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First report: Inca Gold
In search of the ultimate sacred treasure

By Javier Sierra

The first investigations

But it will be better if I start at the beginning and not get ahead of the events. In reality, this adventure began to gestate toward the end of 1982. In October of that year an expedition of six Catalonians reached the foothills of Cuzco some 3,400 meters above sea level, after having left their vessel on the coast; one in which they intended to use to explore around the world, but never completed. That 17 meter sailboat, the Bohic Ruz, with its crew on board would not return home nor forsake the land of the Incas.

Anselm Pi, the captain, at the head of his men, using two powerful Lada brand all-terrain vehicles, began the ascent up the Andes. They were striving to explore the country; study its natural resources and, along the way, explore some of its mysteries.

One morning while most of the team was on the outskirts of Cuzco, Anselm and his friend, Francesc Serrat, decided to go to the Monastery of Santo Domingo in the heart of the city. As many before them, they too had heard stories about the existence of a tunnel that ran from one end of Cuzco to the other, perhaps built by the Incas long before the arrival of Pizarro. These same rumors assured that Atahualpa himself could have hidden the most valuable part of the sacred furnishings of the Temple of the Sun in order to save it from the rapacious conquistadors, and that it should be there still. Anselm and Francesc knew also that Garcilaso de la Vega, "The Inca" (one of the foremost chroniclers of the sixteenth century, son of Inca Princess Chimpu Ocllo and a Spanish Captain) confirmed the existence of this tunnel in his writings. "The Inca" revealed in his Royal Commentaries that beneath Sacsayhuaman ran a "system of underground passages as long as needed to connect tower to tower." He also noted that the place "was so complicated that not even the bravest would venture to enter without a guide."

Later historians like Felipe Guamán Poma de Ayala, an Indian who traveled throughout Peru in order to develop his 1615 New Chronicle and Good Government. was even more explicit. He used the word chinkana, the Quechuan word for "labyrinth", referring to an "opening beneath the earth that reaches to Santo Domingo", indicating that the existence of the subterranean structure almost two kilometers in length ought to join the massive ruins of Sacsayhuaman with the ancient Temple of the Sun, or Koricancha, over which the Dominicans had built the monastery that Anselm and Francesc had arranged to visit.

Paradoxically, it wasn't difficult to convince the abbot to let them have a look at the many trap doors scattered about the floor of the church. During the reconstruction of the monastery after the earthquake that destroyed Cuzco in 1950, these wooden doors were nailed into the flooring that protected fragments of Inca walls, opened and allowed for archaeological sampling as well as entering a series of crypts very difficult to access. Anselm and Francesc went down into one of these. After descending some stairs, and turning on a very old light they and the abbot stood still, contemplating something difficult to forget. "Behind the wall our host showed us", remembers Anselm Pi, "a great tunnel. We were aware of the importance of removing some of the loose stones. The chamber must have been very wide and was pitch black. The abbot wouldn't let us go farther and made us leave."

Copyright © 2001 Javier Sierra

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