Discovering the Inca Island in the Sky: Lost Cities with Albert Lin (Full Episode) – Video

Discovering the Inca Island in the Sky: Lost Cities with Albert Lin (Full Episode) – Video

In the full episode of “Inca Island in the Sky” on National Geographic’s series Lost Cities with Albert Lin, explorer Albert Lin takes viewers on a journey to Peru in search of civilizations that predated the Inca. As he uncovers the mysteries of Machu Picchu and the Inca Empire, he uses 21st-century technology to explore the ancient past and make groundbreaking discoveries. From scanning deserts to uncovering hidden worlds beneath the oceans, Lin’s adventure is a captivating mix of archaeology, breathtaking visuals, and genuine exploration. With the help of technology like lidar, Lin and his team are able to digitally strip away thick vegetation and razor-sharp cacti to reveal evidence of earlier civilizations. As they unravel the secrets of Machu Picchu and the Inca Empire, this full episode offers a fascinating look at the wonders of the ancient world. Don’t miss the chance to embark on this incredible journey with Albert Lin through the Lost Cities series on National Geographic.

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Video Transcript

Machu picu once a a vast ceremonial City perched high up in the Andes built in the mid-5th century it was the crowning Glory of a vast Inca Empire but its Origins they’re shrouded in mystery the Genies that led to the creation of this iconic City started

Somewhere where there is an end there is also a beginning and I intend to find It my name is Albert Lynn and I look at the world in a unique way I use 21st Century Technologies to look back into the past check that out I can actually fly through the secret ancient World lasers that scan deserts strip away dense jungle canopy and scour the oceans to uncover the

Hidden Worlds beneath we’re waiting into uncharted waters that’s what a real lost city looks like new discoveries in the most awe inspiring places on Earth that’s where pixels become reality that fill the gaps of our story who we are where we came from and the Wonders we can

Achieve here we are in the 13th century this is carved out of the earth huh this is the new Golden Age of Exploration we know their secrets Machu Picchu it’s up there with a Stonehenge with the Pyramids of Giza it’s an incredible feat of of engineering of design of imag this Royal City sits high above the sacred Valley of Peru South America the Inca believ that these mountains were Gods what we see here is the architecture of Power the signature of the Inca is vertical terracing wide openen plazas Grand temples and ceremonial doorways yeah it’s called a a double Jam Gateway more classic Inca now first you kind of take it for granted but then you look a little bit more in detail and you realize that the

Carving and the masonry is just unbelievable this is a separate Rock from this rock and yet they fit perfectly together you couldn’t fit even a razor blade between these two stones and this was shaped with stone tools this speaks to the Monumental effort and Genius of the Inca World it’s a masterpiece what I’m trying to get to in this journey is how much pacher came to be wasn’t a spark from nothing were those Mighty Inca Warriors are they standing on the shoulders of giants of earlier civilizations armed with 21st century technology I’m headed deep into the Andes to find Out hunting for the orig of Machu Picchu presents an immediate challenge it’s unclear what evidence I should be looking for before the Inca Peru was inhabited by smaller competing tribes maybe finding evidence of these people will point me in the right direction wow look at those mountains yeah it’s really really beautiful

Huh archaeologist Tom Hardy stud’s pre- Ina remains close to the town of rayaka 60 Mi southeast of Machu Picchu this is a KET Village uh yeah some of the older generation only speaks ketua it was the language of the Inca Empire really so when we hear people

Speaking we hear the words of the Inca yeah pretty Much H local Legend tells of an ancient site hidden on the hillside but for those who choose to explore it there’s also a Warning For mindful of respecting local traditions and beliefs we still head towards the hillside do you see these rocks in this little wall here yeah this might be prena preena yeah so so people have been using this road for thousands of years yeah should we go up let’s do

It we’re immediately confronted by thick vegetation with no obvious route up the hill maybe kind of a dead end here yeah I’m stuck here too damn it you’re right ah yeah that one that one really got me yeah maybe this isn’t the Right Way To Go’s

That oh there’s a whole skull oh yeah oh W you’re right wow looks like a leg bone there too look at that it looks like this person has been buried in a small cave in the rock face well this probably would have been placed here around 600 to 1,000 years

