The Western Lines

January 7, 2010

Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett

Filed under: Archaeology,Ralph Buttigieg — ralphbuttigieg @ 8:37 pm

This is just a wonderful story:

In 1925 the British explorer Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett plunged into the Amazon forest in search of a lost civilisation he had named the City of Z. He was never seen again.

Fawcett’s disappearance remains an enduring and intriguing mystery. A former spy and veteran of the Somme, he became convinced, based on a combination of serious research, intensive fieldwork, wishful thinking and clairvoyance, that the Amazon had once been the cradle of a mighty civilisation. He was widely dismissed as a crackpot.

Fawcett had a tremendous moustache on his stiff upper-lip, and a self-belief that was almost idolatrous. He was fearless and tough as teak, reciting Romantic poetry as he waded through the fly-infested Mato Grosso. He was slightly mad. But, astonishingly, he was also right.

Recent archaeological research, using satellite imagery and radar, has uncovered convincing proof of large pre-Columbian settlements in the very places where Fawcett searched and vanished: not merely houses, but moats, roads, bridges, avenues and squares laid out with geometric precision. ..

The latest discovery, reported in the journal Antiquity, has found more than 200 earthworks in the upper Amazon basin, some built in the 13th century but others dating back two centuries before Christ.

The discoveries not only vindicate Fawcett, one of the great doomed heroes of the age of exploration; they also suggest that the legend of El Dorado was based in reality. But more than that, the discovery of this lost civilisation, perhaps rivalling the Aztecs and Mayans, overturns attitudes towards the Amazon ingrained for centuries….

UPDATE: Brad Pitt is making a movie on the life of the explorer.

Advertisements

3 Comments »

  1. Fascinating article Ralph!!!

    Comment by Alex Michael Bonnici — January 9, 2010 @ 5:43 pm | Reply

  2. There is no getting away from it, the Fawcett story is fascinating. It's sad in a way that if the expedition returned safely without finding the Lost City of Z, Fawcett may have been forgotten, However, with their disappearance they have in a way, been immortalized, capturing the imagination of many as to what happened to them.The story, if handled correctly, will make a great film, let's hope Hollywood and Brad Pitt can bring it off.There is a new book about Colonel Fawcett that continues his journey to the Lost City. It is called Amazon Adventure. For those who are interested here is the link: http://www.fawcettadventure.com

    Comment by FD — January 24, 2010 @ 7:03 pm | Reply

  3. Hey thanks for the Amazon Adventure book link, just had a look and read the two advance chapters, seems like it will be a good book. At last we will get to travel to the Lost City. I can't wait.This Colonel Fawcett story is just a great adventure story and a mystery. What could have brought about their deaths? There are quite a few options to choose from.I have just ordered the book, Exploration Fawcett after reading the reviews on hammott's Fawcett web site. Looking forward to reading that as well.Added the link to my name so you can just click it to go to the Fawcett Adventure web site.Byr for now,Steve.

    Comment by Amazon Adventure — February 1, 2010 @ 7:41 pm | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: