June 13, 2011 Centennial of Machu Picchu Discovery is Celebrated

Press Contact: Erin Allen (202) 707-7302
Public Contact: Catalina Gómez (202) 707-6404

Built in the mid-15th century at the height of the Inca Empire, Machu Picchu in Peru is an architectural and historic marvel that was hidden for centuries. Located on a ridge in the high Andes at 7,970 feet above sea level, it is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and UNESCO declared it as a World Heritage site in 1983.

The Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress and the Embassy of Peru will sponsor a conference on Machu Picchu to celebrate the centennial of its exposure to the outside world on Wednesday, June 29, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Mumford Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required.

Margaret MacLean, anthropologist and senior analyst at the Cultural Heritage Center at the U.S. Department of State, will examine the genius expressed in Machu Picchu’s extraordinary location, its design and hydraulics that kept it supplied with spring water, the ancient roads that led to it, and the smaller sites along those roads. She will discuss the contemporary significance of this unique place.

Abelardo Sandoval, executive director of the Center for Latin American Archeology at the Museum of Natural History, will present the historical framework of the Inca Empire in which Machu Picchu developed. Monumental architecture expressed in other administrative-control centers are presented as benchmarks of territorial expansion.

The Hispanic Division, established in 1939, is the center for the study of cultures and societies of Latin America, the Iberian Peninsula and the Caribbean and other areas of the world with significant Spanish or Portuguese influence. For more information about the division’s resources and programs and the Luso-Hispanic collections of the Library, visit www.loc.gov/rr/hispanic/.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at myLOC.gov.


PR 11-112
ISSN 0731-3527