Yesterday, Yale University finally returned the last remaining artefacts that it had taken from the historic site of Machu Pichu in Peru. In so doing, it brought an end to the long running dispute between Yale University and the South American nation, as to who rightfully owned the relics.
According to state news agency Andina, 127 boxes arrived in Cusco yesterday morning, containing amongst other things, more than 35,000 fragments of pottery. The artefacts were taken from the Incan citadel by Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham III during exploration in South America between 1911 and 1916. Bingham is widely considered to be responsible for drawing international attention to the ancient city of Machu Pichu.
Four years ago, Peru filed a lawsuit against Yale University demanding the return of all the objects, claiming that they had only been loaned out. In November 2010, the case was resolved and the United States subsequently made two shipments, one in March 2011 and the other in December 2011. This most recent handover means that all remaining artefacts have now been returned.
The best pieces will be placed in the newly built Casa Concha museum in the nearby city of Cusco.
Machu Pichu was built in the 15th Century by the Incas, and is located 2,500m above sea level. It is Peru’s most popular tourist attraction, receiving more than 1 million visitors per year.