New Hampshire College Student Stole Belizean Mayan Artifact; Feds Got It Back

The story of artifacts looted from Belize goes back over centuries, but now with a Memorandum of Understanding between Belize and the USA to ensure that confiscated archaeological objects are repatriated, one object has been recovered.

It's what's known as an Ocarina, a small rounded whistle in the form of a person dating back to about 800 - 900 AD, what is known as the terminal classic period. Here's how it was stolen. Last summer, a student from the University of New Hampshire who was on an environmental science class trip to Lubantuun in the Toledo District and pocketed the flute. But the other students knew about it, and reported it to their professor who called in the law. It was recovered by the FBI and was handed over yesterday at the Embassy of Belize in Washington, D.C. Nestor Mendez, the Ambassador of Belize to the USA accepted it and it will be returned to Belize.

Director of Archaeology Dr. Jaime Awe - who once lectured at the University of New Hampshire told us that the Dean of the University has called to apologize and to assure him that it is an isolated incident.

Awe added that since the agreement was signed earlier this year, the FBI has been very diligent. It also helped the Department to recover some stone tools that were offered for sale on E-Bay.

Channel 7