Was Machu Picchu, was actually discovered and looted forty years earlier?
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Thread: Was Machu Picchu, was actually discovered and looted forty years earlier?

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  1. #1

    Aug 2013
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    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Was Machu Picchu, was actually discovered and looted forty years earlier?

    Dreams of fortune and glory is not a new one and even after the conquest of the Incas people so dreamed of fortune and glory in Peru.

    One such claim came from Paolo Greer's research in 1978.

    Greer posed the question was "lost city of the Incas", Machu Picchu, was it actually discovered forty years earlier than thought, and ransacked? Machu Picchu was famously discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1912. Greer claimed New evidence shows that it may have first visited in 1867 by an obscure German entrepreneur named Augusto Berns, who apparently looted the tombs with the Peruvian government's blessing.

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    When Bingham arrived, he found a hut called "La Maquina". This was actually part of a sawmill which Berns ran in the area, after purchasing 25 kilometres of land along the Vilcanota River in 1867. He then realised the immense potential value of Machu Picchu's artefacts.

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    Berns' activities were uncovered by Paolo Greer, who in 1978 discovered an old map of the area and subsequently traced Berns' activities through documents in the National Library of Peru. Here below are some of the documents Greer uncovered, which you can see on the right. Greer uncovered a sketch map of the area by Berns' partner, a lost geology book with material based on Berns' work, a booklet describing Berns' plans to loot Machu Picchu, and his handmade map of the area.

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    Is there any truth in the story or is just another false claim in history?

    Other historians claim Entrepreneur Augusto R. Berns was not the first man to promise treasure in the Andes, but he might have been the most fanciful. His 1881 prospectus – written while he was living in Detroit, Michigan – for the development of an alleged gold property in Peru’s Urubamba Valley, informed potential investors that the region was more like “the south of France more than any other” place on earth.

    The property, “Torontoy or Cercada-de-San Antonio Estate in Southern Peru,” an 8-by-18 square-mile section of the valley, not only rivaled Provence, but also contained a stairway and paved road that ascended to certain ruins, which Berns extravagantly called “The Towns of the Gold and Silver Smiths of the Andes.” Was he refering to Machu Picchu?

    Another auriferous trove on his land, “Llamajcansha,” Berns helpfully translated as “Gold Yard.” In reality, it means “Llama Yard.” Was Berns was selling his investors a load of llama dung?

    All in all, Berns emphasized, “the WHOLE DISTRICT, generally, only requires to be known and opened up to be universally recognized as the greatest gold and silver producing centre in the world, and thus of immense value to any body of capitalists possessing really adequate means to profit by it in a MERCANTILE as well as mineral point of view.”

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    The enterprise would require the payment of a semi-annual $16 “mining License,” which would “entitle any proprietor to search for the precious metals or for hidden treasure (the last a common and sometimes lucrative occupation in Peru.)”

    Berns was willing to sell the entire estate for $55,000 – more than a million dollars in today’s money – of which $30,000 was to pay off the mortgage, $15,000 to pay the claims of his former partners, and $10,000 to pay the expenses he had accrued. In other words, he was offering to sell what he had described as the “greatest gold and silver producing centre in the world” for nothing more than the amount of his outstanding debts.

    But he set a high bar. His prospectus indicated that any buyer must be “a syndicate or company of bona fide capitalists,” willing to commit no less than $10 million – more than $200 million today – to the development of the property. The buyer must be agreeable to paying Berns $5,000 a year and, “as traveling is extremely expensive in Peru,” an additional $5,000 or more in annual travel expenses. In today’s money, that would be about $100,000 a year.

    What became of the Torontoy scheme is not known. Today, some argue that Berns was referring to Machu Picchu, but the Torontoy property – assuming he even owned it – illustrated on his map was on the opposite side of the Urubamba River from Machu Picchu. In any event, there is no indication that any “bona fide capitalists” ever appeared at Berns’s door or that a single gold nugget was ever found.

    Several years later, now back in Peru, Berns launched another scheme, the “Compañía Anónima Exploradora de las ‘Huacas del Inca’ Limitada,” and recruited eminent Peruvians and foreign residents, including the British vice consul in Mollendo, as board members or agents. The company’s prospectus said that the government of Peru “has guaranteed the success of our enterprise.” Hardly. In 1888, one year after “Huacas del Inca” was organized, its vice-president resigned, charging that Berns had been using company funds for personal use and had failed to launch a single treasure-hunting expedition.

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    So you see the promised land of gold and treasure does also draw treasure hunters but as always like vultures waiting in the wings are con artists waiting to pounce of those wanting to dream. Was Berns a maligned treasure hunter or a con artist?

    Corp
    cactusjumper likes this.

  2. #2

    Aug 2013
    465
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    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Machu Picchu is of course is now an ancient iconic wonder of the world protected by Unesco.

