The Yale flag flies in front of the Casa Concha Museum in Cusco, Peru. (Photo courtesy Yale Daily News/Peter Salovey)

Yale Returns All Machu Picchu Artifacts to Peru


November 12 marked the end of a years-long dispute when Yale University returned the last of thousands of Machu Picchu artifacts to Peru.

This final and third shipment arrived in 127 boxes. The first batch was shipped in March 2011 and the second last December.

“The day the artifacts arrived in Peru, there were people in the Lima airport waiting for them as if they were big music stars,” Minister and Deputy Chief of Missions for Peru Fernando Quirós said in 2011, according to Yale Daily News. “People all along the streets were waving and saluting the artifacts. There were big, big celebrations in Lima and Cusco.”

The artifacts had been brought back from Peru by Yale University archaeologist Hiram Bingham III between 1911—when he rediscovered the Inca citadel and brought it to national attention—and 1916.

Tensions over return of the artifacts finally grew to a point where, in 2008, Peru sued Yale over their return. This final shipment completes a deal signed by the university and Peru in 2010 that put an end to the lawsuit.

Yale spokesman Tom Conroy said at the time that there were between 4,000 and 40,000 artifacts from Machu Picchu, depending on how they were catalogued, reported CNN. Only about 350 of those pieces are of museum quality, Conroy told CNN.

Many of the artifacts can now be seen at the Casa Concho Museum in Cusco, Peru.

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