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Johan Reinhard  






Hiram Bingham; Machu Picchu; Archaeology  

NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
30 Jun 1998

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AC (asks JR who he is and how we should identify him)

JR 2:18 I'm Johan Reinhard a anthropologist and sometimes archaeologist currently working in Peruvian Andes and also sometimes in the Himalayas w/ a focus on the impt. of mts. In people's beliefs and using that info. to sort of interpret some of the ancient ceremonial sites that we've been coming across in the past few yrs. 2:42

AC (mentions that JR is a high altitude archaeologist)

JR 3:11 It's sort of a sub-field b/c like any, if you take marine archaeology as an ex. you need different kinds of equipment in order to do it and different approaches b/c you have different conditions when you're underwater obviously than when you're on land. In the cases of mts. you need to know basic mountaineering skills and weather and so an and so forth and also we've had to adapt the archaeological techniques to working you know at altitudes up to 22,000 ft. So yeah, it's a sub-field which has evolved over the last¿ 2 decades. 3:48

AC (asks how Hiram Bingham found Machu Picchu and the dispute over if it was ever really lost)

JR 4:12 Well Bingham was quite open abt. the fact that he knew that there had been some Peruvians there and now if you read anything written in Peru they'll call him the scientific discoverer b/c yes, there had been some Peruvians there. In fact there was some Peruvian families living in the ruins when he went up there. They were planting crops. But it hadn't been known to the outside world. He brought it to the attention of the outside world through his discovery and of course through the photographs that appeared in National Geo. I think that was one of the biggest spreads they've ever done. 4:45

AC (says they devoted the entire magazine to the discovery)

JR 4:53 You see 1st he went there in I guess it was 1907 or something, he did explorations across South America. He had studied Spanish and was doing research on really the colonial period. He was interested in Bolivar and his conquest, the war for independence from Spain and gradually got interested in trying to look for these Inca ruins that he'd heard abt. It was unknown where the Incas had actually gone to when they escaped out of the Cuzco region and the emperor took some of his people into the jungle. The Spanish did find them eventually and captured the emperor but then it sort of fell into the realm of just a sort of mythical places. No one knew where it was. In 1909 he went there and went to one of the places that had been described as possibly being this last refuge of the Incas (?). He decided that wasn't the place. And he organized this expedition to go back. Actually, ironically, it was kind of to climb a mt. He had read that there was a peak that might be higher than (?), in other words the highest peak in the western hemisphere, in fact. Coropuna(?) and he did do the 1st ascent. He's not really a mt. climber, but he went there and organized a trip and climbed it. And at the same time he's organizing this expedition he said well he's going to try to do some search along the lower river of the Urubam(?) where he had heard there were some Inca ruins and searched that area which was more close to where this legendary refuge of the Incas was¿. He had another goal in there which was to do a sort of geographic profile of the Andes and that was done actually by a geographer who did a superb job for the time. So they went on down there and very quickly b/c there's been a road that had been dynamited out to facilitate access for getting different kinds of crops from the lower altitudes. And he was able to take a mule train very quickly, ironically to the foot of Machu Picchu and then climbed up w/ one of the local people who said there were ruins up on this ridge. And actually got shown the ruins by one of the squatters that was up there, one of the children of them. And lo and behold he had found the ruins of Machu Picchu. He himself wasn't that sure that this was the actual (?), the place of refuge until later. Then gradually as he did more explorations he decided that that must be the last refuge of the Incas. In fact he even b/g to think it was the home of the Inca, the origin stories of the Incas that they came out of these caves and so forth that this might be the place. But originally he was still searching for ruins and he kept going. This was after all only I think a week or 2, or 10 days out of Cuzco and he kept searching and actually reached ironically, in the jungle the ruins that we now know today are the ruins of ( El cubamba?). but he didn't recognize them as such b/c he wasn't impressed w/ them. He didn't see them that well b/c they were overgrown w/ vegetation and he was missing an account that only later b/cm well known which definitely located this place as the (El cubamba?). 8:35

AC (asks if Bingham kept a journal)

JR 8:39 Oh yeah. He kept a very detailed journal. I wish I was keeping mine as detailed as he was. He did a very good job that way and that's why we know that at 1st he didn't make such a big deal out of the Machu Picchu ruins. And it was only later that he b/g to realize just how significant they were by comparison w/ the other ruins he was finding. 9:02

