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Stolen Artifact Returned To Belize #418589
10/13/11 07:52 AM
10/13/11 07:52 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,240
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy OP

Marty  Online Happy OP
The systematic looting and plunder of Mayan Temples all across Belize has been happening for decades if not centuries, and there are treasures untold that have been stolen from Belize.

The full story on that may never be told - but at least one stolen item, a ceramic bowl, has been recovered and returned.

Dr. Jaime Awe of the Institute of Archaeology today told us about the latest recovery from the USA:

Dr. Jaime Awe - Director, Institute of Archaeology
"Jules, what we have here today with us is a classic period ceramic vessel. It's a polychrome bowl, which dates to the early classic period, somewhere between 400 to about 600 A.D. And this ceramic vessel was actually confiscated by the US Immigration and Customs agents. I've just received a bit more information about the whole procedure. Apparently, it was confiscated from a male individual in State of New Mexico. And the US agencies contacted a professor of archaeology at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque to look at the various objects that this gentleman had in his possession. And it was this colleague of ours, an archaeologist by the name of Keith Prufer, who works at Ush Beng Cal in the Toledo District, who identified the vessel as being an authentic Mayan artifact. And based on its style, it was most likely of Northern Belize manufacture. Based on the style, we know that it's very typical of the types of things being produced around that time at places anywhere between, let's say, Lamanai and Blue Creek up in the north. Again, you know, this style of painting - the form of the vessel - is very common of early classic materials being produced in not just the Northern Belize, but also the north-eastern Peten. Often what we do is we find these artifacts either in burials or special offerings. Various archaeologists have argued that these vessels were used for feasting events, when a ruler wanted throw an event, and invited representatives from other neighboring sites, that they would be served tamales, fruit, and other materials in these fancy vessels. Obviously, we do not have any hieroglyphic inscriptions on it. We don't have any beautiful individual rulers painted on it, or even the date of his highest quality. Inspite of that, I think that all these vessels are very important. These are part of the Belizean past, and I think that, for us, the fact that we can bring this back home is of very significant importance."

The bowl was returned under the "Hold Harmless Release Agreement" between the United States and Belize.

According to a NICH release, on her return from a visit to Washington, D.C., NICH President Diane Haylock, brought the bowl home.

And in case you didn't know, it is illegal to buy or sell Maya artifacts in Belize, all artifacts found should be reported to the Institute of Archaeology, and artifacts found are the property of the Government of Belize.

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Re: Stolen Artifact Returned To Belize [Re: Marty] #418599
10/13/11 08:12 AM
10/13/11 08:12 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,240
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy OP

Marty  Online Happy OP
A Belizean Mayan artifact dating from the early classic period was confiscated when someone tried to take it to the United States. Belize and the US have a Hold Harmless Release Agreement through which United States agencies over the years have repatriated several prehistoric artifacts to Belize. During the recent September celebrations, representatives from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement formally transferred a prehistoric Maya artifact to the Belize embassy in Washington, D.C. The artifact dated between 400 to 600 AD , was being imported illegally into the United States when it was confiscated by U.S. Immigration and Custom agents.

Dr. Jaime Awe, Archeologist
Apparently it was confiscated by a male individual in the state of New Mexico and the US agencies then contacted the professor of Archeology at the University for New Mexico to come and look at the various objects that this gentleman had in his possession. It was this colleague of ours, an archeologist by the name of Keith Propher, who works at Ushbenca in the Toledo District that identified the vessel as being a Mayan artifact and based on its style that it was most likely of Belize manufacture. So what happened after that was that the immigration agents seized the object from this gentleman and then sent it off to Washington DC. In Washington DC, the US agents then handed over the vessel to one of the officers of the Belizean Embassy in Washington.

Dr. Awe says that the person found with the Belizean Maya artifact also had other artifacts from other countries with him as well. He said they cannot as yet verify from which specific Belizean site the artifact was taken from.

Dr. Jaime Awe, Archeologist
We know to some degree what sides are being hit hard and so we can guess. When it comes right down to it we can’t say that it came from Site A or Site B or Site C, but anywhere between Lamanai and Blue Creek in the north. The form of the vessel is very common to Early Classic material based on analysis of the vessel. With chemical analysis we have done the same thing for many artifacts so we can say that it fits the exact recipe that was made at either Lamani or Blue Creek.

The polychrome ceramic bowl is now safely stored in the national collection at the Institute of Archaeology in Belmopan. Belizeans and visitors are reminded that it is illegal to buy or sell Maya artifacts in Belize. All artifacts found should be reported to the Institute of Archaeology, and all artifacts found are the property of the Government of Belize.


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