View Full Version : Ancient Peruvian city of Llactapata found

11-11-03, 17:02
Story from CNN:

Lost city near Machu Picchu found
Sunday, November 9, 2003 Posted: 12:39 PM EST (1739 GMT)


LONDON, England (Reuters) -- An international team of explorers have found an Incan city lost for centuries in the Peruvian jungles despite being within sight of the key religious center at Machu Picchu.

Using infrared aerial photography to penetrate the forest canopy, the team led by Briton Hugh Thomson and American Gary Zeigler located the ruins at Llactapata 50 miles northwest of the ancient Incan capital, Cusco.

"This is a very important discovery. It is very close to Machu Picchu and aligned with it. This adds significantly to our knowledge about Machu Picchu," Thomson told Reuters by telephone Thursday. "Llactapata adds to its significance."

The site was first mentioned by explorer Hiram Bingham, the discoverer of Machu Picchu, in 1912. But he was very vague about its location, and the ruins have lain undisturbed ever since.

After locating the city from the air, the expedition used machetes to hack through the jungle to reach it, 9,000 feet up the side of a mountain.

They found stone buildings including a solar temple and houses covering several square miles in the same alignment with the Pleiades star cluster and the June solstice sunrise as Machu Picchu, which was a sacred center.

"This gives the site great ritual importance," Thomson said.

Not only was Llactapata probably a ceremonial site in its own right, excavations suggested that it might also have acted as a granary and dormitory for its sacred neighbor, he added.

The Incas abandoned their towns and cities and retreated from the treasure-hunting Spanish invaders after the Conquistadors captured and executed the last Incan leader, Tupac Amaru, in 1572.

Some of the cities have since been rediscovered, but many more are believed to lie hidden in the dense jungle, almost impossible to detect without new technology or a chance encounter.

Last year, the expedition found another lost Incan town at Cota Coca, about 60 miles west of Cusco.

"The fact that we have found two in two years means there could be many more out there," Thomson said.

He said the use for the first time of an infrared camera to locate a set of ruins from the air had been a breakthrough, but one that did not make the humble machete redundant.

"It makes wielding the machete slightly more purposeful -- at least you know where you are going and that there is something definitely in front of you -- but it certainly won't put it out of business," Thomson said.

11-11-03, 17:08
WOW!!! Morning Gonga. http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/wave.gif

11-11-03, 17:24
Mornin' Cap'n http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/wave.gif While working on my undergraduate geology degree I minored in Arch / Anthro :cool: I love this stuff!

11-11-03, 17:35
Wow I want to go there. It would be like living a tomb raider fantasy!
Oh and good morning to you two to. Hey Gonga- you minored in anthropology and archeology!?! Wow I'm considering becoming an anthropologist. Do you have any information as to what those jobs intail and what their pros and cons are?? PM me if you can http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/smile.gif

Rogue http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/clown.gif

11-11-03, 17:55
My pleasure RE! http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/wave.gif

11-11-03, 20:09
Isn't it thought that Llactapata was actually the last haven of the Incans, despite the belief that Machu Picchu was the last refuge?

11-11-03, 20:50
I'm no expert Celli, but my understanding is that this is one of many potential "suburbs," which might have supported the royal city of Machu Picchu. Llactapata is much more crude and probably more typical of Incan architecture, which makes it valuable in its own right from an anthropological standpoint. Here's a Seattle Times article with more information than the CNN one:


11-11-03, 21:01
I say that we mount a Tomb Raider Expidition to Peru and explore these places. Just think what those of a Raiding mind set could accomplish. http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/mischievous.gif

11-11-03, 21:12
And with Annacia along to cook... :D ;) ..I'll do dishes!

tlr online
11-11-03, 21:16
Thanks Gonga. I'm really glad you posted this. I was reading about this earlier today. What an amazing discovery!

11-11-03, 21:37
I'd love to go to Machu Picchu and also Vilcabamba, which is said to have been the last refuge of the Inca during the invasion of the Spanish Conquistadores. Some believe that Machu Picchu itself was not seen by the Conquistadores, because it was a royal retreat and was very off the beaten path. It didn't have an important role in maintaining the Incan Empire though so it was believed to have been abandoned around the time the Incan leadership started to crumble. Vilcabamba was a more typical city, but was even farther into the jungle than Machu Picchu, and that is why the Inca royalty retreated there after their huge and notorius army were wiped out by the gun-toting Spanish. The deified king was eventually captured hundreds of miles downriver, brought to Cuzco, and executed, thus ending the reign of the Incas after 40 years of violent clashes.

Some great links:


[ 11. November 2003, 21:41: Message edited by: gonga ]

11-11-03, 22:56
I'm already packing :D

11-11-03, 23:16
Facinating!! Thank you gonga

11-11-03, 23:46
Originally posted by Celli:
Isn't it thought that Llactapata was actually the last haven of the Incans, despite the belief that Machu Picchu was the last refuge?I'm sorry I didn't answer your question dirextly Celli. Were you mixing up Llactapata and Vilcabamba?

I'm surprised more raiders haven't inquired about Vilcabamba. The REAL thing! The trek there is better than walking the Inca Trail, I hear. Wilder, more jungle, more remote, more unspoiled ruins. Not to mention undiscovered cities http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/privateeye.gif