Tuesday, April 2, 2013

100 years! Machu Pichu in National Geographic

100 years ago this month National Geographic published the first photos and written story of Hiram Bingham's discovery of Machu Pichu. It was one of the most significant archaeological finds of all time and remains a world landmark in science and culture.
I've been fascinated with the site for as long as I can remember, likely because of things like old National Geographics around our house. I even have a copy of the April 1913 edition, need to get around to framing that thing.

In these photos we see the explorer himself posing next to a tent, possibly his. He doesn't quite conjure images of Harrison Ford running from tumbling boulders but he was obviously quite capable. The next photo is the cover of the article itself with all it's 100 year old gravitas. The final image is one of Bingham's assistants in front of a sacred stone, one of a number at the site carved to echo the shapes of mountains in the distance, letting us know of both a connection with those far off peaks as well as a high degree of reverence for them.

There is a lot to be impressed by with regard to Machu Pichu from the massive stone construction to simply being able to build something so immense at such an altitude and then go on to maintain and actually use it. The whole thing is such a great piece of human accomplishment. I've been fortunate to see so many things in my life but if there is one far off thing still on my list it's Machu Pichu. So, yes if anyone needs a photographer for their expedition I'm in and if someone just wants to sponsor a guy on a bicycle with some climbing gear to haul himself up there, I'm game for that too. The only thing better would be getting to sink a test pit or two with one of the preservation crews.

Here's to Hiram, National Geographic and the spirit of adventure that is in all of us.

(All images are photos I shot of my original copy of the April 1913 edition)

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