Machu Picchu has been called the wrong name for over 100 years; historians reveal real nametext_fields
For over 100 years, we have been calling Machu Picchu one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world by the wrong name, according to a report published in Ñawpa Pacha: Journal of the Institute of Andean Studies.
The Incas who built the ancient city likely called it Huayna Picchu, the report said.
As per Emily Dean, professor of anthropology at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Huayna translates to 'new or young', while Picchu means 'mountain peak' in the Quechua language. She added that Machu means 'old' and we've been calling it old mountains peak.
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 report on the story has been written by Donato Amado Gonzales, a historian in Peru's Ministry of Culture and Brian S Bauer, who is associated with the Department of Anthropology, the University of Illinois at Chicago.
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 visited 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".