CUZCO, Peru - It was just a sparkle on the horizon, where the sun hit what appeared to be a flat plain on an otherwise steep, untamed mountain in the Peruvian Andes. But Peter Frost, a British-born explorer and mountain guide, surmised that the perch would have made a perfect ceremonial platform for Inca rulers.
So Mr. Frost and the adventure hikers he was leading slogged through heavy jungle growth and at 13,000 feet uncovered remnants of the Inca civilization that flourished here. They found looted tombs, a circular building foundation and the stonework of an aqueduct.
The discovery in 1999 of Qoriwayrachina (pronounced co-ree-why-rah-CHEE-nah) was instantly hailed as a major find. It evoked the romantic image of the swashbuckling explorer unearthing a Lost City, an image embodied by Hiram Bingham, the American who in 1911 made the greatest Inca discovery of them all, Machu Picchu.