AMAZING DISCOVERY: Historians think they've found the long lost tomb of Atahualpa
Last emperor of the Incas, archaeologists think they've found his resting place in the Amazon
Atahualpa, the last emperor of the Incas, was executed by the Spanish after their conquest of South America. A mystery has surrounded the place of his final whereabouts. Now, archaeologists and historians may have their long-held questions answered following solved thanks to the discovery of a ruin deep within the Amazonian jungle.
The structure looks like an ancient plaza and many of the stones have sharp edges, as if sculpted by human hands. Benoit Duverneuil, French-American archaeologist says this may simply be an unusual rock formation.
The structure, 260 feet tall by 260 feet wide is made up of hundreds of two-ton stones. It's located high up in the Andes in the Llanganates National Park in Ecuador, 20 miles from the town of Banos de Agua Santa. In order to reach the destination, archaeologists need to take an eight hour trek through treacherous swamps and mountainous jungle. Thirty artifacts have been found at the site.
The ruins are high up in the Andes in the Llanganates National Park in Ecuador, 20 miles from the town of Banos de Agua Santa.
If the discovery is not the final resting of Atahualpa, it may be the site of the Treasure of the Llanganates, a glittering haul of gold and other treasures gathered by his people to pay for his release following his capture by the Spanish.
Atahualpa had at one time promised to fill a room with priceless artifacts to secure his release, He was rebuffed and throttled by the Spaniards in 1533.
The room, which may have been where his body was secretly secreted by his followers, has fired the imaginations of explorers. It has remained lost - until, perhaps - now.
"This could be one of the biggest archaeological discoveries ever," Benoit Duverneuil, French-American archaeologist says.
The tomb of Atahualpa? A ruin in Ecuador could be the missing tomb of the last emperor of the Inca Empire.
The structure looks like an ancient plaza and many of the stones have sharp edges, as if sculpted by human hands. Duverneuil says this may simply be an unusual rock formation.
The wall slopes at a 60 degree angle and has a flat area at the top, where many of the artifacts were found. Some experts believe the summit was used for human sacrifices. The incline could have been used to allow severed heads to roll down the side.
Other archaeologists, comprised of British, French, American and Ecuadoreans, believe the site dates back to shadowy pre-Inca cultures from before 500 BC.
What lies inside? The ruins in the Llanganates National Park in Ecuador (pictured) could shed light on a fascinating period and solve a longstanding mystery of South America's past.
"This is a very inhospitable area and is still considered very dangerous because of the landscape," British author and researcher Bruce Fenton says. He describes the difficulties of working at the site, which is rife with killer bees and is covered by mud and vegetation.
"It seems artifacts are spread over a wide area of inhospitable jungle and this only makes sense if a long-lost settlement is present."
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