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)

Hunt for the Inca Ruins

October 31, 2016
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by Patrice Taddonio Assistant Director of Audience Development

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:

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