Ago that means that this grave has been sitting here looking across this view since before the Inca since before even Machu Picchu existed mhm wow do you think there’s more up there yeah probably the grave proves that the pre- Ina visited this hill but did they live up here it’s tough to

Imagine these spikes are like razor blades it’s good thing I have a impenetrable metal leg H I have a thorn right in my crutch I can’t move look at that one oh sh that that was right where you don’t want it to be okay maybe that’s not

Where we should go we’re not even a quarter of the way up mountain side it’s just so hard to get around and this is near vertical and there’s just thorns and cacti everywhere they’re tearing me up right now Village Elder Pasa talked of homes of ancient people but so far all we’ve

Discovered are small walls in a rock tomb and we’re struggling to get any further up the hillside time for my technology to cut through the cactus this is to Jo and Duncan do you copy we’re [Applause] here and there we go live feed look at

That so what we’re going to do right now is scan up along the whole top of the mountain and look for specific structures get a better sense of what we’re looking for and that’s a good idea also any older path that might allow us to access the top of the

Site we’re looking for any trace of pre- Inca buildings oh now look at that now that looks like a structure to me for sure yeah it looks like maybe two or three of these little structures in a row on the ridge line yeah right there right yeah

It looks like a little neighborhood on the side of a mountain it’s amazing maybe what you should do is map out the sections that we’re seeing the most anomalies and then fly the liar in a section grid yep it looks like the main target areas are right over on this

Edge of the of the ridg line we should be able to get a good set of material there hopefully from that the lighter data delete all these Thorns digitally it’s going to reveal stuff that you really can’t see just beneath the surface of all that growth some specific

Anomalies that we can go and try to ground Tru yeah cool I am genuinely excited to see what’s on that Hill we’ve discovered bones in a cave near rayaka but thick vegetation and razor sharp cacti prevent us from exploring the hillside further so we’re using lidar to strip away the vegetation digitally what I’m really trying to find is evidence of things that came before the Inca how does a place like Macha pachu

Appear we Blitz the site with everything we have so I think we’ve got plenty to show you from the basics what was collected so here we have the 3D model with the vegetation now let’s turn it off and then we’ll see what’s underneath Moment of

Truth look at that wow it looks like a whole city up there doesn’t it oh wow it really reveals so much look there’s more all over the top of this mountain there’s these little Fe features these Terraces it almost looks like a bunch of little buildings yeah some of them are probably

Terraces with buildings on top of them there’s definitely some bigger structures there so what I think we should do is we’re obviously going to have to ground treat all of this if we can get there uh but maybe follow these semi Trails on the way up and then

Try to bushwack into some of these other sites over here yeah right there yeah that might be a way up we returned to the Hillside and the intense undergrowth to look for actual evidence of anything pre- Ina it’s a good thing we have machetes this time yeah hope they help still pretty

Thick so we’re right here we’re going to make our way up the ridge over to the top see if we can find any of these anomalies but this part’s going to be a little sticky so careful here some of these rocks move a little bit you

Right I’m all right I just fell into a hole let’s go see if we can find these features over here yeah we got a lot of stuff in front of us yeah thought the jungles are bad this is way worse what are those Chulas these would have been houses for the Dead

Oh yeah look at that so these are tbes yeah check that out it’s a really well preserved one oh look at this anything in there no most of them are going to be empty at this point this one’s almost definitely preena this is preena how do you know these Chulas they

Start in a preena period around a th000 ad they built these circular ones small little spaces so this is actually almost like a village for the day Legend claims an ancient site is hidden on the hillside here’s our first evidence of prinka buildings would there been mummies in here yeah

Probably uh mummified ancestors often times they’re built with Platforms in front people could come they could bring the bodies out that’s why they open doors right so they can access them they would commune with the ancestors they’d feed them and drink with them death was not the end for people in the

Andes but it looks like there’s these rectangular much larger structures just that way yeah see if we can find those okay Cool can you see right there oh look at that a couple of structures here wow so we got that that square chopa there and we got this little guy and then we got the much bigger one over there yeah those are the things you pointed out so

