The Oregon daily journal. (Portland, Or.) 1902-1972, October 31, 1920, Page 60, Image 60

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Hidderi in iVIounfairi Caves4 -C iT"
Professor Farabee, of the University of Pennsylvania,
Comes Back from South America with Dazzling
Samples of Treasures Buried Centuries Ago to
Keep Them from Spanish Plunderers
the distinguished ethnologist and
explorer, returning from an expedi
tion in Colombia, has Just made a report
to the University of Pennsylvania rereat
lng the existence In South and Central
America, of hidden treasure to an amount
that almost staggers the imagination.
It has been known, of course, that for.
hundreds of years gold was
Indians during their religious
festivals Into the sabred lake
of Guatavita in Colombia, and
efforts on a considerable scale
have been made to recover it.
The surprising discovery
made by Professor Farabee is
' that in many other lakes and
In mountain caves of South
and Central America pure
gold is burled to a value of
what he conservatively esti
mates to be $300,000,000, and
perhaps, much more.
Part of this treasure he
brought back with him, and
the occasion for his report
was the announcement by the
Museum of the receipt of this
collection and also a second
one purchased in Europe.
The two collections make to
gether the largest in the
world and their combined
value is set at five million
dollars. '
In one of these sacred lakes
there is a huge chain of solid
gold, as thick as a ship's an
chor chain. Professor Fara
bee's report recites. It was
once strung from posts around
the Palace of the Inca, at
Cuzco, Peru, and it was so
heavy that two hundred In
dians were required to carry
it. They were on their way
with this chain from Cuzco
to Catamarca in 1532 'to de
liver it to Piiarro, when they
learned their King had been
strangled to death, and they
threw the chain into a lake.
cast bT Vs
ft. - rfM
it'1 -
Four hundred other Indians
In charge of as many pack
loads of gold were trooping
over the mountains to pay the
ransom of the Inca, and they,
too, threw their treasure Into
lakes or hid it In mountain
caves. And although three
centuries have passed and
millions of dollars' worth of
gold has been found in the
ancient Inca cemeteries, not
more than a negligible part
of the hidden treasure has
been discovered.
The European collection" was obtained
the Museum In Paris. It contains ex
amples of all the ancient American gold-
working civilizations from Mexico to Peru,
and is of particular interest because It is
part of the gold that was sept back by the
Spanish conquerors of these countries five
hundred years ago. Since then It has been
handed down through various families
until it finally found its way Into the pos
session of a wealthy Frenchman, who was
forced to sell it because of war conditions.
The second collection consists of a group
of objects recently excavated in the moun
tains near Ayapel, Antloqula, Colombia,
. where they had been buried by the Indians
tn some remote time. It is described by
Dr. Fafabee as "the greatest discovery of
burled treasure that has taken place in
South America since the days of. the Con
quest." A native farmer found the objects while
digging fence posts. He came to a small
mound with which, he was quite familiar,
but which he had never taken the trouble
to excavate. It was necessary for Kim to
dig a hole at the edge of this mound, add
In so doing his spade struck a small pot
nery Jar. This excited his curiosity. He
adug further into the mound and came to .
"the edge of a huge, oblong pottery urn
Shaped something like a trunk. And this
is what he found at least the following
list represents that part of his find finally
sold to the museum;
Three breastplates of thin beaten gold
twenty-two Inches across.'" '
v ,- I
' I I
A Mummy and Ita Golden Mask, from the
Tableland of Bogata, the Home of the "Gilded
Man." The Bodies of Priests and Chieftains
Were Covered With Thin Plate of Gold.
A Rude Death Mask, Also of Gold, Was
Made of Their Features.
Five circular breastplates of beaten gold
from ten to thirteen inches in diameter.
A girdle three feet long and seven inches
wide, made of one hundred and thirty-eight
solid gold bars, each four Inches long and
from one-eighth to three-eighths of an inch
Six solid staff heads in the shape of
birds, a Jaguar, a monkey one of which
ia seated in a golden chair all of gold.
Four hand bells of gold two Inches high.
Sixteen Bolid gold nose or ear ornaments
of various sizes from a half to an Inch and
a half ecross.
Eight fan-shaped nose rings cast in solid
gold, four and a half inches wide and two
inches high. J
Nine strings of gold beads, one made of
forty-one email bells, one of twenty-six
bells, and one with a hundred and thirty
five cylindrical beads.
