NEWS & EXPEDITIONS
TAYOS ART & SCIENCE EXPEDITION AUGUST 2018
An expedition exploring the Cueva de los Tayos; a vast and extraordinary cave system in the south-eastern rainforests of Ecuador through visual art, music, photography and literature. Alongside the work of scientists and cave cartographers, Tayos aims to explore the geological, ecological, cultural, historical & phenomenological landscape of the caves and galvanise the call for their protection as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
THE LEGEND OF TAYOS FEATURED IN EXPEDITION UNKNOWN
The Tayos Treasure Legend has been featured in the fourth season of the Travel Channel's most popular show 'Expedition Unknown'. Joh Gates was joined by Eileen Hall (daughter of Stan Hall), archaeologist Florencio Delgado and geologist/vulcanologist Theo Toulkeridis to investigate the watery depths of Tayos Cave for a legendary set of metal and crystal plates believed to be created by an advanced ancient civilization.
EPISODE AIRS JANUARY 31 2018 IN THE US
The Caves and their Explorers
Cueva de los Tayos form part of the territory of the native Shuar tribe, who have long used the caves for collection of the fledgling Tayos birds which give the caves their name. This remote, beautiful and fragile landscape stretches almost five kilometres long and has been the subject of intense research, exploration, speculation and myth-making since the 1970s when Erich von Däniken first published his book ‘The Gold of the Gods’. Von Däniken’s claims that explorer János Juan Móricz had discovered unusual sculptures and a ‘gold library’ within apparently artificially carved passages, sensationalised the caves and planted the Cueva de los Tayos in the minds of many readers across the world as a site of mystery, conspiracy and power.
One such reader was Stan Hall; a Scottish civil engineer, who, inspired by Von Däniken’s claims, left his engineering job on the east coast of Scotland and in 1976 set about mounting the first major scientific expedition to Cueva de los Tayos.
One of the largest cave expeditions of its time, the 1976 expedition involved over 100 people including Ecuadorean and British government officials, joint special forces, and top scientists and speleologists of the time alongside astronaut Neil Armstrong who took the role of Honorary President of the expedition. A team of experienced cavers were employed in mapping the extensive network of passages and chambers and various zoological, botanical and archaeological findings were recorded. Of Von Däniken’s gold library no evidence was discovered.
Since then numerous research expeditions have taken place to the caves most recently in August 2017, with the next research expedition proposed for August 2018 in tandem with the Tayos creative expedition. The caves continue to reveal on each visit the exceptional nature of the subterranean landscape, its formation and the plants and animals that reside within it.
PROTECTING THE CAVES
There is now a growing campaign being made to designate Cueva de los Tayos as a UNESCO World Heritage site: assisting the Shuar in their guardianship of the caves and galvanising the recording and management of the cave’s cultural, ecological, geological and biological contex. The campaign for UNESCO designation is spear-headed by Dr Theo Toulkeridis: geologist, volcanologist & Coordinator of Geosciences at ESPE University Quito.
TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE PROTECTION OF THE CAVES VISIT WWW.TAYOS.ORG
Whether you are an individual or a company your support for the Tayos project will make a big difference. Help take the team to Tayos and aid us in our mission to raise awareness of this beautiful and fragile environment. 100% of your donations go to funding expedition expenses for the Tayos team and delivering the creative work to be produced as part of the UNESCO World Heritage bid in 2020. We are deeply grateful for your support in helping us to raise awareness of the Cueva de los Tayos and galvanising the call for their protection.