National Geographic : 1950 Feb
Drawn by Harry S. Oliver and Irvin E. Alleman By Helicopter, Truck, and Dugout Canoe, Archeologists Cover a Broad Sweep of Panama's Buried Past Principal finds of the 1949 National Geographic Society-Smithsonian Institution expedition were at the foot of Chiriqui volcano, near the Costa Rican border. East of the Canal Zone, at the mouth of Rio Tigre, ancient village sites were surveyed from Air Force helicopters. At Utive the party encountered a yellow fever outbreak. Tombs at La Pita, in Veraguas Province, yielded pottery, stone, and metal relics. Expedition headquarters were at Albrook Air Force Base. Rio Tigre, which is a tributary of the Chepo. Since mound structures are rare in Panama, I determined to visit the Tigre. The map and officer's description indicated that such a trip would involve considerable time and effort. I was discussing this with Capt. Langdon Tennis at Albrook, when he suggested, "Why don't you use a helicopter? I am sure that General Hale will arrange it for you." And so he did. The very next morning two Sikorsky helicopters of the First Rescue Squadron were waiting for us (page 242). A vertical take-off for the first time in one of these "eggbeaters" is a strange experience. Their ease in handling made them ideal for our purpose. We skirted the Panama City water front at low altitude and for an hour and a half followed the beach, looking for shell mounds. Whenever I spotted something that seemed worth investigating, I would signal the pilot and he would hover over the spot. In this manner we finally came to the mouth of the Chepo and then followed up this large stream.