Chicago CBP Intercepts Small but Rare Mexican Pre-Columbian Artifact

28 Jul 2011 7:10 PM | Anonymous

Chicago CBP Intercepts Small but Rare Mexican Pre-Columbian Artifact

(Thursday, July 28, 2011)
contacts for this news release


Chicago, Ill. – Rare and tiny, a miniature Pre-Columbian artifact was intercepted by Chicago U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers during a routine outbound operation at O’Hare Airport. Measuring only four inches tall and thought to originate from a multi-piece burial scene in an elaborate underground mountainous tomb, this clay figurine of a Nayarit woman embodies the history of an ancient Western Mexico people, dating back to the early first millennium AD.

In April CBP officers examined a small shipment manifested as containing an artifact. The parcel held an interesting-looking, orange-painted figurine of a woman which was found to have sold for $550 at an auction and was en route from Indiana to the buyer in British Columbia, Canada. CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations enlisted the help of experts in the field of anthropology at the famed Chicago Field Museum for further identification and found the item to be an authentic Pre-Columbian artifact of West Mexico dating to the early first millennium AD. The Nayarit figurine was seized as illegally obtained cultural property under 19 USC 2609.

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