Saturday, October 31, 2015

Machu Picchu's Mysteries Continue to Lure Explorers

Tres Thomas

Although the archaeological discovery of Machu Picchu came nearly a hundred years ago, historians are still unsure of the function of this ancient Inca citadel.The Inca had no system of writing and left no written records, and archaeologists have been left to piece together bits of evidence as to why Machu Picchu was built, what purpose it served, and why it was so quickly vacated.

On July 24, 1911, a cold rainy day Hiram Bingham went on an adventure to observe and investigate rumors of the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. He went through thick jungle, crawled over a log bridge held together by vines, and underbrush with venomous snakes. After going through that, Bingham found a grass hut. Inside were two indian boys, one lead Bingham and his two escorts to what is now claimed as Machu Picchu. One of the top finds in archeological history still till this day. Bingham saw a towering citadel of stone that was cut oh so beautiful. The way the stone was placed in this citadel not even a slim, flat piece of metal could not even fit in between them. Machu Picchu is full of buildings and plazas connected by long narrow stone pathways. There is one part that is sectioned off and is made up of walls, ditches, and what looks like a moat. It was not for military purposes, but more for private ceremonial reasons. In 1913, the article that made the discovery of Machu Picchu known to the world was put out by the National Geographic magazine. Hiram Bingham thought he found the “Lost City of the Inca”, that’s where the last Inca rulers were, until the Spanish came and conquered. Bingham argued and justified his conclusions for almost 50 years after his discovery and people accepted his justification. In 1964 Gene Savoy identified the ruins and proved that Espirhu Pampawas the lost city that Bingham originally thought. Research today by John Rose, Richard Burger, and Lucy Salazar-Burger says that rather than being a defensive structure, Machu Picchu was a retreat made by and for Pachacuti, the Inca ruler. Burger thinks it was built for elites wanting to escape the noise and congestion of the city. Brian Bauer, an expert in Andean civilization at the University of Illinois says that Machu Picchu was pretty small by Inca standards and maintained only about 500 to 750 people. Bauer says archeological evidence makes it clear that the Inca were not the only people to live in Machu Picchu. There were more people who actually lived in Machu Picchu. Experts say that faming could not happen in the grand terraces, but in surrounding hills because the farming could not have happened with the amount of farming that happens in a day. Most of the farming happened in the hills that surrounded Machu Picchu.

Works cited:
EvansDavid. "Machu Picchu’s Mysteries." Photograph. National Geographic, ND. Web. 21Oct. 2015.

"Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu." - UNESCO World Heritage Centre. ND. Web. 22 Oct. 2015.

"Machu Picchu's Mysteries -- National Geographic." National Geographic. ND. Web. 22 Oct. 2015.

"Machu Picchu -- World Heritage Site -- National Geographic." National Geographic. ND. Web. 22 Oct. 2015.

Links for further research:
The link above is a 45 minute long documentary on the true purpose of Machu Picchu.
The link above gives more information on the history of Machu Picchu
The link above takes you to to a book that talks directly about the history and mystery of Machu Picchu

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