Aztec artifacts intercepted on the way to Sumter


The articles have been dated between 1100 and 1532 AD

SUMTER, SC – A shipment of valuable historical artifacts that was en route to Sumter was never quite delivered after U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers intercepted the unusual cargo in Kentucky.

The agency reports that the shipment contained antique items from the 10th century. An expert on the items was able to determine that they were of an age ranging from the post-classical to the Aztec era – around 1100 to 1532 AD

In all, the shipment contained 12 adzes – tools used for chopping, and what CBP said was a skull. The agency does not go into details on the precise destination of items outside of town.

However, they explain that seizure was essentially part of the duty of customs officials when it comes to imported objects of cultural significance.

“Most countries have laws that protect their cultural property, such as works of art, artefacts, antiquities or other archaeological and ethnological material. These laws include export controls and national ownership of cultural property.” , CBP said in a statement. “Therefore, although they do not necessarily confer ownership, recipients or importers must have documents such as export permits and receipts when importing such items into the United States.”

Bilateral agreements are in place between the United States and 20 countries. Emergency import restrictions also exist along with three others.

There have been 21 foreclosures since the start of fiscal 2020 valued at over $ 18 million.

“Customs and border protection will continue to use our border authority to identify and rescue valuable antiques smuggled by those who profit from the theft of historic and cultural property and return them to their rightful owners”, LaFonda Sutton-Burk, CBP field operations director of the Chicago field office.

Sutton-Burke added that she was extremely proud of the officers who were able “to prevent priceless artifacts from being lost forever.”

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