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    But the questions remains was the site looted in 1867? And does the site still yield secrets?

    Corp

  3. #3
    mx
    Nov 2004
    Alamos,Sonora,Mexico
    14,603
    11822 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Hi Corp. Luv, just general data. Eric, The Swedish ingr who helped design Brasilia and secure a land grant for me in the upper amazon, had been there just about the time that Hiram first supposedly visited it. He immediately went there When Hiram announced it's discovery, and always said that it appeared to have been untouched still, yet we know that in such a location, exposed to the worst of mother Natures tricks, often can revert to this condition very quickly.

    It was fascinating to sit with Eric and listen to his stories of his adventures. and one wonders why i wasn't content to just lead a scholarly life. Between he, others, and my Illiad etc., i was ruined for a normal life early.

    Don Jose de La Mancha
    Last edited by Real de Tayopa Tropical Tramp; Dec 12, 2013 at 09:03 AM.
    Oroblanco, gollum and cactusjumper like this.
    "I exist to live, not live to exist"

  4. #4

    Aug 2013
    465
    1397 times
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    Hello Don Jose

    Of course nature can in such an environment cover up any previous excavation within a few years. Berns does refer to a site that could been Machu Picchu? The nature of his terms of sale suggests to me he knew about some thing. I think for him he realized the task of clearing the site way to big for him. better to sell the rights and claim a percentage. the only money he asked for was to clear his debts. He has over the years have been I suspect he could of been unfairly denounced as con artist. However if he really was con artist why wouldn't he ask for more money up front?

    It is interesting to note that his biggest critics was the very institution that sponsored Hiram Bingham to excavate the site. The very institution that is now embroiled with the Peruvian Government over the alleged theft of precious objects from the site during excavations which was spirited away to the United States. However what today's Peruvian government does not understand the institution complied with the existing agreement at the time with the then Peruvian government.

    Regardless of the truth Hiram Bingham will rightly be always credited with the excavation of the site regardless of if he was the first discoverer or not. His place is cemented in history.

    Here are some old photographs below.

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    Corp

  5. #5

    Aug 2013
    465
    1397 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    The fact remains there is evidence in the national library of Peru that German adventurer Augusto Berns, who traded in Peru's wood and gold, happened upon the fabled Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in 1867, 44 years before Hiram Bingham brought it to the world's attention.

    "We found that Berns and his colleagues extracted gold from archaeological remains at Machu Picchu using a company that had won a mining concession for extracting wood and gold, in the area where the citadel is located," Peruvian historian Carlos Carcelen told reporters. Carcelen did his research with American cartographer Paolo Greer, French archaeologist Alain Gioda and British historian Alex Chepstow-Lusty.

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    They researched archives in Peru and Spain questioning the idea Bingham "discovered" Machu Picchu in 1911. "Sadly, we demonstrated that there was a major looting of gold objects which later were sold to European museums and universities," Carcelen added. ( to me this was a speculative claim that has not been substantiated,. ) It was Greer's discovery of a 19th century German map in the dusty archives of the National Library in Lima that put the researchers on the trail of the truth, explained Gioda, of France's Institute for Research and Development.And it makes Berns the westerner who apparently first came upon the remains of the indigenous Incas' citadel, which the Spanish conquistadors never located.

    "That is my most personal conviction and on this point I take all responsibility," said Gioda. He said researchers had amassed considerable evidence: documents on the working of a mine, the map, the concession, and even remarks attributed to Bingham, suggesting the possibility an explorer may have walked before him in Machu Picchu. While Bingham brought world's spotlight to the citadel, local people already were well aware of it, if not of its global archaeological significance.

    Carcelen stressed that Berns had no scientific or archaeological interest whatsoever. Rather he was like many British, French, Italian and German adventurers "who came to loot Peru in the 19th century," the Peruvian said. "They were businessmen who had no job or morals who came here to make a fortune, to take the greatest possible advantage," Carcelen said.In Bern's case, he put a lumber mill in the jungle southeast of Cusco in Aguas Calientes, the town at the foot of the mountain on which Machu Picchu is located.

    Berns's business, on which there were founding documents located in Peru's National Library was used to move gold abroad, he added. ( It should be noted that no evidence of any gold movements have been shown or proved ) Researchers now are trying to determine how many archaeological items Berns may have spirited out of the country, and are on the trail of "several individuals, commercial contacts and partners who dealt in gold and other objects in Europe," he said. Carcelen noted that in the late 19th century Peruvian artifacts began appearing in European museum and university collections, even though there are no records of archaeological or anthropological expeditions in Peru at the time. The president at the time, Jose Balta, also gave Berns wide leeway in his operations, Carcelen added. ( Inca archeological items have be traded by collectors long before Bern's time in Peru. This is poor research claiming gold was spirited out of Peru at the time as it is typical of one sided research as claims presented as fact are lacking any supporting evidence)

    The question remains Did Berns secretly loot Machu Picchu? Considering the evidence before us I suspect Bern having to sell the property clearly suggests he may knew about site but he tried to sell the concession for the price of his debts... Says it all. No doubt Hiran Bingham obtained artifacts during his excavation of the site. Berns if had obtained artifacts from the site in 1867 it definitely did not clear his debts. Nothing I believe on the scale Carcelen speculates. One major failing in Carcelen's research is that he had already assumed Berns had Looted Machu Picchu but has not presented any evidence to prove this. In a court of law your innocent until proven guilty not guilty until proven innocent.

