Debate Continues Over Whether A German Discovered Machu Picchu

posted on December 18th, 2008 in Andes Mountains, Archaeology, Did a German Discover Machu Picchu?, Machu Picchu, Peru, Recent Discoveries

Machu Picchu in 1911

The ruins of Peru’s Machu Picchu in 1913 (photo by Hiram Bingham)

Debate Rages in Peru: Was a Lost City Ever Lost?

December 8, 2008

NYT

CUSCO, Peru — From the postcards bearing his swashbuckling, fedora-topped image to the luxury train emblazoned with his name that runs to the foot of the mountain redoubt of Machu Picchu, reminders are ubiquitous here of Hiram Bingham, the Yale explorer long credited with revealing the so-called Lost City of the Incas to the outside world almost a century ago.

But in recent months, a confluence of contrary events has threatened to upend the legacy of Mr. Bingham, the ostensible model for the fictional Indiana Jones…

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Controversy Surrounds Story About German Who May Have Discovered Machu Picchu

posted on September 4th, 2008 in Archaeology, Did a German Discover Machu Picchu?, Incas, Machu Picchu, Peru, Recent Discoveries

Francisco Pizarro Seizing the Inca Emperor, Atahualpa

(Above: Francisco Pizarro seizes the Inca Emperor Atahualpa in 1533. Although the emperor turned over a large ransom in gold and silver in exchange for being set free, Pizarro murdered him anyway).

Machu Picchu: Known and Unknown, There and Not There

(Originally published in Spanish in Peru in La Republica, Aug 31, 2008. The Spanish version is included here, directly after the English version)

By Daniel Buck

Mention the phrase “Lost City of the Incas” or “Inca treasure” and normally skeptical journalists drop their guard and credulously report the most unfounded speculations…

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Did a German Adventurer Discover Machu Picchu Before Hiram Bingham? An Interview with Paolo Greer (Part 3)

posted on August 27th, 2008 in Andes Mountains, Archaeology, Did a German Discover Machu Picchu?, Incas, Machu Picchu, Peru, Recent Discoveries

An Interview with Paolo Greer (Part 3)

(To read Part 2, click here)

19) In what year did you find Augusto Berns’ “promotional materials” in Peru’s National Library?

PG: You are referring to the collection of Berns’ papers I mentioned in my article for the South American Explorer… (more…)

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Did a German Adventurer Discover Machu Picchu Before Hiram Bingham? An Interview with Paolo Greer (Part 2)

posted on August 4th, 2008 in Andes Mountains, Archaeology, Did a German Discover Machu Picchu?, Incas, Machu Picchu, Peru, Recent Discoveries

AN INTERVIEW WITH PAOLO GREER (PART 2)

(To read Part 1, click here)

7) You recently published an article in the “South American Explorer” called “Machu Picchu before Bingham.” In the article you make a number of claims, among them that a German, Augusto R. Berns, purchased an estate called the “Cercado de San Antonio,” or “Torontoy,” in 1867 and that… (more…)

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Article that Accuses Peruvian Doctor of Having Helped Loot Machu Picchu Questioned

posted on July 20th, 2008 in Andes Mountains, Archaeology, Did a German Discover Machu Picchu?, Incas, Machu Picchu, Peru, Recent Discoveries

Ethnological Museum of Berlin

An Antiquities Gallery within the Ethnological Museum of Berlin

SOMOS

(El Comercio)

July 12, 2008

By Dr. Federico Camino Macedo

(Translated by Kim MacQuarrie)

The article in SOMOS 1125 [June 28, 2008, in El Comercio] referred to José Macedo as an ignorant criminal who colluded with the German August R Berns in the sacking, looting, and commercialization of the treasures of Machu Picchu. In reality, the former is Doctor Mariano José Macedo Cazorla (born in Ayaviri in 1823; died in Lima in 1894), a prestigious medical doctor who introduced the study and scientific treatment of epidemics to Peru and who, according to Carlos Enrique Paz Soldán, was “the greatest hygienist of his time” (La Vida y Obra de Mariano José Macedo; Lima, 1945, page 48)…