AC (asks if JR has climbed and he says yes; asks him to describe what that ascent might have been like for Bingham)

JR 9:14 Oh it wasn't that exceptional. I think it was harder to go to the one he went to the ruin called Choci(?) in 1909. Believe me, that's like a 4,000 ft. ascent straight up and I've been there. That was harder when he did it which was during the rainy season which is awful to contemplate cause it's pretty steep up 9:36 - (AC asks if that would require ropes) - Oh no. in the case of Choci(?) it was basically kind of ¿ a strenuous uphill slog over a very small trail that at that time would have been muddy and overgrown, vegetation and so on. It was somewhat similar, but it was drier¿. He was July 24, and that's the dry season down there. When he went up to Machu Picchu and it didn't take him very long once he crossed the river. They had some logs across there to get over. You know for the people that were living over there and were working in the ruins, clearing some of the ancient terracing so that they could grow some crops¿. I think it only took him abt. an hr. and ½ to get up there or something like that. He left at a little after 10 and he was up there at noon. It's not like it was a major climb to get up to the ruins from the river bottom. 10:39

AC How is it that the place was undiscovered from the outside world for so long?

JR 10:43 Well primarily b/c there was no road that went down there. People had to go over a pass and down the way the Incas had done it was through a series of bridges which they eventually (?) a buffer zone b/tw where the Spanish were and where they were hiding. They burned that area and let it grow back into wild brush and destroyed bridges and stuff and so¿. the other route to get into that area was over a pass and down the opposite side of the range. So nobody was going down that gorge - that very steep gorge until a few yrs. b/f when they dynamited out in order to be an easier access in to be able to bring up some of the crops from the lowlands. So actually that's the reason that very few explorers had gone into that particular area. 11:36

AC (asks if he can categorize Machu Picchu in terms exploration in South America in the century)

JR 11:48 Well clearly it's one of the high points in terms of discoveries b/c it's so well preserved b/c the Spanish hadn't gone in and destroyed it. it apparently was abandoned sometime by the incas. They took a lot of artifacts - ironically there wasn't a lot of gold or any of that kind of thing found there. It appears to have been abandoned when the Incas retreated more into the jungle. And b/c of that you have this incredibly well preserved set of ruins in a spectacular setting to boot. It's just gorgeous w/ the mountains all around. Beautiful work done to get into it. and clearly an impt. ceremonial center b/c of the kind of structures you see and the very fine stone work. We know now that the state of Pachi(?) was one of the greatest of all the Inca emperors and that would have been built around probably sometime in the mid 1400's when they were expanding into that area. So you get really intensive work done to create one of the most unique sites in the Inca empire and it happened to escape the destruction that the others did. 13:05 - (AC b/c the spanish couldn't find it?) - well they'd never even heard of it. it wasn't that they couldn't find it; they'd never looked for it. it just to this day there's some discussion to how that happened. You'd have thought some incas would have told him abt. it b/c¿. they had incas who were collaborating w/ them and telling them abt. places. So one theory is is that since it was in the area of the estate of the emperor that it was then bequeathed to his descendants. And his descendants had to take care of this upkeep - this was traditional, this is lineage, direct lineage and for ex. when a son took over, the son couldn't take over the estates of his father. He'd have to create his own palace for that and it'd just be the direct lineage to take control of that. Well it's a bit far from Cuzco and maybe the maintenance and then there was a civil war that took place b/f the Spanish of course that enabled the Spanish to actually conquer the empire. That was going on so perhaps a lot of the men were drawn out of there and it b/g to fall into disuse. 14:20

AC (asks how Bingham b/cm an explorer mentioning his father was a missionary perhaps working in the Andean region)

JR 14:44 No, his father didn't work in the Andes; he worked in Hawaii in particular and I think in the Gilbert Is¿. Bingham - I can't remember exactly why he got interested in South America but that was more of his own area of interest. Not something that I think came out of the family. And he's always I think until the end of his life would put on his occupation explorer, even though he b/cm a senator and even though he was in WWI as a pilot and so on. He had quite a career after Machu Picchu, but he always fingered himself as and explorer. I think he picked an area where he felt he could make a major contribution and that was south America. 15:45 (AC - and he did) - Yeah he did. When you read the book that's done by his own son, you realize how driven he was to make a name for himself at the expense often of course of his family life and so on. He was a very determined person. I think what I most respect out of what he did is not so much the physical part actually some of us are envious of the kind of foods and big tents and so on and so forth he had and mules and so on. But rather he had a vision. He was going to find these ruins, the last refuge of the incas. And by god he did it and he found more than that. So he went out and systematically did it. he organized the expeditions. it's no easy thing to get the permits, you know all the stuff organized in Peru and raise the funds and so on and so forth. He went down there and stuck it out and he did an extremely thorough job. 16:51

