Was Machu Picchu Ever Lost?

machu picchu
Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas, has long been considered one of the greatest archeological finds of the 20th Century. Back in 1911, explorer Hiram Bingham claimed to have discovered the fabled city high in the Peruvian Andes, and over time he helped excavate the ruins and bring them to international prominence. But now a debate is raging amongst historians and archeologists on whether or not Bingham actually was the first to find the city and even if the mountain fortress was ever lost at all.

This story by the New York Times, has the whole scoop on the debate, but basically it boils down to this. There are now some historians that believe that German explorer Augusto R. Berns actually raided Machu Picchu way back in 1860’s. Berns purchased land in the area, and built a sawmill on them, and then proceeded to raise funds to set up expeditions to raid Incan ruins, allegedly with the blessing of the Peruvian government.

If that wasn’t enough, there is also evidence of other adventurers visiting the site as early as 1874, with marking on maps and notes in journals. There are those who believe that the city was not over grown by the jungle yet, and saw a number of visitors come and go long before Bingham ever set foot in Peru.

It’s an interesting story for sure. Bingham has long been hailed as a great adventurer and explorer for his finds, but many think that the myth was of his own making, and that he told tall tales to enhance his own stature. Hard to believe that anyone in history would ever do that!! Regardless of who actually discovered it, or if it’s been accessible all along, Machu Picchu is still an amazing place, and that can not be disputed.

Thanks for the tip on this one GoBlog!

Kraig Becker

2 thoughts on “Was Machu Picchu Ever Lost?”

  1. Having been to Machu Picchu several times, it’s common knowledge that all the locals in the area knew that Machu Picchu was there. He wasn’t really “exploring” he’d go somewhere and say, “any inca ruins around?” and the people would say, “yeah, climb up that hill.”

    I’d never heard of white people going there previous to that however. Good article.

    Nice blog as well, if you want to do a link swap, I’m at:
    http://streetsofperu.blogspot.com/ just leave me a comment with the URL you want to post and I’ll put it right up.


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