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Discovery of Machu Picchu
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Discovery of the Inca City of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is an insoluble and authentic archaeological enigma since its discovery in 1911, its history and many of its mysteries, still intrigue scholars and visitors from around the world. The July 24, 1911, helped by an expedition from Yale University, Hiram Bingham discovered Machu Picchu. Although his real goal was to find the capital of the descendants of the Incas, Vilcabamba (bastion of resistance against the Spanish 1536-1572).

A peasant named Melchor Arteaga, commented to Bingham the existence of abundant ruins in the vicinity of the hill Machu Picchu. To access them, you had to climb a steep slope covered entirely of vegetation. Aware of the many myths circulating in the area but with some skepticism, Bingham, asked to be driven to this place; to reach the top, a child belonging to the Arteaga family led him to where towering stone buildings loomed, covered by a green carpet of thick vegetation evidently abandon centuries.

Bingham, clearly amazed, noted in his diary: "Would anyone believe what I have found?".

On the other hand it is true that the renowned traveler Charles Wiener in 1875, already had news of the archaeological sites of Machu Picchu, and that he seeks, without result; it is also true that there were rumors about a "lost city" in the city of Cusco, found by farmers in the area earlier in the century, however, Bingham was the first to visit Machu Picchu with scientific interest. After making his discovery, Bingham return to the place in 1912, also in 1914 and 1915; and his team of explorers explored the site and its surroundings in detail; they created the first maps that led to the Inca City of Machu Picchu.

Bingham’s excavations in Machu Picchu, allowed him to collect 555 crocks, more than 200 objects of bronze, copper and silver, in addition to stone tools and utensils, etc. Although no gold objects were found, findings were sufficient to claim that Machu Picchu, dating from the heyday of the Inca Empire. Of the 135 bodies found at the site, 109 were from women, 22 men and only 4 children.

Important archaeological sites are also found nearby, as Sayaqmarka and fortress Vitcos, among others; with defined common characteristics, such as the presence of two areas: urban (residential) and worship; and another dedicated to agriculture.

Hiram Bingham gave a detailed description of Machu Picchu (1930), but it is worth mentioning the efforts descriptive Victor Angles (1972) and Hermann Buse (1961), Luis E. Valcarcel (1964), Luis A. Pardo (1961) Jose Gabriel Cosio (1961) and Fernando Cabieses (1983). The architectural evidence found by investigators led to believe that Machu Picchu was built in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century. There is also evidence that the site continued to be inhabited after the Spanish invasion of Perú.

Although Machu Picchu was visited before by cusquenian explorers; the world did not know it, but from 1911, thanks to Bingham.


By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last Update, 05-10-2015