Berlin, Nov 5 (EFE).- The ambassadors of Mexico and Guatemala took possession here Friday of a dozen pre-Columbian artifacts discovered in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt.
The pieces include sculpted figures, vases and plates dating from the period 250-850 that were likely looted from tombs and sold to collectors.
Authorities found the items in a property in the city of Klötze based on information from the former owner and occupant.
The antiquities were handed over to Mexican Ambassador Francisco Quiroga and Guatemala’s Jorge Lemcke by the minister-president of Saxony-Anhalt, Reiner Haseloff, in a ceremony at the state’s delegation in Berlin.
“It’s very important for us because, while they may appear to be small pieces, it is not the value of the piece as such, but the connection it has with the past,” Lemcke told Efe.
He exhorted collectors to “understand morally that since 1945 there is a law in Guatemala that prohibits the export and possession in private hands” of pieces belonging to the national patrimony.
Quiroga hailed the handover of the artifacts as a “product of the policy that Germany’s national government and the federal states have followed to promote the voluntary return of pieces.”
“The restitution of these pieces is a symbol of respect for the original peoples,” Mexico’s envoy to Germany said. EFE lt/dr