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some of the first white men the tribe had ever encountered. The book’s greatest revelation, however, is that a monumental civilization did actually once exist close to where Fawcett was looking. Its remains, however, which were occupied between 800 and 1600 AD, are not stone but rather earthen. Consisting of massive causeways, ditches and platforms, they are in the process of being revealed by archaeologist Michael Heckenberger, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Florida. Far from being a ‘counterfeit paradise’, as had long been claimed, the Amazon rain forest once supported civilizations as complex and populous as those of the Inca and the Maya. This explains the great cities reported by the Spanish conquistadors in their relentless search for El Dorado but which were swallowed up by the forest once their inhabitants had succumbed to European disease. Colonel Fawcett’s lost city of ‘Z’ it seems had been there all along.
respected writer for The New Yorker , Grann reports that the Kalapalo still recall Fawcett in their oral history since the Colonel and his companions were
wonder that the missing expedition was never located since the rescue parties had been looking for Dead Horse Camp in the wrong place. Perhaps Fawcett had in fact found exactly what he was looking for and was just waiting for a chance to get word back to his family? Cynics might say that such revelations provided publicity for Williams, who at the time was promoting a play he had written about Fawcett called AmaZonia . But in yet another twist to the tale, a documentary team pursuing the Fawcett trail subsequently tracked down the explorer’s granddaughter, Rolette de Montet-Guerin. She confirmed the coordinates’ cover-up and gave her blessing for the team to pursue the correct ones. Armed with Fawcett’s signet ring, which had mysteriously turned up in a Brazilian market, they finally identified the real Dead Horse Camp but little more. The result is an engaging piece of documentary film making entitled Lost in the Amazon , which has been screened on PBS as part of the Emmy Award- nominated Secrets of the Dead series. In 2009 Fawcett fever returned one more time with the publication of The Lost City of Z by David Grann. A
...a documentary team tracked down t he explorer’s granddaughter, Rolette de Montet-Guerin. She confirmed the coordinates’ cover-up ...armed with Fawcett’s signet ring, which had mysteriously turned up in a Brazilian market, they finally identified the real Dead Horse Camp
Scotland’s Castle Corridor | Geneva: In the footsteps of the Reformation Museum Focus: Jinsha Site Museum, Chengdu | Mexico: Undiscovered Chacchoben Melbourne: The place to be | Eindhoven: Home of Dutch Design Florence: The art of perfume making | Intrepid Traveller: Percy Fawcett & the lost city of Z Interview: Derry Moore, 12th Earl of Drogheda | Traveller’s Tale: Mary Taylor Simeti Northern Portugal: Top 5 historic vineyards | TT Loves: Elgiz Museum, Istanbul Book reviews | Latest archaeological and arts news and exhibitions
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Above: The Mato Grosso in Brazil Left: Rolette de Montet-Guerin wearing Colonel Fawcett’s signet ring
Timeless Travels • Autumn 2017
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