Discovery at Machu Picchu – The facts Toggle

After submitting his Final Report to the Peruvian Ministry of Culture (approved by the ministry on September 5th 2012 by a new Directory Resolution), Thierry Jamin is now ready for the next step of this project: The opening of the door sealed by the Incas more than 5 centuries ago.

On May 22th 2012, Thierry Jamin submit and official request to the Peruvian authorities in which he asked for the authorization for him and his team to open the burial chambers. This new project is then called “Proyecto de Investigación Arqueológica (con excavación), con Posible Exhumación de Material Funerario de Alto Rango. Apertura de vano de acceso tapiado del Recinto 02, Sector II, Sub Sector E, Unidad 03, del Sector Urbano de la ciudadela inka de Machu Picchu” (“Project of Aracheological Investigations (including excavations), with the possible exhumation of some high grade funeral material. Opening of the access panel covered by stones of the Precinct 02, Sector II, Sub Sector E, Unit 03 of the area of the Inca stronghold of Machu Picchu”). The possible outcome, uncovering an extraordinary archaeological treasure and some new knowledge about the forgotten story of the Incas.

Directed by Thierry Jamin (Executive Director) and Hilbert Sumire (Official Director of the Archaeological Project), the “Machu Picchu 2012″ operation was composed by a team of professional experts recognized internationally such as the peruvian architect and conservator Victor Pimentel Gurmendi, Director or Conservation on this project. In 1964, Victor Pimentel, on behalf of the Peruvian government, has participated in the elaboration of the “Letter from Venezia“, the world reference document about the protection and the conservation of historical monuments.

Considering the important emotion generated throughout Peru about these amazing discovering and the harsh polemics started by local officialsof the Ministry of Culture (Direction of the Historic National Sanctuary of Machu Picchu and Regional Direction of Culture – Cusco), you will find below a list of facts, the way they occured chronologically between 2012 and 2014. Each fact can be checked, each information can be verified. You will find every single official document, press article, video and audio files, etc… about the case in the “Documents” section of the site.

Between the months of June to October 2012, the “2012 Machu Picchu Project” was evaluated by several services of the Ministry of Culture in Lima. During the course of these evaluations the project is finally transfered to the Direction of the Historic National Sanctuary of Machu Picchu in order to get their opinion about its viability.

On July 19th 2012, in her report N° 189 – 2012 – DPANM – DRC – CUS / MC, the archaeologist Piedad Champi Monterroso write a very negative review of the project : The entrance discovered by David Crespy should be considered as a simple retaining wall, the Inkari Institute – Cusco is a “foreign organization”, the archaeologist Hilbert Sumire is only a “tourist guide” and Thierry Jamin’s team a group of “treasure hunters”, etc…

This is it for the “scientific” evaluation of the project…

On his side, the anthropologist Fernando Astete Victoria, Director of the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, sends a letter to the anthropologist David Uagarte Vega Centeno, Regional Director of the Ministry of Culture for the province of Cusco in which he declares that the team of the Inkari Institute – Cusco has never collaborated with him during the research phase of the project that occured in Machu Picchu. However, David Uagarte Vega Centeno was present on site during the electromagnetic survey that was realized in April 2012. Back then, he seemed to be very happy about the results of the georadars as demonstrated by the photographic and video documents available on this site.

In the same letter, Mr. Astete says that “the refering location (the sealed wall) has been dismantled and re-assembled many years ago, without precising any period of History”. However, to this date, no material element, no photographic evidence and no report has been provided by the anthropologist to confirm his words.

A couple of weeks later, based on these “scientific elements”, the officials from the Ministry of Culture sent their final answer to Thierry Jamin and Hilbert Sumire : On November 5th 2012, in its Resolución Directoral N˚ 826 – 2012 – DGPC – VMPCIC / MC, the excavation permit is denied to the Inkari Institute.

On December 5th 2012, Thierry Jamin and Daniel Merino officially submit a document in appeal to the Ministry of Culture, asking that the Peruvian authorities reconsider their decision and re-examine the research project on the basis of more objective technical criterias.