That Chula I think is pre- Ina these Square structures and rectangular structures I think are Inca really yeah the Inca are building right next to the dead of those who came before oh wow all right let’s keep going okay man wow look at that there’s all those chopas right

There All Along The Ridge yeah one two three four five six seven they might even continue more this whole mountain is just chalked full of them we got the city of the dead and the ones up on the top of the ridge are all Inca they’re all square

Choas why would they build right next to the old troopas that came from a time before but not destroy them well destroying them isn’t the point point they’re trying to appropriate them they’re making a political statement with this sort of religious practice I I’m starting to understand the Inca came

They saw this place they saw people leaving their Mark here and they said we’re going to leave our Mark here as well but bigger and higher yeah pretty much they’re saying now our ancestors are here and they’re above yours we still respect yours but ours are more important the Inca were essentially

Saying we are here and this is ours now the Inca seem to have brought the ancestors of other tribes into their culture these tombs were here before the incor but they didn’t destroy them maybe they Incorporated them into their belief system we found the Dead now where were the Living the search for the origins of machupichu is complex we do know that religion was at the heart of Inca life so I’m investigating the roots of their belief system in pursuit of another clue I’m using a document from the Spanish Chronicles describing the cult of the wiota it’s a Creator God that

Dates actually even back before the time of the Inca it’s one of the earliest documents that we have describing what was happening here we the culta came to a province called katcha and the indigenous Community showed up armed ready to fight and when he saw that he punished them WEA instantly caused fire

To fall from Heaven my understanding of a lot of origin stories is that maybe they could have come from observations of events geological events natural events like for example a meteor falling from a sky so now I just need to look for something that might inspire a story of fire falling from the

Heavens okay let’s check this out this is the Earth from above from space satellite imagery now this is Macha picu right here so let’s look around the region what is that well that looks like a volcano to me look at that you see the crater and it looks like there’s stuff

Built all around It are these ancient so there’s a village somewhere around here that’s maybe part of this story perhaps the key to unlocking the origins of Machu Picchu rests in a belief system hidden amongst the lava flow Kin saata volcano last erupted only a few thousand years ago this is pmus volcanic rock I head for the summit with Peruvian archaeologist Amelia Perez truo we follow follow the flow of lava we’re meeting my lar team at the top I’m looking for evidence that this

Was a sacred site for people who are here before the Inca you guys ready to fly just about yet okay propop up these are all Troopers right here just over that edge there look at that these suggest that people were burying their ancestors close to a Godlike event You can imagine that when it erupted it must have sent Wonder oh just disbelief into the minds of the people all around it all the material went that way towards the city incredible the lava stretches for over a mile at its base is a small town called Raki these must be the man-made structures that I could see on the satellite imagery this whole area all of these were homes of people that existed hundreds of years before the Inca see and they built their homes next to a volcano amazing but pre- Inca pilgrims weren’t

The only ones to have left their Mark here wow it’s incredible amazing what was it for the Temple of we I have a document that I found from the Spanish Chronicles see it says when the incle ruler passed by this area he saw the shrine of

Vota the people told him the miracle of fire that fell from the sky he decided that the remembrance should be greater and ordered the erection of a a large building this was done and there was no larger building in the lands of the Inca kind of sends Shivers up your find

When you read something that was written you know in 1557 and you’re standing here looking at it still standing today there seems to be a pattern emerging the Inca incorporate aspects of earlier belief systems and make them there by building bigger and better this is architecture of power just like at Machu

Picchu it it seems like we are piecing together a detective story and it’s all adding up neither the pre- Ina city of the dead nor the city of worship look like Mau Picchu I’m headed to an incite that’s both older and higher in altitude than Machu

Picu perhaps there I’ll find a city of the Living oh it’s my cavalo hello we’re headed to that Peak at 13,000 ft of elevation it’s going to be a trek we’ve got a lot of gear the Inca buildings at wat are around 100 years older and at an altitude 5,000 ft higher than Machu Pichu Tom Hardy and Peruvian

Archaeologist Aran AR are joining me there’s horse poop everywhere lowtech transport empowers high-tech gear to help us reveal why the Inca built and ruled here [Applause] wat is more than twice the height of Mount Rushmore the air is thin and the going is tough we’re already at 11,600 FT of

