12 Feb 2011

Thousands of Inca artefacts to be returned

8:00 pm on 12 February 2011

Yale University in the United States has signed an agreement with Peru to return thousands of Inca artefacts removed from the ancient site of Machu Picchu almost a century ago.

The deal ends a long dispute over the archaeological collection assembled by the American explorer Hiram Bingham, who discovered the ruins of Machu Picchu in 1912.

Yale may have conceded, the BBC's correspondent in Lima reports, but it didn't give up without a fight. It took protest marches and a letter from Peru's President Alan Garcia to his US counterpart, Barack Obama, to win the seven-year battle.

Under the deal, Yale will jointly fund a centre in Cusco, the historical capital of the Inca empire, in which to house and exhibit the artefacts.

The 5000 items being returned include stone tools, ceramics and human and animal bones.