Peru President Alan Garcia awarded minister of state for antiquities Zahi Hawass with the country’s highest honour, the Order of the Sun Award, for his efforts in helping Peru to retrieve a cache of ancient artifacts taken from the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu nearly 100 years ago.
Hawass was decorated during a short visit to Lima to attend the second round of the international conference on protecting and repatriating cultural heritage artefacts.
Following a long campaign by Peru, Yale University agreed to return some 45,000 items for the centennial of the Machu Picchu's "discovery" by US archeologist Hiram Bingham, who took the artifacts to the university between 1912 and 1916 on loan from Peru. The objects arrived in their homeland in March.
Machu Picchu, a UNESCO world heritage site, stands on Peru's eastern Andean slopes, some 2,430 metres above sea level and has long been one of South America's most popular tourist attractions.