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Machu Picchu: Exploring an Ancient Sacred Center (WORLD HERITAGE AND MONUMENT SERIES) Paperback – September 7, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1931745444 ISBN-10: 1931745447 Edition: 4th

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Machu Picchu: Exploring an Ancient Sacred Center (WORLD HERITAGE AND MONUMENT SERIES) + The Machu Picchu Guidebook: A Self-Guided Tour + Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press; 4th edition (September 7, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931745447
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931745444
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #609,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


When I visit large archaeological parks, I must admit even I (total archaeology geek) sometimes get what I think of as "temple blindness". It's hot, there is a lot to see, my feet hurt, and pretty soon in my mind all the buildings run into one another into one big pile of rocks.

That's why when a really great tour book shows up in the press, I'm grateful. Just such a tour book is the fourth edition of Johan Reinhard's book from the Cotsen Institute called Machu Picchu: Exploring an Ancient Sacred Center.

The book has lots of engaging prose detailing the history and current archaeological understanding of Machu Picchu and the Inca empire who built it. Folktales, history, legends, architecture, agriculture and astronomy of the Inca are profiled, and side trips explore nearby sites like Ollantaytambo and Cuzco, and, for those brave enough to attempt it, pieces of the Inka Trail.

The size of the book is small and compact, perfect for sticking into your back pack. The cover is full color and plastic-coated to be safe from liquid spills and wear and tear from riding alongside your trowel (Although--maybe people don't travel with trowels these days). It's one of those book covers with a spare flap on both the front and back to mark your place, always a good plus for hiking.

The photographs are excellent and detailed--to be frank, I don't think you can take many bad pictures of Machu Picchu, but these are exceptional. Machu Picchu: Exploring an Ancient Sacred Center is worth getting even if you can't make it to Machu Picchu this year. Images of the incredibly fine Inca architecture--built so well they're still resistant to earthquakes and El Niño weather five hundred years later or better--never fail to amaze me. Exploring Machu Picchu

So, if you're planning an expedition to Peru to take a look at Inca sites (and of course if you are you wouldn't miss Machu Picchu), Reinhard's book would be a terrific companion, keeping you on target to understand the ruins and learn something about the Inca culture as well.

And if you're not planning such an expedition, Reinhard's book will convince you that you ought to put it on your wish list. --"A Smartly Bound Guide to the Inca Palace", 2008 (by K. Kris Hirst)

From the Inside Flap

Machu Picchu, recently voted one of the New Wonders of the World, is one of the world's most famous archaeological sites, yet it remains a mystery. Even the most basic questions are still unanswered: What was its meaning and why was it built in such a difficult location? Renowned explorer Johan Reinhard attempts to answer such elusive questions from the perspectives of sacred landscape and archaeoastronomy.

More About the Author

Johan Reinhard (1943- ) is an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society. Born in New Lenox, Illinois, he began his studies in anthropology at the University of Arizona, before going on to receive his Ph.D. from the University of Vienna, Austria. Since 1980 he has conducted anthropological field research in the Andes, and his discoveries of perfectly preserved frozen Inca mummies were selected by Time in 1995 and 1999 as among "the world's ten most important scientific discoveries" of those years. He has also spent more than ten years in the Himalayas, conducting anthropological research. In 1987 he was a recipient of the Rolex Award for Enterprise, in 2001 the Ford Motor Company chose him as one of twelve "Heroes for the Planet," and in 2002 he was awarded the Explorers Medal of the Explorers Club. He is the author of more than seventy academic and popular publications, including six books.

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ernest Kuncl on December 25, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is essential homework for the person preparing to visit the Machu Picchu Sanctuary in Peru. You can benefit from learning how to visit the ruin in a self-guided fashion and from cross-checking your guides info to authenticate what she/he are telling you. It also has sufficient info to help you understand what Machu Picchu is all about, the role of Hiram Bingham, the local people who led him to the site in 1911 and it helps set the stage for reading other books like MacQuarrie's The Last Days of the Incas. One should supplement this guide with the International Travel Map, Cuzco Region - Machu Picchu - Peru 1:110,000
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By WolfCreek on June 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
No one knows more about Andean notions of sacred geography than Johan Reinhard, the high altitude archaeologist who in 1995 at the summit of Ampato (6312 m/20,708 ft) discovered the Ice Maiden, a perfectly preserved human sacrifice, a young girl whose life was given the gods of the Inca some 500 years ago. Since 1980 Reinhard has made over 200 ascents over 5200 m, and in doing he has discovered more than forty high altitude Inca ritual sites. But arguably his greatest contribution is distilled in this brilliant book, which reveals that Machu Picchu was never a lost city, but rather a ceremonial center anchored in and defined by complex notions of sacred geography that provide a window onto the entire cosmology and religious life of the Inca. This is the one indispensable book that every person who visits the site ought to have in their back pack.
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