Addressing a full audience of Royal Geographical Society members, author and explorer Hugh Thomson last night gave an illuminating talk about the complicated discovery of the ‘Lost City of the Incas’, and how the process was more drawn out than you might think.
As it turns out, Hiram Bingham stumbled across the expansive site by accident in 1911. He was certainly looking for Incan ruins – just not these ones. As Thomson dryly noted, ‘people only find what they’re looking for’.
On his return to the US, Bingham showed photos of his unexpected discovery to the editor of National Geographic magazine. Impressed, the editor commissioned him to return the following year to create a fully documented, photographic account of the site.
Bingham received the first ever National Geographic Society archaeological grant and went on to lead three expeditions back to the site in 1912, 1914, and 1915. National Geographic then, for the first time in its history, dedicated an entire issue to Machu Picchu.
100 years on, and MP is one of the New Greatest Wonders of the World which receives around half a million visitors a year. Such a discovery surely deserves a prolonged celebration?
Located close to the railway which takes you direct to the site, Inkaterra’s Machu Picchu pueblo Hotel , is an 85-room and suite lodge in the citadel of Aguas Calientes.