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Machu Picchu: A Virtual Adventure

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Monday, December 18, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1M2295
This online program is presented on Zoom.
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Machu Picchu (Photo: George Scheper)

Perhaps no place name conjures as much sense of mystery as Machu Picchu, and perhaps no archaeological site in the world has borne so much intrigue, so much interpretation, and so much misinterpretation. Deep in the Peruvian hinterland, on the border of the great Andean mountain chain and the enormous Amazonian forest, the site lay unknown to the modern world until the first decade of 20th century. Once it was "discovered" by explorer and academic Hiram Bingham in all its natural sublimity, Machu Picchu became attached to seemingly endless speculation about its origins and purpose and meaning.

Recent scholarship has cleared away most of the far-fetched theories, and modern travel and hospitality have opened the doors to this once nearly inaccessible site to determined travelers. Cultural historian George Scheper traces the travels of Hiram Bingham to see the archaeological ruins as he first beheld them, and then, guided by modern scholarship, he revisits the site as it is today. He asks the same questions as Bingham did over a hundred years ago but offers some very different conclusions as to who built the site, and why. He also addresses some practical issues regarding safe, sustainable, and responsible tourism of Machu Picchu.

Scheper has conducted NEH Summer Institutes for college and university faculty in the Andes and shares his own long fascination with Machu Picchu in this richly illustrated presentation.

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