Peruvian temple and writing discovered
14 Jul 1996 16:15:15 -0400
Frank G. Ciampa
THE DISCOVERY OF THE TRUE CALPUNTA RUINS
4Frank G. Ciampa
INTRODUCTION NOTE: Following are excerpts from one of the articles I
wrote, but were never published on my adventures and discoveries. I have
changed or omitted some place names. This article represents only part of
what we did. I have run out of options for properly documenting this find
and getting scientists interested (archeologist and similar professionals
are notorious for ignoring mere explorers, like myself). It is a shame
that because of such politics the site is once again being lost to the
jungle -- except for the various looters that now know of the place. I
would appreciate any suggestions.
Last summer (1995) I led a small expedition into Peru's Department of
Amazonas. On June 19, after days of challenging and often treacherous
exploring, we were rewarded with an astounding new discovery. We found
ourselves standing on top of an ancient Chachapoyan temple, which was
followed by many other ruins. These ruins had been hidden by five
centuries of thick jungle growth.
We discovered the ruins on a mountain known as T. C. (@ 06 xx' 14"
S/78 xx' xx" W, elevation @ 3100+ meters), therefore I named the temple
complex The Temple of T. C., This complex of ruins is on the xzxxxxx
range, in the area of Gran xxxxx. They are now the highest known ruins in
The ruins belonged to the Chachapoyans who were a mysterious
civilization that were conquered by the Incas around 1475 A.D. They were
organized into semi-independent kingdoms that existed for at least a
thousand years in the jungle covered Montana region of northeastern Peru.
Although little is known about them, the region is stilled filled with the
remains of their circular buildings, temples, and forts. Some people
believe they were a very religious or mystical race. Spanish and Incan
chroniclers described them physically as being tall Caucasians (the
remains of their mummies verify this). Their vast jungle and mountain
kingdoms virtually disappeared during the Spanish conquest of Peru and.
I launched my Amazonas Expedition from the modern town of
Chachapoyas. We then traveled to the friendly town of Colcamar and
eventually to the village of xxxxxxxx, where we established our base camp.
My partners were Francisco Seoane Peyon of Lima and Jon Muncy of XXXXX .
Martin Xxxxxxx was our logistics chief. Behind the scenes in Lima we had
the invaluable support of Francisco Seoane Weiss. All of us had been part
of Gene Savoy's Gran Vilaya - El Dorado VI expedition the year prior.
During that expedition there were certain areas I wanted to investigate,
but the expedition's schedule did not permit me the opportunity, so I
decided to launch my own expedition.
Our primary objective was to climb a mountain known as xxxxxxxx. We
hoped to find new ruins there. To get there, we would first have to
climb over T.C., where we also intended to look for new ruins. T.C. was
originally my primary objective, but circumstances made me shift it to my
secondary objective. No one living had ever been up to T.c. or C. C., but
we found a man in the village who was familiar with the surrounding area.
His name was Constantino and he became a valuable part of our expedition.
We began our quest early in the morning. We climbed past the well
known ruins of xxxxx and took a break at a remote place called Nevado; a
few farms had recently been established there. About a half hour later we
arrived at what are known as the xxxxxx ruins. Parts of these ruins were
discovered by two prior Gene Savoy expeditions. We expanded the discovery
and reconfirmed the theory that the Xxxxxxx ruins are in fact connected to
the Xxxxxxx ruins making about five kilometers (straight line distance) of
solid ruins. Therefore the entire site or city should be called
"Xxxxxxx," and not Xxxxxxx and Xxxxxxx. Eventually we left the Xxxxxxx
site behind and headed up towards the unexplored mountain of T.c.. The
terrain got tougher and the jungle thicker. We had to fight the jungle and
the mountain for every step; two of our guides/machette men turn back
exhausted, leaving us only Constantino. Finally, by late afternoon we
achieved the summit of T.c..
On the summit I immediately noticed the remnants of a square stone
building. This is unusual for a Chachapoyan building, which are usually
circular. We studied the small building briefly and then moved on. The
vegetation was very dense and it was difficult to get a good view of these
new ruins. Several meters later I happen to glance behind me and
discovered that we had just walked over a huge rectangular structure.
Initially we noted that it was about 8 feet high and over 60 feet long
(later I would discover that it was much bigger). We also found many
other ruins on T.c., but it was getting late and we had to move on to
We climbed a short distance down from T.c.'s summit and then back up
towards C.c.. The jungle became thicker and the terrain more treacherous.
