A vivid portrayal of a complex history, “Cradle of Gold” sweeps me back to 1911 when Hiram Bingham discovered Machu Picchu, what a story, what an adventure it was. In a fascinating region known for awe inspiring landscapes I am poised to relive Hiram Bingham’s discoveries in the Andes through the eyes of Chris Heaney.
Stunning Landscapes and Complex History of Machu Picchu
Yes, I am reading Cradle of Gold written to coincide with the 100 year anniversary of the discovery of Machu Picchu.
Did we plan to exactly be there 100 years later, no, but it is a happy coincidence and it makes this place even more special for us.
Now back to my book – Bingham believed that Machu Picchu was the Incas’ final refuge, where they fled the Spanish Conquistadors. He called it the Lost City despite making the other findings of Vilcabamba or Choquequirao which are now thought to be the ‘Lost Cities”
Slightly controversial Heaney has little time for Bingham and his pillaging of the artifacts that went on. We too are a little sad that all these treasures went to another country. Bingham realized his dream of bringing truckloads of Machu Picchu’s treasure of skulls, bones and artifacts to Yale in the United States.
For years there has been conflict between Yale and Peru over the simple question of who owns this Inca history and these artifacts?
Peru has been seeking to get the artifacts back, arguing that the university violated Peruvian law by exporting the artifacts without getting special permission from the Peruvian government. It says they include centuries-old Incan materials, including bronze, gold and other metal objects, mummies, skulls, bones and other human remains, pottery, utensils, ceramics and objects of art.
Fitting as it could be, there was agreement in 2010 that artifacts would be shipped back to Peru in June 2011 during the celebrations of Inti Raymi and Corpus Christi.
If by another happy coincidence we watch as the convoy arrives in Cusco with truckloads of treasures looted from this beautiful land so long ago. Now housed in Cusco with the help of the local university, we will return to see them one day.
The dignity and pride of Peru has been returned.
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