Yale and Peru Sign Accord on Machu Picchu Artifacts

Yale returns artifacts excavated at Machu Picchu

Published on 11 February 2011

Author(s): The New York Yimes/KATE TAYLOR

Type:  News

Peruvian university and Yale university to establish a joint center where the objects will be conserved, studie and displayed.

Three months after Yale University and the government of Peru announced a tentative accord under which Yale would return a group of artifacts excavated at Machu Picchu, Yale formally signed a partnership agreement on Friday with a Peruvian university to establish a joint center where the objects will be conserved, studied and displayed.

The center will be at the Universidad Nacional de San Antonio Abad del Cusco, in Cusco, the city closest to Machu Picchu, and will be called the U.N.S.A.A.C.-Yale International Center for the Study of Machu Picchu and Inca Culture. It will include a museum exhibition space; a storage site for the archeological artifacts, which include stone tools, ceramics and human and animal bones; and a laboratory and research area. Students and faculty members from Yale are expected to visit the center for training, research projects and field work; students and faculty members of the Peruvian university will also visit Yale. Meanwhile, a small number of artifacts will be loaned to Yale for display at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.

The agreement ends a long-running cultural-patrimony dispute over the artifacts, which were excavated in 1912 by a Yale explorer, Hiram Bingham, and have resided at Yale since then. For years, Peru has said the objects were only on loan to Yale and should long since have been returned. Yale argued that it had returned all borrowed objects in the 1920s, and had full title to the rest. In 2008, Peru sued Yale in federal court, and last year it threatened to file criminal charges against the university.

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