Often we had to climb using both hands and feet. We were also forced to
leap across large cracks in the mountain. Finally after a freezing night
spent at 3100 meters, we achieved the summit early the next morning
We found nothing on C.c. except a beautiful view. We were tired and
ragged, but we maintained positive attitudes and our sense of humor. Of
course it helped to know that we had a major discovery back on T.c..
After looking around a bit we dragged ourselves back down to the village.
We were exhausted and sore, but I knew we had to return to T.c. to better
study and document the vast and mysterious ruins there.
The next day, Francisco, Constantino and I started back up the
Xxxxxxx range. This time we did things more sensible and established a
camp at Nevado instead of racing to the top. After a good night's rest
and a simple breakfast we climbed about two more hours to the Temple of
We were able to get a better look at the temple after partially
clearing away the vegetation that had covered it over the centuries. What
we uncovered was a large platformed structure with at least three levels
(with evidence of more levels). It is similar to a Chavin temple. The
quality of the stone work is excellent and consists primarily of white
quartz and a stone heavy with mica. Sections of the structure are built
into solid rock. On the east end we initially found one circular building
and on the south side three circular buildings; all nearly touching the
second level from the top. Later, I would find much more. The pyramid
and the circular buildings that are on its tiers are all part of what I
call the temple complex. We also found other walls on the summit.
Later in our expedition, we investigated three rock faces with
ancient petroglyphs and one pillaged Chachapoyan cliff cemetery with
interesting rock carvings and paintings (Caclic city of the dead). We
continuously saw in this ancient artwork a horned man, like the Celtic god
Cernunnos, and astronomical depictions. I also noted some "letters" that
bore an amazing similarity to ancient Coptic. We may also have discovered
the basic Chachapoyan unit of measurement (19 1/4" or 49cm).
Despite two trips up T.c., there were still a lot of unanswered
questions about the site. I knew I had to get back up there, but I also
knew that I would need some support. Therefore I petitioned Gene Savoy's
Andean Explorers Foundation. The AEF had already done a considerable
amount of exploring in nearby Gran Vilaya. Mr. Savoy agreed to support my
return to T.c. as part of an AEF expedition. Early last August we all met
in Lima where Mr. Savoy divided the expedition into three parts. He would
go south of Lima to do research and documentary work, and he directed my
old partner, Francisco, to investigate an area near Gran Vilaya. I was to
go back and better explore the Xxxxxxx and T.c. ruins.
On 11 August I was back on T.c., where I spent the next few days
improving the trail to the site and further exploring the ruins.
Meanwhile, Francisco didn't make it to his object due to illness. I
rendez-voused with him at a primitive farm near Vista Xxxxxx. While he
was recovering, he made some amazing calculations concerning the temple's
relationship to the cycles of the moon.
Although the vegetation made it impossible to get a complete picture
of the place, this is what my investigations determined: The site
consists of approximately a quarter mile of ruins that run along a narrow
summit; parts, if not all, of the summit are terraced or platformed.
About 50 buildings were sighted, but I believe there are over 75. I found
the pyramidal temple has six tiers with a possible seventh buried under
dirt and debris. The Temple of T.c.'s top building is @ 17 1/2' X 18',
the bottom platform, or sixth tier (counting from the top down), is an
estimated 170'-190' and a couple of the tiers have stone circular
buildings on them. The height of the levels vary with the condition they
are in, but they are @8' high, the entire temple is @50+' high. Most of
the eastern portions are under heavy debris and vegetation, but it is
possible that portions of the eastern walls connect to other platforms on
T.c.. There is also evidence that the temple's core is natural rock.
There is no doubt in my mind that T.c., and more specifically the
Temple of T.c., was a major religious or ceremonial site for the Gran
Vilaya Culture. It is clearly not a site built for defense, although the
mountain itself lends some natural defenses. The design of the site and
its relation to other ruins in the area suggests that it was a religious
center and home for priests and possibly nobles. They apparently wanted
to shield the living areas from the other sites in the area, while
maintaining a high visibility for the ceremonial areas. While I believe
this site may be the Mecca, Vatican, or Chavin de Huantar4 of the
Chachapoyans in this region, I do not know what religion they practiced.
The layout of the structure and the investigations of others suggest that
their religion involved either the sun, moon, and/or stars. Although,
admittedly, this is all conjecture.
Our accomplishments were far more than I expected, we were truly blessed -
but now it is time for the anthropologists and archeologists to come to
Amazonas in order to preserve and study these mysteries.
Explorer, Frank G. Ciampa can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel free to pass this on to professional interested in studying the sight
or publishing information about it