KANAB, Kane County – For 100 years, locals have believed Montezuma’s treasure lies at the end of a tunnel below Three Lakes pond in Kanab, Utah. Now, filmmakers hope to discover just what is there.
Producer Mike Wiest along with landowner Lon Child and a crew of filmmakers are setting out to tell the story of Three Lakes, Montezuma and the treasure hunters whose attempts of recovering the gold have been foiled.
The pond that lies along U.S. 89 is the site of Montezuma’s lost treasure that could be worth more than $3 billion, according to local legend. Though some details vary, locals believe Aztecs dug the Three Lakes pond to cover the treasure’s cavernous hiding place in a water trap on the west side of the pond. Once dug, they could divert a river to the pond, fill it up and walk away from an ordinary looking pond with a valuable secret.
While it sounds far-fetched, the story has circulated throughout Southern Utah since 1914, when Freddy Crystal showed up with a map he claimed showed the treasure’s location. It wasn’t until the 1920s, when he found a series of sealed tunnels in nearby Johnson’s Canyon that people started believing him and joining his unsuccessful hunt for the gold.
In 1989, Brandt Child, a Kanab resident, bought the pond and surrounding area. He said he knew the clues in Johnson Canyon were decoys, and the real treasure lay in a water trap 36 feet below the pond’s waterline, indicated a symbol on the cliff above the cave. Multiple efforts to dive into the caves were ended after divers said they became disoriented and saw the ghosts of Aztec guardians, but they were able to detect metal at the end of the tunnel.
Child’s next move was to drain the pond. His plans were halted, however, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service put the amber snail on the endangered species list in 1992. The small creature is so rare, its only known habitat is Three Lakes pond, and each one killed can incur a $50,000 fine.
"I can't do anything to my own property that might disturb those snails," Child told Deseret News at the time. "It doesn't look like anyone will get the gold."
The pond is surrounded by mystery, which is what Jubal Productions hopes to uncover.
“No one’s gone there yet. We’re only talking 140 feet away from shore,” Wiest said. “It’s so close, yet no one’s gotten there and no one’s ever documented it.”
Wiest has been interested in the property since he was 12 years old and his father mentioned the pond was haunted. He didn’t learn more until a few years ago, when his friends told him about Three Lakes’ history.
“We think more importantly than finding if there’s in fact treasure there, it’s knowing why it’s there, who put it there, who it was being hidden from and who was it intended for,” Wiest said. “We’ve actually read several books on Montezuma and Cortez and the conquering of Central America and the wars that were fought there and the reasoning for the gold to be gathered and taken and hidden. It’s been fascinating.”
Now, the production team is raising funds to send remote operated vehicles, particularly submarines carrying lights and cameras, into the cave. The ROVs are well-situated to high water pressure and immune to human fears of the supernatural that have impaired scuba divers in the past, Wiest said.
“The property has such a rich legacy as far as the stories and hearsay goes, that I think anybody at this point that knows of it and is certified to put on the scuba gear and go down there, they’re already going to have that preconceived notion that people have seen something down there,” he said. “It makes it that much easier for them to interpret that in their mind or to see something. I think bringing in the robots eliminates that unnecessary variable.”
The ROVs would also be better able to avoid smashing any of the small snails.
They intend to use their footage in a documentary about Montezuma’s treasure, its hiding place and protectors. The crew believes there is something down there, and something is protecting it, whether it’s supernatural or explained away by science.
Wiest said he isn’t ready yet to discredit the supernatural as an explanation for the strange occurrences surrounding the cave. He said he wants to go into the filming with an open mind and is even ready to send in a scuba diving exorcist, if necessary.
“Nothing is too far fetched at this point only because, at this point, we can’t afford to discredit anything,” Wiest said.
If the submarines do find anything, Wiest said, they likely wouldn’t remove it from the cave. Lon Child, one of Brandt Child's 10 children the land was parceled out to, has expressed that it belongs down there.
“I’m most excited to actually get a camera and film something that’s never been filmed ever in the history of mankind, that’s never been seen and recorded., Wiest said. "I’m thrilled to get some footage, as poor as the footage may be. I’m just thrilled to get something. At the end of the day, we’re just storytellers. Hopefully this will be a good story.”
ARCHAEOLOGISTS have made a gruesome discovery fit for a horror thriller: 16 severed hands buried in and around an ancient Egyptian palace.
But don't blame the Pharaohs, or their mummies.
A team of archaeologists unearthed the 3600 year-old bones of 16 severed hands from four pits within what is believed to be a royal Hyksos compound.
They are all right hands. And they are all large.
