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Post Hiram Bingham
Created by Ronald Hilton on 05/16/99 1:06 PM

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Hiram Bingham (Ronald Hilton, USA, 05/16/99 1:06 pm)

Over fifty years ago Hiram Bingham (1875-1956). the famed discover of Machu-Picchu (in 1911, the year of my birth!) visited us in Stanford. He was a charming man and a distinguished scholar, having taught at Harvard, Princeton and Yale. He described his Peruvian explorations in Lost City of the Incas (1948).
     His grandson, Hiram (Tony) Bingham, lives in Greenwich Conn., where our daughter Mary Huyck also lives. He told her that he and his wife had visited Machu Picchu, where they were treated like royalty. They also visited the Hiram Bingham school in Lima, where the children crowded around asking for his autograph.
     About fifty years ago, I visited Machu Picchu, where I was a dinner guest at the official residence of the Prefect. Seated by me were the director of the Cuzco museum, and an Argentinian with a slim, very attractive wife. The museum director spent the whole evening denouncing the Yanqui Hiram Bingham, accusing him of stealing Peruvian archeological treasures. He did not listen to my rebuttal.
     From Cuzco, I took the train from Cuzco to Huancano on Lake Titicaca. I happened to be in the same compartment as the Argentinian and his wife. Overnight she had changed into a woman in the late stage of pregnancy. I looked puzzled, so she asked me "I suppose you are wondering what happened." I could not find an appropriate answer. She explained that the gallant museum director had given her some treasures from the museum, and this was her way of smuggling them out of Peru.
     The director has gone to a better or worse world, known only to God or the Devil. Humanity remembers Hiram Bingham warmly.

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