Retracing An Explorer’s Footsteps to Machu Picchu—LISTEN
Nearly 250,000 tourists visit Machu Picchu each year. Though this year is the centennial of the site’s discovery by Hiram Bingham, artifacts Bingham took from the site have recently been the source of controversy.July 24, 2011
On July 24, 1911, Machu Picchu was found by an American historian, and this weekend many are celebrating the centennial of the “discovery” of the cloud city high in the Andes — one of the most remarkable archeological sites on the planet.
Now, of course, Peruvians say that the city was not discovered a century ago today, because they never lost it. But Americans give credit to Hiram Bingham III, who climbed the Andes and saw the remarkable city, surrounded by holy mountains and filled with houses, terraces and temples that with all our modern skills and machines would be impossible to build today.
To write his new book, Turn Left At Machu Picchu, author Mark Adams retraced the steps Bingham took on his expedition. With the help of an Australian expatriate guide and a large supply of cocoa, Adams survived the journey to talk with NPR’s Linda Wertheimer about the significance of the ruins and Bingham’s legacy. They also discuss who really owns the centuries-old artifacts currently housed at Yale.