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A Walking Tour of Machu Picchu, Peru


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Unreconstructed Room Block at Machu Picchu
Unreconstructed room block at Machu Picchu, Peru

Unreconstructed room block at Machu Picchu, Peru

Photograph by Gina Carey
Many of the rooms at Machu Picchu have been reconstructed. When the American explorer and diplomat Hiram Bingham was first was brought to the site by local residents in 1911, the ruins were in fairly good shape; but an earthquake in 1950 did additional damage. Excavation and conservation of some of the buildings was conducted by various governmental bodies in association with the Departmental Archaeological Foundation of Cuzco beginning in the late 1950s. The lower room blocks in this photo are unreconstructed.

Archaeologists believe Machu Picchu was abandoned between about 1534 and 1570. Only a very few historic Spanish artifacts have been found at Machu Picchu. But, evidence of several fires at Machu Picchu has been identified, particularly in the area known as the Torreon, which was thought to have held the mummy of Pachacuti himself. The fires were likely the work of the Spanish, who attempted to obliterate the old Incan religion.

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