    As for institutions of the world housing Inca artifacts there could possible be a legal case against these institutions in regards of plundered artifacts. Perhaps one could view the current status quo with the attitude towards treasure hunters a little hypocritical considering some of the items in their museums may be of theft?


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    While Yale and the Peruvian government trade blow for blow over the controversy. The fascination with treasure continues as of 2012 there was claims of a secret chamber under the citadel? This discovery was made possible thanks to a French engineer, David Crespy, who in 2010 noticed the presence of a strange “shelter” located in the heart of the city, at the bottom of one of the main buildings. For him, there was no doubt about it, he was looking at a “door”, an entrance sealed by the Incas.


    Corp

  6. #6

    Dec 2005
    Arizona
    7,749
    5323 times
    Corp,

    Nice pictures. Thanks for sharing.

    Your picture of Hiram Bingham standing in front of a tent in Machu Picchu camp was taken in 1912. It was snapped by a civil engineer named Elwood Erdis. His job on the Yale Universitly/National Geographic Society expedition was to clear the ruins and search for artifacts.

    Thanks again for the pictures and stories. You are a treasure.

    Take care,

    Joe Ribaudo

  7. #7
    fm
    Raggedy old Crow

    Jan 2005
    In a tax haven some where
    ONES THAT GO BEEP! :-)
    1,755
    3586 times
    Growing old disgrace fully as possible.
    Of course there are some people who believe treasure is still there?

    The secret portal has yet to be unsealed, but an electromagnetic survey suggests it houses treasure chambers filled with gold. Who’s going to try to get it and end up with an Incan curse? The heritage daily reports:
    This discovery was made possible thanks to a French engineer, David Crespy, who in 2010 noticed the presence of a strange “shelter” located in the heart of the city, at the bottom of one of the main buildings. For him, there was no doubt about it, he was looking at a “door”, an entrance sealed by the Incas.

    It is indeed an entrance, blocked by the Incas at an undetermined moment of history. In April 2012, an electromagnetic survey not only confirmed the presence of an underground room, but several. Just behind the famous entrance, a staircase was also discovered. The two main paths seem to lead to specific chambers. [The electromagnetic survey also revealed] a large quantity of gold and silver.
    French Archaeologist and adventurer Thierry Jamin is now preparing the next step: the opening of the entrance sealed by the Incas more than five centuries ago. He officially submitted a request for authorization to the Peruvian authorities which would allow his team to proceed with the opening of the burial chambers.

    Crow

  8. #8
    fm
    Raggedy old Crow

    Jan 2005
    In a tax haven some where
    ONES THAT GO BEEP! :-)
    1,755
    3586 times
    Growing old disgrace fully as possible.
    Here is another report from Heritage daily

    Thierry Jamin and his team think they have realized an extraordinary archaeological discovery in the Inca city discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911. This discovery was made possible thanks to the testimony of a French engineer who lives in Barcelona-Spain, David Crespy. In 2010, while he was visiting the lost city, David Crespy noticed the presence of a strange “shelter” located in the heart of the city, at the bottom of one of the main buildings…

    In order to confirm the existence of cavities in the basement of the building, in December 2011 Thierry and his team submit an official request to the Ministry of Culture in Lima, to perform a geophysical survey with the help of electromagnetic (EM) conductivity instruments. This license was granted a few months later.



    Realized between April 9th and April 12th 2012, the electromagnetic survey not only confirmed the presence of an underground room but several! Just Behind the famous entrance, a staircase was also discovered. The two main paths seem to lead to specific chambers, including to the main squared one. The different techniques used by the French researcher(s), (Molecular Frequencies Discriminator) allowed them to highlight the presence of important archaeological material, including deposits of metal and a large quantity of gold and silver!
    Thierry Jamin is now preparing the next step: the opening of the entrance sealed by the Incas more than five centuries ago. On May 22nd 2012, he officially submitted a request for authorization to the Peruvian authorities which would allow his team to proceed with the opening of the burial chambers.

    How ever other archeologists had other ideas.

    And behind the scene opposition was growing.

