U.S. Protection of Archaeological and Ethnological Material
III. Significance of Peruvian
The rich accomplishments of ancient
Peruvians make the cultures of the Andean region among the most important
in the development of human civilizations of antiquity and Mesoamerica.
Their achievements include the construction
of city complexes; advances in metal alloy technologies; and the production
of unequaled textiles and jewelry, as well as unique polychrome ceramic
vessels and effigies. Over time, the systematic pillage of archaeological
sites in Peru and the removal of ethnological material important to the
religious and social mores of indigenous populations have caused irreparable
loss to history and traditional practices.
Guilded copper bell, found at Sipan, h. 11 cm. (Courtesy, C. Donnan and
D. McClelland, Fowler Museum of Cultural History). An identical bell was
seized by police from looters of the tomb.
The United States, considered to
be the world's largest market in art and artifacts, is a significant destination
for much material that is illicitly removed from context in the country
of origin and exported without authorization. This action by the United
States demonstrates respect for the cultural heritage of Peru and offers
the opportunity for Peru to further certain initiatives already underway
to provide sustainable protection of Sipan and other archaeological complexes
throughout the nation. The action also offers the opportunity to stabilize
a serious situation of pillage and develop long-term solutions for the
protection of this unique cultural heritage. The cultural resources protected
under this MOU are non-renewable and important not only to Peruvians but
to human development throughout the hemisphere. This protection affords
the opportunity to explore alternatives to accessing the material for cultural,
educational and scientific purposes. The
recent seizure and return of a gold
Moche backflap illustrates one of the possibilities for cooperation
between the U.S. and Peru.
This MOU is consistent with the recommendation
of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee
that found the cultural patrimony of Peru to be in jeopardy from pillage.
The U.S.-Peru accord also advances the promotion of cultural values, one
of the action items agreed upon at the 1994 Summit of the Americas where
participants pledged to work with hemispheric governments to enhance appreciation
of indigenous cultures and cultural artifacts through various means, including
the implementation of cultural property protection agreements.
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Revised: March 12, 1999
FROM THE FOLLOWING:
Federal Register Notice (html) (text)
Federal Register Notice
Return of a Stolen Cultural Treasure to Peru