Hunt for the Inca Ruins

Members of an expedition led by Lucho Tayori, a member of the indigenous tribe known as the Harakmbut, search for Incan ruins deep in the heart of the Peruvian amazon.

Members of an expedition led by Lucho Tayori, a member of the indigenous tribe known as the Harakmbut, search for Incan ruins deep in the heart of the Peruvian amazon. (Evan Wexler)

October 31, 2016

Deep in the Peruvian Amazon sits a region of land that’s the ancestral home of an indigenous tribe known as the Harakmbut. It’s lush. It’s verdant. And it’s thought to contain a massive amount of natural gas.

The fate of that land — and the people who have called it home for centuries — is the subject of Hunt for the Inca Ruins, FRONTLINE’s newest 360° documentary.

“It is said that Harakmbut culture is as old as the world,” Lucho Tayori, a member of the tribe, tells FRONTLINE. In fact, in 2002, the Peruvian government declared the Harakmbut’s ancestral land a protected reserve.

But in 2006, the government gave Texas-based Hunt Oil the rights to look for oil and gas there. In 2014, Hunt began drilling exploratory wells. The company’s plans depend on the land containing nothing of cultural or historical significance — so now, in a last-ditch effort to secure his people’s future, Tayori is searching for a rumored Incan house from the past.

If the Harakmbut can find the ruins, which elders say is located near the top of a mountain, Hunt — and now two other companies — may have to stop work in the reserve. But no one knows if the ruins exist — and if they do, Peru’s ministry of culture will have to deem them culturally significant in order to potentially stop oil and gas exploration.

From crossing rising rivers, to climbing up dense and dangerous terrain, Hunt for the Inca Ruins immerses viewers in Tayori’s high-stakes expedition. Will his team make the journey safely — and will they find proof that Incas once lived there?

Experience Hunt for the Inca Ruins now:

Patrice Taddonio

Patrice Taddonio, Digital Writer & Audience Development Strategist, FRONTLINE



In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.

blog comments powered by Disqus

More Stories

Mass Shootings, a Supreme Court Ruling, Bipartisan Legislation: How America Reached This Moment on Guns
FRONTLINE has been chronicling America’s dialogue on guns for years. Get the backstory on the recent news in these documentaries.
June 29, 2022
The Supreme Court Has Overturned 'Roe v. Wade.' These Documentaries Show How We Got Here.
Overriding nearly five decades of legal precedent, the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion in the U.S. These documentaries offer context on how America reached this moment.
June 24, 2022
Why the Black Educator Forced Out Over Bogus Critical Race Theory Claims Wanted to Share Her Story
ProPublica reporter Nicole Carr explains why educator Cecelia Lewis was hesitant to speak to reporters about white parents forcing her out of her job and why she ultimately decided she had to.
June 18, 2022
White Parents Rallied to Chase a Black Educator Out of Town. Then, They Followed Her to the Next One.
Cecelia Lewis was asked to apply for a Georgia school district’s first-ever administrator job devoted to diversity, equity and inclusion. A group of parents — coached by local and national anti-CRT groups — had other plans.
June 16, 2022