On July 24, 1911, American historian Hiram Bingham discovered Machu Picchu, an ancient Inca settlement in Peru. Bingham was fascinated by the “lost” history of the Inca Empire, and intrigued by the ruins he explored near the city of Cusco. A farmer told Bingham and his team that there were more ruins on top of a nearby mountain. The farmer called the mountain Machu Picchu, an indigenous phrase for "old peak." Bingham and his team walked and rode mules to the top of the mountain, where they saw the stone entrance to the old city.

Machu Picchu has enormous significance as an archaeological site, largely because it remained untouched during Peru’s Spanish colonial period. Archaeologists consider pre-Columbian sites like Machu Picchu “intact.” Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

ancient
Adjective

very old.

archaeological site
Noun

place where evidence of the past is being studied by scientists.

colonialism
Noun

type of government where a geographic area is ruled by a foreign power.

destination
Noun

place where a person or thing is going.

discover
Verb

to learn or understand something for the first time.

enormous
Adjective

very large.

explorer
Noun

person who studies unknown areas.

fascinate
Verb

to cause an interest in.

Inca
Noun

people and culture native to the Andes Mountains and Pacific coast of South America.

Adjective

characteristic to or of a specific place.

intrigue
Verb

to inspire interest or curiosity.

pre-Columbian
Adjective

having to do with the Americas before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492.

ruin
Noun

remains of a destroyed building or set of buildings.

settlement
Noun

community or village.

significance
Noun

importance.

tourist
Noun

person who travels for pleasure.

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