In case you missed it the Sunday New York Times magazine's cover story, "The Possessed", chronicles the ongoing dispute between Yale University and the government of Peru over the disposition of archaeological materials excavated by Hiram Bingham in the early twentieth century.
Author Arthur Lubow profiles the many colorful parties to the dispute: Hiram Bingham III, the "imposingly tall and strong-minded" adventurer whose original promises to the Peruvian government are still not entirely clear; Richard Burger, professor of anthropology at Yale University, and his wife Lucy Salazar, ambassadors and negotiators for the university; Eliane Karp-Toledo, European-born wife of former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo, "a slim woman with long, wavy reddish blond hair and a fondness for fashionable versions of Andean woolens and ethnic jewelry"; Luis Lumbreras, "charismatic Marxist ... specialist on pre-Inca Peruvian cultures" with an unfortunate blot on his copy book; and Terry Garcia, executive vice-president of the National Geographic Society, caught between two unyielding institutions while trying to protect his own against potentially damaging blow-back.
All in all the stuff of a thoroughly engrossing telenovela.
PHOTO: The Explorer at Rest
Hiram Bingham III, in his tent in 1912 after completing a season’s
excavation. The final disposition of what he dug up remains in dispute.
(Hiram Bingham, copyright © 2007 National Geographic)