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

By Javier Sierra

From corn to gold

The "choclo", as the Peruvians call this type of corn on the cob, is still today the best proof in existence of an important legacy beneath the Andean subsoil. However, where will it end? Anselm Pi went over that detail, promising to return to Cuzco properly equipped to resolve the mystery of the tunnel.

In the meantime events continued.

In March, 1994, another spanish researcher, Vicente Paris, and myself visited the monastery of Santo Domingo to proceed with our own inquiries. The year before, Paris had discovered that all the places in Cuzco in which it was rumored that there were openings to the "tunnel of the Incas" followed exactly a line leading straight to Sacsayhuaman. Pinpointing these on a satellite photograph of the city, his hypothesis was confirmed: the cathedral, the convent of Santa Catalina and San Cristobal church were situated in a straight line almost two thousand meters long, that should go from Sacsahuaman to the ancient Koricancha.

This is not so strange: Those places were built on the foundation of Inca Temples and Palaces, a singularly important fact relating to the era when the Inca gold disappeared, and that will allow us for taking the first step to uncover such an important gallery.

But what about the golden corn?

Our visit in 1994 had some surprises. For one thing, the crypt Anselm Pi and Francesc Serrat had visited twelve years before had disappeared. Neither of the two underground chambers we visited conformed to the previous description given, and the wall that blocked the access to "a great tunnel" was no longer discernable.

But there was more. The abbot of the monastery that we had met, Father Benigno Gamarra, recently appointed Prior of Santo Domingo, arranged to meet me early one morning to show me something that had been kept secret until now.

Figure 1I remember it well. The priest met me in his study a little before daybreak on March 21, in order to resolve the mystery of the golden corn. "I'm only going to tell this to you, I will let you take photographs and ask questions on one condition," he warned, "That you do not reveal what I'm about to tell you until I am no longer here." I accepted. Gamarra then unwrapped a small bundle on the table of his study in which two elaborately encrusted gold crowns had been protected. "The 'choclo' that you asked about was melted down shortly after the death of the student and my predecessors used the gold we obtained to make these crowns for the Virgin and the Christ Child that we have in the church." "And why are they not in the church with the images for which they were made?" I asked while I was admiring the gold wasted on them. "They have been hidden a long time so as not to arouse the ambitions of treasure hunters."

Copyright © 2001 Javier Sierra

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