final report



We want to express that from the beginning, the Koricancha Project was a difficult project to carry out, both for the Peruvian government and for us, due to the fact that the archaeological area where the Inca Temples (Koricancha) are located has been the property of the ORDER OF PREACHERS OF SAINT DOMINIC OF GUZMAN for 450 years. This property was granted to the Dominicans at the beginning of the conquest by Juan Pizarro, the half-brother of the conquistador Francisco Pizarro, and it has remained in their possession until today.

During these four and a half centuries, no deep excavations have ever been carried out in its subsurface, and modern technology has never been used in archaeological research. Only in the last 50 years have reconstruction works been carried out by the architect Oscar LadrĂ³n de Guevara, due to the 1950 earthquake that destroyed part of the current church, and the PER-39 project (Copesco Plan, 1975/1985), where an international agreement supported by UNESCO was signed with the Peruvian government as part of the policy of conserving the historical-artistic heritage.

We mention this because, even though it may seem otherwise, the most important temple of the Inca Empire is actually the least excavated and the most unknown. It should be noted that the Dominican fathers have never looked favorably upon excavations in their historical property. Many archaeologists have been denied research and excavation permits due to its intangible nature given its historical circumstances.
So when we presented our project to the Peruvian government, whose purpose was to find the existence of the tunnels mentioned by many chroniclers and researchers that connect Koricancha with Saqsaywaman, the project would never have been carried out without the intervention of the Prior of the Convent at that time, Father Benigno Gamarra.

We want to point out, although some historians and archaeologists deny it, that for many years the Dominicans have known about the existence of the tunnels in their subsurface. In fact, we have evidence that in 1940 some fathers walked through them until they reached the famous labyrinths of Saqsaywaman mentioned by the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. For all these years, this has been concealed from the government and the Peruvian society, as the Dominican fathers believe that if this were known, the Peruvian government could expropriate the place.

So we have to highlight the merit of Father Gamarra, as he knew all this and decided to open the secret to the international community. One month after signing the Agreement with the Dominicans of Cusco, the National Institute of Culture of Peru, and Anselm Pi Rambla, Father Gamarra was removed from his position as Prior and confined to the Dominicans' convent in Arequipa without further explanation.
I personally spoke with him several times on the phone, asking him the reason for his dismissal as Prior, and he always replied that he did not know what had happened and that he felt very disillusioned.

In his place, another father named Hector Herrera was sent, who immediately assumed the position of Prior. This dismissal surprised us a lot, and we did not understand its purpose by the highest leaders of the Order (we currently think that this dismissal was due to great controversies between them due to the Agreement signed by Father Gamarra).

One thing to mention is that two years later, in the same week that the project was closed by the government and the Dominican Order, Father Gamarra was reinstated as Prior of the Convent.