    Crow

  9. #9
    mx
    Nov 2004
    Alamos,Sonora,Mexico
    14,603
    11822 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    G'd evening Crow <--That's coffee my friend. Yer pushing me too hard, still on the cute kipo's and the gold bars. New theory on the kipus.

    Don Jose de La Mancha.
    "I exist to live, not live to exist"

  10. #10
    fm
    Raggedy old Crow

    Jan 2005
    In a tax haven some where
    ONES THAT GO BEEP! :-)
    1,755
    3586 times
    Growing old disgrace fully as possible.
    Hello Don Amigo

    So no time for another Inca treasure legend then?

    We will be in Moorea for few days. In the morning I going to vist an old retired treasure hunter now living here incognito. May even drag that not good pirate of a captain of mine along for coffee and lunch.

    Then off for a round of Golf. What crazy bunch of scewed up people invented golf? I recon it was Scotland sly way to getting back at the world. knocking some tiny ball with a crooked stick into tiny gopher hole. Every time you miss you feel like your having a stoke and thats what they call it "a stroke". So every time you hit the ball you feel your going to die. Yeah golf Scotland revenge on the world. Anyway a chance of Kanacki to continue the wacky tradition of his race.

    Crow

  11. #11
    mx
    Nov 2004
    Alamos,Sonora,Mexico
    14,603
    11822 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Crow , I always have time fora goo story.

    Don Jose
    "I exist to live, not live to exist"

  12. #12
    fm
    Raggedy old Crow

    Jan 2005
    In a tax haven some where
    ONES THAT GO BEEP! :-)
    1,755
    3586 times
    Growing old disgrace fully as possible.
    Thierry Jamin alleges there is treasure under the following building.

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    They claimed they detected abnormalities and metal under the floor of this building suggesting chambers of some sort.

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    I do not think they helped their case well with archeologist showing a film clip using diving rods. It soured their credibility in front of the others they needed to convince the Archeologists. How all it achieved was a red flag,.

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    The chambers possible entrance is through this side wall below.

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    The project all fell apart when the french confirmed Argeologist suspicions and refuted claims by Thierry Jamin who claimed in press releases he was an Archeologist. Since then the Peruvians have fallen silent on the project.

    Is there treasure under that building I do not know but one thing I learned for all of this You cannot expect to get an offical backing to treasure hunting on a world heritage site without getting burned.

    crow

  13. #13
    fm
    Raggedy old Crow

    Jan 2005
    In a tax haven some where
    ONES THAT GO BEEP! :-)
    1,755
    3586 times
    Growing old disgrace fully as possible.
    Hello Don Jose

    If you were a fish and treasure stories was the bait you would of been cooked and eaten long ago.

    I will post again later tonight.

    I am in need of a grandpa nap

    crow

  14. #14

    Dec 2005
    Arizona
    7,749
    5323 times
    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    Thierry Jamin alleges there is treasure under the following building.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    They claimed they detected abnormalities and metal under the floor of this building suggesting chambers of some sort.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I do not think they helped their case well with archeologist showing a film clip using diving rods. It soured their credibility in front of the others they needed to convince the Archeologists. How all it achieved was a red flag,.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The chambers possible entrance is through this side wall below.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The project all fell apart when the french confirmed Argeologist suspicions and refuted claims by Thierry Jamin who claimed in press releases he was an Archeologist. Since then the Peruvians have fallen silent on the project.

    Is there treasure under that building I do not know but one thing I learned for all of this You cannot expect to get an offical backing to treasure hunting on a world heritage site without getting burned.

    crow
    Crow,

    I was just getting ready to ask you if there was a follow up story as I could not find any recent information. Thanks for saving me the time.

    Take care,

    Joe

  15. #15
    fm
    Raggedy old Crow

    Jan 2005
    In a tax haven some where
    ONES THAT GO BEEP! :-)
    1,755
    3586 times
    Growing old disgrace fully as possible.
    Hello Joe

    His main error he was running around telling everyone publicly he was an archeologist then filmed his team with divining rods then posted it on you tube. Hardly a way impress the archeological profession. He perhaps could of gotten more support if he claimed there was just cavities under as an interested Historian. But Soon as you speak about treasure you spook the academic profession. No real archeologist would ever state in public that there was treasure there even if he knew was there for sure.

    If he would of been better off working out a deal with a film production company to sell to Nat Geographic, Plus book rights from the publicity from a possible major find. And perhaps induce corporate sponsorship for the research with archeologists in the deal. Peru has total yearly budget of 5 million to research and preserve 16000 known archeological sites in Peru. They were never in a possition to financially support such a project. However the Peruvian Government might of been open to corporate sponsorship run by archeologists and might of agreed to it. Especially in 100th year anniversary of its alleged discovery.

    To win you have play the game better and smarter.

    Unfortunately Thierry Jamin under estimated things.

    Crow
    Last edited by Crow; Jan 31, 2014 at 04:59 AM.

 

 

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