Document last update: Tuesday, September 29 2009Sunday, March 2 2008
The AKAKOR team for the Tiwanaku 2004 expedition, organized in the waters of lake Titicaca in the August of this year, was made up of 22 people from Italy (Lorenzo Epis, Emanuele Gaddi, Alessandro Anghileri, Stefano Castelli, Paolo Costa e Giovanni Confente), Brazil (Soraya Ayub, Wilson Miranda, Guy Collet, Otto Heitzmann, Mario Favareto, Jorge Maruo, Roberto Baracho, Sebastião Simões, Roberto Tavarez, José Scaleante e Calina Scaleante) and Bolívia (Eduardo Pareja, Wilson Perez, Ramiro Arispes, Javier Salas e Renan Ramirez).
The objective was to discover in the depths of the lake, through a series of extreme dives and the use of ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle), old artefacts from the Tiwanakotas civilization, a precursor to the Incas civilization.
We wanted to prove the "AKAKOR theory" which is briefly this: 6,000 years ago lake Titicaca was shallower and less extensive than nowadays. Land which is now covered by hundreds of meters of water was then dry and habitable.
The AKAKOR team had already discovered some proof of this in the 2000 expedition. The expectations were therefore very high for this new expedition and the results have exceeded our highest expectations, catapulting the team of divers and scientists onto the world stage. At 120 meters depth we discovered roads and containing walls (probably used for agricultural purposes), all of which go back to 6,000 years ago, as the subsequent analyses show.
Experts on the civilization of the Andes, who were previously sceptical of new discoveries, have had to alter their beliefs after undeniable proof of this theory was produced. The media from around the world have been interested in the news especially due to a particularly interesting discovery: the find of a gold idol about 35 kilos in weight. This statue opens up the possibility of the existence of a fabulous treasure a mitical pirate's dream.
According to the official historical version, the birthplace of the civilization precursor to the Incas would be the Isle of the Sun. AKAKOR has a theory however that between 5,000 and 8,000 years ago the lake Titicaca basin was much smaller and almost dry. The "Isla del Sole" was not an island at the time and, thanks to bathometrical measurements, the link to the land has been found at a depth of 75 meters. Everything has been methodically mapped out and now all we need to do is to find the real Isle of the Sun which would be under water.
CNN has followed the AKAKOR team for a documentary. The results, given their importance, have been exposed during a news conference immediately given in La Paz in the last days of August.
At Tiwanaku, on the occasion of the opening of a dig at the pyramid of Akapana, the AKAKOR team was received by the Bolivian President Dr. Carlos Mesa.
Building structures, containing walls, pavimentations, roads etc. have been found. A fantastic result. We have been working in Bolivia for 10 years and carried out expeditions and fact finding missions. In 2000 we had already identified structures and manmade artefacts at 0 to 30 meters depth. AKAKOR has come back with the necessary technology to work at 50 to 150 meters, a feat which was only matched by Jacques Costeau, who was the first to dive in the waters of Lake Titicaca in 1968 to the depth of 67 meters thanks to a mini submarine. There were great expectations on the part of the governments and other organizations who supported us. We had the help of the Bolivian Navy and the support of the indigenous people, who greeted us warmly because we respected their traditions, was also very precious to us. Lake Titicaca is viewed as a large sanctuary and some places are very revered by the local population.
During the scientific expedition Epis and Emanuele Gaddi, have gained a record for immersion in deep waters at high altitudes, with an immersion at a depth of 70 meters.
Some of the AKAKOR participants arrived by plane and others arrived in La Paz by truck, having left from Sao Paulo, travelling thousands of kilometers on dirt tracks to carry the necessary materials from Brazil to Bolivia. Having arrived after a very arduous journey, it was only the beginning for them. They had to acclimitize and build a base camp to guarantee the basic services such as security and first aid.
The divers executed 250 dives and worked 15 hours a day, at an altitude where the lack of appetite can be your worst enemy. Going under water at 4000 meters of altitude is not the same as doing it at sea level: it is much more complex and dangerous and 50 meters of depth is already and extreme goal. There were difficult moments, taking into account that lake Titicaca is very large. In some cases we had to travel 12 hours by boat from one immersion point to the next one and we were often forced to camp for days on islands in the middle of the lake. In bad weather the lake is like a sea during a storm but, notwithstanding all this, there has not been a single argument or any bad feeling among the participants, which proves both the courage and dedication of the AKAKOR staff.
The spiritual and religious aspects have given us some of the most intense moments during the expedition. Before immersion we had to participate in a religious rite conducted by the council of elders. They prayed all night to their gods for our safety. The AKAKOR staff would bring some local people on the boat with them to the diving site, where special prayers were recited before immersion.
The group discovered something incredible: for centuries the locals have told stories of the existence of a cave where there used to be human sacrifices carried out to the tune of 200 children in one day. Nobody knew where this was and some doubted the cave's existence. This cave was found together with the remains of the little children.
Underwater ruins from 6,000 years ago and a gold idol of some 35 kilos. The statue is an amazing artefact, but for the AKAKOR staff the real treasure was another: finally we have proof, after years of research, that our theory was right and the structures and artefacts which have been uncovered will determine new knowledge of the dawn of civilization in the Andes. This discovery elicits new explorations; the area of research was restricted to 20 square kilometers out of the possible 8,000, to avoid dispersion. A discovery which will rewrite the history of pre-Incas civilizations. The material gathered will be processed and analysed and the data will form the base for the new version of history.