Archaeological Homecoming: Largest Recovery of Antiquities Returns to Peru

Cultural Heritage recovered from Argentina

Prehispanic ceramics, once smuggled out of the country and now recovered for exhibition in Peru. Photo: Andina

More than four thousand archaeological and historical pieces were exhibited last week at the Ministry of Culture, to celebrate the success by the Ministry of Foreign Relations in recovering the artifacts from Argentina, Canada, Chile, Spain and the United States.

The pieces include prehispanic pots and textiles, Colonial Cusco-school paintings, prehistoric bones, and Colonial hand-hammered macuquina coins (cobs).

The recovery is the result of several years of work, based on agreements signed by Peru with different countries on the protection and return of historical artifacts. The agreements served to build 22 different legal cases to reclaim pieces that had been found or stolen and smuggled out of the country for the lucrative antiquities market.  One of the most famous processes was the Janeir Aude case in Argentina, which took 14 years to recover 4,136 artifacts, including a mummy bundle.

Culture Minister Alvarez CalderónIn total, 4,174 pieces were recovered from Argentina, 88 from the United States, 79 from Chile, two from Canada and one from Spain.  It was the largest collection of recovered pieces handed over at the same time to the Ministry of Culture.

According to the Ministry of Culture, it has worked closely with the Ministry of Foreign Relations over the past five years in the recovery of antiquities throughout the world. More than 8,000 artifacts have been returned also from Germany, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Denmark, Egypt, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

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