Forum

Author of the Month

A Tale Of Two Lost Cities: Machu Picchu and Choquequirao
By Brien Foerster

Books by Brien Foerster

A Brief History of the Incas

A Brief History of the Incas
US - UK - CA
See Brien's official store for previews

Hawai'i

Hawai'i
US - UK - CA
See Brien's official store for previews

Inca Footprints

Inca Footprints: Complete Guide To Cusco And The Sacred Valley Of Peru
US - UK - CA
See Brien's official store for previews

Inca: Before The Conquest

Inca: Before The Conquest
US - UK - CA
See Brien's official store for previews

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu: Virtual Guide And Secrets Revealed
US - UK - CA
See Brien's official store for previews

Brien Foerster
Moray, Sacred Valley - Photo by Luna M.Flores

This is one of researcher and writer Brien Foerster's regular column here at Grahamhancock.com. Brienís study and insight into the Incaís ancient origins shed a new light on that famous South American culture. The implications are both startling and far reaching suggesting a connection to a pan Pacific civilization reaching back to mankindís most distant past. Join Brien on the GrahamHancock.com Mysteries Message Board where he will be conducting a continuing discussion surrounding his research and regular contributions to these pages. Please check in for the next installment from Brien.

More articles by Brien

A Brief History Of The Incas; From Rise, Through Reign, To Ruin by Brien Foerster, 20 August 2010
The Disappearance Of The Children Of Viracocha by Brien Foerster, 6 December 2010
The Disappearance Of The Children Of Viracocha, Part 2: Inca Epilogue, Chachapoyas, Rapanui, Aotearoa And Hawaii by Brien Foerster, 9 December 2010
The Disappearance Of The Children Of Viracocha, Part 3: Cuzco: The City Which The Inca Found, Not Founded by Brien Foerster, 7 February 2011
Ollantaytambo: House of the Dawn; an Underestimated Inca Monument by Brien Foerster, 18 April 2011
Elongated Skulls Of Paracas: A People And Their World by Brien Foerster, 11 August 2011


Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Inca, or at least that is how this citadel high in the Amazon borderlands is advertised to the world at large. Indeed, the Spanish conquistadors failed to find this masterpiece of ancient complex construction during their campaign of cultural exploitation and degradation beginning with their arrival on the shore of what was to become called Peru in 1532.

This famous site caught the imagination of the world when National Geographic magazine, in the United States, featured Macchu Picchu in their April 1913 issue; in fact, it was the sole topic covered, and included a full fold out center spread. Such exposure raised the profile of an otherwise unknown American archaeologist, Hiram Bingham III, to that of a media star; with his tan wide brimmed hat, Khaki clothes and leather shoulder strapped bag, he became the model for the fictional movie icon Indiana Jones.

Machu Picchu had eluded the Spanish, and most explorers up until Bingham’s time because of its location. At the northern end of the Sacred Valley of Peru near Cusco, elevated from the valley by more than 1000 feet, and cloaked in dense tropical vegetation, Machu Picchu was several miles away from any well known Inca site. There were also only 2 narrow roads, or more properly trails that connected the citadel with the outside world, one being the famous well trodden tourist trail in fact called just that, the Inca Trail that approached from the south, and a lesser entrance on the west side.

Other adventurers had in fact, it is thought have found Machu Picchu prior to Bingham, Simone Waisbard, a long-time researcher from Cusco, claims that Enrique Palma, Gabino Sánchez, and Agustín Lizárraga left their names engraved on one of the rocks at Machu Picchu on 14 July 1901. Also in 1904, an engineer named Franklin supposedly spotted the ruins from a distant mountain. He told Thomas Payne, an English Christian missionary living in the region, about the site, Payne's family members claim. They also report that in 1906, Payne and fellow missionary Stuart E. McNairn (1867–1956) climbed up to the ruins.

The site may have been discovered and plundered in 1867 by a German businessman, Augusto Berns. There is some evidence that a German engineer, J. M. von Hassel, arrived earlier. Maps found by historians show references to Machu Picchu as early as 1874.

Hiram Bingham was under contract from the National Geographic Society, and his aim in fact was to attempt to find the lost city of Old Vilcabamba, the last Inca hold out from Spanish aggression, in which one of the last Inca rulers, Manco, was able to hide from the conquistadors for 30 years. In 1911 Bingham was a lecturer in history at his alma mater, Yale, which wound up with all of the artefacts that he was eventually able to unearth at Machu Picchu; a collection that was finally repatriated to Peru in 2010…well, perhaps 5 percent of what Yale held, and still has.

While Bingham was in the Sacred Valley near Ollantaytambo, which is now the main train stop to get to Aguas Calientes, the village below Machu Picchu, and built in large part to service the tourist trade, an 11 year old Native boy, Pablito Alvarez, guided him up the side of a mountain called Machu Picchu, Quechua for Old Bird. Pablito’s father had told Bingham, who was supposedly pestering the local people about the whereabouts of “old stone buildings” told him that what he sought was up on Machu Picchu.

Bingham, guided by Pablito up an old trail choked in places with lush tropical vegetation cast his eyes upon huge white granite walls and buildings within and rising above the thick jungle. Yet, the two were not alone… In fact, Bingham stumbled across two native farmers, named Richarte and Alvarez, who had cleared some of the Inca terraces and had been growing potatoes, corn, sugarcane and other crops there for 3 or 4 years, and were living there, possibly full time, in or very near the central ceremonial square.

Over the following years hundreds of local Natives were hired by Bingham to clear away the dense foliage that had cloaked the site since it had been abandoned by its builders, the Inca, nearly 400 years before. And in this cleaning process, numerous poisonous snakes, the deadly Fer de Lance were also killed, sometimes after they had taken the lives of some of the workers.

Page 1Page 2Page 3Next

Site design by Amazing Internet Ltd, maintenance by Synchronicity. G+. Site privacy policy. Contact us.

Dedicated Servers and Cloud Servers by Gigenet. Invert Colour Scheme / Default