AC (comments that reading abt. these early explorers you don't think abt. needing a permit, but rather they just left and did it)

JR 17:10 Were but it so. Well actually¿it's interesting b/c we're all struggling to try and raise funds for our work today. It gives a little bit of heart to know that Amundsen and Scott and Peary and all these great explorers had to do the same thing. They were out raising funds for their expeditions mind you they were a bit bigger scale. In the case of Bingham, he had to go around to his Yale friends and they had to their expenses and contribute $ in the expedition and got some funds from here and there and eventually pulled it together. So it was no easy task to get the funding for it. In retrospect, it was easier of course after he found Machu Picchu and then had the support of the Geographic when he went back in 1912 and carried out the thorough mapping of the ruins at that time. 17:58

AC (asks what it would have been like to be on an expedition w/ Bingham)

JR 18:06 Well they were really heavily equipped in terms of going w/ mules¿. It's a lot different than what he generally tend to do. we tend to go in backpacking w/ porters, friends carrying loads and so on and so forth and if we can get mules into some of these areas - fine. In those days he was following pretty much the trails that were used. What happened is after the train got built¿ down through that valley ironically it's harder to get through some of the areas he went through. It's harder to get through today than it is at the time he was doing it. b/c they were using those trails. That was the only way they could get from A to B. Now, the whole focus is to go down valley, catch the train and go on up. And so the trails fell into disuse. It's one of the reasons I was able to find some ruins on an inca trail that he missed. B/c he followed the mule trail and by doing it he went around a different side of the mt. in one case. Just for whatever reason is made more sense for the people that were living there to make the trail that way than through the cliff that the incas had done. And I thought there had to be a trail connecting different sites that went through this one area and sure enough there was so we came across some ruins that had not been noted b/f on an inca trail that is actually pretty dangerous right now b/c it does go cliffs and in 500 yrs. it's kind of worn out w/ weathering and so on. But for that reason since he was so, not confined, but anyway he kept pretty much to where mules could get to and the mule trails that being on an expedition w/ him I think would have been actually very interesting b/c they carried quite a bit of gear and quite a supply of food. 20:15 - (AC what kind of gear?) - Well I mean they had the tents they had camera gear. They had collection stuff. They had boxes and so on to carry out supplies for geological sampling and also there were people doing collections of insects of plants so they went in w/ a lot of stuff. And he had different people that were specialists - the geologists and so on, the geographers - and they would systematically go out and do the collections. It's a bit different. It's the old style expedition or also new style. In some areas that's the way they're doing them now. Multi-disciplinary expeditions that require a lot of support b/c you need to keep people well-fed and so on and so forth. And the great advantage of that was is that in those days the old inca trails were still being used. They were still in part and where they weren't being used, he tended to miss those sections and those were the ones I went after. There was another section for ex. b/tw one of the last capitals for the incas and Machu Picchu that was a highland, you have to follow the high route. And since it had been abandoned and not used by people w/ mules that was another section I was able to do b/c he avoided b/c he just followed the mule track. On the other hand I don't want to make that sound disparaging of him. He was very determined and got into areas that nobody had ever gone into - no explorer, no scientific explorer had gone into. Some of it required some bushwhacking in some place b/c the trails had overgrown to a degree. They overgrow ever yr. in some cases. So it would have been I think a very interesting combination of these well-educated trained people, Harvard/Yale folks who were w/ him in situations of some of the best equipment they had at those times - the tents, tables, chairs and so on. 22:31 - (AC you don't carry tables and chairs when you go into the field now) - well actually we're starting to in the last couple of yrs. Ever since the discovery of the ice maiden. We started to get rather more into the Bingham mold I guess. Now we do take up little folding stools and it makes things more comfortable when you're up there working. And bigger tents and yeah sometimes tables; it depends where it is, maybe at the base camp anyway. Yeah, the whole thing is getting a lot bigger¿. You and I had a conversation once by telephone from 20,300 ft. I never thought of that a couple yrs. ago and here we are doing that. 23:14 (AC Hirmam Bingham didn't have a telephone) (laughs) - no he had no telephone although he did have runners going back and forth. They would bring the mail. They were able to keep up a reasonable amount of communication. Obviously much slower in those days. But all in all it was a very focused kind of expedition of the type that continues to the present day in which you go w/ the well-supplied, well-trained and you have a very specific plan. This is particularly the case in the expeditions that followed the Machu Picchu discovery. 23:56

AC Do you feel a connection to Hiram Bingham?

