Machu Picchu is generally accepted to have been an Incan retreat, built in the middle of the 15th century on a barely accessible mountaintop of Peru about fifty miles northwest of Cuzco. It was apparently abandoned a century later and only brought to the attention of the outside world in 1911, when it was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham.
Mark Adams, the American writer, wrote an account of his retracing of Bingham’s journey to Machu Picchu. Along with the narrative of his pilgrimage, Adams has also interwoven a valuable history of the region.
In 2013, a Polish-Peruvian team, while exploring a previously unexcavated building on the site, claimed to have discovered that the structure was astronomically aligned(a). The following year saw a newly discovered section of the Inca Road, which leads to Machu Picchu, announced by the Andina News Agency(c).
In July 2016, it was reported that what are considered pre-Inca petroglyphs were discovered in the Machu Picchu region(d)(e). Research is proceeding.
*The siting of the sanctuary has been something of a mystery, Recent research suggests that the existence of geological faults that lie beneath it may offer some of the answers. Rualdo Menegat, a Brazilian geologist, presented a paper to the Geological Society of America’s Annual meeting in Phoenix, in which he claims that the Incas deliberately chose to build Machu Picchu and some of their cities where tectonic faults meet!(h)*
It was revealed in 2019 that work had commenced on the building of a new interational airport to service Machu Picchu, a development that has been vigorously opposed as a threat to the already fragile site. It is worth noting that in 2017, 1.5 million visitors, nearly twice the limit recommended by UNESCO, came to Machu Picchu(g).
*Also in 2019, it was announced that an even older Inca site was discovered 1,500 metres higher than Machu Picchu using LiDar(i).*
Some pathetic attempts have been made to link Machu Picchu with Atlantis. One of them claims that “This was the (summer?) residence of the continental governor, who at the time of the destruction of Atlantis was a woman.”(b) Others, such as Rand Flem-Ath along with the late Colin Wilson, as well as Jim Alison, have included the Andean site in proposed global grids linking prehistoric sites.
A less-known Inca site is that of Choquequirao(f), sometimes referred to as the ‘sister’ of Machu Picchu. Only a third of the site has been excavated so far.
Helen O’Cleary (1910-2006) was an Irish writer(a) who, in her book, Atlantis, part of the Pegasus series of books for younger readers, expressed the opinion that the early inhabitants of Ireland may have been refugees, rather than colonisers from Atlantis. She sees the gods of Egypt as having more in common with the Celts than with the pantheons of ancient Greece and Rome.
O’Cleary’s book is just an overview of Atlantis theories and although the author seemed to be sympathetic to the idea of its existence, she failed to express an opinion regarding its exact location.
She also had an interest in astroarchaeology, which led her to an extensive study of an Irish stone circle known as ‘Pipers Stones’ at Athgreany, near Hollywood, Co. Wicklow. She demonstrated that it was a pre-Celtic calendar, details of which she published in Athgreany Stone Circle.
John Michell (1933-2009) was educated at Eton and Cambridge. He had the strongly held view that ancient civilisations lived in greater harmony with nature and the zodiac, reflected in the alignment of ‘holy’ locations. This concept was elaborated in his 1969 book in which he brought together ley lines, astro-archaeology and sacred geometry.*[The book was revised as The New View Over Atlantis in 1983.]*
He was the author of many books(a) but never dealt directly with the leading questions surrounding Plato’s Atlantis, such as its location, time or date. He uses Atlantis as a name to describe a very ancient global civilisation that possessed incredible powers such as the ability to fly and levitate the megalithic stones that are still to be seen throughout the planet. He offers lots of assertion and speculation but very little hard evidence.