DISCOVERY OF MACHU PICCHU
After this first contact with Machu
Picchu, Bingham informed Giesecke, who tells Jose Cosio,
the secretary of the San Antonio Abad University of Cusco and faculty
member of the Law School about the find, suggesting they should
organize an expedition to confirm the findings.
The latter contacted
Enrique Palma, who told him he had visited Machu Picchu
10 years earlier (1902). The Cusco University Expedition was hurriedly
organized and left, with a committee consisting of, in addition
to the organizers, the secretary and Mr. Palma, the brothers Justo
and Luis Ochoa, accompanied among others by (Dr.) Alberto Lopez,
who years later would become General de Sanidad (Health Director),
and at the time was only 12 years of age.
Headed by Dr. Cosio, they left for the Qollpani hacienda, in Urubamba, whose co-owners were the Ochoa brothers. Thence they traveled to the area known as Playa San Miguel, from which they started the climb to Machu Picchu on the morning of January 18, 1912.
Cleaning the weeds off one of the walls, they found the engraved
inscription left by Enrique Palma and another three people in 1902.
Palma related that on that occasion they found a tenant farmer called
Meza cultivating some fields and terraces in Machu Picchu,
who told them he was renting the land from the Cutija hacienda for
twelve golden soles a year. Ten years later, the tenants of that
same land were Arteaga and Lizarraga, the former of whom had six
months earlier taken Bingham to the city.
In late July 1912, highly motivated by Dr. Cosio's report, a new expedition formed by some twenty Cusco University professors and students arrived in Machu Picchu, including the Rector, Alberto A. Giesecke, Romualdo Aguilar, fellow of the Law School, and several others.
What is strange about these national expeditions is that their findings were not published. Perhaps Rafael Aguilar Paez is right in saying that "Dr. Bingham discovered Machu Picchu and studied it to make his findings known to the civilized world, in the same way that many others studied it for their own puny interests..." (Aguilar Paez 1961:p.63ss.)
It is possible that Bingham worked silently during the months of
June, July and August 1912. Some university students on an expedition
to Machu Picchu found Bingham directing excavations
and surveying the Citadel on his first expedition after his discovery,
organized from his country of origin, the U.S.
Nevertheless, Cosio's report consists of only praise for Bingham, his assistants and the other people involved in the first expedition, while recommending proper care be taken of the national interest.
Finally, in 1915, the second expedition by Yale University and the National Geographical Society of Washington took place. Bingham set up his headquarters in Ollantaytambo and explored the access roads to Rosaspata in Vilcabamba. The archaeological collections of the different Bingham expeditions are on display in the Peabody Museum of the University of Yale (Rowe - 1959: page 8).