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Some of the archaeological pieces that were returned. Some of the pieces that had been illegally removed.

Archaeological pieces returned to Mexico

American woman gives back artifacts taken from Mexico in the 1960s

A citizen of the United States has returned a small collection of pre-Hispanic archaeological pieces that had been in her family’s possession for some 50 years.

Recognizing the historic and archaeological importance of the objects her father had collected in the state of Veracruz in the 1960s, the unnamed woman living in the state of Florida decided to get in touch with the Mexican consulate in Orlando last March.

As a result the objects have now been returned to Mexico where archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have been able to assess them.

It was determined that 18 of the 20 objects were of pre-Hispanic origin, and represent the diversity of the cultures that lived and flourished on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

The oldest pieces, which date back to the Olmec period between the years 400 BC and 200 AD, were small human head-shaped figures and correspond to the central-southern regions of Veracruz.

Representing the Remojadas period and its people, who lived between 400 and 600 AD in central-southern Veracruz, is a female head.

A whistle and an obsidian axe were also made in the same region.

Totonac groups manufactured the second oldest collection of figures between 600 and 900 AD, representing their characteristic big-nosed gods.

One other figure mixes human and animal features: avian wings extend from a prominent male abdomen, likened to similar figures sculpted in the archaeological site of El Tajín.

One last object of archaeological relevance, the representation of a monkey, has been dated to a period between the years 1200 to 1400 AD, and was made by the Huastec people of northern Veracruz.

The pieces are to be registered as INAH assets before being made available for any interested museums.

The voluntary return of cultural objects that were taken from the country illegally is an unusual event, INAH official Alejandro Bautista Valdespino told the newspaper Milenio, although it is becoming more frequent.

Source: 24 Horas (sp)

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