Using his background in science, photography, and mountaineering, Preston Sowell has been conducting research expeditions to study high-altitude ecosystems and environmental responses to climate change in the South American Andes for over 15 years.
While looking for threatened, high-altitude species at over 16,000 feet in the Peruvian Andes, he discovered ruins and artifacts submerged beneath the waters of a large, remote lake. Subsequent archaeological expeditions (below and above the water) have revealed that the site held ceremonial significance and that it could be the location of a fabled but lost Incan temple. The site is also home to the endangered Andean mountain cat and as efforts to protect the area’s rich, high-altitude ecosystem have struggled, the discovery of cultural resources there may hold the key to protecting everything.
His discovery and efforts to protect the area are the subject of an upcoming National Geographic documentary.
About the Speaker:
Preston Sowell is an environmental scientist/consultant, naturalist, photographer, and explorer residing in Boulder, Colorado. He is also a National Geographic Explorer, an Explorers Club Fellow, a Research Associate with the Denver Zoo, and Executive Director of the Sibinacocha Watershed Project.