Cradle of Gold: The Story of Hiram Bingham, a Real-Life Indiana Jones, and the Search for Machu Picchu

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Macmillan, Jul 5, 2011 - History - 244 pages
5 Reviews

In 1911, a young Peruvian boy led an American explorer and Yale historian named Hiram Bingham into the ancient Incan citadel of Machu Picchu. Hidden amidst the breathtaking heights of the Andes, this settlement of temples, tombs and palaces was the Incas' greatest achievement. Tall, handsome, and sure of his destiny, Bingham believed that Machu Picchu was the Incas' final refuge, where they fled the Spanish Conquistadors. Bingham made Machu Picchu famous, and his dispatches from the jungle cast him as the swashbuckling hero romanticized today as a true Indiana Jones-like character. But his excavation of the site raised old specters of conquest and plunder, and met with an indigenous nationalism that changed the course of Peruvian history. Though Bingham successfully realized his dream of bringing Machu Picchu's treasure of skulls, bones and artifacts back to the United States, conflict between Yale and Peru persists through the present day over a simple question: Who owns Inca history?

In this grand, sweeping narrative, Christopher Heaney takes the reader into the heart of Peru's past to relive the dramatic story of the final years of the Incan empire, the exhilarating recovery of their final cities and the thought-provoking fight over their future. Drawing on original research in untapped archives, Heaney vividly portrays both a stunning landscape and the complex history of a fascinating region that continues to inspire awe and controversy today.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JGolomb - LibraryThing

On the morning of July 24, 1911, a tall lecturer-cum-explorer from Yale University set off in a cold drizzle to investigate rumors of ancient Inca ruins in Peru. The explorer chopped his way through ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - lisamunro - LibraryThing

Indiana Jones never had to deal with national cultural patrimony laws, but Christopher Heaney's book demonstrates the tangled webs created through evolving concepts of archaeology, science, cultural ... Read full review

Contents

The SixteenthCentury Conquest
1
Part One The Explorer
9
Part Two The Search
63
Part Three The Resurrectionists
123
Part Four Bonesmen
161
Returns
209
Epilogue
237
Afterword
249
Acknowledgments
259
A Note on Sources
261
Notes
265
Index
287
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Christopher Heaney worked as a journalist in Peru on a Fulbright fellowship. He has written articles on Hiram Bingham for the New Republic and The New York Times. A graduate of Yale University, he is currently a doctoral candidate in Latin American History at the University of Texas, Austin.

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