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Conservation | "The Secret" | Construction | The "Rediscovery" of Llactapata | Inspired by Machu Picchu | New Age


"Machu Picchu Under Threat From Pressures of Tourism" by John Roach, National Geographic News (April 15, 2002), mostly on the landslide risk.

Detailed conservation information on Machu Picchu from Sacred Sites Around the World.

"Inka Beer Bash" by Elizabeth J. Himelfarb, Archaeology (November/December 2000). A crane fell on and damaged the Intihuatana during a beer commercial. Ouch!

CNN: "Sacred stone in Machu Picchu damaged during beer commercial" (September 12, 2000). Includes a shot of the damage.

UNESCO World Heritage Site info, with conservation reports.

"Machu Picchu and the academic ethics required for cross-cultural conservation" by Mariana Mould de Pease, hyperventilating that Bingham spirited his finds out of Peru in 1911 before announcing his discovery (also before they had been excavated). Pease wants the finds returned.

"Machu Picchu: Consecration or Desecration" by Carol Cumes. April 1999 article with gripping personal accounts of local mudslides, here linked to divine warnings.

"Machu Do about Nothing" by Angela M.H. Schuster, Archaeology (July/August 2001). Civil engineer dismisses Kyoji Sassa alarmist landslide predictions.

"Cable Car Plans for Machu Picchu Defeated" by Sophie Arie, Global Heritage Fund.

Audio: NPR: All Things Considered report on concern that tourism is damaging the site (April 17, 2001). If this doesn't work, listen to the complete show , and skip down to the appropriate button.

"The Secret"

"Machu Picchu: How They Kept the Secret" by Gary Ziegler, Ziegler focuses on the hierarchical structure of Inca society, and the Spanish disinterest in anything not made of gold.


"Machu Picchu Was Built To Last–and It Did" Good short summary of the site, particularly addressed to the engineering issues. The source of the text is unclear.

Audio: NPR Morning Edition: "Machu Picchu" (August 11, 1999), on plans to install a cable car to Machu Picchu—later rejected. If it doesn't work, play the whole program and forward to 1:1:35.

Amazon. Machu Picchu: A Civil Engineering Marvel by Kenneth R. Wrighs and others. The book has one of the most impressive collections of user and professional raves I've seen.

Inspired by Machu Picchu

Amazon. Machu Picchu . Coffee table book presents Pablo Neruda's poem Heights of Machu Picchu," in Spanish and translated by Stephen Kessler, together with photos by Barry Brukoff, and introduced by Isabel Allende. Complex royalty statement. (publisher's blurb with a photo gallery)

Amazon. The Heights of Macchu Picchu: Bilingual Edition by Pablo Neruda, translated by Nathaniel Tarn.

Amazon. Murder at Machu Picchu by Mariann Tadmor, an Xlibris book. I can't find any reviews online.

Amazon. The Light of Machu Picchu by A.B. Daniel. Second volume of trilogy from French novelists, a tale of star-crossed Spanish and Incan lovers set amid the fall of the Inca Empire. User reviews pretty mixed. Professional reviewers rate it no better. Publishers Weekly writes:

"The fact that this period is relatively underexplored in popular historical fiction may draw readers, but they'll have to work hard for their dose of adventure and thrills."

The "Rediscovery" of Llactapata

"Llactapata: A Big Inca Discovery, or Not?" by Mark Rose, Archaeology (November 18, 2003). Devestating critique of the press release. Apparently the site was not lost at all, but described by Bingham and in the 1980s. The infrared work is also called into question.

"Machu Picchu's Observatory: the Re-Discovery of Llactapata and its Sun-Temple" the article by J. McKim Malville, Hugh Thomson and Gary Ziegler.

"Inca city found in Peru jungle." Reuters press release appearing in the Guardian (November 2003)

Comments on the story on "Mysterious Earth."

"I'm afraid this claim is something of a fraud. Llactapata is a remote site, but one that is well known to Inca researchers in the Cusco area. It has been studied by Johan Reinhard and others off and on over the past twenty years. In Hugh Thompson's book 'The White Rock', he describes his search for and 'rediscovery' of Llactapata-- in the 1980s! Now, he has apparently rediscovered it yet again."

Talk of the Nation Science Friday: "Archaeology Update" (scroll down). Thirty-minute discussion with host Ira Flatow, expedition co-leader Gary Ziegler, and Mark Rose who penned the Archaeology article.

Also see: BBC News: "Peru's new Machu Picchu" (March 19, 2002) on finds at Corihuayrachina.

New Age

As will be seen, I am no fan of New Age theories about Machu Picchu (or Knossos, Stonehenge, the Pyramids, etc.). There's no need to get into evidence and methdos—kooky views will never change responsible scholarship. I'm more worried about the opportunities New Agers miss. Although seemingly open and accepting of newness and diversity, New Age interpretations reduce the interest and complexity of a site and the society that built and lived in it to the fake "otherness" of their imagination. When you picture the ancient Inca as primitive Californian feminists, Wiccans, UFO and crystal fanciers your wishful thinking denies you the opportunity to confront and understand what you didn't expect. Given the opportunity to look at something you haven't seen before, you instead interpose a mirror and praise the reflection.

Amazon. Journey to Machu Picchu: Spiritual Wisdom from the Andes by Carol Cumes. Blurb states "Readers are invited to enter the shamanic world of Andean healers and herbalists and connect with Andean power animals as co-author Carol Cumes describes her personal spiritual journey into the mystic Andes mountains.

Martin Gray's "Places of Peace and Power" on Machu Picchu. Despite the title, Gray downplays the New Age angle somewhat and pooh-poohs supposed Goddess connections by noting a lack of evidence. Refreshing! His photos are rather good, as is his Places of Peace and Power site generally.

Crystal links. Decent page with photos—some poor, some good. There's an obligatory nod to UFOs; of more concern is the repetition of Bingham's "Virgins of the Sun" notions. Recent work has demolished this claim, which rested largely on some bad osteology.

"Feeling Energy in Machu Picchu & Peru" by Chamba Lane, excerpted from an upcoming New Age guidebook.

LibraryThing: Catalog your books online.

If you enjoy this site you may like this other site by me:

Hernando Cortés on the Web. Comprehensive guide to the Conqueror of Mexico, Hernando (or Hernán) Cortes.

Alexander the Great on the Web. Everything you ever wanted to know about Alexander, and pictures too.

Hieroglyphics! Comprehensive guide to Egyptian hieroglyphics.

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