Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Not only are the inhabitants of these regions full of mystery and superstition; the very
mountains and atmosphere seem to be filled with it.
I stopped for two days at some prehistoric ruins called Tilcara. They are situated on the
very peak of a high hill from where one has a marvellous view of the vast valley below. There
is no history attached to these ruins, but archaeologists have taken a keen interest in them.
It was no easy matter to find a man to accompany me to make a few excavations, people
here being very superstitious about the ruins and especially so about graves. Finally I found
a man who was willing to come with me, and it was obvious that he had been there before.
He was an expert at locating graves, which he did by stamping on the ground, and every now
and again boring down with a thin iron rod. I could not notice the difference in sound, but
here and there the man would stop to bore with the rod, and if he struck a hollow below the
surface he then used a spade to clear away the soft, sandy soil. Inthis manner we foundsever-
al graves, all having been built in the shape of old-fashioned beehives, but lined and covered
with stones. The dead had obviously been buried in a sitting position, much the same way as
is still customary to this day among certain South American Indian tribes. In some graves we
found pottery and stone implements and in all were well-preserved skeletons. What particu-
larly struck me about these was the strange shape of the skulls which appeared as if the fore-
which were usually placed over the faces of dead chieftains, several having been found by ex-
peditions which had previously made excavations in these ruins. In one grave, among pottery
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