Pléiades Goes in Search of Inca Gold

A team of French archaeologists is using Pléiades satellite imagery to plan an expedition this month to Peru’s Amazonian forest on the tracks of Paititi, an ancient lost city of the Incas.

Archaeologist Thierry Jamin regularly uses satellites imagery for his expeditions to South America. A specialist in pre-Columbian cities, Jamin previously discovered an alignment of pyramids in a SPOT 2 image in 1998. Now, he has done it again, but this time with a Pléiades image confirming the presence of an archaeological site in the Amazon jungle, where he is set to embark on a new expedition this month.

Pléiades Satellite Image - On the tracks of Paititi, Peru

Pléiades Satellite Image, 13/ 06/ 2012
On the tracks of Paititi, Peru
© CNES 2012 / Distribution Airbus DS

A square mountain showing signs of human habitation including remnant terraces, walls and tracks is clearly visible in this Pléiades image of 13 June 2012.

To the west, two dual lakes and a square lake mentioned in records of the Spanish invasion can be identified. Legend has it that the Incas filled them with riches when Cusco was taken.

The team will be making a five-day trek on foot in the Amazon forest to reach the site. The Pléiades orthoimage helped them to plan their route and organize archaeological investigations with a GIS.


Airbus Defence and Space has been providing technical sponsorship to this team of explorers combining archaeology and space technology since 1998. We wish them a safe journey through the jungle, wielding their machetes and their Pléiades orthoimage.

Pléiades Goes in Search of Inca Gold

Related pages