Share Tweet


November 10, 2017
Life Cycles



Now I could have said this is the story of Hiram Bingham III, but the recognition factor would have been fairly small. Despite most articles in the press mentioning him and the 1 million+ annual visitors, who would no doubt have heard his name, the general public are a lot less aware. Here's a good question for you:- "In 1911, when Bingham accidentally found Machu Picchu just how many people lived there?" Answer is 3 farming families. Despite lying only 50 miles from the Incan capital, Cuzco, Machu Picchu lay undiscovered by both the Spanish and any other Europeans for some 461 years.  This post is a tribute article in honour of my wonderful FB friend from Ecuador, Germania (Germy) Murillo.


In 2011, there were centenary celebrations for Hiram Bingham's  discovery and when I read about it, I bothered to check his DOB. So when do you think that was? Try taking 36 away from 1911 and what year do you get? Answer, 1875. That was the year that Hiram Bingham III came into the world. Now the official date of discovery was listed as July 24 and he was born November 19, so you know me, I decided to go on a one-man expedition, to see what the real story behind this saga was.


Because Hiram taught South American history at Yale and Harvard and was described as a fearless early explorer and archaeologist, he has been cited as the role model for the 'Indiana Jones' character. This post is directly related to my earlier post on 'The Great Belzoni', who discovered and transported the huge bust of Rameses II at exactly the same age. He also shared some of Indy's characteristics. It's time to don your pith helmets again and brush the dust of history from your shoulders, as we look at the age 36 "Year of Revolution" of Hiram (ie. Nov. 1911 to Nov. 1912).



On July 24, 1911, Hiram Bingham and a small team of adventurers burst through a thicket of trees and saw the impeccable, but limited, Incan masonry of Machu Picchu. He pulled out his notebook and wrote, "Fine ruins....fine houses, streets, stairs", took some photos and left soon afterwards convinced he had seen all there was to see. He largely forgot about it, in his then quest, for the lost Incan capital of  Vitcos. It would be a year before he returned. Does this sound like stumbling onto the lost Incan capital and the discovery of a lifetime? It doesn't to me and it sure didn't to Hiram then either.


"Now hold on there one cotton-pickin' moment!" I hear you saying. "You mean to say he saw the magnificent and huge lost Incan city of Machu Picchu and said, 'Nah that's not much'??" No, the answer is in how many buildings he saw. How many do you think? Answer, it was just 20. Excavations would progressively reveal some 500 more. Plus, he didn't even believe he'd discovered this site, he thought someone else had got there first in 1902. So what was the real story of Machu Picchu? The story of  'A Connecticut Yankee In The Court Of King Pachacuti' (actually Emperor Pachacuti was credited as the founder of the great city). 



Well, firstly Hiram was the son and grandson of well-known missionaries and developed an interest in indigenous cultures when he grew up in Hawaii. However, he lectured in history and politics and had no training in archaeology or geology, which he hoped to acquire by experience. His first quest in 1906/7 (coincidentally in his age 31 "Year of Broken Pathways") was to find the Mayan ruins in Mexico, but when this failed he decided to try his luck in Peru. A strong motivating factor was that the female explorer Annie S. Peck had recently climbed Mount Huascaran in the Peruvian Sierra. He couldn't stand the thought of being beaten by a woman and that she might get more fame than him! So it was in part a 'battle of the sexes'.


He managed to get financial backing from Yale, but the whole trip was rather haphazard, if indeed his chance encounter with Machu Picchu could be called  a "discovery" at all. Bingham was led to the ruins by a local farmer named Melchor Arteaga, who took him across rickety bridges, rocky cliffs, and viper-filled grasses for the price of one sol, equivalent of about fifty cents. Several Indian peasant families were already living in the ancient huts of Machu Picchu when he arrived. 


Hiram Bingham III With Three Members Of His Team in 1911


Bingham was also surprised to find the words “Lizarraga 1902” scribbled in charcoal on one of the walls, and he wrote in his journal, “Agustin Lizarraga is the discoverer of Machu Picchu.” In fact, Bingham could not even take credit for finding Arteaga. Albert Giesecke, the U.S.-born rector of the National University of San Antonio Abad in Cuzco, had met Arteaga in early 1911 and taken him up on his offer to explore Machu Picchu when the dry season arrived. Giesecke generously passed this opportunity on to Bingham, who proved himself the beneficiary of extraordinarily good timing.

Yet Bingham did not immediately appreciate just how fortunate he was. Initially underwhelmed by Machu Picchu, he only began to sing the site’s praises when it attracted considerable attention from the press and his colleagues. What he once described as a striking but insignificant old city became, in his multiple subsequent retellings, "a refuge from enemies, the birthplace of the first Inca, the burial grounds of Inca Pachacuti VI, the capital of the Inca Empire for centuries, the long-lost city of Tampu-Tocco, and, finally, a safe haven from European invaders". As the myths surrounding Machu Picchu expanded, so did its fame, and Bingham found his name splashed across front-page headlines for years to come.


What Bingham Actually Saw And Dismissed.


So Hiram Bingham III was now not just a heroic explorer and noted early archaeologist, but he was also a magnificent self-promoter, as well as a deep-seated misogynist (as revealed in his writings about Annie Peck). You see this real story now confirms most aspects of "Life Cycles Theory". When he arrived back at Yale, he believed the trip hadn't amounted to much, which was at the beginning of his age 36 "Year of Revolution". This is the "Moment of Setback/Frustration" that I speak of constantly. This is then followed by a surprising amount of attention from his colleagues and the press, which becomes his "Moment of Breakthrough/Achievement", which culminates in gaining backing from the National Geographic Society for a second definitive expedition in 1912. These external moments of recognition were well outside of his control and would have been quite unsettling, even if this was just his good fortune.


This then becomes his life's work and greatest achievement and again confirms the central age of 36 as the one 'magic year' and what I refer to as "The Age 36 Phenomenon". Oh yes, let's finish with a small anecdote that defines the expression, "history is written by the winners". Remember that one sol payment to Melchor Arteaga, which was the equivalent of 50 cents? Well, on the morning of July 24, 1911, it was cold and rainy and Melchor did not want to go anywhere, but one sol was three or four times the average daily wage, so he agreed. In an article for The National Geographic in 1913, he claimed to have paid Arteaga 50 centavos or 2 1/2 times his annual salary. This later morphed into one silver dollar. And that inscription by Lizarraga? Turns out he was a local farmer of mixed Spanish-Indian descent and in later years Bingham retracted his crediting of the discovery to him. In his 1948 book Lost City Of The Incas, he likened it to the Norsemen, who discovered and settled for a time in North America, as not usurping Columbus. 


Till we meet again in this blog in the 'Land Of The Pharaohs', "may the cycles always bring you good fortune".


















40 - 40 - 1 - US


Neil Killion is a former management consultant/psychologist, who for almost 20 years ran his own outplcement company in Sydney, Australia. It was as a result of analysis carried out on thousands of cases, that the theory 'Life Cycles' originated. Neil Killion is now an author and pioneer of a brand new theory of life in 12 year cycles, based solely on biographic evidence and not related to the occult. It is known simply as 'Life Cycles'. He uses well-known people and true stories to teach this new philosophy.

His latest book 'The Life Cycles Revolution' (2013) now available in ebook format Winner 2013 Silver Medal for Philosophy/Religion Reader's Favorite International Contest. Finalist 2013 International Book Awards, Finalist 2012 USA Book News. See You Tube trailer