Bingham had also heard it called Huayna Picchu, the article’s co-author, Dr. Amado Gonzales, said in an interview.
Ignacio Ferro, the son of a landowner near the ruins, told Bingham that Huayna Picchu was the name of the ruined city. And there were documents from the 19th century, including a map of the region, that showed the name.
But for unknown reasons, Bingham went with Arteaga’s claim.
“He accepted what they told him at that moment,” said Dr. Amado Gonzales.
Still, Bingham apparently was not convinced he had the name right. In 1922, he wrote an article cautioning that other documents could surface showing that the name of the town was not Machu Picchu, Dr. Amado Gonzales said.
Professor Bauer said that he and Dr. Amado Gonzales had been studying such documents independently for at least 10 years, poring over evidence that the original name of the town was Huayna Picchu.
“Realizing that we were both working on the same topic, we decided to combine our database,” Professor Bauer said in an email.
Their findings are based on Bingham’s notes and other materials related to his work at the site, as well as early maps and atlases that described the region and land documents that had been held in the regional, national and Spanish archives.