Spain gives back pottery and figurines dating back 3,000 years
After an 11-year legal battle between Spain and Colombia, 691 ancient artefacts have been returned home after being smuggled out by drug traffickers, according to media reports.
The artefacts, which date back to 1400 BC and make up one of the biggest pre-Columbian collections, have returned after a long journey from Spain.
The cultural artefacts include 3,000 year old pottery, reports said. The pieces were found in 2003 during an investigation into drug trafficking and money laundering in Spain.
The set also includes busts, statues and examples of jewellery, which were stored for 11 years in the Museo de America in Madrid while the courts decided who the legal owner was.
In a statement, Colombia’s Culture Minister Mariana Garces Cordoba, said, “what leaves the country in an irregular manner will be pursued by authorities.”
Around 80 percent of the pieces were very small in size, while the others were larger, such as funeral urns or musical instruments, and much of the collection is thought to originate from the pre-Columbian San Agustin culture.
The director general of the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History, Fabian Sanabria, was quoted in local media as saying that next year they will hold a “grand exhibition” of the artefacts in Colombia.