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CBP Louisville seizes shipment of 10th century ancient artifacts

The shipment of artifacts was arriving from Mexico and heading to a South Carolina residence.
Credit: CBP Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — According to a release from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) office, a shipment containing 13 pieces of ancient artifacts from the 10th century was intercepted by National Targeting Center, Antiquities Unit officers in Louisville.

CBP says the shipment was arriving from Mexico and heading to a residence in South Carolina. 

An expert in the ancient Americas determined that the collection dated from Post-classic to the Aztec era (1100 through 1532 AD.) The collection included one stone skull sculpture from the Post-classic era and 12 adzes.

“I’m extremely proud that our officers were able to stop priceless artifacts from being lost forever,” Field Operations-Chicago Field Office Director LaFonda Sutton-Burke said. “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.”

Most countries have laws that protect their cultural property, such as art, artifacts, antiquities, or other archeological and ethnological material. 

The Department of Homeland Security enforces the cultural property import restrictions agreed to in bilateral agreements that the United States has concluded with 20 countries and through emergency import restrictions for three additional countries. 

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. 


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