Hiram Bingham III.

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Hiram Bingham

Hiram Bingham III (born November 19, 1875 in Honolulu , † June 6, 1956 in Washington, DC ) was an American archaeologist , explorer and politician who made the existence of Machu Picchu known worldwide and localized other Incan ruins in Peru .


Born in Oahu , Bingham was educated at Yale , Berkeley and Harvard . He was a historian at Harvard University and Princeton . On November 20, 1900, he married Alfreda Mitchell, the granddaughter of Charles Lewis Tiffany and heiress of the Tiffany fortune . With her he had seven sons. Among them was Jonathan Brewster Bingham (1914–1986), who represented New York State in the US House of Representatives between 1965 and 1983 .

Between 1906 and 1924 he undertook six expeditions to South America . He and his team came across the ruins of Machu Picchu on July 24, 1911. In the following years until 1913 they uncovered large parts of the buildings overgrown by the jungle . Bingham later documented the work in a book. Contrary to popular belief, Machu Picchu was not "discovered" by Bingham. As early as 1867, the German merchant August Berns came across the facility while clearing the forest and received the area as a claim from the Peruvian state . In 1874 the entire zone was then mapped out by Berns. However, thanks to Bingham - who recruited a large number of sponsors - Machu Picchu was uncovered and extensive archaeological studies were carried out.

In 1924 he became governor of Connecticut for the Republican Party , after serving as lieutenant governor of the state for two years , but resigned that office after a few days to enter the US Senate . It was due to his arrogant manner, his thirst for validity and ultimately an interest rate scandal that he lost the 1932 elections to Augustine Lonergan .

In the same year his first wife left him. In 1937, Bingham married his second wife, Suzanne Carroll Hill. In 1948, Bingham came to Machu Picchu one last time to inaugurate a road that would bring tourists to the ancient Inca city. A moon crater on the back of the moon and the asteroid (8291) Bingham are named after Hiram Bingham . A private luxury train operated by the tour operator Orient Express, which runs daily between Cusco and Machu Picchu, was also named after him .

Bingham died in Washington on June 6, 1956 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. The life and work of Bingham were the inspiration for the Indiana Jones movie character .


  • Hiram Bingham: Machu Picchu - the legendary journey of discovery in the land of the Inca. Frederking & Thaler, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-89405-833-3 .

Web links

Commons : Hiram Bingham (1875-1956)  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature of the IAU (English)