JR 24:00 I feel a connection in the sense that I really admire his having had the insight that searching for - trying to make sense out of the chronicles these writings by the Spaniards 500 yrs. ago - he was trying to make sense out of them and use them as clues as to where to look for ruins. Then he went in there and he ¿ questioning people and so on was able eventually to locate these ruins. And that's exactly what I've been doing for yrs. is taking these old texts and trying to figure out where the place is, where the temple that's talked abt. is or something like that and piece together everything and then say okay, it's got to be somewhere in this area. And then you go into that area and then you finally locate it. and that's exactly what Bingham was doing but he was doing it almost 100 yrs. ago. 24:52

AC I wonder what his access to these records was?

JR 25:00 He had pretty good access b/c of Yale and the library and so on. The thing was that a lot of those chronicles still weren't avail. Easily. For ex. one that definitely would have shown him that Machu Picchu was not the old capital, the old refuge for (El Cubamba?) the incas. That was not known to him, that particular chronicle. I think it came out decades later. So that he didn't have some of the sources that for ex. we now have b/c a lot more of its been made avail. And been found in the archives, in Seville and Spain and so on. And then published and new instead of having to go back to some of the very few editions that might have carried over from hundreds of yrs. 25:50

AC (asks JR to explain his own theory on Machu Picchu)

JR 26:05 Well one of the questions was of course¿ why was it built? What'd it mean and why was it built where it was built b/c it's certainly not on the most accessible area in the Andes. And Bingham had the answer that it has to be (El Cumbaba?); it's such a good site; it's so well made, clearly imperial - construction work and so forth. And that's one of the reasons he b/cm so convinced that it had to be one of the last refuges of the incas. Well if it wasn't that then what was it. to say it was an estate of the emperor also doesn't explain it b/c then you say why there. They're places a lot closer or a lot more friendly or easier to build in and so forth and so I b/g to look at it in terms of the info. I had gotten relative to sacred geography in other words the impt. of the different mts. These were major deities for the incas. Not to mention the people that were in that area that the incas were going in and conquering. And noticed something very strange which was that many of these very impt. mt. features and the river flow and so on and so forth and all these things that played, we know, dominate roles in inca belief sys. 27:30 - (AC the mts. were actual deities) - and the river was extremely sacred as well. This was one that flew through the sacred valley of the incas and continued on down. It's at a critical juncture - just b/f you head into the jungle when you come from the highlands. It's right in the mid-zone¿ but more than that it's also at a juncture of trade some say that may have been a reason for impt. But if that was the case it
didn't have to be where it was. It could have been somewhere else; much easier access. Some say it was defensive but it doesn't have very many defensive features to it. It has an awful lot of religious features to it¿. And why that? I noticed that the incas worshipped the sun, obviously they were considered children of the sun that was one of the most impt. deities for the incas. They were very interested in the¿ solstices in particular. Just a general path of the sun. here you can see certain things coinciding. In other words, the sacred peaks, the risings and settings of the sun, the solstices, and equinoxes and so on and also cardinal directions. There's some debate as to how impt. they were for the incas¿. It was incredible the most sacred peaks being in cardinal directions and so on. This overlapping of sacred geography, sacred places in the landscape w/ sacred astronomy for the incas, the sacred passage of the sun and the milky way¿. And it's link w/ how the river flowed and how this was set off geographically and so on just all comes together to make it extremely powerful center for the incas. I've never seen any place that combine those kinds of features anywhere else in the andes. 29:13

AC (comments that if you're standing on Machu Picchu during the summer solstice, other features occur w/ the equinox)

