The gold rituals at the circular mountain lake Guatavita, located just north of Bogota, inspired the legend of El Dorado and other mysterious cities of gold. Ever since Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century witnessed an indigenous chieftain covered in gold dust dump precious metals into the lake, legends of vast wealth captivated future generations of fortune seekers. And while the lake continues to attract gold hunters who are keen on dredging Guatavita for sunken treasure, many people would be surprised by researchers who believe that the bottom of the lake also contains evidence of extraterrestrial life that came to Earth in search of gold.
Some have suggested that aliens used gold in their atmosphere to reflect the sun's rays and preserve their planet. But for those of you who are skeptical, and need scientific evidence to show why aliens would be so interested in gold, Derrick Pitts, Chief Astronomer and Planetarium Director for the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, offers an explanation that describes gold as an important element for space exploration and astronomy. "Gold is an inert material, it doesn't react with anything," he said in an interview for the popular History channel television series Ancient Aliens. "It is a wonderful conductor of electricity… and… a perfect reflector of infrared energy. You can use gold blankets to protect spacecraft against the intense heat of a star or any sort of heat source."
Others believe that aliens used ancient civilizations to mine for gold, and argue that if we examine old legends and temples we could identify patterns that prove the existence of extraterrestrial life. Following this argument, indigenous temples built over 1,000 years ago to commemorate the visitation of a god, and strange tribal chants and rituals that were designed to communicate with other worldly beings, could be interpreted as cultural evidence of alien contact.
One of the most famous alien visitations is supposed to have occurred in Cusco, Peru. The sun temple Qurikancha had a giant golden disc that some alien experts believe was a symbol of a gold-plated UFO that had landed in front of the Inca emperor Atahualpa, legendary for having direct contact with the "sky gods."
Other theorists go even further, claiming that the Great Pyramid of Giza is an ancient reactor that aliens used to make gold. But independently from whether you believe in aliens, ancient temples and mausoleums are like giant repositories for old sciences that have been lost. And these sciences can remind us that our ancestors were not only concerned with the environment and the planet, but also believed that survival was dependant on having a deep understanding of our solar system.