Hiram Bingham III: Yale historian who found lost city the inspiration perhaps for Indiana Jones

Historians in the News

How does "Connecticut Bing am" sound? Less mellifluous than "Indiana Jo es," t

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But Hiram Bingham III was a Yale historian and explorer who really did hack through a fetid jungle and scrambled over the Andes to find the "lost city" of Machu Picchu in 1911.

Bingham, a tall, handsome and rich adventurer, historian, aviator, and later U.S. senator and governor of Connecticut, often is cited as a possible model for the pulpy Jones creation.

Peruvians to this day suspect Bingham sent crates of gold from Machu Picchu back to New Haven, which sounds like an exploit from an "Indiana" script.

The cargo was actually about 5,000 pieces of pottery and other artifacts. (Or is that all they contained?) Peru is demanding Yale relinquish the national archeological treasure.

So, how ironic is it that what is likely a fictional version of the real Bingham is blocking traffic in New Haven to film the fourth installment of the series, within blocks of Bingham's old ivy haunts?

That depends on which Indiana Jones precursor you prefer.

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