Officially, the « discovery » of Machu Picchu site is due to the American explorer and archaeologist Hiram Bingham. On July 1911, when he was looking after Vilcabamba, the last shelter of the Incas ousted from the Sacred Valley, he discovered by accident those walls, those terraces and those stairs at the base of Huayna Picchu. When he came back to United-States he wrote a book, “Lost City of the Incas; the story of Machu Picchu and its builders”. That book made him famous and was the base of the myth which still exist around the 7th Wonder of the World. In 2011, all Cusco celebrated the “100th anniversary of the rediscovery of Machu Picchu”.
In reality, if Hiram Bingham effectively was the person who revealed to the world (which means to the western word) the existence of Machu Picchu, say that he discovered it is quite wrong. Firstly because the American archaeologist discovered those Incas rests listening an advice of a local farmer who was his guide, which means that the existence of the “lost” city was in reality known by local populations. Those population may not have estimate the value of this heritage but its existence and compositions were clearly known by the surrounding villagers. They didn’t go there because it was considered as a sacred and mystic place.
The merit of the “discovery” of Machu Picchu given to Bingham are largely unjustified but, despite this, we can effectively recognize him the quality of his researches and theories about the nature and the supposed functions of this monument, as well as having told to the whole world, that nowadays runs to discover the many treasures of history and culture that are in those architectural complexes from another age.
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