On January 19th 2013, the Peruvian newspaper “El Comercio” writes the following headtitle on its first page “Indagan si en tumba de Machu Picchu hay oro”, which means “They search for gold in a tomb in Machu Picchu”. On its front page, the newspaper explains that “the discovery of objects made of gold and silver in a burial tomb of Machu Picchu divides a group of explorers to the Ministry of Culture whome refused to deliver them a permit to allow them to proceed with their research”. Then, on page 16, the newspaper described on 4 columns the discoveries realized in April 2012 by Thierry Jamin’s team and the “conflict” opposing them with the officials of the Ministry of Culture. The ton of the article was deliberately sensionalist. The journalists insisted on the “presence of large quantities of gold and silver”.

On February 7th 2013, the Peruvian news website “Rumbos” publishes a long article about the discoveries made a few months before by the Inkari Institute – Cusco. This time, the news spreads in national media outlets. Several local and national radios as the RPP, television channels as the ATV, and several newspapers mention the case.

The news start spreading outside of the borders of Peru. The case is now public and known all over the world. The polemics are about to start…

On February 08th 2013, the newspaper “El diario del Cusco” publishes the following headline on its first page “Afirman que hallaron tumba de Pachacutek en Machu Picchu. Hipótesis de franceses fue cuestionada por autoridades peruanas”, which means “They claim that they have discovered the tomb of  Pachacutek  in Machu Picchu. The hypothessis of the French has been submited to the Peruvian authorities”. The newspaper from Cusco presents in details the discovery of underground cavities encountered by Thierry Jamin’s team in April 2012 in Machu Picchu. However they mention the hypothesis of the tomb of Pachacútec as a certainty. Of course, they also mention the presence of large quantities of gold and silver : “Frances Thierry Jamin asegura que halló un mausoleao inca con grandes cantidades de oro y plata así como más de una decena de sarcofagos.” These comments were collected the day before by the newspaper but have been totaly distorded.

In the same edition, the local authorities of the Ministry of Culture (Regional Direction of the Ministry of Culture – Cusco), claim that “it is impossible to discover a hidden treasure in the Inca city”. The Peruvian archaeologist Luis Lumbreras explains “puso en duda el anuncio del francés, [y] asegura que el lugar fue saqueado durante la Colonia y señala de Jamin no es un personaje conocido” which means “I am doubtful of the announcement of the French, it is sure that the location has been looted during the Colony and I want to say that Thierry Jamin is not someone knowned”.

Then on page 12, the newspaper dedicate another article to “The Case of Machu Picchu”. In an article dedicated to the anthropologist David Ugarte Vega Centeno, Regional Director of the Ministry of Culture of the province of Cusco, declared that “it is almost impossible that there is any hidden treasure in Machu Picchu”. The focus started concentrated on the presence of gold and silver.

In the same article, Ugarte qualifies Thierry Jamin of an adventurer and explains that the Inca city of Machu Picchu has been looted many times. “To date, the last time it was by Hiram Bingham”, said Ugarte. Without any technical evidence of his claims, he also added that moving the stones of the building where is located the entrance discovered by David Crespy would put the integrity of the entire structure at risk.

The former Regional Director of the Ministry of Culture in Cusco starts to ironise about Thierry Jamin: “Luego de la búsqueda del Paititi y El Dorado en los pasados años, ahora la fiebre es encontrar tesoros en Machu Picchu” (“After the Search for Paititu and El Dorado during the previous year, now the fever is to find treasures in Machu Picchu”).

The same day, in the newspaper “Perú 21″ David Ugarte dramatize even more the circomstances and claims that journalists need to be very careful when talking about the discovery of cavities located in the underground of the “Three Doors Temple” it should be done with caution, “porque podríamos originar un saqueo o el desprendimiento de alguna infrastructura de nuestro principal ícono turístico” (because we could suscitate the looting and the destruction of any infrastucture of our main touristic icon”).

