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Date of Publication: 2008
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Machu Picchu: Unveiling the Mystery of the Incas Paperback – 12 Feb 2008

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"Despite its importance as a site of world heritage status, there has been virtually nothing substantive available on Machu Picchu. This appealing book, written by the preeminent scholars in the field, fills the gap beautifully."

About the Author

Richard L. Burger, professor of anthropology at Yale University, has written many articles and books on South American prehistory, including Chavin and the Origins of Andean Civilization. Lucy C. Salazar, cocurator of the Machu Picchu exhibition and curatorial affiliate in anthropology at Yale University's Peabody Museum, is an authority on Inca archaeology and the early prehistory of Peru.

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Machu Picchu is one of the best known archaeological sites in the world. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Impressive academic achievement, flawed in some conclusions 21 Feb. 2005
By PeacefulJeff - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book is a companion volume to the largest exhibition of Inca artifacts in the US. A complete overhaul of previous scientific investigations was done using the most modern equipment and techniques of contemporary archaeology. Although it builds on the work of Hiram Bingham, some of Bingham's conclusions were wrong, and are corrected here. The quality of the book itself, which includes many color photographs including a catalogue of all the pieces in the exhibit, is first-rate. Those new to Machu Picchu and the Inca, or those with an in-depth knowledge of the subject will find something of value in this book. I found the chapter on the contemporary significance of Machu Picchu to be particularly interesting.

However, the authors describe Machu Picchu as a 'summer palace', likening it to Camp David. Anyone who has been there and/or seriously investigated the spiritual practices of the Inca and the the wide-ranging impact of those practices (even to the present day), will understand that this was a place of the highest spirituality, not a place of recreation for the royalty.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic catalogue, average main text 8 Sept. 2008
By Dave Essery - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is a must for anyone specifically interested in the detail of Incan culture, but perhaps is not for those wanting a more general guide to Machu Picchu itself.

I found the main text of interest from an academic point of view but not especially earth shattering. The photographs of the site were fairly average, though those reproduced from Binghams early investigations were of interest from an historical point of view to see how much restoration had taken place - in many cases suprisingly little.

It is certainly not a guide book to the site.

Those wanting a well illustrated guide book to Machu Picchu would be better directed buying 'The Machu Picchu Guidebook: A Self-Guided Tour by Ruth M. Wright, Alfredo Valencia Zegarra, and Alfredo Valencia Zegarra' or reading the appropriate chapter in John Hemmings 'Monuments of the Inca'.

Where this volume really does come into its own in my opinion is in its catalogue. This is largely of artifacts collected by the Bingham expeditions to Machu Picchu, supplemented by other pieces from other sites. The photography is excellent, as are the descriptions. Together they provide the reader with a rich appreciation of Incan world, especially that at Machu Picchu. It is very rare to find such a focused study of Incan material so this volume is a very valuable and unusual addition, to anyone seriously interested in the Inca for that reason alone it is a 'must-buy'.

Regards, Dave Essery [...]
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Valuable as a history of exploration 4 Dec. 2011
By ThirstyBrooks - Published on
Format: Paperback
Burger and Salazar produced Machu Picchu: Unveiling the Mysteries of the Incas as a companion piece to a museum exhibit. It contains some valuable history of the Bingham's early hypothesis formation, original photos of the site before it was fully cleared, and a catalog of the pieces brought back to Yale by the early explorers. The text targets people already very familiar with the story Machu Picchu, so it shouldn't be treated as a coffee table book. If you need a set of impressive pictures and easily interrupted text on current hypotheses about Machu Micchu, you have many other choices.

This book belongs in an academic library, or the history section of a public library that already has a book on Machu Picchu that caters to the casual reader.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Machu Picchu. 21 Dec. 2012
By Dene - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A wonderful volume describing Machu Picchu --- the last mountainous holdout in Peru which was never conquered. Required reading for anyone interested in South American archaeology.
25 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Definitely Underwhelmed 16 Nov. 2005
By Tome Raider - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having recently visited Machu Picchu via the Inca Trail I wanted to obtain a first-rate "coffee-table" style book to commemorate my experience and to render handy various names for various sights I saw along the way. When in Peru I saw several marvelous, fat volumes which contained all the information, photgraphs and poetic insight about the awesome Inca people and their accomplishments that I would ever desire. I figured I could score one off of Amazon once I returned home.

Alas, I saw none of those titles listed as currently available. This book appeared to be the best available, but it falls way short of those that I had seen in Peruvian bookstores. Slender, with only a handful of small color photos, and several older, blurry photos taken by or of Bingham (all of which I've seen countless times before), this book was really close to being sent right back to Amazon. However, there is a section in the back which contains some nice photos of various Inca artifacts which (coupled with the hassle of sending stuff back) inspired me to keep the book. I learned the sharp, bronze item I bought in Cusco is called a "knife." (I'd been incorrectly calling it a "ceremonial knife-like thing with which I think they sacrificed alpacas.")

Anyway, don't be too impressed by the publisher, "Yale Press." The name perhaps sounds compelling, but scrounge around at your local used bookstore and I'm sure you can do way better for your library.
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