New Expedition Hints at a Lost City Near the Tayos Caves in Ecuador

New Expedition Hints at a Lost City Near the Tayos Caves in Ecuador

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After building trust with a local Shuar village, Ancient Origins returned once again to explore the Tayos caves in Ecuador.  While the search for hidden cave entrances continues, our recent expedition also demonstrated that the secrets of the area may go beyond the caves and tales of Father Crespi and his mysterious treasures.

Day One

The journey to the village where our host Luis lives near the Pastaza River is not an easy one – but it sure is exciting for those who crave the adventure that accompanies steep, slippery slopes, a “bridge of danger” (a thin tree trunk and another piece of wood placed beside it), and outcroppings of jagged rocks in the Amazonian jungle.

Our small group was comprised of Ancient Origins’ team members John and Alicia, and archaeology enthusiasts and AO Premium members Wendi and Scott. We arrived to the village with a few bumps and bruises, but altogether ready to begin the search for cave entrances and whatever else may arise.

Scott, John and Wendy break from hiking to snap a photo in the rainforest.

Scott, John and Wendi break from hiking to snap a photo in the rainforest.

The community welcomed us warmly and were glad to have new visitors. As we prepared our simple rooms we were provided with some papaya from their garden. We conversed over dinner about past and future guests before heading down to the river to do some stargazing.  As the fog rolled in we returned to the dark lodging house where a cold bucket shower awaited those who felt the humidity was already having its affect.

Part of the jungle not far from the village.

Part of the jungle not far from the village.

We soon learned that we were not the only beings in that lodging – bats and a snake made their appearance known that night and over the next few days.

Butterflies: Examples of two of the more benign creatures we encountered on our expedition.

Butterflies: Examples of two of the more benign creatures we encountered on our expedition.

Day Two

We were served a hearty breakfast in preparation for what was to be a very long day. At 8:30am we set out with a spring in our step. Unfortunately, shortly after we had passed some slim paths we were attacked by powerful wasps which could pierce our clothing and hold on even when we tried to shake and swat them off. That experience left most of us with some big red welts for the rest of the expedition.  

We weren’t going to let that unlucky experience stop us though! Our first planned stop was to visit one of the cave entrances found during the last expedition. After repelling in, John informed us that it was unpassable once inside.

John in one of the cave entrances.

John in one of the cave entrances.

So, we set off along the beach towards another set of tunnels which were partially explored last time. When we had conquered the slippery mud on the way in, we were met by an endless series of angry bats and birds. Lucky for us they only swooped down and crossed our path. The screeching of the distressed animals may provide some explanation for why the Shuar people believed that spirits could be found within the cave and would not continue to search those tunnels after a certain point.

We waded (and sometimes swam) through varied levels of cool waters and eventually reached a place that was seemingly unpassable – at least at first glance. Scott braved the cliffs and entered what we soon called “the Scott Path” a small area that was near the roof of the cave and involved very careful footwork to cross jagged rocks.

Scott and Wendy in a cave.

Scott and Wendi in a cave.

After hours of numerous slips, falls, scrapes and bruises, we eventually reached the end of this cave. No treasure or traces of it were found within. We did, however, find evidence of possible stone tools amongst an assemblage of soft black rocks. Apart from this, we noticed a strange white substance with gold droplets on some pieces of twig-like objects as well. Up from one black rock and white substance grouping we found the skeleton of a bird.

Three possible stone tools and one of the soft black rocks found in one of the caves.

Three possible stone tools and one of the soft black rocks found in one of the caves.

The assemblage of rocks with one of the possible stone scrapers.

The assemblage of rocks with one of the possible stone scrapers.

The bird skeleton found above a collection of the white substance and twig-like objects.

The bird skeleton found above a collection of the white substance and twig-like objects.

On our way out, another surprise was waiting to be found– a snake peeked out at us from a crevice just behind where we gingerly stepped into the cool waters. The serpent let us be, and we made haste towards the end of that section.

Comments

jack work's picture

Did you bring mosquito rappellent?

In few of those pics, you provide, I can see entrances, they are simply blocked by large stones ! It is the jungle and time which hide the rest, and the people who did the work did not nor would not leave anything to give away their purposeful cave making skills, to hide their treasures, tombs and artifacts, yes your expedition walked and still walks right passed them :( Every time ! go in with ground penetrating radar, use it, horizonally and you Will detect vast cave dwellings, (man made) and chambers too.. Until then, you waste your time and money. I's all there, right there, in your faces...
Go invest seriously into that radar tech ! That will Not be a waste ! Thanks..

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