On its side, the newspaper “Correo” from February 8th has dedicated an article on page 3 about the Case of Machu Picchu. Once again, the officials of the Regional Direction of the Ministry of Culture – Cusco do everything they can to decridibilize the discovery. The article is titled “Francés asegura que se trataría de contexto fúnerario de Pachacuteq. DRC desvirtúa hallazgo de tumba real.”

You can also take a look at the page 10 in the newspaper “Trome” from February 8th 2013, the article is titled “En Machu Picchu, habrían hallado tumba de Pachacútec”.

During this intense periode of polemics, the attitude of the Peruvian archaeologist Luis Lumbreras was more than misleading. Indeed, this archaeologist from Lima has spent a large part of his life searching for clues proving that Machu Picchu was the Llactapata of the Incas as described in “Suma  y Narración de los Incas” from the chronicler Juan de Betanzos. According to Betanzos (chapter XXX) it is in the very same Llactapata that the Inca emperor Pachacútec has ordered to build his tomb for him and his descendants. It is also the assumption and theory of Luis Lumbreras. There are several documents available on the Internet in which this archaeologist defends this theory.

In 2005, Luis Lumbreras participated in the writting of the collective book called “Machupicchu. Historia, Sacralidad e identidad”. In a very long article titled “Machu Picchu, el mausoleo del emperador” (pp. 14 – 38), he writes “No hay duda que allí funcionaba un santuario de rango mayor […] Si seguimos lo que dicen los documentos del siglo XVI, todas las instalaciones agrícolas, que son muchas, estaban destinadas a producir bienes para el culto al Inka muerto […] Machu Picchu queda a más de 100 km, en ferrocarril desde el Cusco […] Bien pudo ser “Patallaqta” (“pueblo que queda en lo alto”), que era el “lugar” donde se guardaba y rendia culto a la momia del Inka Pachakutec.”

After the polemics, Luis Guillermo Lumbreras is going to say the exact opposite of what he claimed during his entire career!

On February 09 2013, the local newspaper “El Sol del Cusco” publish the following title on his first page: “Desenmascaran a Jamin. Arqueóloga residente de Machupicchu explica por qué rechazaron solicitud presentada por francés para excavar en la llacta.” This newspaper that has always been hostile to Thierry Jamin and his group has also dedicated the two following pages to discredit the discoveries made by the Inkari Institute – Cusco in April 2012. In total, five articles dedicated to this story!

In a first article titled “¿Por qué se niega el permiso al arqueólogo francés?”, the newspaper explains that according to the chronicles written by Garcilaso de la Vega and Polo de Ondegardo, the mummy of Pachacútec would have been discovered by the Spanishs during the 16th century and brought to Lima. In few words, if the mummy is no longer in Machu Picchu, then the cavities discovered by the Inkari Institute – Cusco cannot be his tomb. A logic… totally absurb!

The theory defended by Thierry Jamin and his team is that the cavities discovered in April 2012 with an electromagnetic survey could be part of the mausoleum that Pachacútec ordered to be built sometimes in the middle of the 15th century for his burial and also for the burial of his lineage, the panaca! The fact that the royal mummy  could be still in there or if it has been discovered by the Spanish consquistadors in the 15th century and then transported to Lima does not affect Thierry Jamin’s theory.

Another article is titled “El fin de los huaqueros. “Machupicchu es un patrimonio contra el que nadie puede atentar”, apuntó David Ugarte.” His author, the “journalist” Grimaldo Zúniga C. comments the words from David Ugarte Vega Centeno, Director of the Regional Ministry of Culture – Cusco. First, he mentionned the discovery of Machu Picchu by Hiram Bingham whom he qualifies as a “huaquero”, which means looter. Then he spoke about Thierry Jamin, about his degrees and his research about the lost city of Païtiti. Then he talked about the huaqueros once again and finally established a link with Thierry Jamin. “Por eso” said Ugarte, “nuestro rechazo a sus pretensiones destructoras es contundente, porque nadie puede venir alegremente al Cusco y decir que va a desmontar las piedras para encontrar a un sarcófago. Si se hiciera eso todo el torreón se vendría abajo.” It is obvious that the Peruvian Ministry of Culture cannot give a research permit to a looter.

