[an error occurred while processing this directive]


  Field Notes From
Lost Tombs of Peru

<< Back to Feature Page

View Field Notes
From Author

Peter Lerche

View Field Notes
From Photographer

Gordon Wiltsie

Unfiltered for authenticity, these accounts have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.

in the jungles of Peru

Field Notes From Author
Peter Lerche
I was thrilled to discover that the place where the unlooted tomb was found was actually an unknown Chachapoyan settlement. The circular houses were typical. The friezes of low-relief crosses, which have nothing to do with Christian religion, were particularly exciting because they were new to me at this kind of site. We were very lucky. Normally, it takes 20 years to make this kind of discovery. We made it in 20 hours. On the way to the tomb, I lay awake nights worrying about whether it was really unlooted. I had a certain responsibility because Gordon Wiltsie and John Catto came from the United States to see the place, and I had more or less promised them that the tomb was unlooted. If it turned out that it was looted, the whole investment of this expedition was in vain, and I would have lost credibility. The whole thing made me nervous. The two American crew members brought freeze-dried expedition food for us to eat, which gave me diarrhea. That is particularly hard to deal with when you’re hanging over a cliff for four hours.

© 2000 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy       Advertising Opportunities       Masthead

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE HOME Contact Us Forums Subscribe [an error occurred while processing this directive]