Machu Picchu, the untold Story.
¿How’s that a single archaeological place took importance to the Peruvian people and to the Universal History, changing the whole History of humankind? The answer is in just one word: Machu Picchu, sacred place, inaccessible to the foreign, but totally accessible to the local natives, who for many years lived around this ruins, and knowing or maybe not of the importance and transcendence of the place.
Many anonymous people are situated on the pedestal of the Machu Picchu discoverers, but are one of the many that stand out for the rest, due to his contacts to his Alma Mater, Yale University, this person in Hiram Bingham. Many things have been told around the teacher with conquer soul, however there’s an untold story behind the whole discover.
1909 is the year that Bingham came to Perú, arriving to Choquequirao, known also as the Machu Picchu twin, he arrive like an intuitive explorer, who were follow his instincts, and reading the chroniclers about the unknown place, starts to scoured the entire settlement.
1910 is another important year, because is the year that the PHD Alberto Giesecke assumed the responsibility of lead the San Antonio del Cusco University, just like Bingham, Giesecke was North American, who in his 14 years of Rector impulse any kind of archaeological projects and excavations.
The following year, 1911, the owner of the Echarati estate, Sr Braulio Polo y la Borda, on the Convenciòn valley, had as a guest the Dr. Giesecke, who has been told by the Sr. La Borda that the entire place was full of archaeological sites, and among the many sites, became very important Machu Picchu.
On his way back from the Convenciòn, Giesecke wrote to Bingham about the things mentioned by Polo y la Borda, and that is the reason why Bingham came to the archaeological site, reading many chroniclers and travelers diaries, like the one who wrote Charles Wienner, he was the first to talk about Machu Picchu on his description of Perú and the indigenes populations, diary that has the date of 1880, he also made around 20 street plans and 30 letters.
Wienner was on the zone around the year 1876, compiling the information that the local gave to him to include on his maps the names of Machu and Huayna Picchu.
With all the required information enough to arrive to the archaeological sites, Bingham obtain a scientific commission, sponsored by the Yale University, arriving to the Sanctuary before July 1911, month and year of the discover. Many of these scientists went through many sites of Cusco.
On July 1911, Bingham arrive to the Vilcabamba valley, leading by Melchor Arteaga, who take Bingham through San Miguel to Machu Picchu, arriving to a thick and wooded jungle with some building that cannot be seeing by Bingham, who had a machete on his hand and walk through the entire place, and think that this is where Manco Inca lived and fight against the Spanish conquers.
Now, we have to back to the year 1902, and exactly July 14th of 1902, date so important to all the Peruvian citizens, the real discover of Machu Picchu, and his name was Agustín Lizárraga, who in the mentioned year, conformed an expedition with his cousin, Enrique Palma Ruíz, who at the time was the administrator of the Collpani Estate; Gabino Sánchez and his agricultural laborer Toribio Recharte, all of them were in search of places to harvest.
At the time that he arrived, he watch the whole Machu Picchu Sanctuary, and he was aware that he found an amazing and breathtaking site, reaching the point that Agustín Lizárraga leave an inscription in the temple of the three windows, that said: Agustín Lizárraga, July 14th 1902. Date that the same Bingham found and wrote on his book.
In 1903 Lizárraga starts with the corn and other vegetables plantations, leaving his laborer with his family, and 4 years later, in 1907, another person came to the place: Anacleto Álvarez, also with his family.
1904 was the year that Lizárraga began the travel with another family, The Ochoa`s, from the Collpani Estate, along with his Estate workers.
¿Why is that Hiram Bingham became the so called discover of Machu Picchu and gain notoriety to all newspapers and scientific reviews? : According with the French explorer Simone Waisbard, on her book called ¨Machu Picchu Mysteries¨ said that Lizárraga was a well connoisseur of the zone; he was who mentioned all the information about Machu Picchu.
Alfred Bingham, Bingham´s son, on his book called ¨Portrait of an explorer¨, mentioned that His father erased all kind of Lizárraga´s reference, and many pictures took by the same Bingham, who realized that not many of the constructions were cover by the thick vegetation were not included on his annotations and finals conclusions.
One of the things that caught the attention of many people who studied the site, even Bingham’s son, found that in one of the book that his father carries with him, is written that ¨ Agustín Lizárraga was the real discoverer of Machu Picchu; he lives on the San Miguel Bridge¨.
The mass media played an important role on mentioned that Bingham was the only discoverer of Machu Picchu, even the National Geographic made an article of Bingham, remain by the eyes of the world as the only and real discoverer. Is true that Bingham was the systematic and well positioned person who studied Machu Picchu, because of him is that Machu Picchu is known by the entire world, but another true is that he wasn’t the real discoverer of Machu Picchu.
These 2 peoples, Agustín Lizárraga and Hiram Bingham, who had nothing in common, the first, a simple farmer with an incipient knowledge of History and Archaeology, and The second, a well-respected teacher who had everything to be able to organized an expedition and surround by the best professionals, got together in this amazing discover, that changed their lifes, and change the course of everything that we know about one of the most and important civilizations of all time: The Incas and his Tahuantinsuyo Empire.