National Geographic Society Yale University Peruvian Expedition, 1915

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This National Geographic Society Yale University Peruvian Expedition explored and excavated the ruins of Machu Picchu, which had been discovered during an expedition to Peru in 1911 by explorers Tucker and Lanius (Bingham, Machu, p. 1). The chief objectives of the expedition were to make a detailed examination of Machu Picchu, to prepare a topographical map of the vicinity, and to collect as much anthropological and archaeological material as possible. Specialists in various fields were chosen to accompany the party led by the director Hiram Bingham III, professor of Latin American History at Yale University. Other members included botanist Orator F. Cook and assistant botanist G. Bruce Gilbert, both from the Bureau of Plant Industry of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Edmund Heller, naturalist; Clarence F. Maynard, topographer; Dr. David E. Ford, surgeon; Joseph J. Hasbrouck, engineer; Geoffrey W. Morkill, assistant in charge of headquarters; and Ricardo Charaja, assistant to the director. The 1915 expedition focused on exploring Inca roads surrounding Machu Pichu which led to the discovery of other ancient ruins. The team also examined burial cave in the vicinity, and took collections of bronzes and other Incan artifacts. Edmund Heller was the expedition naturalist, and supervised the collecting of 891 mammal specimens, 695 birds, about 200 fishes and several tanks of reptiles and amphibians. The insects collected by Harry W. Foote were deposited in the United States National Museum. Much of the other material was kept by Yale University.


Thomas, O. (1921). Report on the Mammalia collected by Mr. Edmund Heller during the Peruvian Expedition of 1915 under the auspices of Yale University and the National Geographic Society. Proceedings of the United States National Museum, 58, 217-249.

Date Range

1915 - 1915


  • Animals
  • Herpetology
  • Entomology
  • Zoology
  • Birds
  • Ichthyology
  • Ornithology


  • Bolivia
  • Peru
  • Machupicchu


Expedition name