Nearly two years after it first demanded that Yale University return thousands of artifacts from Machu Picchu excavated by Hiram Bingham in 1911, the Justice Ministry of Peru has approved plans to press ahead with the government's charges against the Ivy-league school. Bingham's discovery helped to drum up international interest in Peru and incited a steady stream of tourism to the site that has yet to let up.
Thomas Conroy, a Yale spokesman said the university had been unaware of the report, "We believe that a lawsuit does not serve the best interest of the public both in Peru and internationally," Conroy continued, pointing out that Yale believes "Cooperation and collaboration would provide a better framework for satisfying the multiple interests" involved in the dispute.
A prosecutor will be assigned by the Peruvian government in the coming months to support the governments charges and recover the Incan treasures.
Bingham, a Yale scholar, rediscovered the Machu Picchu site in 1911, and sent thousands of ceramics, textiles and bones back the school. The Peruvian government never had the intention of transferring property rights to Yale or to the National Geographic Society, Bingham's original co-sponsoring organization. Records show that Peru always expected everything back. The Peruvian government and Yale University had reportedly reached an agreement earlier this year, but it fell through due to a dispute over exactly how many of the artifacts were to be returned.
Machu Picchu remains Peru's main tourist attraction.
What do you think? Should Yale be forced to return the Peruvian national treasure?