National Geographic : 1913 Apr
SPhoto by Hiram Bingham THE INTERIOR OF A CAVE UNDER A SACRED STONE: MACHU PICCHU Under the sacred stones frequently caves were constructed and in some cases lined with beautifully cut stones. This is a flashlight of such a cave underneath the semicircular tower (see page 471, and pictures, pages 484, 485, and 496). of 16 large sheets. It should prove very useful in helping us to gain a correct idea of this wonderful city, which seems to have escaped the notice of the Spanish conquerors and to have remained prac tically unknown until it was first visited by the present writer in July, 1911. OTHER IMPORTANT INCA RUINS It is still too early to make definite statements in regard to the importance of this discovery; in fact, such opinions can only be passed by archaeological experts after the full report of the work at Machu Picchu has been prepared and published. This much, however, can be said in regard to the superiority in ex tent and interest of Machu Picchu over previously discovered Inca ruins: The most important Inca ruins here tofore discovered are in the city of Cuzco, the town and fortress of Ollantaytambo, Pisac, and on the islands of Lake Ti ticaca. There are, besides these, on the coast a number of localities like Pacha camac, Nazca, Ancon, Trujillo, and the country of the Grand Chimu, where the chief interest lies in the extensive find- ings of mummies, pottery, textiles, and metal ornaments, including gold, silver, bronze, etc. All of these places, how ever, were known to the Spanish Con querors, and have been ransacked by treasure hunters from the earliest times. Cuzco, the most important place of all, was adopted by the Spaniards as their most important city outside of Lima. They entirely remade the city, using large quantities 'of the ancient Inca walls to build their own palaces and churches. Although the city still has many Inca re mains and retains a great charm for the tourist and the archaeological student, it is more of a Spanish colonial city than of an Inca city. The same is partly true of Ollantay tambo. The ruins of Pisac and many others in the vicinity, of which it is not necessary to give an account here, have repeatedly been ransacked by treasure hunters. The long palace at Vitcos, identified in 1911 as the last Inca capital, has been almost completely destroyed by these treasure hunters. Of the 30 beauti ful door of cut granite, only two or three remain intact.