JR 29:30 Yeah, exactly. In fact¿ we were curious that¿ the equinox for ex. rises b/h the most sacred peak to the east, now called Veronica(?). it sets¿ opposite Machu Picchu on the other side of the river and a couple friends of mine, archaeologists from Cuzco actually discovered the site a yr. b/f and I got funding and we went up there and camped up on there and excavated part of a site and basically it was a kind of a primitive replication what's one of the most impt. features of Machu Picchu the (Inti Wantana?) ¿ the carved stone that's sort of the center, the outstanding feature in the middle of the ruins, is right there on that equinox setting point on the top of that peak as you view it from the other sacred stone¿. To this day, the trail down on the opposite side - b/c we came up on a rather easier way from the backside, there was no inca trail - ¿ to this day it's never been followed all the way down; it's never been cleared. So there's a whole new inca trail right there that somebody could map out if they wanted to. And then I thought for ex. there had to be ruins on - if the theory was right abt. the sacred geography - there had to be impt. sites that were exactly opposite Machu Picchu and to the west b/c it's on another arm of this very sacred peak that's connected to Machu Picchu which is ¿(?) and that was considered the most impt¿ mt. deity to the west of Cuzco that dominated all the other peaks. Most impt. by far and Machu Picchu is connected to it¿ just b/f it drops to the river. I said there's another ridge that comes down. It's like another arm. There had to be something on it so went there and sure enough there was. Not as impt. as Machu Picchu b/c it didn't have that perfect setting that Machu Picchu had. So all in all it's like putting pieces of a puzzle together. you have to know something abt. Inca thought, you have to know something abt. the hist. in that region, the impt. of different natural features there, how incas perceive them, the astronomy and so forth of the incas. And then the pieces all of a sudden fall together and make perfect sense. And particularly w/ that emperor who was doing this kind of thing all over the inca empire as he was expanding it. 32:33

AC (comments that it is fascinating listening to JR piece these clues together and arrive at insight)

JR 32:51 Maybe it helps - my father was a detective; I don't know. I've always been interested in trying to make sense out of things that don't seem to make sense. Or there aren't reasonable explanations for them that have been developed. In the case of Machu Picchu, there's serendipity in the sense that I'd never expected that kind of thing to happen and it just hit me in the face when I went there as a tourist just like anybody else. I said wait a minute. This is amazing. Nobody's been talking abt. what's around Machu Picchu. They're always focusing on the ruins and when they talk abt. it they say it's nice scenery. They weren't getting the links b/tw theses very sacred land features and the astronomy. The sacred astronomical phenomenon of solstices and equinoxes and so forth.. and the river flow and how impt. that
figures in eco-thought in that particular river itself¿. The thing that fascinates me is when you're able to pull together the historical documents and go to an area and actually find out the things that fit theory¿ it's exciting. It's one of the more wonderful feelings you can have. Sometimes I get asked what's your most impt. discovery or something and it's hard b/c most people think it's where you found the gold or the mummy which certainly was exciting, but the only times I've not slept b/c I was so excited is when all the pieces fit together for me for Machu Picchu and I'd realized I'd come across something I could explain. What it meant and why it was where it was. At the same time it worked w/ these giant figures in the desert and¿ to this day they have caused considerably speculation. You can only see them from the air. But I was able to go piecing all this stuff together and come up w/ a reasonable explanation. That doesn't mean that it's the ultimate answer or anything else - science isn't abt. that anyway. We're to give better explanations than were there b/f, that better fit the facts and better explain the different variety of things we're looking at. Those are the kinds of things I enjoy abt. anthropology and when you're an explorer you can combine a lot of interests as well. In this case, maybe some mt. climbing. 35:28

AC (comments that the most exciting thing is not the object but the insight and understanding you receive from getting there)

JR 35:54 it's the adventure of the mind. The fact that ultimately what excites us is when we see a creative process take place and if it's in our heads, that's all the better. It's more exciting in some ways than coming across something physically, although I don't want to belittle the joy that you get out of coming across something very unique, an object. But nonetheless, the only nights I lost sleep were w/ these giant desert drawings and the time that I was at Machu Picchu. 36:30

AC Do you know from Bingham's writing is he had that same quest for insight and moment of exhilaration?

