Peru decorated Zahi Hawass, Egypt's antiquities minister, Monday for helping retrieve a cache of ancient artifacts taken from the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu nearly 100 years ago.
Hawass was in Lima with other archeologists for an international conference on protecting and repatriating cultural heritage items.
President Alan Garcia bestowed upon Hawass -- a renown Egyptologist who champions the repatriation of archeological items -- Peru's highest honor, the Order of the Sun.
Hawass headed Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities and was minister of state under ousted president Hosni Mubarak. He survived the popular uprisings that toppled Mubarak earlier this year and a legal case to take his current job.
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. The items began arriving in March.
Bingham took the artifacts to the US university between 1912 and 1916 on loan from Peru.
Machu Picchu, a UNESCO world heritage site, stands on Peru's eastern slopes of the Andes, some 2,430 meters (7,970 feet) above sea level, and has long been South America's most popular tourist attraction.