Elevation we got a ways to [Applause] go a steep drop right off here About 1,000 ft from the top top imposing Inca walls Loom into view the structure feels [Applause] familiar look at this Place how could they build in such an intense environment you have to be born with super lungs well like I done when you’re uh when you’re born here and you’re raised here it’s easier to move around right uh I think it was easier for me the hardest part for him was waiting

For us oh wow what it means in the local language an Island an island yes an island in the sky really is a pretty impressive view from up here isn’t It huh look at this these look just like the double Jam doors they saw Machu Pichu yeah these are Inca symbols they demarcate very special important C places only specific people would have been allowed to come through here so the whole top of the mountains encircled by

A wall with these double jamm doors that means that it’s may be spiritual they’re definitely restricting access to this place amazing it’s a promising start to our Expedition NAA came put this wall up here they transformed the site made it into an Inca place so this was all here before the Inca even showed up part of it a lot of this is Inca construction on top of the earlier settlements we know from Machu picu and

The City of the Dead at rayaka that the Inca built high to assert their Authority and this place is high more than 1 and a half times higher than Machu Picchu look at this this at the top look at this view this is pretty impressive why would they build

Something like this this high up in the mountains well we have some ideas based on the relationship with the landscape I think people living here thought that they came from the mountains and the mountains was their ancestors but the mountains being the ancestors the actual Mountain being a being that humans were

Born from is that is that correct like a person it was their their father their ancestor their grandfather they become these objects of sacred veneration and respect not only to the Inca but to the people even before the Inc then probably yeah we’re standing here on a mountain

Top just like Machu Picchu was on a mountain top yet unlike Machu Picchu there might be evidence of activity here before the Inca so what if we take our technology and try to scan the entire Mountaintop really make every little piece of evidence of that existence pop back out

To life mhm I think we should try As the sun sets across water it’s easy to see why these mountains were once considered so Sacred It’s about 6:00 in the morning the sun just crested over the ridge there it’s providing us a lot of warmth that we need cold front hit us last night was brutal dropped about – 7° look everything’s frozen you’ve got hot water bottles warming up the batteries cuz they’re

Just too cold to work right now but there was no moon so the Stars last night unreal we’ve got a long day in front of us so we’re going to get a crack on it The mountain has been surveyed before but this will be the first time it’s ever been scanned using lar we hope to uncover new finds both Inca and pre- Ina how does this look for a base to set up precarious yeah let’s just be really careful about the edge

Here it’s certainly good for ligher I mean look at the view off there you’re looking straight down onto on to rock out crops and mace bits of masonry already look at those edges it just falls off into nothingness huh it’s going to have to be so careful with the

Flights and stuff we have never used our drone-based liar at an altitude of 13,000 ft before and you get thin air up here too right so it’s trickier flying super tricky I mean we’ve got the High Altitude props on there which help but still if you lose a drone it’s a sheer drop

Hopefully with this survey we can delete all of that grass and see what’s really there what’s hidden beneath that baale head Up Our drone survives the extreme altitude and data processing gets underway as Darkness Falls on wat the result Sals are in so this is um all of the aerial idar combined this is with the vegetation on so this is the point Cloud as captured basically yeah then let’s delete it

Ready wow look at that yeah wow it’s impress Inc it looks like the whole range has been carved that’s really cool the lar reveals signature Inca terracing this area here you think is mostly augmented by the Inca is that right yeah so in the most simple terms what are we looking for feature-wise

That might be from before the Inca the most basic signature that we would be looking for would be the foundations of circular structures MH and and these these could appear quite obviously but they also could be a little more sort of destroyed or moved around by vegetation growing through the

Stones you need we can actually use the machine learning and computer vision algorithm to look for circular features yeah definitely we can um highlight the features based on a few different elements how long will that take I should be have to spin something up for unit right now I knew you

Would look at that there we go what was that that could be one of them yeah looks like it’s on a bit of a Terrace does that look to you like something pre- inco yeah I think so I didn’t see any of this today I couldn’t have seen any of these features

