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Machu Picchu before Bingham


									     Machu Picchu before Bingham

       Here is Berns’ own sketch of the “Flight of Steps from   Archaeologist Paolo Greer looks at               extended the Inca Empire to include vast
       Putucussi to the ruined towns of the Metalworkers”.      the history of Machu Picchu before               territories and numerous civilizations.
                                                                it was officially ‘discovered’ by                Cusi became known as “Pachacuti”, “He
        “In 1551, the Viceroy                                   Hiram Bingham in 1911                            Who Changes the World”.
                                                                                                                     The “World Changer” confined Cusco’s rivers
     Mendoza ordered Betanzos                                       In 1471, the year the Conquistador           to stone channels and had his capital com-
        to record the history of                                Francisco Pizarro was born, Pachacuti Yupanqui   pletely rebuilt. He created the Inca system of
                                                                died. Pachacuti was the ninth Inca and           warehouses and roads, with chasqui mes-
36        the Incas.....but the                                 Atahualpa’s Great Grandfather. When he was       sengers to maintain rapid communication. He
     initial eighteen chapters                                  young, Pachacuti was known simply as Cusi        defined the calendar, festivals, customs and
                                                                Yupanqui. Then, the Inca kingdom was small       laws for his people to follow and organized a
      were lost for more than                                   and their enemies, the Chancas, attacked their   warrior class for the conquests to come.
                   400 years.”                                  home, Cusco. Cusi’s Father, Viracocha, and           It was Pachacuti who ordered the holiest
                                                                his six brothers fled, while he, the youngest,   Inca site, the Sun Temple or Coricancha, to
                                                                stayed to successfully defend the city.          be constructed. For that, he gathered the
                                                                    In the decades that followed, Cusi           best goldsmiths and told them to fashion a
                                                                Yupanqui and his sons, Yamque and Topa,          life-sized figure of a young boy, resembling
                                                                                                         Göhring’s 1877 citation: “the forts
                                                                                                         of Chuquillusca, Torontoy and Picchu”.

the brilliantly shining child he had seen in        write the Church’s religious conversion             The site of La Maquina is now Aguas
a vision while protecting Cusco.                    manuals and Spanish-Quechua dictionar-           Calientes, the community just below
    Pachacuti personally placed the finished        ies. In 1551, the Viceroy Mendoza ordered        Machu Picchu.
statue in an interior room of the Coricancha,       Betanzos to record the history of the               In 1867, Berns purchased twenty-five
where only he, certain lords and special caretak-   Incas. Betanzos’ unique work, Suma y             kilometers of the northern bank of the
ers were allowed to enter to revere the child’s     narracion de los Yngas, was finished in          Urubamba/Vilcanota River, next to the
figure, the most sacred icon in the realm.          1557. However, all but the initial eighteen      famous citadel. His estate, the “Cercado
    Like Pachacuti, the golden sculpture            chapters were lost for more than 400 years.      de San Antonio” or “Torontoy”, extended
was considered a representative of the sun.            In 1987, a complete manuscript, with an       above and far downriver from the present
    On the same day that Pachacuti in-              additional sixty-four chapters, was found in     ruins of Torontoy, and up to the mountain
stalled the boy’s image in the Sun Temple,          Palma de Mallorca, Spain. The “Inca Garcilaso”   crests, directly opposite of Machu Picchu.
he had a sugarloaf shaped stone, an                 produced his “Royal Commentaries” in 1609,          Even today, this region within plain
intihuatana or “sun hitch”, placed in the           based mostly on what he remembered as a          sight of the best known ancient city in
center of the principal plaza of Cusco. The         child before leaving Perú in 1560.               the Americas is virtually unknown.
specially carved rock represented the sun,             Bernabe Cobo, like Garcilaso, among
for one and all to worship.                         the most cited of Inca authorities, relied
    Although Pachacuti’s victories stretched        on the scant records available in his day,       Pre-Bingham Research
throughout the Inca’s known world, his              publishing his history in 1653, nearly
initial invasions were in the Urubamba              one hundred years after Betanzos’ direct            I first walked the popular Inca trail in
Valley. It was there that the aged leader           translations from Atahualpa’s cousin-wife        1974, several years before I encountered
had a village built for his panaca or de-           and their surviving relatives.                   history of the area that pre-dated Hiram
scendant family to care for his tomb and               Perhaps, it was then that Cuxirimay,          Bingham. Like many a good adventure,
to serve his memory.                                a.k.a. Doña Angelina Yupanqui, finally           this one started with the serendipitous
    He called the town Patallacta, “High            “spoke her good fortune” by preserving           discovery of an old map.
