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Peru: Breakthrough on Machu Picchu items

  • Story Highlights
  • Yale officials declined to comment
  • Peru says artifacts were lent to Yale for 18 months
  • A Yale alum, Hiram Bingham, rediscovered the ancient city in 1911
  • Museums face demands by countries like Peru, Greece, Egypt to return treasures
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LIMA, Peru (Reuters) -- Yale University will for the first time provide Peru with an inventory of thousands of artifacts taken from Machu Picchu 90 years ago, Peruvian officials said Thursday, as they work to have the objects returned.


The ruins of Peru's famed Machu Picchu were named last month as one of the new seven wonders of the world.

Negotiations over who owns more than 4,000 pieces of pottery, jewelry and bones from the ancient Inca citadel had stalled are were now progressing, officials said.

"The relationship is moving forward like never before, towards an understanding," said Cecilia Bakula, head of Peru's national institute of culture.

"This has allowed, among other things, for Yale to commit itself to providing a complete inventory of its archeological goods for the first time."

Yale officials declined to comment.

Bakula spoke at an event with U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes, who visited Lima to say the United States was returning 350 pre-Colombian artifacts to Peru. The artifacts were recovered in Miami under an anti-smuggling accord between the two countries.

Hughes said she supported the talks between Yale and Peru, which have occurred as museums around the world face demands by countries from Peru to Greece and Egypt to return ancient treasures.

"We are delighted these conversations have taken place and we hope they can be resolved in a satisfactory manner that takes into account the interests of both sides," Hughes said.

Peru says the artifacts were lent to Yale for 18 months. But the university has kept them ever since one of its alumni, U.S. explorer Hiram Bingham, rediscovered Machu Picchu in the Andes in 1911.

At the time, the ancient city, now a popular tourist destination, was essentially forgotten, covered by thick forest in the mountains at 8,400 feet (2,560 meters). E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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