David Ugarte who is certainly not bothered by his own contradictions then ask that if Thierry Jamin has discovered something “que lo muestre”, “that he shows it”.

The Director of the Regional Ministry of Culture then launches a serie of violent diffamations against Thierry Jamin: “Reiteró que el único interés de Thierry Jamin es encontrar tesoros ocultos, oro y plata, sin tener el mínimo conocimiento sobre conservación de una importante estructura arquitectónica, etc.”

A third article is written by the same “journalist” Grimaldo Zúniga C. and published next to the previous one and titled “Afirma el investigador francés que, a través de diversos medios, dijo todo lo contrario. “Nunca dijimos que hallamos tumba de Pachacutec”. In this new article, Zúniga pretends that Thierry Jamin has changed his initial statements regarding the discovery of the possible tomb of Pachacútec. This pseudo journalist seems to be confused about statements and hypothesis: “El explorador francés Thierry Jamin” he wrotes, “dio marcha atrás en sus primeras versiones publicadas en la revista Rumbos de Sol y Piedra y ahora dice que nunca afirmó haber encontrado la tumba de pachacutec, en la ciudad inca de Machupicchu, donde se le está prohibiendo efectuar las excavaciones para extraer restos arqueológicos muy importantes que aún no tiene la certeza de lo que son.”

The article is voluntarily aimed against Thierry Jamin, presenting the French researcher in a negative way. Jamin has never claimed in any media that his team has discovered the tomb of Pachacútec. He has always said that it was an hypothesis. And that only the excavation of the cavities and the study of the archaeological material that they contain could confirm this hypothesis or not. Looking for sensationalism, a few pseudo journalists are, as we see it, ready to make all kind of amalgames. The nationalist ton is never too far either…

A fourth article published by “El diario el Sol del Cusco” on February 09 2013, is the letter of the Peruvian historian Marianna Mould de Pease sent to the newsletter “El Comercio” a few days before in reaction to the publication of the article published in January 19th. The content of this letter was dedicated to Thierry Jamin and his team. The Peruvian historian retraced the creation in 1905 of the History Institute of Peru, today the Academy of National History, and quotes chroniclers Garcilaso de la Vega and Polo de Ondegardo about the royal mummys. This letter has been published in the newspaper “El Sol del Cusco” as a charge against Thierry Jamin.

The fifth article published on February 09th in the newspaper “El diario el Sol del Cusco” has been written by the archaeologist Piedad Champi Monterroso, one of the officials in charge of the Historic National Sanctuary of Machu Picchu. Under the title “Expediente presentado no cumple con estándares arqueológicos. Informe de Jamin está lleno de imprecisiones técnicas” this long text tries to ruin the project of Thierry Jamin and his group by repeating the arguments already published in the technical report N° 189, July 2012. In the same article, Mrs Champi delivered a long list of diffamations as per example: “Nosotros como profesionales especialistas, al igual que muchos colegas, estamos preparados para proteger, conservar, preservar mediante investigaciones científicas basadas en pruebas objetivas y no subjetivas como el proyecto de la ONG Inkari, que solo demuestra la convicción de apoyar a aventureros, disculpen la expresión : “huaqueadores”, buscadores de tesoros.”

Both archaeologists and other researchers can appreciate the professional ethic of Mrs Champi…

During the TV show of investigation “Cuarto Poder” broadcasted on Sunday 10th 2013 on the television channel ATV, which was partially dedicated this day to the “Machu Picchu Case”, Mrs Piedad Champi demonstrated that she was totally unable to interpret the results and analysis, however clear, and provided by private companies in charge of realizing the electromagnetic survey that took place in Machu Picchu a few months before. The use of georadars in the domain of archaeological research is largely widespread all over the world, in Europe, Mexico, Egypte and in many other countries. We are very suprised that this “emerit” archaeologist did not know this non-invasive techniques of modern archaeology.

