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

By Javier Sierra

What do they hope to find?

In order to have an idea of the sacred gold of the Temple of the Sun that disappeared before the eyes of the conquistadores, one must inevitably consult the writings of the first historians that referred to it. None of them personally saw the marvels they described, but they repeated what they were told by Spanish soldiers and Incas. Bartolome de las Casas, for example, refers to the most sacred of the objects that were contained in the Temple: The Sun Shield, the "Statue of the Sun", that is "formed of solid gold with the face of a man and rays of gold emanating from his face."

Others, like Bernabe Cobo, rounded out his description referring to the statue as "workmanship of finest gold, with the exquisite riches of precious gems." Father Cobo referred to at least three other golden images of the sun. Sarmiento de Gamboa also described the statues of gold and richly adorned mummies of imperial Incas who preceded Atahualpa to the throne. Not to mention the famous golden chain that Huayna Capac ordered, to be made of heavy links as big as fists of some of two hundred meters long. "It's impossible to calculate the number of objects that could be buried there below", Anselm hurriedly clarifies, "but there is no doubt at all that we're dealing with a very dangerous treasure."

I stared at him. Dangerous? Anselm agreed: "We know that the accumulation of metals over a long period of time, in an enclosed and humid space, such as the subsoil of Cuzco can create toxic substances such as cyanide, mercury or chloride. Inhaling these is probably what killed explorers in times past. But we enter prepared."

Precautions are taken -airtight suits, like space suits, gas masks, etc.- all the equipment that Bohic Ruz knows might be needed when the time comes. "We can't imagine what we might find when we open the altar of Santa Rosa in mid February." In the meantime, in Cuzco, ever since rumors began about the Koricancha Project, the people evinced mixed emotions. Rosa Maria Alzamora, Andean Priestess and last of a large chain of shamans, who advised me during the elaboration of my book In search of the Golden Age (not yet published in English), was at first disturbed when she learned of this project, but then resolved that "perhaps the 'Pachacuti', the new five-hundred year cycle that now begins to rule these mountains, and the opening of traditionally the most sacred Andean place, marks this moment," she suggested. "Nevertheless, whoever enters in the SECRET PLACE ought to be protected spiritually and respect the powers of this place." "I, too hope they will," I assured her. "I hope so!" She answered more mysteriously than ever.

Copyright © 2001 Javier Sierra

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