MEXICO CITY: Mexico has received 280 pre-Hispanic archaeological pieces that were in the United States, amid efforts by authorities to recover part of the country's cultural heritage, the Mexican government said.
The pieces are at the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in Mexico City where they will be studied and cataloged, the government said in a statement on Tuesday evening. They will eventually join INAH's permanent collection of movable archaeological assets.
The first batch of 270 artifacts, which was seized by U.S. immigration officials in 2012, includes pre-Hispanic pieces, mostly carved stone artifacts, as well as tools like stone axes. The government did not include details on the seizure of the assets.
"These archaeological assets were stolen from various archaeological sites in the state of Sonora," the government said.
The pre-Hispanic era refers to the time prior to the Spanish conquests in the Western Hemisphere.
The second batch is 10 artifacts, sent to U.S. officials by the Chandler Museum in Arizona for their return to Mexico, including ceramic figures from the Western Mexico shaft tomb tradition.
The return of the archaeological assets was made under an agreement signed between the United States and Mexico 50 years ago for the recovery of stolen archeological and cultural assets, officials said.
(Reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez in Mexico City; Editing by Cassandra Garrison and Matthew Lewis)