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Archeology in Peru - Inca Reasearch Expedition

May - June       Cost: $ 2,458
As part of our research of lost Inca roads and unreported ruins in the Vilcabamba area west of Machu Picchu, Archaeologist Gary Ziegler, has lead a recon expedition in the northern Vilcabamba range and returning this year. We plans to investigate the remote Inca site of Puncuyoc, find new ruins and climb a peak along the way.

In the year 1536, three years after the fall of the Inca empire to Spanish adventurers, Manco Inca, grandson of the great ruler Huayna Capac, led a rebellion against the Conquistadors. Retreating from a failed siege of Cusco, Manco and his followers established court in the remote Vilcabamba triangle, maintaining the vestiges of Inca tradition, religion and statehood out of reach of Spanish authorities. A centuries old conflict has raged concerning the location and identification of Manco's capital, Vilcabamba and other important sites including Machu Picchu. This trip is one of several that we have undertaken to gather information and help identify these lost sites. Utilizing the concept of archaeo-tourism, we fund costs of exploration through paying participants.

Our goal is to investigate the little known Inca site of Puncuyoc located in the high cloud forest north of Manco Inca's residence at Vitcos and attempt to locate undiscovered ruins As introduction to the Incas, we visit Machu Picchu and the main Inca site of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred valley before disappearing into the remote high Vilcabamba Range.

Allowing a flexible itinerary, we have ample time to explore and possibly climb a lesser peak along the way. Of course, we will travel with all of the usual pack mule amenities, dinning tent, cooks, near gourmet meals and comfortable camps. All participants must be in good health and physical condition. The hiking is strenuous over steep trails at altitudes ranging from 14,000 to 6,000 ft. Expect some long days and unexpected events.

TRIP LEADER: Gary Ziegler, has a far-flung history which includes a Ph.d in archaeology, archaeological expeditions into remote Peru and Mexico, work for National Geographic, museums and universities. Gary has been organizing and leading expeditions and groups in Peru since 1964. His accomplishments include the first ascent of seven peaks over 18,000 ft and the discovery of new archaeological sites. He led the first group to bicycle to Machu Picchu in 1982. Gary has been exploring and studying the Vilcabamba since 1965 when he led a government sponsored expedition to investigation Gene Savoy's reported findings at Espiritu Pampa. He is published in professional journals and various magazines. He holds degrees in philosophy from Colorado College and completed graduate studies in archaeology in Peru.

INCLUSIONS: The price includes accommodations in safari style camps, tourist class or better hotels and inns (double occupancy), land travel, meals except in Lima/Cusco, all trip gear, pack horses, guides, support staff and entrance fees. Helicopter from Machu Picchu.

EXCLUSIONS: Not included are airport taxes, air travel, alcoholic and bottled drinks, gratuities, optional activities, personal expenditures, meals in Lima/Cusco, costs resulting from illness or injury and emergency evacuation, program changes and delays beyond our control.

The Agenda
DAY 1) Sunday, May 28> Flights from the United States depart late in the evening from Miami, New york, Dallas, etc. arriving early am in Lima...transfer to the Cusco flight. Or, if arriving from somewhere else, meet us in Cusco.

Day 2) Arrive in CUSCO, the ancient capital of the Incas. We greet you at the airport. Following a brief orientation and a cup of traditional coca tea, we organize an afternoon introductory trek around town. Most will need the time to rest and recover from yesterday's travel. Refreshed and eager, we meet for dinner at a favorite restaurant. We talk about ancient legends, Manco Inca, the lost cities of Vilcabamba or perhaps just get to know each other. Some my opt for evening festivities in this bustling international city. We lodge in a selected comfortable hotel.

Day 3) Round trip by helicopter to Machu Picchu and the bustling backpacker town of Aguascaliente located some 2,000 ft, below Hiram Bingham's great 1910 discovery, MACHU PICCHU- Situated on the spine of a jungle cloaked granite peak towering some 2500 feet above an entrenched meander of the roaring river below, the site is frequently shrouded in misty clouds pierced through by the powerful equatorial sun. Constructed from precisely sculptured granite blocks carefully joined with the exposed stone of the mountain, it may well be the finest architectural achievement of the new world. Returning to Cusco by Helicopter, we dine out out and enjoy an evening at Barry Walker's famous Cross Keys Pub.

Day4) Drive by van to the nearby Sacred Valley, location of the major Inca temple/fortress of Ollantaytambo. Probably built by the great Inca ruler, Pachacuti in the 1460s, it was the site of Hernando Pizzaro's defeat by Manco Inca in 1536. Constructed of finely cut polygonal stones and rhyolite blocks, the fortress and nearby town represent the best of Inca architecture and construction. Large worked blocks, some weighting as much as 100 tons were quarried from a site more than a thousand vertical feet above the valley floor using a technique of pecking with hammer stones, then skidded down and across the Urubamba river several kilometers to the temple site. Inclined ramps were built to raise the blocks several hundred feet up hill to the construction area. Gary plans a hike up to the stone Quarries to examine unfinished blocks. We have ample time to examine the complex and ponder its many mysteries. We overnight at a comfortable small inn in the valley at an altitude of 9000 ft. Clean sheets, traditional Peruvian dinner and chilled, Cusquena beer complete the day.

Day 5) Loading into our company all terrain bus, we ascend a narrow winding road to it's end high up in the Cordillera Vilcabamba. We are guests for the night at a newly completed rustic Inn owned by the local Cobos family, famous for having accompanied the Gene Savoy Expeditions of the 1960s and many of explorer Vince Lee's epic journeys.

Day 6) Following Hiram Bingham's notes, we hike to Cerro Rosapata and the ruins of Vitcos, the palace refuge of Manco and the last Incas. Captured by the Spanish Captain Garcia de Loyola under orders of Viceroy Toledo in 1572, Vitcos remains fascinating and seldom visited. We will also examine nearby Nusta Espana (Yuroc Rumi), a sacred Inca shrine.

Day 7) traveling a short distance by local truck, we meet our pack horses and camp staff at a nearby village, A steep day long hike takes us high up to the little know Inca site of Puncuyoc. Setting a comfortable base camp near the ruins, we plan the next three days for exploration of Inca roads, nearby peaks and a detailed investigation of Puncuyoc.

Day 8-10 ) Explorations

Day 11) Return to Cusco. We gather for a final celebratory dinner, then for the really adventurous, it is after dinner drinks at Barry's famous Cross Keys Bar, the only authentic English pub in Peru, the hangout of notorious expatriates, guides, and adventurers from far corners of the Universe.

Day 12) Thursday, June 8> Depart Cusco for Lima and flights home. Additional services can be arranged in Lima if your schedule does not connect directly to your international flight. .

Friday June 9) Arrive home


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American Overland Expeditions
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