Austrian archaeologist Manfred Bietak, who is leading the excavations in the ancient city of Avaris, told the journal Egyptian Archaeology that the severed hands appeared to be the first evidence to support tales in ancient Egyptian writings and art of soldiers cutting off right hands and claiming a bounty of gold.
Cutting off the hand was a symbolic means of removing an enemy's strength
"You deprive him of his power eternally," Bietak said.
"Our evidence is the earliest evidence and the only physical evidence at all. Each pit represents a ceremony."
Two of the pits - containing one hand each - are positioned in front of a throne room built in a part of Egypt that was once controlled by an invading people believed to have come from Canaan.
The remainder, probably buried at a later date, are in the palace's outer grounds.
The archaeological expedition at Tell el-Daba is being conducted by the Austrian Archaeological Institute and the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
Why would an ancient Thracian people, the Getae, bury – 2,500 years ago – a chariot complete with horses standing upright?
The discovery near the northern Bulgarian village of Svestari, has marveled the archeological team that made it.
It is the oldest such find in the region.
It is evidence of the lavish funeral rites afforded high status Thracians entering the after-life.
Diana Gergova is head of the Bulgarian Archeological team says, “the chariot dates back to the last decades of the fourth century BC, when the Getae dynasty was at its peak and when all these amazing complexes of mounds were built to accommodate burials of several Getae rulers.”
According to archaeologists, this find is not just the first chariot of its kind found anywhere, but also the earliest carriage ever found in Bulgaria.
Archeologists have been taking to the deep close to the ancient sea port of Aenona, off the Croatian coast, to explore three ancient sunken ships.
They have found around 500 fragments, dating from the 9th Century BC that give a unique insight into the local Illyrian people and Liburnians.
The team is most excited by ancient olives and to see if the Liburnians ate the same food as we do.
Translation of recently unearthed hieroglyphic stairs on an ancient Maya pyramid in Guatemala provides dramatic evidence that two great Maya city-states and their allies were locked in a brutal superpower struggle that may have set the stage for the later collapse of the classic Maya civilization.
The newly translated stone hieroglyphs - complete with references to piles of skulls and flowing blood - were partially exposed last summer during a hurricane at the site known as Dos Pilas, deep in the Guatemalan rain forest. "The hundreds of new glyphs fill in a vital 60-year gap of unknown Maya history and clarify many of the political and military relationships of this critical period," says Federico Fahsen, a noted Maya epigrapher and adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University.
Fahsen directed the team that uncovered, catalogued and deciphered the inscriptions, an effort supported by the National Geographic Society, Vanderbilt University, the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies and Guatemala's Ministry of Culture.
The 18-step hieroglyphic staircase, of which only eight steps were previously known, supports the theory that the Maya world in the seventh century was divided into two superpower blocs — one under the control of the city-state Tikal and the other dominated by Calakmul. Tikal, then known as Mutul, was located in what is, today, northern Guatemala, and Calakmul was about 60 miles further north, in Mexico.
The discovery of the glyphs is reported in the October 2002 issue of National Geographic magazine. The glyphs, —among the largest texts ever discovered— detail how Calakmul, known as the "snake kingdom," was involved in the wars that occurred in this part of the ancient Maya world. Previously, scholars working in the region viewed the conflict between Dos Pilas and Tikal as primarily a dynastic quarrel between two brothers. This theory was in accordance with the more traditional interpretation of the Maya states in this region as independent regional powers. The glyphs, however, reveal a very different story.
Written on the staircase is the actual history of Dos Pilas. It begins on the central section of the pyramid's stairway with the birth of a king, Balaj Chan K'awiil, on Oct. 15, 625, and the establishment of Dos Pilas as a military outpost by the great city of Tikal, about 70 miles to the northeast, in 629. Dos Pilas was important to Tikal for its proximity to the middle stretch of the Pasión River, the superhighway of the Maya world. A stronghold in Dos Pilas allowed Tikal to exert control over this major trade route between the highlands and lowlands for coveted items such as jade, obsidian, quetzal feathers, and shells from the Caribbean.
As told by the glyphs, Balaj Chan K'awiil was installed as ruler of Dos Pilas by Tikal at the age of four. "Balaj Chan K'awiil became a very big warrior," says Fahsen. "He almost never stopped fighting and for many years was loyal to Tikal." According to the translations, the central section of the steps also tells the ceremonies that the young man went through, always as a friend of his brother, the ruler of Tikal, not
as an enemy as previously believed.
Then, when the king was in his early 20s, Calakmul attacked and defeated Dos Pilas. After capturing Balaj Chan K'awiil, Calakmul put him back on the Dos Pilas throne as a "puppet king" who was allowed to keep his land in exchange for allegiance.
