US returns 25 looted archaeological pieces to Peru


17:36 | Washington, Oct. 22.

A total of 25 pre-Columbian artifacts, looted from the country during the last several years, were returned Wednesday to Peruvian authorities by the government of the United States.

The cultural treasures were returned to the Peruvian Consuls during simultaneous repatriation ceremonies in San Antonio, Denver and Boston, presided over by Alberto Massa, Eduardo Barandiaran and Mariano García-Godos, respectively.

According to US authorities, four separate investigations by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) led to the seizure of several looted Peruvian artifacts smuggled into the United States over the past years.

Items returned included two Colonial-era Cusco paintings, a funerary vessel from 100-1532 A.D., a chancay statue from 1200-1450 A.D., a Lambayeque-style vessel from 800-1300 A.D., and Incan artifacts looted from ancient Peruvian graves.

“The cultural treasures returned today do not belong in the hands of any private collection or one owner. They belong to the people of Peru where they can be displayed and serve as a reminder of Peru’s rich cultural heritage,” said Thomas Winkowski, acting ICE director. 

“Thanks to the strong cooperation and commitment between the Government of Peru and the specialized agencies of the United States, we achieved the repatriation of an important number of pieces, because cultural property crimes are borderless and require a coordinated law enforcement response among countries” said Harold Forsyth, Ambassador of Peru in the United States.

Forsyth said the recovery of those cultural heritage artifacts “is also a moral triumph for Peru so that the history of an ancient civilization may be preserved, a memory that belongs not only to Peru but humanity.”

Since 2007, the United States has returned more than 7,150 artifacts to 27 countries, including paintings from France, Germany, Poland and Austria; 15th to 18th century manuscripts from Italy and Peru; as well as cultural artifacts from China, Cambodia and Iraq.


Published: 10/22/2014
Most read