus Garvey

Shades of Indiana Jones! The news item yesterday regarding the discovery of a secret underground burial chamber of many rooms in Machu Picchu certainly fired up my imagination. This discovery was made possible thanks to a French engineer, David Crespy, who in 2010 noticed the presence of a strange “shelter” located in the heart of the city, at the bottom of one of the main buildings. For him, there was no doubt about it, he was looking at a “door”, an entrance sealed by the Incas.

Thierry Jamin, a French archaeologist, who has investigated several burial sites in the North of Cusco, listened carefully to the story of David Crespy. He was keen to confirm the facts behind the story. Accompanied by archaeologists of the Regional Office of the Culture in Cusco, he was able to visit the site several times. His preliminary findings were unequivocal: There is indeed an entrance, blocked by the Incas at an undetermined moment of history.

The site is strangely similar to burial sites, such as the ones Thierry Jamin and his companions often find in the valleys of Lacco and Chunchusmayo. In order to confirm the existence of cavities in the basement of the building, in December 2011 Thierry and his team submitted and official request to the Ministry of Culture in Lima, to perform a geophysical survey with the help of electromagnetic conductivity instruments. This license was granted a few months later. Realised between April 9th and April 12th 2012, the electromagnetic survey not only confirmed the presence of an underground room, but several.

Just behind the entrance, a staircase was discovered. The two main paths seem to lead to specific chambers, including to the main square one. Different techniques (such as the Molecular Frequencies Discriminator), used by the French researchers allowed them to highlight the presence of important archaeological material, including deposits of metal and a large quantity of gold and silver. Thierry Jamin is now preparing the next step: The opening of the entrance sealed by the Incas more than five centuries ago. On May 22nd 2012, he officially submitted a request for authorisation to the Peruvian authorities, which would allow his team to proceed with the opening of the burial chambers.

Various Peruvian archaeologists specialising in the study of metals and burial places will join the group on site, but also anthropologists, geologists, petrologists, curators, surveyors, civil engineers, etc. It is also worth mentioning all Thierry Jamin’s partners are based in France and work with him on his usual research as well as this special operation in Machu Picchu. It will be very interesting to hear more about this story, and I am sure that most people would be fascinated by the discoveries, whether treasure is involved or not!

1 comment:

  1. In November 2012, the regional Direction of Culture of Cusco denied the authorisation to excavate the site and, in February 2013, strongly criticised, along with the Direction of Machu Picchu Archaeological Park, the lack of scientism and methodology of his project and assumptions. As per February 2013, the Ministry of Culture from Lima has not made any decision and negotiations are ongoing, and Jamin hopes for a new study conducted by a third party.