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INAH announces the repatriation of another 750 archaeological pieces

Mexico City, Mexico — Around 750 archaeological pieces will be repatriated to Mexico originating from the Olmec culture, the Mesoamerican Central Highlands and from New Spain.

The return of the pieces is derived from seizures and voluntary returns made in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Australia, France and the United States.

Among the objects that will reach the national territory in the coming months are a baptismal font and a holy water sprinkler –both from the 18th century–, a Mayan urn made between the years 900 and 1600, as well as a clay pipe with the zoomorphic figure of a seated monkey.

The announcement of the repatriation of those 750 assets was made by Diego Prieto, director of INAH. The pieces are expected to be inaugurated in September at the National Museum of Anthropology on the occasion of the 500 years of the fall of Tenochtitlan and 200 years of the bicentennial of the consummation of Independence.

In its statement, the Secretarry of Culture reported that the group of pieces to be repatriated “has already been determined by INAH experts and includes elements from the Olmec and the Mesoamerican Central Highlands, which date back to the Preclassic period (2500 BC-200d. C.), until the Postclassic (900-1521 AD) and even from New Spain.”

Among the pre-Hispanic objects there is a Mayan urn that was made “between the years 900 and 1600 of our era, which, as it was recently announced, comes from the archaeological site Laguna Pethá, in Chiapas. His return was arranged in dialogue with Albion College, Michigan.”

Stela 3 from the Mayan site La Mar will also arrive from the United States, which has been “associated with the state of Chiapas and which was made in rock and dates from the Late Classic Maya period (800-900 AD).”

From France “a clay pipe with the zoomorphic figure of a seated monkey, painted in black. It is an object of Totonac affiliation, made on the Gulf of Mexico Coast in the Postclassic period (900–1521 AD).”

The agency added that the repatriation of the assets is the result of a joint effort between the INAH and the Ministry of Foreign Relations. So far, this administration has repatriated 5,509 heritage pieces “of which 4,915 are archaeological and 594 are historical.”

In March, 280 pieces considered stolen were returned to Mexico. In June, German citizens voluntarily returned 34 pieces to Mexican authorities. In May of this year, the Ministry of Culture and the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office in relation to a May auction at Sotheby’s in New York after they included historical Mexican pieces in the auction.