From walking the the ground so if you can spot out any details that might look possibly pre- Inca then we should go there tomorrow we’ll just geotag them and we’ll go there with the GPS and find all of them I think it helped us a lot to archaeologist to find where the

Structures are great work good job guys The first ever lar survey of wat has revealed intriguing features and they need ground truthing and it should be right somewhere over here on this Edge I think I can see some Stones there it’s hard to tell yeah right there you see the Rocks yeah right up ahead it’s got to be it

We’re searching for the circular structures revealed by the lar there’s bits of pottery everywhere look at this it seems to be a snake wow that’s not an Anor thing probably what about 1100 to 1300 ad somewhere in between there pre- inap potery mhm that’s a good sign incredible

And it’s just lying here right in the dirt well that’s why Ceramics are so useful for us they’re the Plastics of the ancient world they last forever well that one fits that one fits there you go yeah I’m guessing that would have been maybe the neck of like a

Really big vessel but it snake it’s hard to say a pre- Inca snake looking back at us maybe thousand years after it was used unbelievable okay let’s keep going the lar results seem to be taking us in the right direction is it circular yes wow look at

This it could be pra but we need to look well what we’re trying to find is anything that tells us what happened here what would have been before it’s like a well or something or storage it could be storage I on you’re like the Ceramics Whisperer you find

Stuff everywhere do you think you can find okay what looks like there’s bits of ceramic all right back down there that is so oh here we go looking at the fabric and looking how eroded and soft it is um um I would guess it must be pre- Inca because the Inca stuff is

Really well fired it’s really hard it endures very well well let’s see if we can find more there’s more points on the on the data yeah let’s do it we zero in on a large Terrace area oh this looks like one of the circular pits yeah this is probably an opening so this

Could have been an entry point here and it would have built up above it look at that right there what’s that is that a piece of pottery it’s of a cooking pot like the burnt up banged up metal pot you find in your mom’s house yeah wow some food was

Cooked here you can almost smell it when do you think it came from uh I think it could be before the Inca this is pre- Ina this is pre- Ina yeah I think it was a house for a family really mhm so could this be the residential

Area for this entire site this certainly suggests that might be the case for the pre-ink period just on the other side of what looks like a plaza are some Square buildings that appear to have been built later look at this so this is Inca yes definitely you could literally set up shop

Anywhere why would they build this here right on top of the prior before the Inc it was a public place public space the Inc came and interact with the pr Ina well the Ina would have been hosting people here bringing in people to make them feel part of the

Community with food and drink suggesting this area was an important place for those sorts of events going all the way back to the very beginnings of the cyc so the Inca came here they saw people living here and somehow they decided this is where they needed to

Establish their own world MH I imagine that people would be sitting around this Plaza and maybe a group of people were dancing in the middle this would have helped create these Community bonds but also bonds of hierarchy and reciprocity then in return we will help you build your Empire and operate as

People as part of the Inca State it’s as if the Inca they came they saw people living here and they Incorporated their beliefs but in a much larger scale and they completely modified the top of this mountain so when they were building Machu Picchu they would have known about

This place yeah a lot of the things we see here the way that the the mountain side is completely terorist all of that is very similar to what we see at Machu Picchu it’s not like they were practicing here but by the time they got to Machu Picchu they worked out how to

Do it well wow well now that the Sun is setting what do they call the sun in thank you in for an incredible Day there’s a belief system that I’ve learned that threads through time here I believe that people come from the mountains people come from nature Through time that belief has evolved into the architecture that you see today here at wada it’s an island in the Sky for the first time lar data reveals the complete picture of the Monumental scale of wat and the efforts of human hands that carved this mountain once a pre-inca ancient Mountaintop Town imagine this transformed by the Inca imposing residential areas ceremonial plazas and Grand terracing

This is the city of the living I have been searching for there’s been layer upon layer of experimentation a prototype for what you’d see later cuz just over the mountain on the other side of that white cab is actually an infusion of ideas and beliefs through generations and through civilizations my NAU Pichu

Video “Inca Island in the Sky (Full Episode) | Lost Cities with Albert Lin” was uploaded on 02/17/2024. Watch all the latest Videos by National Geographic on Gretopia