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Did a German Adventurer Discover Machu Picchu Before Hiram Bingham? An Interview with Paolo Greer (Part 1)

posted on July 15th, 2008 in Andes Mountains, Archaeology, Did a German Discover Machu Picchu?, Incas, Machu Picchu, Peru, Recent Discoveries

An Interview With Paolo Greer

Part 1

Note: Recently, a number of stories have emerged in the press alleging that a German adventurer and businessman, Augusto R. Berns, discovered and/or looted Machu Picchu decades before Hiram Bingham arrived at the now famous Inca site in 1911. The stories, for the most part, owe their origin to a 57-year-old American explorer and researcher named Paolo Greer, who claims that he has discovered old maps and other documents showing that Augusto R. Berns created a company, “Huacas del Inca,” or “The Inca Idols Company,” that “was formed to sack Machu Picchu.” In a recent article, Greer also stated that “Although Bingham was directed to Machu Picchu, not by Augusto Berns but by Albert Giesecke, the head of the University of Cuzco, Berns was probably the prospector Bingham had heard about, the one who had been to Machu Picchu decades before him.”

Since the publication of Greer’s article, various reporters have interviewed a number of people in Peru and elsewhere who have claimed to either have worked on Greer’s “research team” or else have accused Greer of having appropriated their work. To help clarify what Greer did or did not discover, and how and when he made his discoveries, the following is Part 1 of an interview with Paolo Greer… (KM)
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Machu Picchu: Earliest Maps and 19th Century (pre-Hiram Bingham) Visitors

posted on July 13th, 2008 in Andes Mountains, Archaeology, Did a German Discover Machu Picchu?, Incas, Machu Picchu, Peru

Herman Gohring’s map of Urubamba Valley & Machu Picchu Area, 1874

(Above: Herman Göhring’s 1874 map of the Cuzco area depicted the twin peaks of “Macchu-Picchu” and “Huainu-Picchu,” but indicated no ruins; map published by Daniel Buck in The South American Explorer in January, 1993)

Fights of Machu Picchu (Part 3)

By Daniel Buck

Maps

The earliest cartographical reference to Machu Picchu, as either a peak or a ruin, appears on “Mapa de los Valles de Paucartambo, Lares, Ocobamba y la Quebrada del Vilconota Levantado por Herman Gohring Enginiero Estado, Cuzco, Diciembre 1874,” accompanying the report, Informe al Supremo Gobierno del Perú Sobre la Expedición a los Valles de Paucartambo en 1873 (Lima, 2nd. ed., 1877). Like von Hassel, Gohring was a German engineer in service to the Peruvian government. In a…

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Englishman and German Claimed to Have Discovered Machu Picchu Before Hiram Bingham (Part 2)

posted on July 9th, 2008 in Andes Mountains, Archaeology, Did a German Discover Machu Picchu?, Incas, Machu Picchu, Peru, Recent Discoveries

Fights of Machu Picchu

By Daniel Buck

Part 2

Dr. Kessler continued his research at the McNairn family library in England, however, and in March 1983 he wrote to Carolyn Anderson, the National Geographic’s resident authority on Machu-Picchu-Discovery claims, to report his startling conclusion that his father-in-law had been mistaken…

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Englishman and German Claimed to Have Discovered Machu Picchu Before Hiram Bingham (Part 1)

posted on July 4th, 2008 in Andes Mountains, Archaeology, Did a German Discover Machu Picchu?, Incas, Machu Picchu, Peru, Recent Discoveries

Machu Picchu and Urubamba River by Hiram Bingham in 1912

(Above: A view of the Machu Picchu ruins (center left) and Vilcanota/Urubamba River by Hiram Bingham in 1912)

Note: Recent press reports have circled the globe claiming that a German, Augusto R. Berns, discovered and looted Machu Picchu long before the American, Hiram Bingham, “discovered” them in 1911. In an upcoming interview, the American explorer/researcher, Paolo Greer, whose research formed the basis for these press reports, will talk at length about what he actually did or did not discover about Augusto R. Berns. In the meantime, I’m republishing here an article (not previously available on the web) that was written by the American researcher/author Daniel Buck about earlier claims by an Englishman and a German that they had discovered Machu Picchu, not Hiram Bingham. Buck has written his own introductory preface, which follows below… KM

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