Eight plain bracelets onfi-eighth of an
inch In diameter.
Ten gold noBe ornaments.
Twelve discs or bosses of plain gold.
One funnel-shaped ornament three
Inches high and two and a half inches in
Gold arm band three Inches broad em
bossed at both ends.
A helmet of plain gold, in fragments.
Six sheets of thin beaten gold sixteen
by twenty inches in site, with perforations
by which to hang them on garments or
' These pieces, wondrously wrought and
embossed, sre from the famous "Chibcha
Empire," Invaded and destroyed by Que
sada, who crossed the Opon Mountains,
6,500 feet In elevation, with
S00 men and sixty horses. It
Is a matter of history that he
landed in 15S5 at Santa Marta,
on the Magdalena River, and
the hardships he suffered be
fore reaching the "Valley of
Palaces' also la of record. At
CMa the bandit found the pal
ace, of the Zlpa, as the ruler
was cayed, forsaken and the
treasure gone. But at Tunja
he got $600,000 worth of gold
and silver and 1,815 emeralds.
"It Is estimated that one
ancient cemetery In Costa Rica
has yielded $50,000 worth of
gold objects In the forms of
birds, frogs, fish, alligators
and numerous anthropomorphic
forms with human and animal
elements combined," says Dr.
Farabee, "the most common be
ing the human body with the
head of an alligator, Jaguar or
According to the same au
thority Cortes seised gold
worth $7,600,000 from prt pal
ace of Montezuma in Mexico.
Plxarro got even more In his
conquest of Peru.
"Learing of Pizarro's love
for gold." says Dr. Farabee,
"the Inca, Atahualpa, offered to
fill the room In which he was
confined with pure gold as a
ransom zor nis
freedom. The of
fer was accepted
and the gold soon
began to pour In
frotn all direc
tions. When the
room had been
filled to the
height a man
could reach the
cupidity of the
Spaniard could
stand the strain
no longer. The
gold, valued at ten
or fifteen million
dollars, was seized
and divided among
the leaders and
the men in pro
portion to their
Stations. The
loyal fifth was
sent to Spain
under the care of
Pizarro's brother.
But Atahualpa, his ransom paid,, was not re
leased. He was tied to a stake, baptized
and suddenly strangled with a bow string.
In the meantime Plxarro had sent a
brother to Pachacamac, where he stripped
the temple of twenty-seven loads of gold,
but he was unable to find the four hundred
loads which the chief had previously Bent
away for safety. When the news" of the
Inca's murder reached the pack trains
bearing additional g$ld for his ransom, the
men turned aside with their treasures and
hid them in mountain caves away from the
"AJt Cuzco the temple occupied one whole
side of . the great court. The cornice of
the walls, a yard wids, outside and in was
plated with gold, as were the inner walls
also. At the eastern end a great plate of
gold, representing the sun, spread from
one wall to the other This great image
was not taken for the ransom, but when
the Spaniards afterward returned to
Cuzco it had disappeared and was never
Sebastian de Belalcazar found the terri
tory of the Qulmbaya, the race of gold
smiths, adjoining that of the Chibchas, in
Colombia. It is here, in the myriad lakes
and mountain caves, that Dr. Farabee and
other explorers believe will be found the
great bulk of the huge treasure which was
. thrown into the water, not only to prevent
the Spaniards from getting it, hut also as
part of regular religious ceremonies.
"Among the Qulmbaya," says Dr. Fara
bee. "only those of, high rank, the chiefs,
priests and war leaders, were allowed to
wear objects of gold. They wore cotton
garments ornamented with gold plates.
The doors of the palisades were hung
with plates of gold which gleamed In the
sua and clashed melodiously in the wind.
4C) 1920. International ftsturt Service, Ine.
h Atahualpa
the Inca Whom
Presiding at the
Execution of
His Own-Son,
Huasar, and
His Followers
Following a
Rebellion by
Them a Few
Years Before th
Overran the
Inca Empire.
From an Old
- - i,
, j Objects of Pure GoU Among Those Brought to the Unlvanlty of I : . V! I , ' f
' :. Pennsylveala Museum bv Professor Farabee. The Idol at the V. I
- Richt Is Nine Inches Hiih and Is of Quimbeva WorkmanshlD I the I-' I
CW I -.-'"l f Breastplate Is 22 Inches Wide and Is One of the Three Found- ; I
J X- y2 Among the Treasure of Antloqula, Colombia! the Sitting Figure Is . I
-''""' XJr Representation of the "Gilded Man" from Near Lake Guatavita. - -j j.
