The Tayos caves of Ecuador are a legendary vast natural underground network of caves spanning many kilometres, very little of which has been officially explored. The Tayos caves (Cueva de los Tayos) reached worldwide attention in 1973 when Erich von Däniken released his bestselling and controversial book ‘The Gold of the Gods’, in which he claimed that piles of gold, unusual sculptures, and a library of metal tablets had been found in a series of artificial tunnels within the caves. Tayos was also mentioned as the location of Father Crespi’s collection of mysterious golden artifacts, given to him by the indigenous people of Ecuador. Ancient Origins recently carried out the first of a series of expeditions to the caves to explore just what lies within this enigmatic subterranean world. Here are some of the never-before-seen photographs of the caves.