LIMA – Peruvian Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Garcia Belaunde has signed an agreement with Yale University President Richard Levin on the return of artifacts that a Yale explorer excavated in the early 20th century at the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.
The memorandum of understanding was signed Tuesday, the ministry said in a statement, noting that the pieces are to be returned in no more than two years.
Yale agreed to return the “exhibitable” pieces and certain other items in time for Peru’s commemoration of the 100-year anniversary of the scientific discovery of Machu Picchu in July 2011, the ministry said.
Other fragments and pieces are to be returned by the end of 2011, while all of the objects must be back in Peru by Dec. 31, 2012, at the latest.
Yale holds more than 46,000 objects that lecturer and explorer Hiram Bingham removed from Machu Picchu, but only 370 are ceramics or intact artifacts suitable for display in a museum, the Foreign Ministry said.
The Peruvian government announced Friday that an agreement had been reached with the U.S. university after a meeting in Lima between Garcia Belaunde and a special envoy from Yale, former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo.
The agreement follows a long-running dispute that had even led to Peru filing suit against Yale in a federal court in Connecticut.
Peruvian authorities must decide where to exhibit the returned pieces and are considering the recently restored Casa Concha in downtown Cuzco, the nearest city to the famed fortress. EFE