August 1st, 2015


Structures and Workers on Machu Picchu

As you can see from some of the pictures in this set there was a small city here. The stone work is in excellent shape. A few buildings have reconstructed thatched roofs on them. There is also lots of terracing which was presumably used to grow food and to make some of the area traversable. There is an elaborate drainage system to help the water flow in an orderly fashion.

It is so much fun and so interesting to just walk around gaping at everything.

The Incas were excellent architects and engineers. The stone walls were constructed very carefully with each stone carved to fit tightly so no mortar was needed. It's not too clear exactly what tools they used for the carving. The building walls all sloped inward a bit to help preserve them over time.

You can see some workers (of several species here) doing site maintenance.

Click here for some pictures

Hiram Bingham - my experience

Hiram Bingham is best known as the "discoverer" of Machu Picchu. He also was the Governor of Connecticut and then Senator from Connecticut .

I knew him as a golfer. When I was about 13 in 1951 or so I had a job as a caddy in a northwestern Connecticut golf course for a few weeks. My regular client was Hiram Bingham. I knew nothing about him although I learned about his political role; his golf partners were political cronies. As a caddy, I stayed mostly in the distance only being involved when there was a need so I didn't know much about him. He was a pretty good golfer and a very nice person. I never heard the term Machu Picchu spoken. (He did publish a Machu Picchu book in 1948 only a few years before this my encounter. I have out from the library at the moment.)

If you are interested in finding out more about Machu Picchu and Hiram Bingham I recommend reading Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams. He tells a lot about the history of the place, Bingham's expedition, and his own more recent one. I just read it again. A fascinating reading experience.

This is a ~1931 photo of his taking off for (or returning from) a golf game via autogiro from Capitol Hill.

An early Bingham photograph of Machu Picchu.