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summit Satellite Dispatch 9/13/96
Artifacts Found on Top!
Written and Photographed By Liesl Clark

As if an offering had been made to us by the mountain, several female-shawl pins have been found on Sara Sara's summit. They are strewn on the surface, most likely revealed by the melting snow. "This is a sure sign that Sara Sara was a significant ritual site for the Inca," says Reinhard. "There is now little doubt in my mind that sacrificial mummies are buried here." It has been 13 years since Johan Reinhard climbed Sara Sara and found evidence of Inca sacrifices up here. Now, having returned with a full archaeological team, he hopes to uncover the mysteries buried on this high peak.

summit Summit Camp is Established
After a 3,000 foot vertical ascent from Base Camp, Johan Reinhard, Jose Antonio Chavez, and their archaeological team have established the high summit camp on Sara Sara. Just 30 minutes' walk from the sacrificial Inca platforms where the excavation will begin, the camp sits on rock rubble just out of the wind. BBC/NOVA cameraman Edgar Boyles "it's always astounding arriving at a summit to see the incredible expanse before you and to look out hundreds of miles in all directions. I can see some storm clouds and lightning off to the east. Trying to imagine the idea of an Inca ceremonial procession ariving at this place some 500 years ago is mind boggling. This is certainly one of the truly sacred places on earth. Boyles is a veteran climber, but even so the danger is always there. Says Boyles, "I brought a Tibetan prayer flag to fly from the summit pinnacle in memory of a climbing cameraman, Jonathan Wright, who was killed some years before, on another sacred mountain."

summit The summit is covered with snow and the sacred sites will have to be dug out before the excavation begins. As loads continue to be carried up from Base Camp to supply the summit camp, Johan and Jose Antonio begin plotting out the excavation plan.

Read all about the process of high altitude archaeology and learn more about the shawl pins when we receive our next satellite transmission from the summit of Sara Sara!

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