Thursday, April 3, 2014

Did humans populate South America ealrier than Clovis Model?

Did early humans populate South America thousands of years earlier than previously thought?  New archaeological work is starting to show that might be the case.  Hidden in the rock shelters where prehistoric humans once lived, the paintings number in the thousands. Some are thought to be more than 9,000 years old and perhaps even far more ancient. Painted in red ocher, they rank among the most revealing testaments anywhere in the Americas to what life was like millenniums before the European conquest began a mere five centuries ago.

But it is what excavators found when they started digging in the shadows of the rock art that is contributing to a pivotal re-evaluation of human history in the hemisphere.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hiram Bingham and the Scientific Discovery of Machu Picchu

When Hiram Bingham III organized the Yale Peruvian Expedition of 1911, he had four objectives: to scale Mount Coropuna, to conduct a geolographic survey along the 73rd meridian, to explore Lake Parinococha, and to discover Vilcabamba "the lost city of the Inca".

These ambitious goals could be contemplated because of financing from his family and Yale classmates, assistance from US companies and political support from the American and Peru governments.  At the behest of Peru's president, Hiram Bingham and his staff were provided with a military escort and with letters of introduction that ensured cooperation in Cusco and in the small villages of the Urabamba River.