UNSAAC Rector Victor Raul Aguilar and President Richard C. Levin at the signing of the partnership agreement.
Yale and the Universidad Nacional de San Antonio Abad del Cusco (UNSAAC) today signed an agreement establishing the UNSAAC-Yale International Center for the Study of Machu Picchu and Inca Culture in Cusco, Peru.
The center will be dedicated to the display, conservation and study the Machu Picchu archaeological collections curated by Yale at the Peabody Museum since their excavation by Hiram Bingham in 1912. Its establishment is central to the agreement reached last November between the government of Peru and Yale to return the collections to Peru and house the material definitively in Cusco.
"Today's partnership agreement with the University San Antonio Abad of Cusco fulfills one of Yale's primary missions — the collection and dissemination of knowledge. This agreement ensures the expanded accessibility of these Machu Picchu collections for research and public appreciation in their natural context and with the guidance of two great universities," said President Richard C. Levin.
Video: Anthropologists Richard Burger and Lucy Salazar of Yale University discuss the agreement by Yale and the Universidad Nacional de San Antonio Abad del Cusco (UNSAAC) to establish the UNSAAC-Yale International Center for the Study of Machu Picchu and Inca Culture in Cusco, Peru.
The Memorandum of Understanding between UNSAAC and Yale reflects the decision by President Alan Garcia of Peru to request that UNSAAC be the home of the collections. It ensures that the artifacts from Machu Picchu remain accessible to scholars and a worldwide public.
"Yale's agreement with President Garcia, and the center to be created in Cusco with Yale's help and ongoing collaboration, should make us all optimistic that the next century of discovery regarding Machu Picchu will be as rewarding as the last," said UNSAAC Rector Victor Raul Aguilar. "We hope all who visit Machu Picchu will enrich their experience and understanding of Inca culture with a visit to the center."
The center situated in the Casa Concha, an Inca palace in the center of Cusco, will feature:
• A museum exhibit for the public devoted to the archaeological site of Machu Picchu, with a focus on the investigations there by the Yale-Peruvian Scientific Expeditions of 1911 and 1912, and the subsequent study of the site and its remains by investigators from Yale University and UNSAAC
• A storage facility where the archeological artifacts (stone tools, ceramics, etc.) and organic specimens including human osteological remains and animal bones recovered at Machu Picchu by the 1912 Expedition will be stored and conserved in appropriate environmental conditions
• A laboratory and research area to facilitate collaborative investigations of the collections by the two institutions and visiting scholars
Plans for the center include hosting visiting students and faculty from Yale for training, individual research projects and fieldwork. Yale also will host visiting students and faculty from UNSAAC. It is expected that these exchanges will include fellowships for students and support for visiting faculty members from UNSAAC and Yale.
In recognition of Yale's historic role in the scientific investigation of Machu Picchu, the center will loan a small number of artifacts for display at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.
"We are extremely pleased that the Peruvian government wished to house the collections in Cusco and have it available for future research and education in an academic home," said Derek Briggs, director of Yale's Peabody Museum. "Our collaboration with the University of Cusco will provide the kind of enduring academic framework that Yale always envisioned for the objects, and it is the best outcome for all who have an interest in the history and future of Machu Picchu."
Videos, photos and additional information about the center and the Memorandum of Understanding are available at opac.yale.edu/peru.