When in 1911, Hiram Bingham discovered Machu Picchu, funded by the American University of Yale and the National Geographic Society, he decided to come back in 1912 and 1915 to develop his researches and bring back several objects to study it – 5000 pieces approximatively. Peru, at this time, authorized the pieces departure under the condition of giving it back 18 months at the latest.
In 1918 and 1920, the Peruvian government asked for the return of those precious piece of the national history, but in vain. Yale choose to ignore them.
This argument about the legitimacy of the detention of this pieces extends during the whole 20th century. In 2001, they almost arrive to an agreement but a part of those object would stay in possession of the American university during a period of until 99 years – thing that the Peruvian government disagreed, obviously.
In 2008, after many years of unsuccessful negotiations, Peru finally engaged a lawsuit. The irony is that Yale refused to give back the pieces under the pretext that Peru wasn’t able to guaranty the preservation – and Peru asked for indemnities for the damages some pieces suffered because of the poor conditions of the conservation rooms in Yale.
Finally, the verdict has been given in 2010 and Yale must give back all the “confined” pieces to Peru. Thus, this is with fanfare and trumpets that Peru reinstated this immense part of his national treasure to the museums of the country.