US and Peru Extend MOU to Protect Peruvian Cultural Property

On June 8, 2012, the Department of State announced 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 Department of Homeland Security has published notification of the extended restrictions in the Federal Register, effective June 9, 2012.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.  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, carries out 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.