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American man dying wish to return stolen artifacts to Mexico

Mexico City, Mexico — The Federal Bureau of Investigation through the United States Embassy in Mexico City, has returned two archaeological pieces to the National Institute of Anthropology and History that were stolen between the 1960s and 1970s.

The two pieces, which are of Teotihuacan origin and date back to between 200 and 700 AD, were returned to the Ministry of Culture.

In a statement, the US embassy said “The two repatriated pieces originate from a Mexican archaeological site and are an important part of Mexico’s cultural heritage.”

The pieces were illegally extracted by an American archaeologist who participated in several excavations between the 1960s and 1970s. He has since died, however, one of his last wishes was to have the pieces returned to Mexico.

The National Institute of Anthropology and History confirmed the authenticity of the pieces.

“The delivery of these two Teotihuacan pieces has a double symbolism because it concretes the will of Mexico and the United States in combating the illicit traffic of cultural goods and its recovery also leads us to revalue the legacy of the civilizations that settled for centuries in what is now our nation,” said Aída Castilleja, technical secretary of INAH.

According Sergio Estrada Rojas, manager of the Cultural Heritage Recovery Program of the SRE, the theft of archaeological objects is the third most illicit activity only behind drug and weapons trafficking.