The 'Resurrectionists': Machu Picchu, Early Twentieth Century Americanist Archaeology, and the Creation of Peruvian Cultural Patrimony Law

  • 23 Feb 2012
  • 4:30 PM
  • Penn Museum, Philadelphia, PA

“The 'Resurrectionists': Machu Picchu, Early Twentieth Century Americanist Archaeology, and the Creation of Peruvian Cultural Patrimony Law”
Christopher Heaney , Harrington Doctoral Fellow, Department of History, University of Texas at Austin
4:30pm – Classroom 2, Penn Museum

In 1911, a Yale historian and explorer named Hiram Bingham followed a series of guides, some of them indigenous, to ridgetop complex of Inca palaces, temples  and terraces in the Andes Mountains of Southern Peru. This was Machu Picchu, and in the years following, Bingham made the site famous in the pages of National Geographic and incited a century-long fight between Yale and Peru over the ownership of its artifacts. In this talk, Christopher Heaneywill draw from his book, Cradle of Gold, to detail the background of that controversy, locating it in Peruvian efforts at national patrimony protection, North American collection methods, and local traditions of antiquarianism and study. He will also examine the collaborations and conflicts between Yale's investigators and the farmers who lived at the site and were drafted into digging up the graves up the Incas. Incorporating his ongoing research, he will show how the fight for Machu Picchu was a watershed moment in the history of Peruvian cultural patrimony -- and how its resolution in 2010 suggests a new opportunity for U.S.-Peruvian cooperation.

The Penn Cultural Heritage Center Spring Lecture Series is sponsored, in part, by the PoGo Family Foundation.

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