sábado, 17 de diciembre de 2011

ArchaeoHeritage - Perú recovers ancient Moche artifact

Perú has recovered an ancient archaeological artifact in the form of a gold monkey head pendant from the Moche culture that flourished near Peru's northern coastlands from around 100-800 AD. 

Gold Moche monkey head [Credit: Embassy of Peru]

The exchange of the artifact took place on Thursday, Dec. 8, in Washington, D.C. Assisting in the return was the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, where the item has been on long-term loan. 

Peruvian officials first raised the question of repatriating the artifact in 1998 when it was included in the "Art of Ancient America" exhibition at the Palace of the Governors. 

Citing the National Stolen Property Act, the FBI seized the monkey head, along with two artifacts on loan to the museum, saying they had been looted from an archaeological site in the Sipán region of Peru. 

Ultimately, the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Mexico declined to prosecute because of conflicting accounts about the provenance of the item. In 2000, the artifacts were returned to the Palace. 

The Peruvian ambassador revived the repatriation request in May. Conflicts over the provenance were resolved by an investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Delaware and the Museum of New Mexico Board of Regents agreed in October to return the item. 

The pendant is a large bead with turquoise and shell eyes, a lapis nose and open mouth with traces of turquoise on the tongue. It measures 1 3/4 inches high by 2 1/4 inches wide and has a ball tucked inside that rattles when moved. The item was given to the Palace of the Governors in 1995 by art collector John Bourne. 

Museum Director Frances Levine said in a statement that the museum's focus is on stories played out on U.S. soil and that artifacts such as this can be better used to help museums in Peru tell their own stories.


Source: The Archaeology News Network

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