American archaeologist and politician whose 1911 visit to Machu Picchu, an ancient Inca site in a remote part of the Peruvian Andes, was long thought to be the first by a Westerner. In fact Bingham was preceded by the German adventurer Augusto Berns, who visited the site in 1867 and is thought to have removed many of its valuables. As Berns did little to publicize his visit, Bingham's work became the key catalyst for archaeological study in the Andes and in other parts of South America.
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