JR 36:42 He definitely shared those moments of exhilaration. He particularly excited to be able to find those ruins. He did a very good job of pulling together - he wasn't a professional archaeologist, he was an historian. That's one of the complaints against him to a degree. They actually had someone else there who did some of the digs in the graves for example who did a pretty good job but he archaeological work wasn't even the standard of that time b/c he wasn't a professional archaeologist, but that was what he wanted to have as his area of contribution. And given that he wasn't a professional archaeologist he did an exceptionally good job under those circumstances of the time and was able to get the material out which is not always easy either¿ and a very good summary volume of the results of what they were able to find and in his case, the excitement clearly was in the discovery process and the other part of describing it was what we all dread (laughs) is where you have to pull together and describe it. Coming around to the idea that he had found the last refuge of the incas also excited him when he realized that was indeed, had to have been the last refuge of the incas based on the info he had and based on the ruins he had seen. That was a tremendous satisfaction to him. Unfortunately it left him later when it b/g to be called into ?. it left him kind of unwilling to bend. And he held to the time of his death that that was the last refuge of the inca even after some other info came forward to indicated that it couldn't possibly have been. 38:37

AC (comments that JR has physical disciplines that he follows on his expeditions climbing - he tries to climb at rate of 1,000 ft. an hr.)

JR 39:25 Well, vertical feet yeah. 1,000 ft. an hr. if it was on a flat wouldn't be too bad but going up hill¿. Those are just rough goals. Obviously you can't do it if it is extremely difficult and it's going to be slower and sometimes you actually do it quicker than that. We have done it 2,000 ft. in an hr., 2,400 ft. in an hr. when we're really moving and that was at over 15,000 ft. once you get into shape w/ good conditioning and depending on the actual conditions on the mt. It's not difficult to maintain. The higher you get the harder it is to keep the pace of 1,000 ft. an hr. you get up to 20,000 ft. and if you get another 1,000 ft. an hr., you think you're doing fairly well. I think what I mainly¿ excited me abt. the kind of work that was done in (?) to be done in the Andes was that you could combine all these different disciplines. You had mt. climbing and experience that I had in that w/ exploration and finding new ruins, new sites on the other hand finding out info nobody knew abt. For ex. Inca human sacrifices were very little known and how they were carried out and yet they were the most impt. sacrifices done by the incas¿. The kinds of things we were finding in some cases were unique and certainly extremely rare and very well-preserved b/c of the high altitude and the cold. On the other hand we were even able to do diving at 19,000 feet - carry up scuba gear and stuff into a lake or crater and look at inca artifacts there. Inca ruins were around the lake. We were able to combine a lot of things that I'd been having as hobbies I guess and link all these different disciplines b/c you're doing archaeology, history, cultural anthropology b/c that gave clues as to why the mts. were so impt. and then in the case of (Corpuna(?)) for ex. Bingham went to Corpuna(?) to climb it. We went there to look b/c one of the most famous, early Spanish writers said it was the fifth most impt. temple in the inca empire was at Corpuna(?) but nobody ever found it but we did. We went and looked and finally found it. To this day it hasn't been published. 42:06

AC (asks how you find these places and ancient inca trails that no one has ever explored)

JR 42:14 Well, 1st of all you get this info usually, you have these documents to describe it and then you say okay. You get another map and you look and say well it should be¿. You start to basically get an area you're going to search and you go that area and you look and you start asking people¿. We're never the discoverer. You're usually completely alone the discoverers if anything. Some local people would have seen something there and w/ the exception of these mt. top sites. Sometimes they don't know abt. those b/c they don't climb the mt. If it's a trail or if there's ruins like these ruins that I'm talking abt. At (Coropuna?) - they're huge. It's a pretty big site. Local herders knew abt. them so eventually you heard abt. Them that way. A different case was one where the 4th most impt. temple in the inca empire. It totally disappeared as well. They didn't know where remember anything abt. that or have any connection w/ what had been considered such an impt. temple for the incas. And in that case it took a lot of research into the historical documents and piecing together bits and pieces from geographical accounts, from census accounts, from obviously writings where there was a battle that took place near there. That description of the battle of the site enables us to really identify that this had to be the place and so on. And then you go in the area and you look and eventually find what fits all the known facts. And then of course you have to look to see if there are any alternatives that would be competitive alternative explanation. And then if you can't find anything then eventually you feel confident. Often when you find a place, lots of other pieces come together. in this case we even found the name¿ once we got there and were right in the middle of it we b/g to find all sorts of things that proved that it was the site. But it took a lot of initial work to do that. 44:45

AC (says he's fascinated by all the things there are to explore and mentions the new inca trail near Machu Picchu)