1 s. ' s. ? N . ; Vi i ) 1 cr " t I
vi '.x iter p I "
gmsPx 11 WW
The gold plates from the door of Sogamoso
palace were valued at $80,000."
The same authority declares that it Is
possible to locate all the lakes that were
considered sacred in ancient days by
means of Indian legends which have been
handed down to the present day.
"The Colombian treasure," says Dr. Far
abee, "was unearthed a few months ago In
the department of Antloqula, not far from
the famous sacred lake of Guatavita, into
which enormous quantities of precious ob
jects were cast as offerings to the gods at
the'annual festival of the people.
"Priests with treasures of gold and
emeralds proceeded on a raft to the centre
of the lake, burned incense and sacrificed
the offerings. The high priest, who bad
been sprinkled with gold dust until he ap
peared a gilded man. the "El Dorado1 of
the Spaniards, cast himself into the sacred
waters bearing the treasures of all the
people, deposited them at the bottom and
returned to land. When the ruler of this
region was compelled to submit to the
Spanish conquerors he is said to have sac
rificed to the lake two tons, of gold and
precious stones. The collection at the mu
seum may well have been a temple accu
mulation which was hidden away to pre
vent Its falling into the hands of Quesada,
who began the conquest of Bogota in
In the later days of the Spanish treasure
hunting various clumsy efforts were made
to- drain some of these lakes. In some sec
tlops it would be relatively a simple mate
AimI Britain tit Ms KMerrel,
ter. In the . larger lakes, which are very
deep, the method would be to drag them,
making frequent lifts. Since the gold
thrown into the lakes to prevent the
Spaniards from getting it was nearly al
ways thrown in one place, or in large
quantities, as soon as one piece was dis
covered the rest would be simple.
Most of this gold came originally from
the streams and was obtained by a system
of placer mining. There are now two
American companies working In the An
des but by far the majority of the streams
which would still yield heavily are un
worked. Many ancient quartz lodes, the
workings of which are still visible, have
not been touched for five hundred years,
yet there is still gold In them. The esti
mate of 83,000,000 worth obtained by the
various Spanish conquerors is cased on
the official record of the "Royal Fifth,"
sent back to Spain. But in many cases
this was not sent, so that all toldthe
Spaniards may possibly have taken two
hundred million dollars.' worth: That they
missed a much greater portion Is shown '
from their own records.
There has been found tasLak' Slecha,
near Lake Guatavita, a gold
sistina of a small group
representing El Dorado,, "the goia man,- on
a rusn balsa surrounded by his guests as
he proceeded to the centre of Lake Guata
vita to offer sacrifice to the gods.
Some of the territory about the head
waters of the Amason scoured by the
Spanish conquerors hai
not been visited since by
-white manJDr. Farabee
however, has crossed
many of the routes and has been
to sections where even the Span
iards did not penetrate.
Dr. Farabee's scientific reputa
tion is world wide. He is one of
the men called on by the Allies at
the end of the World War because
of his deep knowledge of ethnological
problems to redraw the map of Europe,
and he has but recently returned to the
University Museum after two years spent
In that task. He will be kept busy for an
other year or two arranging his collec
tions at the museum and writing the his
tory of his three-year exploration in South
America. .
The work of the English syndicate at
Lake Guatavita" has resulted in the re
covery of perhaps a million dollars In gold
and emeralds.
The. 'first attempt of the syndicate to
drain the' lake was unsuccessful, because
the tunnel they blasted to carry off th
water was above the water level. The sec
ond attempt drained it all right, but the
hot sun baked the mud so hard that the
only way" to get at what it held was to
blast it. 1
Tnis prpved unsatisfactory. Now the
work Is being carried on with great success
through the expedient of softening ma
mud with water. Temporary dams are
placed 'about the section to be excavated
and ihe water, carried br sluices. Is played
noon th!s snot until the hard unner crust
has been softened. The water is then di
verted by cutting the dams and the digging
niece co- begins. It is Important that tne soiteninc
of figures'- process cease when the upper crust only
has been softened, ror otnerwise, u me
water penetrated through -the lower
strata, a quagmire might be formed and.
the precious treasure of the centuries
might sink still farther from the white
man's grasp.