Mexico's struggle to stem looting of historic sites

01 Mar 2011 9:56 AM | Anonymous

Mexico's struggle to stem looting of historic sitesBy Julian Miglierini
It is a spectacular work of art and a highlight at Mexico's National Museum of Anthropology.

The semicircle of gleaming green feathers held together by rows of golden beads was, it is said, the headdress of Mexico's last Aztec ruler, Moctezuma.

But the spectacular artefact is not real - it's a replica. The original lies thousands of kilometres away in a collection at Vienna's Ethnology Museum.

The exact origin of the headdress or "penacho" is disputed but one version says Moctezuma gave it to the Hernan Cortez, leader of the Spanish conquistadors, in the 16th Century. By the twists and turns of history, it ended up in Austria.

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