Gene Savoy, the discoverer of Pajaten, was an explorer, not a professional archaeologist. He first heard tales of mysterious ruins in the Andes from Peruvian hunters and outlaws. Savoy had already suspected that the eastern slopes of the Andes had once been inhabited by pre-Colombian civilizations and, in 1962, he made a flight over the region and spotted the ancient city. It was not until 1965 however, after farmers seeking new land opened a trail into the area, that he was able to get to the site. He made his initial trip through the forbidding jungle mountains on foot. When he reached Pajaten, its walls were barely visible through the thickets, but he realized he had come upon something important.
Savoy persuaded the Peruvian government to sponsor a full-scale expedition which was joined by scholars and crews of workmen. They arrived in June, 1966, a company of thirty-seven ferried to mountaintop by helicopter, and established a rude headquarters there. Clearing the site proved to be a long job. The thick underbrush had to be burned off and then a mattress like layer of debris and root networks rolled back inch by inch, gradually freeing such structures as staircases which led to passageways between buildings.
”Mr. Savoy, who even founded his own religion, was a larger-than-life character and did not care who knew it. His quests were larger still: He sought the Fountain of Youth, the Treasure of El Dorado, proof that Solomon’s gold had come from South America( Based on stone tablets found in the highland jungle ) and what his son called “the answers to life.” His actual discoveries included Vilcabamba, the Incas’ last refuge from the Spanish, the place Hiram Bingham thought he had found with his discovery of Machu Picchu in 1911. He is also credited with finding Gran Pajatén, a pre-Incan stone city. And his discovery of Gran Vilaya, an intricate network of 24,000 stone structures covering 100 square miles of dense jungle, helped establish that a high civilization had existed in Peru apart from the coast and the Andes.” ( Douglas Martin)
Teams of workmen found a wall studded with stone heads between a tree stump on a ledge. These heads are surrounded with feathery headdresses of stone that are not surface inlays but comprise part of the wall itself. The builder evidently fitted them in as he worked, filling in around them with smaller pieces; an intricate mode of construction quite unlike Inca masonry. Savoy then explored the surrounding country and soon reported the existence of six more cities similar to Pajatan. He believed that these communities proved his hypothesis that Pajatan was part of a jungle empire the existence of which the Spanish conquerors never dreamed of, nor, indeed, did modern archeology until he came across it.
”One of the tombs we found on the cliff was incredible. It was two stories high. Lining the outside roof were six wooden, nude male statues, all showing an enhanced penis. When we first saw these statues, I said to Barbara, ‘Looks like the guy was a king looking forward to the future life, with all these statues and phallic symbols around the tomb’. She said, ‘What makes you think it wasn’t a woman looking forward to her future life?’ …I did find some vases and other artifacts, which helped Tom determine that they had unearthed a pre-Inca civilization, more than 3,000 years old.” ( Lou Whittaker )