The Cueva de Los Tayos, or Tayos Cave, is a vast and little-explored underground cave system in the Ecuadorian jungle, located in territory belonging to the Shuar people, an indigenous Amazonian tribe. The caverns first gained worldwide notoriety in Erich von Däniken's 1973 book, Gold of the Gods, where he claimed that Hungarian explorer Juan Moricz discovered gold, unusual sculptures, and a library of metal tablets within the caves. More intrigue formed when a Catholic priest living in the nearby village of Cuenca was given multiple golden artifacts from the Shuar as a gesture of thanks through the 1960s. Father Carlos Crespi Croci said that said the items brought to him, which contained strange symbols and an unknown written language, had been found in subterranean tunnels in the jungles of Ecuador.
Explorer Richard Wingate, who examined pieces in Father Crespi's collection, said that the artifacts were identified as Assyrian, Egyptian, Chinese and African. How could an indigenous tribe in the jungles of South America possess such pieces, and how long had they had them? And if the rumors of a metallic-bound library of books are true, could there be a written language and record of the Amazonian tribes that has not yet been discovered by modern man? Even more mysterious, Father Crespi's collection completely disappeared after he passed away in 1982. There are rumors that the collection was shipped off to the Vatican, or that the Shuar actually took the pieces back. There have been expeditions into the cave over the years, the most famous being in 1976, which was led by Stan Hall, and included British and Ecuadorian military personnel, expert cavers, as well as Neil Armstrong.
While some pottery and other small artifacts have been recovered, nothing thus far has matched the stories of Von Däniken, or pictures of Father Crespi's collection. However, a man in a 1990 expedition overheard one of their Shuar guides saying to another, "I hope that whites have not visited the forbidden zone" upon their exit. Could it be that the tribe is purposely keeping certain caverns a secret from outsiders to protect this vast collection of history and artifacts?