LIMA, Peru -- (AP) -- An American explorer credited with discovering
major Indian ruins in Peru's rain forests believes he has located another jewel in
``I believe we have found the environs of the lost city of Conturmarca,''
said returning from a month-long expedition in Peru's high cloud forest. ``It's a lost
world with the remains of the Chachapoyas people.''
Savoy described the Chachapoyas as tall and fierce warriors who
by the Incas about 500 years ago, shortly before the Spanish conquest of Peru.
He said the Incas so respected their fighting prowess that they made the
Chachapoyas their bodyguards.
The 72-year-old adventurer's latest find comes a year after his
73-foot boat designed along the lines of a pre-Inca sailing vessel, sank in the
South Pacific. The disaster cut short a voyage aimed at showing that Peru's
advanced Indian civilizations could have had contact with cultures in other parts of
The robust explorer, who lives most of the year in Reno, Nev.,
where he directs
the Andean Explorers Foundation, has irked many academics with his theories.
Among his many discoveries are three major ruins -- Vilcabamba,
the last refuge
of the Incas; Gran Pajaten, a citadel city atop a jungle-shrouded peak; and Gran
Vilaya, a complex of more than 20,000 stone buildings in a damp, fog-bound
region of the Andes that Peruvians call the ``jungle's eyebrow.''
He says Gran Vilaya, situated on a ridge 6,000 feet above the
Maranon River, was
the capital of the Chachapoyas empire. The Incas conquered it in the late 15th
But legend tells of a network of seven Chachapoyas cities strung
like a necklace
along the heights of the high jungle of northern Peru. Conturmarca, his latest find,
was the centerpiece, Savoy said.
With a team of six Americans, 40 porters and 50 horses and pack
Savoy set out on Aug. 20 toward a valley along the Tepna River, 320 miles north
Copyright 1999 Miami Herald