Machu Picchu, one of the more famous archaeological sites in the world, has been called the wrong name for 100 years, a new study had claimed. The symbol of the Inca Empire sits in the Andean jungle in Peru, South America. It is believed to have been built in the 15th century.
A recently-published study has claimed that the Incans called the city Huayna Picchu. A report on the story has been written by Donato Amado Gonzales and Brian S Bauer, and published inÑawpa Pacha: Journal of the Institute of Andean Studies. While Gonzales is a historian in Peru’s Ministry of Culture, Bauer is associated with the Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois at Chicago.
CNN spoke to Emily Dean, professor of anthropology at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, who explained that Huayna translates to “new or young,” while Picchu means “mountain peak” in the Indigenous Quechua language. “Machu means old, so we’ve been calling it old mountain peak,” she added.
According to the report, re-published after correcting several errors in the August issue, said that the city was originally built in 1420 but abandoned after the Spaniards conquered the Incans. It was hidden in the Andes mountains until American explorer Hiram Bigham rediscovered it in 1911.
The researchers looked at three sources to arrive at the conclusion that Machu Picchu was indeed the wrong name: Bingham’s field notes, accounts of the visitors to the region and documents from the colonial period.
Bingham decided to call the ancient city Machu Picchu, based on the information provided by the local guide Melchor Arteaga, a farmer, said the report.
Bauer then started his research and found out that the name of the settlement was something else. Gonzales too discovered the same thing. So, they reviewed the maps and atlases printed before Bingham’s visit to the area.
They came across a document from 1588, which said that the locals were planning to return to Huayna Picchu, the report said.
“While negative evidence is never as fulfilling, it is intriguing that we know of no reference to an Inca city called Machu Picchu before news of Bingham’s visit exploded across the world in 1912,” the researchers said in the report.
They, however, are not proposing to change the name of the site, since it is “known worldwide”.