The Times Magazine has an article today on avid upper-class American explorer Henry Bingham, who *discovered* Incan holy spot Macchu Picchu for the West and both helped dig it out from under the foliage, and brought 5,000 artifacts back to Yale University and on the long trail of debate–right into this moment of ecotourism and theme-park style development–swirling around the rightful home for these materials.
This is a tremendously interesting and well-researched piece that tracks closely–but in far more detail–with what I saw and learned in Peru about the interest in the old ways as a rediscovery of self for Peruvians(this is also the Lima/Catholic/global versus Cuzco/pre-Incan/Andean clash that continually, but subtly, is expressed in parts of Peru.) Writer Arthur Lobow does a terrific job explain the conflicts and varying points of view–this article did a great job helping me better understand some of what I learned in Peru.
â€œThey were going to destroy the area with the number of people. And the cable car was a cultural aggression, because Machu Picchu was built by Pachacuti as a place for religious purposes and resting. What the Western people call mountains were divinities for the Andean people. They were going to make holes in the divinities.â€
— David Ugarte, an anthropology professor at the University of Cuzco who led the student protests against bringing a cable car to Machu Picchu to take tourists right into the temples.