December 14, 2010

Yale University’s Peabody Museum to return Peruvian artefacts

Posted at 2:02 pm in Similar cases

More coverage of the decision by Yale University to return the disputed artefacts from Machu Picchu currently held by the Peabody Museum, to Peru.

Yale Daily News

Yale to return Peruvian artifacts
Online Exclusive
By Drew Henderson
Sunday, November 21, 2010

UPDATED SUNDAY 11:59 p.m. Yale and Peru are formalizing an agreement to return Inca artifacts found by Hiram Bingham III 1898 to Peru, according to a statement released Sunday night by the Yale Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

The relics will all ultimately be returned to Peru, University President Richard Levin said in a Saturday interview. They will be returned over the next two years, with those most suitable for museum display being returned in time for the centenary of Bingham’s scientific discovery of Machu Picchu in July 2011, the statement said.

The artifacts will be housed at the University of Cusco, where research will continue on the collection, the statement said. Once an agreement with the University of Cusco is finalized, the statement said, Yale will work jointly with the University of Cusco to establish a museum and research center for the artifacts.

“This collaboration will ensure that Yale’s values in conserving the collection, studying the material and disseminating new knowledge will be extended in a new phase, and in a spirit of friendship with the people of Cusco and the nation of Peru,” the statement said.

Reached after the Harvard-Yale football game Saturday afternoon, Levin said he was “quite pleased” that Yale and Peru had been able to reach the “framework” of an agreement regarding the artifacts.

A delegation from Yale consisting of former President of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo, Director of the Peabody Museum Derek Briggs and professor of anthropology Richard Burger arrived yesterday in Peru to negotiate with Peruvian President Alan Garcia, Levin said. In the past, Yale representatives have never dealt with such high-ranking members of the Peruvian government, Levin said.

Peru sued Yale in December 2008 for the artifacts’ return. Levin declined to comment on how the new agreement will affect the status of the lawsuit.

In a press release Saturday afternoon, Sen. Chris Dodd, who expressed his support for the artifacts’ return to Peru in June 2010, said he applauds Yale’s decision.

“These artifacts do not belong to any government, to any institution, or to any university — they belong to the people of Peru,” Dodd said.

The artifacts are currently at the Peabody Museum in New Haven.

BBC News

21 November 2010 Last updated at 00:31
Yale University to return Machu Picchu artefacts
By Dan Collyns BBC News, Lima

Yale University has promised to return thousands of archaeological pieces taken from Machu Picchu nearly a century ago, Peru’s president has said.

The relics from the 15th Century Inca citadel have been the focus of a bitter dispute lasting more than seven years.

Peru says the artefacts were lent in 1911 but never returned. It filed a lawsuit against the university in 2008.

The agreement comes after a concerted media campaign by Peruvian President Alan Garcia and his government.

Marches fronted by ministers and the president himself were staged in Lima and Cuzco. Mr Garcia even appealed directly to his US counterpart, Barack Obama, to intervene.

Earlier this month, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York returned to Egypt 19 artefacts found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun.
Disputed figures

Peru says it loaned the university around 46,000 items which included mummies, ceramics and gold and bronze pieces, soon after Machu Picchu’s official discovery by a Yale scholar, Hiram Bingham, in 1911.

But Yale says the number of pieces is far smaller and only 330 are suitable for display in a museum.

It says it returned boxes of artefacts more than 80 years ago.

Nonetheless talks between Peru and Yale seem to have gone well, with the university pledging to honour Peru’s rich heritage by returning all the pieces in its possession, provided it can continue to study them.

Mr Garcia acknowledged that Yale’s possession of the objects prevented them from being scattered among private collectors.

The artefacts are expected to be returned early next year in time for the centenary of what Peru calls the re-discovery of Machu Picchu.

The citadel is its top tourist attraction and most important archaeological site.

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  1. David from Peru said,

    12.20.10 at 12:18 pm

    It is interesting that little is said in the articles about what exactly was the agreement between Peru and Yale in the first place. Peru says these artifacts were loaned. Is that the case? Any documentation?

  2. Matthew said,

    04.22.11 at 10:26 am

    There are some more details about the original conditions of the loan in this article from a few years ago.

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