City”. It is now known as Machu Picchu.             the history of her vanquished ancestors.            I came upon the sketch during one
                                                    Without the telling of her story by Juan         of my numerous trips to the U.S. Library
                                                    de Betanzos, and his Narration’s recent          of Congress. It had no title or date,
The Inca History is Recorded                        rediscovery, much of the Inca’s own ac-          although it indicated the locations of
                                                    count might have been lost forever.
   Huayna Capac, Pachacuti’s grandson,
chose the newborn Cuxirimay (‘Speaks
Good Fortune’) to eventually wed his son,           The Rediscovery of Patallacta
Atahualpa. After Huayna Capac’s death,
Cuxirimay was in Atahualpa’s camp when                  From Inca Land - Explorations in
he was captured by Pizarro. She stayed              the Highlands of Peru (1912) by Hiram
with the imprisoned Inca leader until his           Bingham: “On the afternoon of July 23rd
execution by the Spaniards.                         we reached a hut called “La Maquina”,
   Following Atahualpa’s murder, Cuxirimay          where travelers frequently stop for the
became Doña Angelina Yupanqui, and                  night. The name comes from the presence
Francisco Pizarro’s mistress. She bore him          here of some large iron wheels, parts of a
two sons, Juan and Francisco.                       “machine” destined never to overcome the
   When Pizarro was assassinated in 1541,           difficulties of being transported all the way                                                  37
Angelina Yupanqui was nineteen years old.           to a sugar estate in the lower valley, and
   In 1544, Doña Angelina became the                years ago left here to rust in the jungle…”.
wife of Juan de Betanzos, a Quechua in-                 The rusted machine that the Yale ex-
terpreter for the Conquistadors. Following          plorer wrote about had nothing to do with
the conquest of Perú, Betanzos became               sugar cane. It was a sawmill, brought to
the most respected translator for the               Perú before Bingham’s birth by a German,
Viceroyalty. In the same year that he wed           Augusto R. Berns, for the purpose of pro-
Angelina, Betanzos was commissioned to              ducing ties for the Southern Perú Railroad.
     mineral deposits along the Vilcanota              of the expedition, as well as of his own ex-           “Without the telling
     River. Oddly, it was in English and in its        plorations the following year, as a mining
     center was a spot marked “Saw Mill”.              engineer in the employ of President Pardo.             of her story by Juan
         It took me another twenty years to                When the brave La-Torre was killed by             de Betanzos, and his
     find out who had drawn the map and why.           thirty-four Native arrows, Göhring escaped.
         That same year, in 1978, I found another      He was nursed back to health by a Señora
                                                                                                                Narration’s recent
     clue, one that also took decades to compre-       Yábar in Paucartambo, coincidentally                  rediscovery, much of
     hend. I had sent away for a large 900-page vol-   a relative of a friend of mine, Rodolfo
     ume, the “Directory of Archives and Manuscript    Bragagnini. Indeed, it was only for Rodolfo
                                                                                                           the Inca’s own account
     Repositories”. The index described hundreds       that I sought the lost manuscript.                         might have been
     of historical collections in the United States.
     I read it carefully, page by page, gleaning any
                                                           Even so, Göhring’s work on the Vilcanota
                                                       sparked an old memory.
                                                                                                                     lost forever.”
     reference I could about Perú.                         More importantly, his map, dated
         One brief citation mentioned “promo-          1874, clearly indicated two peaks, “Machu       publish it. By 1881, he had abandoned his
     tional materials relating to an attempt to        Picchu” and “Huaina Picchu”, and his 1877       attempts to cut railroad ties and, instead,
     exploit a mineral area of Perú, 1881”. It         text referred to the “forts of Chuquillusca,    was promoting the “lost mines of the Inca”.
     caught my eye because, in those years,            Torontoy and Picchu”.                               This pseudo-revelation begs for a side
     my passion was exploration for long for-              In 1989, the same year that I found the     note, on the chance that the tabloids
     gotten mines in the “Caravaya”, a remote          Göhring map, I gave out hundreds of copies      stumble upon this learned magazine.
