Thursday, 4 July 2019

France Hands Looted Bronze Age Artifacts Back to Pakistan

In 2006, French customs agents seized several illegal shipments containing antiquities stolen from the Pakistani province of Balochistan, some dating back as far as 5,000 years. On July 2, officials in Paris handed the treasures back to Pakistan.
Radio Free Europe video
Many of the pieces turned up in France in September 2006, sent in parcels addressed to a gallery in Paris. The packages were intercepted by customs officers at Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport and identified by the National Centre for Scientific Research as items looted from cemeteries in Pakistan’s Indus valley. Another consignment of pottery and terracotta pieces destined for the same gallery was stopped two weeks later. And during a search of the unnamed gallery’s premises, customs officers seized several hundred more ceramic pieces. In a ceremony held at Pakistan’s embassy in Paris, 445 artifacts were handed back to Pakistan on Tuesday, with an estimated value of 139,000 euros ($157,000).
Aurore Didier, head of France's archaeological mission in the Indus basin, said the ceramics came from illegally-excavated graveyards and were examples of two different cultures: the Nal (3100-2700 BC), and the Kulli (2600-1900 BC). "For this period, very few sites have been documented and archaeologists stopped their work in Baluchistan in 2007 due to political issues in the area," she said. 

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