The degree of involvement of Calakmul came as a surprise to Fahsen. "When I read those glyphs, I had to blink to make sure I was reading it correctly," he says. "I had never heard of Calakmul actually invading and defeating the king of Dos Pilas. We thought that, at most, they may have had a weak alliance of some type."
The record continues to describe how Balaj Chan K'awiil, now loyal to Calakmul, launched a decadelong war against Tikal that ended in his victory. His forces sacked Tikal and brought its ruler — his own brother — and other Tikal nobles to Dos Pilas to be sacrificed. "This west section of the steps was very graphic," says Fahsen. "It says, 'blood was pooled and the skulls of the thirteen peoples of the Tikal place were piled up.' The final glyphs describe the king of Dos Pilas 'doing a victory dance,'" he adds. Following the victory over Tikal, Dos Pilas embarked on a campaign of conquest with Calakmul's backing and became a major regional power.
"Rather than being an independent actor as previously thought, it now appears that Dos Pilas was a pawn in a much bigger battle," says Arthur Demarest, Ingram Professor of Anthropology at Vanderbilt University, which helped sponsor the effort at Dos Pilas. "In today's terms, Dos Pilas was the Somalia or Vietnam of the Maya world, used in a war that was actually between two superpowers."
Fahsen and Demarest contend that the newly translated account supports the theory advanced by two Maya scholars — Simon Martin of University College, London, and Nikolai Grube of the University of Bonn — that this period in Maya history was a 'long world war' between the Tikal and Calakmul superpowers. Although Maya scholars had earlier characterized the recorded conflicts between different Maya city-states as regional and unrelated, the new evidence from Dos Pilas "supports the more extreme versions of Martin and Grube's vision," says Demarest, who previously viewed their theory skeptically.
After evaluating the new material, Demarest now conceives of this period as a time when the Maya civilization was on the verge of moving to a higher level of organization and consolidating into a single empire. "However, this didn't happen. Instead, the giant war went back and forth. After Tikal was sacked, it eventually roared back and crushed Calakmul. And then the Maya world just broke up into regional powers, setting the stage for a period of intensive, petty warfare that finally led to the collapse of the Maya," says Demarest. By 760, Dos Pilas was abandoned.
Gunnison’s Tenderfoot Mountain holds an archeological site representing one of the oldest structures ever recorded in North America, and now a Cultural Resource Management Plan will help ensure its protection.
A group that includes representatives from Western State Colorado University, archeologists, local TV and radio stations and telecommunications companies reached an agreement this month to preserve the archeological site while also preserving access for organizations that maintain equipment on the site.
“The significance here is that the site represents one of the oldest structures ever recorded in North America,” Thomas Carr, staff archeologist in the Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation with History Colorado, said.
Archeologists, led by Western State Colorado University professor Dr. Mark Stiger, have uncovered the remains of eight structures buried just beneath the surface of Tenderfoot Mountain’s summit.
“Sites like this need to be protected, and they’re not always well understood,” Carr said. Many of the uncovered artifacts were located just centimeters beneath the surface, meaning they are vulnerable to being disturbed or broken. “There’s so much more to learn; only a fraction of it is excavated,” Carr said.
The property, owned by the state of Colorado, managed by Western State Colorado University and closed to the general public, comprises a cultural resource that archeologists refer to as the “Mountaineer Site.” Researchers from Western and elsewhere continue to uncover information and artifacts related to life during the Folsom period at the site.
During the summer, representatives from Western, telecommunications firms, radio stations and the state archeologist met to create a Cultural Resource Management Plan to protect the Mountaineer Site. The plan will restrict access by telecommunications firms to designated roads and parking areas.
Along with Federal Communications Commission and other regulatory agencies, the plan sets guidelines for how to gate roads to the property, how to approve tower construction and maintenance and how the university should lease property for telecommunications and radio towers.
The state approved the plan last week.
“This type of cooperation is commendable and will ensure that Tenderfoot Mountain will continue to be a place of archeological discovery for years to come,” Brad Baba, Western State Colorado University interim president, said.
“The Cultural Resource Management Plan is a great example of best practices for maintaining sites of historic cultural importance,” Carr said
Western State Colorado University provides scheduled tours of the site during the summer months. For information on upcoming opportunities to visit the Mountaineer Site, look for announcements on western.edu.
The Wari, a complex civilization that preceded the Inca empire in pre-Columbia America, didn't rule solely by pillage, plunder and iron-fisted bureaucracy, a Dartmouth study finds. Instead, they started out by creating loosely administered colonies to expand trade, provide land for settlers and tap natural resources across much of the central Andes.
The results, which appear in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, shed new light on how early states evolved into empires in the region that became the Inca imperial heartland.
