A new study by Donato Amado Gonzales from the Ministry of Culture of Peru and Brian S Bauer from the University of Illinois Chicago suggests that the famous Inca site of Machu Picchu in Peru may originally have been known by a different name.
The ruins were brought to the world’s attention by Hiram Bingham in 1911 and thereafter were referred to as Machu Picchu, after the highest mountain near the ancient city.
However, study of Bingham’s original field notes, as well as older maps and atlases, indicate that the Inca may have called the city Picchu, or more likely Huayna Picchu – after the rocky summit nearest to the site – instead.
Spanish records written in the 16th and 17th centuries support this conclusion, including one account from 1588 that mentions that the local indigenous people were considering returning to reoccupy the site they called Huayna Picchu.
The study has been published in Ñawpa Pacha: Journal of Andean Archaeology (https://doi.org/10.1080/00776297.2021.1949833).