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Author Topic: US and Peru Extend Agreement to Protect Archaeological and Ethnological Heritage  (Read 155 times)
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« on: June 23, 2007, 03:58:08 AM »

US and Peru Extend Agreement to Protect Archaeological and Ethnological Heritage of Peru

Office of the Spokesman, Washington, DC, June 18, 2007

   The United States and Peru agreed to extend for an additional five years the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) restricting pre-Columbian archaeological material and ethnological colonial material from importation into the United States without an export permit issued by Peru. Both countries originally entered into this agreement on June 9, 1997, and this is its second extension. The MOU underscores U.S. appreciation of the artistic and technical accomplishments of the peoples of ancient Peru, among the world's most advanced civilizations. The cultural resources protected under this MOU are non-renewable and important both to Peruvians and to cross-cultural understanding and appreciation throughout the hemisphere.

   The import restrictions encompassed by the MOU cover the material culture of the Chav�n, Chim�, Paracas, Moche, Inca, and others inhabiting what is now Peru from c.12,000 B.C. to 1532 A.D. The restrictions also protect certain ethnological material from the colonial period, 1532-1821 A.D. United States enforcement of these restrictions has resulted in the seizure and repatriation of many hundreds of Peru's cultural treasures over the past decade, including a group of some 400 objects returned to Peruvian authorities on June 13, 2007.

   This bilateral collaboration on behalf of Peruvian heritage is made possible by U.S. legislation implementing the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, an international framework of cooperation designed to stem pillage and unauthorized transport of cultural objects across borders.

   This MOU followed on an emergency import restriction that entered into force in 1990 reducing the incentive for pillage of Moche artifacts newly found in the royal tombs of Sip�n, Peru. This new extension of the MOU is consistent with the recommendation of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, which is administered by the Department's Bureau for Educational and Cultural Affairs. In 1997 U.S. Customs published in the Federal Register the full list of the categories of archaeological and ethnological material that are restricted from import into the United States. Referred to as the "Designated List," this document, as well as the newly amended MOU, and other information may be found at http://exchanges.state.gov/culprop/pefact.html.


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