JR 45:11 Well, in that particular case we're not talking a huge inca trail, those are sections of an inca trail better said a few miles here and there that fill out the picture and they'll eventually connect w/ those sections of the inca trail - it's just that they were unknown. Those particular pieces of trail and ruins that were connected to them or on them were unknown. And in that sense, Peru is a fabulous place b/c you can still do that kind of research and in this case w. in full view - you can be standing w/ 1,000 other tourists on Machu Picchu and look off into the horizon and what you're looking at is areas that still haven't been explored. There are many inca trails we haven't followed. We know there are trails heading down into a river sys. below Machu Picchu particularly on the other side where I was going up, but there were side trails heading down¿. I think one was followed but I know of two others that were heading down as well. Nobody's followed. I don't think they'll find major ruins on those sites, on those trails, but yes, you can constantly come across new discoveries that help fill in the picture. It'll be very hard to find another Machu Picchu, but it won't be hard at all to find ruins and new trails. 46:34

AC (asks if this is really possible b/c there seems to be nothing new left to find)

JR 46:42 There's always new things to find¿. That was what I was hearing back when I 1st started searching for ruins on inca mountain tops in 1980 and I found more than 40 sites that had never been reported above 17,000 ft. it was a matter that either they hadn't been noticed and in some cases the peaks had been climbed several times. I was not the 1st but the climbers happened to think - didn't know what they were, thought they were structures that some climbers had left or something like that¿. And other mts. hadn't been climbed by modern day climbers¿. That's just part of it, that's the physical side, the visual thing. You have to then if you're doing excavations, you find things beneath that's not visible that's new. And the other thing is then to interpret all of that. How were they linked, why here, why not there, what was their importance. Why is this a relatively insignificant site and on the next peak that's the same altitude there's a very impt. sight. Why do you have all these kinds of things happening¿. It's like it never stops. You answer one question and it just lead to more. So the thought that we've sort of explored everything is - no - there's plenty out there still to explore¿ It's not going to be the great - you're not going to find the source of the Nile, you're not going to be the 1st to do that anymore or find a new continent. That's obvious. There's plenty of other things that can be done particularly in terms of understanding what happened to these cultures. There's so many sites that have not been really studied well from the archaeological standpoint and there are so many cultural aspects that have not been studied. So it's not just archaeology. You could get into understanding local traditions. There's really not been that much work done in that throughout Latin America let alone South America. 48:50

AC (comments that JR has taken on some aspects of ritualism in approach to his work like making sacrifices; asks how he does that and how he feels abt. it - is it foolish)

JR 49:52 ¿I'm an agnostic. I don't necessarily believe there are gods in the mts. I do however respect the traditions that surround those mts. I think that when you do that, when you participate in these rituals, b/c it's usually the local people that are doing them and I'm a participant. When you participate you get a much better feel and a sense of how they are perceiving the mts., how they interact w/ the mts. It's true occasionally, I would even do it alone, make some simple things - the reason is b/c you come to the mt. w/ the idea of a mt. climber, that's my bkgd. I'd climbed for yrs. in the Himalayas and frankly didn't care two hoots if they were perceived as mt. gods or not. I wanted to get up Mt. Everest or some other peak. Only later did I realize that by understanding the people's beliefs abt. these mts., I was able to get much deeper insights into Tibetan Buddhism and Hinduism. It's one of the other areas that I've been work in. I spent many yrs. in the Himalayas and still got there. And in the case of the Andes, I was able to understand an awful lot more ant. Why the incas were building these ruins. When I started in 1980, people just assumed the incas had one up to the top of these mts. to be closer to the sun. that was the explanation. It took a couple yrs. b/f I pieced together over a broad area of the Andes and saw that that wasn't it the mts. themselves were sacred. They were the most impt. deities to the local people that the inca conquered. The inca themselves worshipped mts. all around, all throughout the empire right around Cuzco. The most impt. deities for the incas in traditional religion were the mts. It was state religion that was sun based. The average people - the most impt. deities were their mt. deities, the things that were physically close to them. And directly involved in the daily affairs. It was just - I suppose a natural thing. The more you get involved in that, the more you ask abt. it, the more you understand people's beliefs and real serious commitments to worship of sacred aspect of the landscape. That you yourself begin to see the landscape w/ their eyes. You view it differently. I don't look at landscape the way I used to and I don't look at a mt. that way anymore and it's less something that's a physical object out there to be conquered than it is part of a whole belief sys. and cosmology. It's just a matter of respect or of trying to feel more of what the local people feel. So it doesn't embarrassed to talk abt. It. I don't think academically either it detracts anything from trying to understand what people think abt. it. 52:44


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