Over 42,000 Native American artifacts gathered from around the world were found in the home of an amateur collector.
An FBI search of a man’s home resulted in a cache of archaeological treasure including two pieces which date back to the Teotihuacan era (200- 700 AD) in Mexico, EFE reported Tuesday.
"These are two anthropomorphic figures (with the figure of a man) made in clay using modeling, smoothing, incision and pastillage techniques," said Omar Silis Garcia, a Mexican archaeologist during a ceremony this week arranged by the U.S. Embassy in Mexico and the National Institute of the Anthropology and History (INAH), a branch of the Mexican Ministry of Culture.
However, experts say, the pair of statues returned to Mexico were definitely “Teotihuacan style figures elaborated during the Mesoamerican Classic period (200-700 AD) in the Central Mesoamerican High Plateau."
Enamored with bracelets, anklets, necklaces, and sashes, the sculptures measured 6.5 centimeters by nine centimeters. No report was ever registered of illegal theft or removal.
Over 42,000 Native American artifacts gathered from around the world were found in the home of an amateur collector in the state of Indiana, when the FBI received an anonymous call of human remains within the house of a religious missionary, who died in 2015 at the age of 91.
"(Don) Miller had the pieces displayed in cabinets in his basement and before he died he asked that the pieces be returned to their countries of origin," said Edward Gallan, a deputy legal assistant to the FBI in Mexico said.
The missionary allegedly participated in numerous archaeological digs in the ’60s and ’70s in both Central and South America where police believe he may have had the opportunity to sneak or buy the items illegally and transport them outside the region.
“The delivery of these two Teotihuacan pieces has a double symbolism, because it solidifies the will of Mexico and the United States in combating the illicit traffic of cultural goods, and its recovery also leads us to revalue the legacy of the civilizations that settled for centuries, in what is now our nation,” officials said during the ceremony on Tuesday.
The pair of the statues will be incorporated into a culture institute, anthropologist and technical secretary of the INAH, Aida Castilleja, said.