Photo: Chavin ornamental objects
The Department of State announced on Friday the extension of the “Memorandum of Understanding Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Peru Concerning the Imposition of Import Restrictions on Archaeological Material from the Pre-Hispanic Cultures and Certain Ethnological Material from the Colonial Period of Peru” (MOU).
The MOU covers archaeological remains of ancient cultures - such as the Chavin, Moche, Cuzco, Incas - that developed in Peru from 12,000 B.C. to A.D. 1532. Their achievements include the construction of city complexes; advances in metallurgy; the production of textiles, gold and silver jewelry, and unique styles of polychrome ceramic vessels. They are a reminder that the accomplishments of these ancient cultures are among the most important in the history of mankind. The MOU also protects ethnological material produced during the Colonial period (A.D. 1532-1821) such as sculpture and paintings with stylistically distinct iconography.
This MOU, in effect since 1997, is possible under U.S. legislation that implements the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, a framework of cooperation to stem pillage and unauthorized transport of cultural objects across boundaries. Systematic pillage of archaeological sites in Peru and removal of ecclesiastical ethnological material has caused irreparable loss to Peruvian history and tradition. Their protection promotes alternative approaches to accessing this material for cultural, educational, and scientific purposes and offers Peru the opportunity to develop long-term solutions for safeguarding its unique ancient past.
By extending this MOU, the United States demonstrates its continued respect for the extraordinary cultural heritage of Peru.