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Sunday, 4 June, 2000, 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK
Explorer finds lost city

By the BBC's Daniel Schweimler

American explorer Gene Savoy says he has discovered a pre-Hispanic city deep in virgin rainforest in eastern Peru.

The explorer and his team of archaeologists believe they have uncovered the city of Cajamarquilla - one of the lost cities of the Chachapoyas people who moved to eastern Peru about AD 700.

He said his team had only just begun uncovering the stone city, which contains up to 150 buildings, including houses, temples and burial sites.

El Dorado?

The 65sq km site, which lies on the Saposoa river, includes stone roads weaving through a network of terraced cliffs and at least 36 burial towers.

In the euphoria of their find, some members of the team have even said they might have come across the fabled city of El Dorado - the Golden City long sought by the Spanish conquerors.

But Savoy has stressed that no gold has been found and he has refused to reveal the exact whereabouts of the site for fear of attracting thieves.

Warriors

The American explorer has, during more than 40 years of working in the region, found several other settlements built by the Chachapoyas, including the city of Gran Vilaya - a complex of 20,000 stone buildings that he believes was the capital of the Chachapoyas empire.

They were tall, fair-skinned warriors who were defeated in the 15th Century by the Incas, shortly before the Spanish conquest of Peru. The Incas so respected their fighting prowess that they used them as their bodyguards.

With the excitement of their discovery still fresh, the explorers are now beginning the methodical task of scraping away the thick jungle vegetation to reveal more details about the little-known Chachapoyas empire.

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11 May 00 | Americas
Inca Trail restricted
01 Jan 00 | Americas
Ancient Inca celebrations in Peru
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