November 22, 2010

Doing the right thing - Yale University

Very cool news indeed. From the Yale Daily News:

Yale to return Peruvian artifacts
Yale and Peru are formalizing an agreement to return Inca artifacts found by Hiram Bingham III 1898 to Peru, according to a statement released Sunday night by the Yale Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

The relics will all ultimately be returned to Peru, University President Richard Levin said in a Saturday interview. They will be returned over the next two years, with those most suitable for museum display being returned in time for the centenary of Bingham's scientific discovery of Machu Picchu in July 2011, the statement said.

The artifacts will be housed at the University of Cusco, where research will continue on the collection, the statement said. Once an agreement with the University of Cusco is finalized, the statement said, Yale will work jointly with the University of Cusco to establish a museum and research center for the artifacts.

“This collaboration will ensure that Yale's values in conserving the collection, studying the material and disseminating new knowledge will be extended in a new phase, and in a spirit of friendship with the people of Cusco and the nation of Peru,” the statement said.

They could have just returned the artifacts. The fact that they are working with (ie: funding and organizing) the University of Cusco to establish the Museum is beyond the call of duty. Very nice…

Bingham did a lot of the seminal work on the Incas and the fact that he took these artifacts meant that they have been preserved for future generations of Peruvian citizens to enjoy as their heritage. Had they been left in situ, they could have been stolen by artifact 'collectors' or just weathered away to nothing or, worse, used as building rubble for the walls of a house.

The Science of Archeology is a very new one and Hiram Bingham was one of its founders.

Posted by DaveH at November 22, 2010 10:59 PM
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