The Discovery

Websites | Books and videos


"Rediscovering Machu Picchu" by Bruce Fellman, Yale Alumni Magazine (December 2002). Excellent survey of Yalie Hiram Bingham's discovery, his theories of Machu Picchu's religious significance, and the revolution in interpretation that time and analysis have brought. Also covers the traveling exhibiton "Machu Picchu: Unveiling the Mystery of the Incas" (see this section, on this site.) Alumni articles are not known for color, so Fellman is to be congratulated. I particularly enjoyed his words on the effect of contemporary interpretation of the site as a royal estate:

"Casting it as something less than a spiritual center of the universe will, no doubt, sit less than well with New Age gurus, who have created in Machu Picchu a curious amalgam of Eastern and Andean mysticism — "Orientalism wearing a poncho," as one wag put it."
The phrase "New Age gurus" is hyperlined to [mirror]

Audio: Video: "Perspectives of Inca Legacy on Andean Cultures at the Sacred Valley" in conjunction with "Machu Picchu: Unveiling the Mystery of the Incas" exhibition curator Richard L.Burger gives an engaging talk about Bingham and Machu Picchu, with slides. Some of his insights are memorable:

"But he had one incredible bad piece of luck, which is that he was trained as a historian, and he found the one really important Inca site that was never mentioned in historical chronicles."
Note: There appears to be some trouble 30 minutes in, but it may be fixed by the time you visit.

"Peru: Hiram Bingham's lost property" by Hugh Thomson, The Independent (July 2001). Travel article with much on Bingham's discovery. Thomson, editor of the critical edition of Bingham's Lost City of the Incas, delivers surprising news about Bingham first visit.

"... contrary to the legend of the "great discovery", Bingham did not realise the extent of the site. Thus he didn't bother to revisit it, despite having only spent a few hours there, considerably less than the average modern tourist."

Machu Picchu Flashback Gallery from National Geographic, with images from their 1913 issue, devoted exclusively to Machu Picchu. Unfortunately, the photos are rather small. See also their Inca Gallery.

Hiram Bingham's Story from Kathy Doore's, which also has a Machu Picchu Gallery. The Hiram Bingham stuff is level-headed, but you're only a link or two away from talk of Mu, von Daniken, "self-healing DNA" and "an ancient proto-historic civilization living concurrent with the dinosaur and having space faring capability." Eat your applesauce!

Frommers on Hiram Bingham.

Books and videos

Amazon. Explorer of Machu Picchu: Portrait of Hiram Bingham by Alfred M. Bingham (also in harcover).

Book's website promotes the biography, written by Hiram son Alfred Bingham (1905-1998). Explorer of Machu Picchu also relates other events in Hiram's eventful life, including a political career that culminated in two terms of service as a U.S Senator from Connecticut.

Amazon VHS. Machu Picchu: Secrets of the Incan Empire, from the "Searching for Lost Worlds" series (1999). Focuses on Bingham's early 20c expeditions.

Amazon. Lost City of the Incas by Hiram Bingham (Phoenix Press), also in softcover.

LibraryThing: Catalog your books online.

If you enjoy this site you may like this other site by me:

Hernando Cortés on the Web. Comprehensive guide to the Conqueror of Mexico, Hernando (or Hernán) Cortes.

Alexander the Great on the Web. Everything you ever wanted to know about Alexander, and pictures too.

Hieroglyphics! Comprehensive guide to Egyptian hieroglyphics.

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