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U.S. returns two Teotihuacan pieces to Mexico

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has just returned two archeological pieces to Mexico

U.S. returns two Teotihuacan archeological pieces to Mexico
The pieces, created by the Teotihuacan civilization during the Mesoamerican Classic period (200-700 AD), had been stolen by Don Miller - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 12/04/2019 15:35 Antonio Díaz Mexico City Actualizada 18:06
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The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has just returned two archeological pieces to Mexico. The pieces, created by the Teotihuacan civilization during the Mesoamerican Classic period (200-700 AD), had been stolen by Don Miller, who had them on display in his basement in Indiana.

“Once we received the pieces at the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), we took them to the Direction for Archeological Monuments and Zones Public Registration for assessment. Fortunately, the pieces were found to be in very good condition,” said Aida Castilleja, technical secretary at INAH.

Edward J. Gallant, legal assistant to the FBI, commented that it all began with an investigation of Don Miller’s address, where it was said that there were human remains. The investigation led them to discover a batch of more than 42,000 archeological pieces. However, only 7,000 were recovered by the FBI.

The 7,000 pieces had been taken from countries such as China, Peru, and Canada, though only two were from Mexico. Gallant did not specify the amount of pieces found from each country, though he did explain that, according to the investigation, Don Miller had once participated in “amateur” archeological excavations in the 1960s and 70s, which is when the pieces were likely taken from Mexico.

Don Miller kept the pieces on display in his basement and, in 2016, when he was 91 years old, right before he died, he requested that the pieces be taken to their countries of origin. The FBI’s art team has worked alongside experts to analyze all 7 thousand pieces,” said Gallant.

On Tuesday morning, the Minister of Culture Alejandra Frausto commented in a radio interview with Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui that a Maya steale had also been found in New York and was currently undergoing a repatriation process.

“The piece was voluntarily returned by the Yale University through the Mexican Consulate in New York. The steale is now ready to return to Mexico and should arrive in the next few days,” said Sergio Estrada, head of the Cultural Heritage Recovery Program at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Estrada added that around 800 archeological pieces from Mexico had been found in the U.S. in 2018, however, he did not mention when the pieces would be taken back to the country since they are still in process of repatriation.
 

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