     section of high jungle in the department          to historians, archaeologists and to anyone         Machu Picchu is made of granite. So
     of Puno near the Bolivian frontier.               who feigned an interest. Still, for more than   is the surrounding terrain for quite some
         Alas, this particular prospect was some-      a decade, the oldest known map of Machu         distance. No Inca or Spanish miner took
     where else entirely, on the river Vilcanota       Picchu remained remarkably unnoticed.           much gold, if any, from granite. To pre-
     near a place called Torontoy.                         The only exceptions that I am aware of      tend there were rich claims in such barren
                                                       were Dan Buck, who published the copy I         geology conjures up Mark Twain’s apt
                                                       sent him in the South American Explorers        description of a gold mine: “A hole in the
     The Oldest Map of Machu Picchu                    Magazine (1993 “Fights of Machu Picchu”)        ground with a liar standing next to it.”
                                                       and another I passed on to the Via Láctea           When I found Berns’ “treasure map”,
     In 1989, I was granted an interview               newspaper of Cusco in 1999.                     I remembered a similar illustration, the
     with Juan Mejía Baca, the Director of                 In the years that followed, when I          one I had seen years before, in the late
     the National Library of Perú. I had spent         wasn’t working pipeline in northern Alaska      1970s. I compared the two and, though
     many weeks in the library and had finally         or squandering my grubstakes prospecting        by different hands, realized the first was
     worked up my courage to make a few sug-           the Inambari headwaters of southeastern         an inset to Berns’ own drawing.
     gestions to Don Juan about how he might           Perú, I continued my research on the region         The sketch I had found earlier was done by
     make his archives more accessible.                of Machu Picchu before Bingham.                 Berns’ partner, “Poker Harry” Singer. Singer was
         At the time, I also happened to be                I even diligently plied the new phenom-     an American who had studied chemistry for six
     searching for a certain book, one written         enon, the Internet. After two years of early    years at Gottingen University in Germany and
     in 1877 by a Herman Göhring, concerning           cyber-searching, I learned of a few papers      participated in the 1849 California gold rush.
     the ill-fated 1873 Baltazar La-Torre attempt      that heirs of an American backer of Berns           I cannot say for sure what Singer, a real
     to descend the treacherous rivers below           had put up for sale.                            miner, thought of Berns’ shenanigans but
     Paucartambo.                                          The documents contained Berns’ pro-         the partnership came to an abrupt end.
38       When I mentioned it to Sr. Mejia Baca,        spectus and a detailed plan of the Torontoy         In 1881, while the two men sat out the
     he laughed, saying that he knew of the            estate that he had made himself: “I make        Perú-Bolivia-Chile war in Panama, Berns
     book, had had his library completely              by hand after a good yellow gumi gusty          wrote in a letter to his sponsors: “Here had
     searched and was sure it was not there.           color. These points more distinct. This is a    been shot Mr. Singer about 4 weeks ago as he
        I said I thought it was and I could find       small work of some hours and will make all      had drunk together with some Italians, etc.,
     it. The Director politely rolled his eyes.        falling in the eye at once. Also makes an       insulting each other and so they shot him.”
         Within an hour, I located three separate      elegant map. Yours truly. A. R. Berns.”             I had a more difficult time locating the
     copies, using an obscure index I knew. One            Berns had his waybill copyrighted,          “promotional mining materials” that I had
     of the books still contained Göhring’s map        so that no one else could reproduce and         first noted in the 1978 archives directory.
                                                                                                        A sketch by ‘Poker Harry’ Singer,
                                                                                                        Berns’ partner

Then, that history was in a University of        the ceramics, shards and mummified bones           It would have been in the same spot where,
California library. In the interim, it had       that Bingham took back to Yale from Machu          today, Aguas Calientes thrives and hundreds of
been returned to Perú. I traced the line of      Picchu. I was delighted to read that those         thousands of tourists have caught the shuttle
possession from California back to Lima          artifacts, at long last, would be returned to      for a short ride up the hill to Machu Picchu.
