He found it covered with vegetation, much of which has now been removed.
The buildings were made without mortar (typical of the Inca), their granite stones quarried and precisely cut.
In fact, the only reference to the site at all in Spanish documents is a mention of the word “Picchu” in a 1568 document, the text implying that it belonged to the Inca emperor.
Peter Frost, in Exploring Cusco, reports the existence of an early map, pre-dating Bingham by 30 years, on which Cerro Machu Picchu is marked, as well as a church document dating to 1798 recording that 900 people lived in the valley up to Huayna Picchu.It does appear that no Spanish artifacts have been found in solid contexts at Machu Picchu either by Bingham or the recent Peruvian excavations directed by Julio Tello. If the sites here were built by Pachacuti and populated by members of his clan or ayllu, they may have gone into a decline in the generations after his death.The remaining population may have been further reduced in the protracted struggle between the Spanish and the remnants of the Inca at Vilcabamba (the late Inca rulers Tupac Amaru and his brother Titu Cusi are said to have pursued a scorched-earth policy in the area).Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca site located on a ridge between the Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu mountains in Peru.It sits 7,970 feet (2,430 meters) above sea level on the eastern slope of the Andes and overlooks the Urubamba River hundreds of feet below.