The study is the first large-scale look at the settlement patterns and power of the Wari civilization, which flourished from about AD 600-1000 in the Andean highlands, well before the Inca empire's 15th century rise. Relatively little is known about the Wari -- there are no historical documents and archaeologists are still debating their power and statecraft. Many scholars think the Wari established strong centralized control -- economic, political, cultural and military -- like their Inca successors to govern the majority of the far-flung populations living across the central Andes. But the Dartmouth study suggests that while the Wari had significant administrative power, they did not successfully transition most colonies into directly ruled provinces.
"The identification of limited Wari state power encourages a focus on colonization practices rather than an interpretation of strong provincial rule," says Professor Alan Covey, the study's lead author. "A 'colonization first' interpretation of early Wari expansion encourages the reconsideration of motivations for expansion, shifting from military conquest and economic exploitation of subject populations to issues such as demographic relief and strategic expansion of trade routes or natural resource access."
The results are based on a systematic inventory of archaeological surveys covering nearly 1,000 square miles and GIS analysis of more than 3,000 archaeological sites in and around Peru's Cusco Valley. The data indicate Wari power did not emanate continuously outward from Pikillacta, a key administrative center whose construction required a huge investment. Instead, the locations of Wari ceramics indicate a more uneven, indirect and limited influence even at the height of their power than traditional interpretations from excavations at Wari sites.
On Christmas Day last year, Kathryn Bard got an unusual gift.
Working with her colleagues to remove sand from a hillside along Egypt's Red Sea coast, the Boston University archaeologist poked through a small opening that had appeared and felt . . . nothing. She had reached into the entrance to a human-made cave in which sailors stored their gear as many as 4,000 years ago.
Two days later, Bard's team found a larger cave nearby. The same ancient seafarers used this one, she and her colleagues surmised, as a temple or shrine.
These and other discoveries at what was once a port known as Mersa Gawasis offer an unprecedented look at the earliest known sea expeditions conducted for pharaohs. Egyptian archaeologist Abdel Monem Sayed first explored this site 30 years ago, but he didn't report any signs of chambers.
"We know of no other Egyptian ports from this time," Bard says. "Finding these mariners' caves was a big surprise."
Classical Greek and Roman literature is being read for the first time in 2,000 years thanks to new technology. The previously illegible texts are among a hoard of papyrus manuscripts. Scholars say the rediscovered writings will provide a fascinating new window into the ancient world.
Salvaged from an ancient garbage dump in Egypt, the collection is kept at Oxford University in England. Known as the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, the collection includes writings by great classical Greek authors such as Homer, Sophocles, and Euripides.
Using a technique called multi-spectral imaging, researchers have uncovered texts that include
parts of a lost tragedy by Sophocles, the 5th-century B.C. Athenian playwright;
sections of a long-vanished novel by Lucian, the second-century Greek writer; and
an epic poem by Archilochos, which describes events that led to the Trojan War.
Christopher Pelling, regius professor of Greek at Oxford University, said the works are "central texts which scholars have been speculating about for centuries."
A joint Peruvian-Polish team have examined a previously unexcavated building in the well-preserved Inca retreat of Machu Picchu and found that the structure is astronomically aligned according to Prof. Mariusz Ziółkowski, Head of Pre-Columbian Research Centre at the University of Warsaw.
The team used 3D laser scanners to fully model and survey the building, named “El Mirador” (the vantage point), so as to get precise locations and alignments.
“Despite the difficult terrain we managed to perform 3D laser scans, which we then used to prepare a precise model of this amazing complex.” said Prof. Ziółkowski. Results of preliminary analysis indicate that it is a device used probably by a small group of Inca priests astronomers for precise observations of the position of celestial bodies on the horizon, against the distinctive Yanantin mountain peaks.
The Inca were well-known as astronomers who took careful note of the movements of the heavens in order to plan their agricultural and religious calendars.
The Polish researchers who have been working at Machu Picchu since 2008, have been focusing on the site’s archaeoastronomical significance. They presented their findings at the International Conference of the Societe Europeenne pour l’ Astronomie dans la Culture in Athens in September 2013.
El Mirador, was constructed of well made blocks of stone and was identified in an inaccessible part of the National Park of Machu Picchu by the park director, anthropologist Fernando Astete Victoria, during the prospective – inventory work conducted on the slopes of Mount Huayna Picchu. He then invited the Polish team to work with the Peruvian team to further investigate the site with the latest technology and so reveal a new alignment pattern unlike the Inca ceremonial complexes with south or west-oriented solstice.
Previous research by the Polish team had demonstrated Intimachay at Machu Picchu was an astronomical observatory far more complex and precise than it has been previously realised.