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Mexico recovers 43 illegal archaeological pieces from Government of Italy

Mexico City, Mexico — President Andrés Manuel López Obrador received 43 archaeological pieces from the Government of Italy that were found in the country illegally.

On Wednesday morning, the president thanked the international help for the rescue and repatriation to Mexico of the historical heritage.

The person in charge of the symbolic delivery of pieces was the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs of Italy and International Cooperation, Giorgio Silli, who highlighted the union of both nations based on cooperation and the strengthening of cultural ties.

“Italy, like Mexico, is deeply convinced that cultural heritage constitutes an integral part of the identity of every nation. We recognize ourselves perfectly in the slogan coined by your government: My patrimony is not sold, it is loved and defended,” said the official.

The Secretary of Culture, Alejandra Frausto Guerrero, explained that part of the 43 pieces are the result of the confiscation carried out by the Carabinieri Corps for the Protection of the Cultural Heritage of Italy and some were even acquired by individuals.

The binational coordination, he said, allowed the careful and direct transfer from Rome to Mexico, he explained.

“It is an example of how these cultural bridges are strengthened, how the restitution and repatriation of cultural assets is essential,” he said.

The ‘My heritage is not for sale’ campaign has resulted in the repatriation of 11,505 pieces , which translates as a historical event.

A total of 43 pieces were returned to Mexico by Italy. Photo: AMLO March 29, 2023.

The task of displaying the pieces will be in charge of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

“That is why it is important to raise awareness about this. These pieces that are recovered today are going to be exhibited in the cultural heart of this country, which is the Templo Mayor, there they are going to be exhibited, later they will go to regional and community museums,” AMLO said.

The general director of the INAH, Diego Prieto Hernández, pointed out that the illegal traffic of archaeological pieces affects investigations and prevents their recognition between cultures and origin.

“The looting of the Mexican archaeological heritage hurts us a lot. (…) The goods that have been looted become only objects of curiosity, important goods of Mexican art, but they lose much of their value from the point of view of scientific research and the recovery of archaeological information,” he stated.

The Secretary of Culture called to suspend the auction on April 3 at the Million Maison de Ventes Aux Enchéres, in Paris, France, where it is intended to sell 83 archaeological pieces from various cultures in Mexico.