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Who Discovered Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is an ancient Incan site that is known as the “Lost City of the Incas.” It is located in the South American country of Peru and is found on a mountain ridge that rises above the Urubamba Valley. It is though that the site was built in the 1400’s and was abandoned after the Spanish conquest of the Incan Empire. Today the site is a very popular tourist destination and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you want to know who rediscovered this important historical site, keep reading to find out.

Who discovered Machu Picchu
The man credited with discovering Machu Picchu is American professor and explorer Hiram Bingham. He first heard about the ruins during a trip to South America in 1908 and returned in 1911 with the goal of finding the lost city. He led a team from YALE University along the Urubamba Valley and was met by a local farmer, Melchor Arteaga, who told him about the Incan ruins on a mountain ridge. The following day he discovered Machu Picchu and news of the exciting discovery quickly spread throughout the world.

Many other people have claimed to have found Machu Picchu before Bingham.

In 1916 German mining engineer Carl Haenel claimed to have discovered the site in 1910, but no evidence of his claim was ever given.

Some people also claim that Baptist missionary Thomas Payne visited the site in 1906 after they were spotted in the distance by an engineer who told Payne about them. However, no evidence exists that this claim was never made by Payne himself.

Another claim is that 3 men (Enrique Palma, Gabino Sánchez, and Agustín Lizárraga) carved their names in a rock at the site in 1901.

Recent evidence also suggests that the site may have been discovered much earlier in 1867 by German businessman Augusto R. Berns. It is claimed that he setup a sawmill business as a cover for looting the Incan relics and gold.

YALE University still holds many of the excavated treasures from the site. It is hoped that they will eventually be returned to Peru and put on public display.

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