Hyrum Bingham and the lost city of Machu Picchu

Hyrum Bingham and the lost city of Machu Picchu

25 July 2019, 16:13
A source: © jnsm.com.ua
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In 1908, after the completion of the work of the First All-American Scientific Congress in Santiago, the professor of history at Yale University, Hyrum Bingham, accepted an offer from the prefecture of one of the Peruvian districts to visit the pre-Columbian city of Choquequirao.

It was located at an altitude of 3085 m above sea level near Cusco and was found by Europeans in 1710. Struck by its architecture, in 1911, Bingham, with funds from Yale University, organized an expedition to Peru to search for the last Inca capital, the lost city of Vitkos.

Traveling on the instructions of local guides, in early July 1911, Bingham visited the town of Vilkabamba, found by Europeans in 1892. Located 130 km from Cusco, it was the last refuge of the emperors Manco Inca Yupanqui and Tupac Amaru. Bingham considered him part of the legendary Machu Picchu.
Photo © jnsm.com.ua

Continuing along the Urubamba River, the expedition climbed Mandor Pamp Ridge, where local farmer Melkor Arteg spoke about the ruins of a settlement on the opposite side of the river. July 24, 1911 Arteg took Bingham to the top of the ridge of Huain-Picchu. There, at an altitude of 2430 meters, they saw a Quechua Indian family, who cultivated the land on terraces cleared of the jungle, surrounded by ruins.

The discovered structures were covered with vegetation, which prevented Bingham from properly understanding their scale and purpose. After taking several photographs and measurements, he continued along with the expedition along the river and in August found the half-ruined Vitkos Palace.

On the way back, the members of the expedition partially cleared the buildings on the top of the Huain-Picchu ridge, which allowed them to be identified as the remains of Machu Picchu. They, unlike Vilkabamba, had no signs of restructuring during the Spanish conquest.

In 1912, 1914 and 1915, Hyrum Bingham organized new expeditions in Peru, which confirmed that Machu Picchu is one of the three resident cities of the Inca rulers, where about a thousand people lived. Hyrum Bingham described his discoveries in the books The Land of the Incas (1922), Machu Picchu (1930) and The Lost City of the Incas (1948), which became bestsellers.

In 2007, Machu Picchu was awarded the title of the New Wonder of the World.
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