Statement by Yale University

Representatives of Yale University met with a delegation from the government of Peru at the Peruvian UN permanent mission in New York.

Negotiations initiated last year by President Alan Garcia of Peru and President Richard C. Levin of Yale led to a Memorandum of Understanding that would establish a collaborative relationship. The agreement would return most of the museum quality artifacts to Peru along with a significant number of the fragments and other study materials, following a joint international exhibition, while other research material would remain at Yale for an extended period where it would be available for collaborative scientific research.  Upon signing the definitive agreement, and as part of the coordinated arrangements, Yale would acknowledge Peruvian title in the collection.  The arrangements would ensure the conservation of the archaeological material, its accessibility for research and its display in Peru and at Yale for the benefit of the public in Peru and internationally.

Yale has reiterated that it seeks a final agreement under the MOU signed by Yale’s and Peru’s official representatives, or an alternative that reflects the key principles of conservation, sharing and collaboration on which the MOU is based. Toward that end, the University commented on drafts exchanged by Yale and the government of Peru in February and April, 2008, noting that the April draft sent by Peru departed in significant ways from the framework called for in the MOU.

Yale offered to pursue discussions with Peru beyond today’s meeting.  The Yale delegation expressed disappointment that Hernan Garrido Lecca, Peru’s Minister of Health, who has represented President Alan Garcia in the negotiations with Yale, was not able to attend, and said it hoped to meet with him soon.

The collection at Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History was legally excavated and exported by Hiram Bingham in the early 20th Century. Yale’s primary interest is to maintain the ability of scholarly institutions and individuals to exhibit and study ancient civilizations, such as the Inca culture, as scholars have been doing with the Peabody Museum collection.  Yale has said that if the government of Peru resorts to litigation, it will be fully prepared to defend the case, but that litigation is not warranted and not consistent with a constructive, collaborative relationship.

Full information about the history of Yale’s collection of artifacts from Machu Picchu and the MOU may be found on the Yale University website at: opa.yale.edu/peru.

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Media Contact

Tom Conroy: tom.conroy@yale.edu, 203-432-1345