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Peru to Work Out Dispute With Yale Over Artifacts
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A disputed artifact from Machu PicchuA disputed artifact from Machu PicchuA delegation of Peruvian officials will travel to Yale University this week to work out the repatriation of disputed archeological artifacts from the Incan site of Machu Picchu.

The Machu Picchu objects have been at the center of a debate that’s lasted nearly a century. Yale explorer Hiram Bingham came upon Machu Picchu in Peru’s Andean highlands in 1911. He went back twice on archaeological expeditions and excavated jewelry, musical instruments and human bones which were shipped to the Peabody Museum in New Haven. Peru agreed to loan the artifacts to Yale for research. Some were returned..others stayed at the school for more than 90 years. In 2006, Peru threatened to sue to get them back.

But last September the university announced a preliminary agreement with the government of Peru, under which most of the artifacts would be returned. And under the memorandum, Yale recognized that Peruvians were owners of the material. But the agreement has not been finalized. And an opinion piece published in last week’s New York Times by the former first lady of Peru, criticizes terms of the agreement. Peruvian news media reports that the current delegation’s mission is to work out the repatriation of the archeological objects. The Peruvian team will be headed by the director of the country’s National Institute of Culture, Cecilia Bakula. The delegation is to stay in New Haven until mid-March.

View photos of some of the artifacts at issue, and Yale explorer Hiram Bingham at our Flickr page.