and eventually found the unique records,         their rightful owners, the Peruvian people             There were seven handwritten drafts
uncatalogued, in a large cardboard box, full     (update: apparently, Peru’s former first           of the “Particulars of Torontoy”, Berns’
of bookworms and home to a nest of mice.         lady’s, Eliane Karp de Toledo’s, February          detailed advertisement to sell his prop-
   I spent a week, sitting between the           2008 editorial to the New York Times, may          erty. From one version to the next, it was
desks of two librarians, pouring over the        have stopped the exchange).                        telling how he embellished a word here or
rank trove. Regrettably, I was allowed to            In any case, I am also concerned that a car-   added another lost mine there.
copy nothing, nor even to take pictures          ton of moldy documents, perhaps the greatest           The box even contained Harry Singer’s
(today, the Peruvian National Library            collection of pre-Bingham Machu Picchu infor-      original map, in two colors! Although Berns’
permits reproductions of older books and         mation, having already been repatriated, may       own “yellow gumi gusty” plan was nowhere
ephemera to be made with one’s own cam-          no longer exist. Much of what I know of Berns’     to be found, there were several clear white
era for a charge of two dollars per photo).      escapades on the Vilcanota came from my brief      copies. He hand drew lines on them, from
   I took notes, of course, all the time pro-    preview of the files I examined in that box.       the “Saw Mill” to just downriver, where he
testing that this national treasure should be        There were twenty-four folders con-            hoped the government would build a bridge.
better preserved. In any case, I considered      taining the German’s sketches, notes and               One envelope caught my curiosity as
the opportunity just a tantalizing first peek.   correspondence. He mentioned a Mr. Oliver,         much as anything else. It contained only
   A couple years ago, the Biblioteca            who had been “two years living in those            rusted metal shards. It was without expla-
Nacional of Perú opened its new quarters.        parts”. I found a sample certificate for “The      nation and addressed to a Mr. Mahon.
Most things probably made the move okay.         Incas Mines Gold & Silver Mining Company               Why would Berns send heavy pieces of
One box of musty papers, full of wormholes       187-”. One folder, alone, had fifty-seven          corroded metal to another country?
and mouse droppings, apparently did not.         envelopes, addressed to potential patrons.             I had an idea, and it had to do with
   Much has been said and written about              There was a good drawing of Berns’ camp.       crossing the river.
                                                 I suspect it was of the “Maquina” huts that            In 1877, Göhring had dispelled his fellow
                                                 Bingham saw in ruins, forty-plus years later.      countryman’s incredible claims of mineral
                                                                                                    wealth. Still, there was something else,
                                                                                                    something easier to work and possibly richer!

      Paolo, in 1996, on the trail to Machu Picchu. Like
      the Incas before me, I had nearly forty kilos (85
      lbs) in my pack and a tump line on my forehead
      to carry the extra weight.

                                                           From a different source, I discovered an 1887         The President probably instructed
                                                           booklet explaining Berns’ newer project,          Palma to support the German’s venture,
                                                           a venture he called “Compañia Anónima             encouraging the Director to research
                                                           Limitada Huacas del Inca”, a company hav-         Machu Picchu, long before Hiram Bingham
                                                           ing to do with the exploitation of an Inca        stumbled upon the ruins. Another piece
                                                           huaca or “sacred place”. This was no longer       of the Berns’ affair was brought to light
                                                           about sawing wood for the railroad or mining      by historian Mariana Mould de Pease.
                                                           dubious claims of gold or silver.                     In her 2003 book, Machu Picchu y el
                                                               Berns was after plunder!                      Código de Ética de la Sociedad de Arqueología
                                                               On July 16, 1887, he wrote: “During           Americana, Ms. Mould published a letter she had
                                                           my stay in those provinces for four years         uncovered among the Yale papers of Bingham.
                                                           almost continuously, my lengthy investiga-            Dated June 16, 1887, it was from the
                                                           tions and constant expeditions for the pur-       office of the Peruvian President Cáceres to
                                                           pose, helped by my professional knowledge         August R. Berns, giving him permission to
                                                           and casual circumstances, I was able to           loot Inca tombs (“construcciones gentilicas”).