On February 14th 2013, the newspaper “El diario el Sol del Cusco” continued its campaign to discredit Thierry Jamin and his team. On its first page, the newpaper published three pictures of Machu Picchu and of the entrance discovered by David Crespy with the following title “rancés busca presionar a través de los medios. DRCC asegura que pedido para excavar en Machupicchu no es serio”. Once again, the newspaper dedicates three columns to the story of Thierry Jamin and his research project in Machu Picchu. The title is a good resume of the content of the article once again written by Grimaldo Zúniga C. who seems to have definitely a strange approach of his work : “Dejaron sin piso a francés buscador de tesoros. Ministerio de Cultura le negó el pedido para excavar en Machupicchu”.

In this new article, Thierry Jamin is once again introduced as a vulgar treasure hunter and his team as a group of amators : “[…] referió que el buscador de tesoros y sus colaboradores no tienen sustento en las explicaciones que esgrimen en el proyecto. […] Dijo que el interés prioritario que tiene Thierry Jamin es hallar un tesoro en una gran caverna funeraria que guardaría considerable cantidad de oro y plata. Por todo ello, se le ha negado la autorización, porque Machupicchu no puede ser objeto de excavaciones o desmontaje de sus muros, solamente porque alguien está ansioso de hallar oro y plata.”

This is the way Mr Grimaldo Zúniga conceives journalism, professionals will appreciate.

On February 15 2023, “El diario del Cusco” publishes on its front cover and on page 09 one of the rare complete and relatively objective article about this incredible story. Under the title “Sostiene antropólogo Thierry Jamin “Estamos convencidos que hay un gran tesoro cultural en zona de estudio”, the journalist present then the discoveries made in April 2012 at Machu Picchu on 5 columns as well as what is at stakes for the History of Peru and what the opening of the door discovered by David Crespy and the study of the archaeological material detected in the underground cavities could represent.

The very same day, on February 15th 2013, the newspaper “El Comercio”, on page A24, an interview of the Peruvian historian Teodoro Hampe Martínez is published. The journalist Raúl Mendoza Cápena dedicate him a long interview about the discoveries made by Thierry Jamin’s team in Machu Picchu and about the possible current location of the Inca mummies.

For Teodoro Hampe, the cavities discovered under the “Temple of the Three Doors” by the Inkari Team could be the burial chambers of the panaca, or lineage of the emperor Pachacútec. However, according to his interview, the imperial mummy would have been brought to Lima during the 16th century by the Spanish conquistadors and hidden with other mummies in a secret crypt located under the foundations of the San Andrés hospital. This historian from Lima is searching actively for the imperial mummies since the 80s and has done several electromagnetic surveys at the San Andrés hospital at the beginning of the years 2000 with the goal to locate the famous secret crypt…

Despite the polemics maintained by local authorities, on February 15th 2015, the Spanish edition of the famous american magazine National Geographic dedicates an important article to the discovery on its online edition. Under the title “¿Esconde algo Machu Picchu? Según el investigador francés Thierry Jamin, el subsuelo de uno de los edificios podría esconder una tumba real” which means “Is there something hidden in Machu Picchu? According to the French researcher Thierry Jamin, the underground of one of the building could hide a royal tomb”, the British journalist Alec Forssmann explains in an objective way the circumstances of this incredible discovery, what is at stake et the rising polemics generated in Peru.

On Sunday 17th 2013, Hilbert Sumire Bustincio, Director of the “2012 Machu Picchu” project, and Thierry Jamin, executive director of the same project, partipate in the TV show “Debate” which is moderated by the journalist Washington Alosilla Portillo, on channel 45 Cusco. During this popular Sunday show, Hilbert and Thierry explained to the journalist their fears to see the local officials from the Ministry of Culture and from the Archaeological Sancturay of Machu Picchu try to appropriar the fundamental discoveries made by the Inkari group in April 2012 in the Inca city.

The TV interview where the two researchers have been invited has been featured on two columns the following day, on February 2013, on page 2 of the newspaper “El diario del Cusco”.

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