Country recovers six archaeological pieces from France

The six pots are lined up under photos of classic Costa Rican archaeological pieces. The ceramic bowls date from 300 to 800 A.D., said the foreign ministry. Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto photo

The Costa Rican Embassy in France has recovered six pre-Columbian pots as part of its efforts to return archaeological pieces that were removed from this country.

The six pieces came into Costa Rican custody after investigations by French judicial and customs officials, said the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto in San José.

There were no detailed descriptions of the history of the various pieces. Only one, a three-legged receptacle identified as a bird, appears to be of museum quality. It was identified as having been made on a date somewhere between 500 and 800 A.D. Most of the pieces are estimated to be about that same age, although several could be older.

Carlos Bonilla, the Costa Rican ambassador in France, thanked official there.

Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto photo This three-legged bowl is presumed to represent a bird.

Costa Rica also is seeking archaeological pieces from Spain, Denmark, Switzerland and Italy. There also are 24 pieces in the Costa Rican Embassy in Washington, D.C., that will be repatriated, the ministry said.

Costa Rica did not always have laws against the exportation of archaeological artifacts. Thousands went to the United States and Europe. Now the country is trying to get some back.

The Brooklyn, New York, Museum recently returned about 1,000 pieces that were part of the Minor Keith Collection. Most are not museum quality. Keith shipped some 16,000 pieces to the United States. He was president of the United Fruit Co. and many of the pieces were discovered during excavations for the Atlantic railroad or agricultural work where the banana fields are today.

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