Machu Picchu artifacts returned by Yale to go on display July 5

June 11, 2011 § 1 Comment

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the rediscovery of Machu Picchu by Yale Professor Hiram Bingham.  Bingham was not a trained archaeologist, in fact at the time he discovered Machu Picchu he was a lecturer for the University.  His life’s focus changed when in 1908 he traveled to Chile to attend the First Pan American Scientific Congress. On his way home from the congress he traveled through Peru where he met a local prefect who convinced him to visit a Pre-Colombian site – Choquequirao known as the sacred sister of Machu Picchu.  The site so impressed Bingham that he returned to Peru in 1911 with the Yale Peruvian Expedition in search Vilcabamba the Lost City of the Incas.  

On July 24, 1911 he was led by locals to Machu Picchu a site which had been largely forgotten.  Bingham returned twice and excavated thousands of artifacts: ceramics, tools, jewelry and human bones.  After a legal dispute between Peru and the University the items have been returned to Peru and will go on display at  Casa Concha in Cusco starting July 5.

Peruvian Culture Minister Juan Ossio made the announcement Thursday after talks with Victor Raul Aguilar Callo, rector of Cusco’s San Antonio Abad University (UNSAAC), which owns the recently restored Casa Concha in the city’s downtown. Casa Concha, a 16th century mansion in Cusco, will be the new home for the artifacts, as well as the site of the collaborative center between UNSAAC and Yale.


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