                                                           discover the existence of significant rustic          Ms. Mould published the letter as an
                                                           buildings and underground structures that         example of the leniency with which Peruvian
                                                           had been closed with stones, some of              ruins were “mined” in earlier years. What she
                                                           them carefully carved, which will undoubt-        did not then know, because the letter gave
                                                           edly contain objects of great value, and          no clue, was that the “huaca” to be spoiled
                                                           form part of those treasures of the Incas.”       was the one we now call Machu Picchu.
                                                               “This company has the participation of            The government wanted ten percent of the
                                                           the Supreme government and is sponsored           value of any gold, silver or jewels the German
     “Even today, this region                              by various respectable people of this capital     found, although it granted the remainder,
                                                           city, as well as several distinguished cuzque-    as well as any objects of copper, clay, wood,
         within plain sight of                             ños and antique collectors who will form the      stone, and everything else, to Berns without
      the best known ancient                               directive committee, all persons of the high-     any further obligations, not even custom fees,
                                                           est honor inspiring the highest confidence        should he expatriate his treasures.
       city in the Americas is                             and guaranteeing the best results.”                   Berns was required to pay for a Cusco of-
          virtually unknown.”                                  The officers for the enterprise were:         ficial to make sure the State got its cut, and
                                                           President, Augusto R. Berns; Vice President,      the authorities would supply police protec-
                                                           José M. Macedo; Cashier, Fernando Umlauff;        tion, if Berns paid their expenses. In Inca
                                                           Secretary, Jose Rufino Macedo. Principal mem-     Land’ Bingham wrote: “With the possible
                                                           bers of the company were: Luis Carranza, Luis     exception of one mining prospector, no
                                                           Esteves, David Matto, Francis L. Crosby, Jacobo   one in Cuzco had seen the ruins of Machu
                                                           Bakus, Arnaldo Hilfiker and Ricardo Palma.        Picchu or appreciated their importance. No
                                                               Dr. José Mariano Macedo was a professor       one had any realization of what an extraor-
                                                           of pathology at the San Marcos University         dinary place lay on top of the ridge.”
                                                           in Lima and an officer of the National                Although Bingham was directed to
                                                           Medical Academy. He also owned a consider-        Machu Picchu, not by Augusto Berns but by
                                                           able collection of ancient ceramics. When         Albert Giesecke, the head of the University
40                                                         the war with Chile broke out, Macedo took         of Cuzco, Berns was probably the prospector
                                                           his collection to Paris and later sold the        Bingham had heard about, the one who had
                                                           bulk of the artifacts to a Museum in Berlin.      been to Machu Picchu decades before him.
                                                               Berns’ partner, Ricardo Palma, was appar-
                                                           ently the well known author and director of
                                                           the National Library of Perú from 1883-1912.      Who was buried in Grant’s Tomb?
                                                           Berns often referred to his close cooperation
                                                           and help from the “Supreme Government”. By           It is accepted that Machu Picchu was
                                                           that, he meant President Cáceres.                 built by Pachacuti Yupanqui, the Genghis
Khan of the Incas. What is less known is         the stone points towards the solstice but it        The Lost Towns of the Metal Miners
that the famous ruins, perhaps, contained        doesn’t. I doubt it points towards anything.
the Inca leader’s tomb.                          It was the base of Pachacuti’s statue.                  Virtually no explorers, national or
    Pachacuti built the unique Sun Temple            The evidence indicates that the ped-            foreign, discover much on their own.
or Coricancha, in Cusco. Before his death,       estal suffered a blistering fire and many           There were twenty-four families who lived
he had a similar round temple construct-         fierce blows. Since there no proof that the         on Berns’ property, one hundred and forty
ed in Machu Picchu.                              Spaniards found Machu Picchu, I am fairly           years ago. A few served as his guides.
    In addition to being the greatest tour-      sure the vandalism was done to hurriedly                From near his camp, opposite the
ist agent Perú ever had, Bingham also got        break the golden image loose to be used             Vilcanota River from Machu Picchu, Berns
many things right about Machu Picchu.            as part of Atahualpa’s ransom to Pizarro.           climbed up a “well paved road, with mas-
He called the cave below the temple, “the            From Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, History         sive flights of steps in many parts” that
Royal Mausoleum”.                                of the Inca’ (1572): “The Licentiate Polo           led to two villages, high in the mountains.
