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Mexico Recovers 20 Archaeological Pieces from the United States

Mexico City – The Government of Mexico, through its embassy in the United States, has received 20 archaeological pieces of Mexican origin to be returned to Mexico. Nineteen of these pieces were delivered anonymously, and one was voluntarily donated by a U.S. citizen.

Ambassador Esteban Moctezuma Barragán received a Mayan-style clay vessel from Anne Lee Dozier. Dozier stated that she bought the vessel for $4 in a thrift store in Clinton, Maryland, in 2019. When visiting the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, she noticed the piece resembled those on display and decided to return it voluntarily.

Experts from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) determined that all 20 pieces belong to Mexico based on the country’s Federal Law on Archaeological Protection. The Mayan vessel dates to the Classic period (200-800 AD), and comes from southeast Mexico. The 19 pieces received anonymously are from various periods and cultures, including the Mexica, Teotihuacan, and Totonaca, and originate from different regions of the country.

The embassy will repatriate the artifacts in the coming days. Upon arrival, they will be safeguarded by the INAH, which will determine their final destination.

Mexico has taken legal actions and developed strategies to recover its cultural heritage that is illegally abroad. This effort is a joint initiative by the Secretariats of Foreign Affairs and Culture. This includes the creation of a dedicated commission in 2023 and the #MiPatrimonioNoSeVende campaign. These efforts have resulted in the recovery of over 13,500 artifacts, with these 20 pieces being the latest addition.

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