Cueva de los Tayos unspoiled by legends as guardians stand watch

Cueva de los Tayos Ecuador

“La Chimenea,” one entrance to the Cueva de los Tayos in Ecuador. (MezzoforteF / Wikimedia Commons)

MYSTERY WIRE — Rumors of the “metallic library” of a lost ancient civilization has built up the lore surrounding a vast cave system in Ecuador, as well as the indigenous Shuar people who are the cave’s guardians.

Whether those legends were embellished or completely fabricated, the Shuar stand watch over the caves to this day. In addition to preserving their center for spiritual and ceremonial practices, the Shuar are also protecting a favorite hunting ground.

Among the creatures that make the cave home are nocturnal oilbirds known as tayos. Atlas Obscura documents the special place:

READ: Ecuador’s Cueva de los Tayos

The relatively quiet lives of the Shuar haven’t been the same since the publication of “Chariots of the Gods?” (1968) and “The Gold of the Gods” (1972) by Swiss author Erich von Daniken. But the cave remains at the center of its guardians’ lives more than 40 years after a massive expedition to study the caverns in the foothills of the Andes.

More than 100 experts mapped and documented the nearly 3-mile network of tunnels in 1976, exiting with a better understanding of the physical description of Cueva de los Tayos, but emptyhanded in their search for artifacts that would prove any of the theories from the books.

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