    The mausoleum’s form and masonry are         found the body of Pachacuti in Tococachi,               He called the long abandoned settle-
finer than any other Inca burial chamber         where now is the parish of San Blas of the          ments “the towns of the metal workers”,
that exists. Who rated such a crypt, in          city of Cuzco, well preserved and guarded. He       with “ovens”, “smelting houses”, “channels”,
the city that Pachacuti had built, if not        sent it to Lima by order of the Viceroy of this     “many large baths chiseled out of rock”
the “World Changer”, himself? The tomb           kingdom, the Marquis of Cañete. The guauqui         and “hearths with the doors and windows
even has its own intihuatana inside it.          or idol of this Inca was called Inti Illapa. It     carefully built up with stone as the Incas left
    My guess is that this “sun hitch”, like      was of gold and very large, and was brought         them at the time of the conquest”.
the sugarloaf shaped stone placed in the         to Caxamarca in pieces. The Licentiate Polo             Berns’ company, “Huacas del Inca”,
center of the principal plaza of Cusco,          found that this guauqui or idol had a house,        was formed to sack Machu Picchu. These
more than 500 years ago, was actually a          estate, servants and women.”                        villages, however, were somewhere else,
“presidential seal”, not just for the Inca           Something else that Hiram Bingham               not far away. I have a good idea where,
royalty in general, but for one sovereign        noted in Machu Picchu was an “Enigmatic             exactly, but I have not been there, yet.
in particular, Pachacuti Yupanqui.               Window”. Certainly, it is rather mysteri-               What concerns me is that I believe the
    At the high mark of the ancient ruins,       ous. The large opening gives a splendid             huaqueros or looters know the sites well.
there is the famous intihuatana, the same that   view of the empty lump of bedrock on top                The principal town was known as
was chipped in September 2000 while filming      of the Sun Temple, above the Royal Crypt.           Inkantuyoc or Plateriayoc, “Place of the
a beer commercial. I also believe that the           There are strange holes bored through its       Silver”. It lies at some distance, beyond
sugarloaf peaks, Huayna Picchu and Putucusi,     granite periphery, which gave the explorer from     the granite of Machu Picchu, where the
were considered natural intihuatanas and         Yale the notion to refer to it as the “Snake        land morphs into an ore bearing bedrock
probably were the reasons why this location               .
                                                 Window” He wrote, “The priest of this temple        and placers deposits might well have
was chosen for “Patallacta” or Machu Picchu.     attempted to foretell the future by noticing from   enriched the valley.
    From the thirty-second chapter of            which holes the snakes chanced to come out”    .        Berns wrote that, after the fall of the
The Narrative of the Incas by Juan de                Maybe Bingham had a rustic sense of             Inca Empire, some Portuguese took out great
Betanzos: “After he [Pachacuti] was dead,        humor or was simply making do with local            fortunes there. Eventually, the Spaniards
he was taken to a town named Patallacta,         hemp for his pipe tobacco but I doubt any           caught on how well they were doing but only
where he had ordered some houses built           snake took a shortcut through that rock wall.       just before the Native uprisings, preceding the
in which his body was to be entombed.”           The various stone shelves at the window’s           South American War of Independence, caused
    “Inca Yupanqui ordered that a golden         base, like the holes, were to support flowers,      the miners to run for their lives.
image made to resemble him be placed on          burnt offerings and other tributes.                     Now, ferocious bulls, descended from
top of his tomb. And it was to be worshiped          The view through the Enigmatic Window           those left long ago by the Portuguese,            41
in place of him by the people who went           seems to have been clearly for that which           roam “the plains of Plateriayoc”. On
there... He ordered that a statue be made of     is no longer there, for the observance and          occasion, locals still bring some of the
his fingernails and hair that had been cut       worship of a missing golden sculpture.              animals down to sell their meat. They are
in his lifetime. It was made in that town            Just outside the window are an altar,           wicked beasts and the cracked ribs seem
where his body was kept.”The tower above         an extraordinary fountain and a three-sided         poor compensation for the effort. Berns
the Royal Mausoleum has a single room,           hut of unusually fine stonework. It was from        also wrote of the panthers that preyed
one almost entirely filled by a large hump       this vantage that his descendents most              upon the wild cattle.
in the bedrock. It is commonly said that         likely honored Pachacuti’s effigy.

                                                                                                                    SAE MAGAZINE MAY 2008

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