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Federal agents intercept 10th century artifacts heading to South Carolina

Federal agents intercepted 13 pieces of artifacts from the 10th century that were headed to...
Federal agents intercepted 13 pieces of artifacts from the 10th century that were headed to South Carolina. Officials with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the shipment came from Mexico and was heading to a home in Sumter.(US Customs and Border Protection)
Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 8:37 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Federal agents intercepted 13 pieces of artifacts from the 10th century that were headed to South Carolina. Officials with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the shipment came from Mexico and was heading to a home in Sumter.

The artifacts were confiscated in Louisville, Ky. on July 24 by officers with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection with the help from officers at the National Targeting Center, and Antiquities Unit.

An expert determined that the collection dated from Post-classic to the Aztec era, 1100 through 1532 AD. The collection included one skull and 12 adzes which are tools for chopping.

“Most countries have laws that protect their cultural property, such as art, artifacts, antiquities, or other archeological and ethnological material,” federal officials said. “These laws include export controls and national ownership of cultural property. Therefore, although they do not necessarily confer ownership, consignees or importers must have documents such as export permits and receipts when importing such items into the United States.”

Since the beginning of fiscal year 2020 to now CBP has recorded 21 seizures of cultural property with a domestic value of over $18 million, according to a federal report.

“I’m extremely proud that our officers were able to stop priceless artifacts from being lost forever,” said LaFonda Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office. “Customs and Border Protection will continue to use our border authority to identify and rescue precious antiquities being smuggled by those who profit on the theft of historical and cultural property and return them to their rightful owners.”

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