Breaking News
More () »

Aztec artifacts, skull bound for Sumter intercepted by US Customs

The items were dated between 1100 and 1532 A.D.
Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Aztec antiquities headed for Sumter were intercepted by CBP

SUMTER, S.C. — A shipment of treasured historical artifacts that was on its way to Sumter never quite made it after U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers intercepted the unusual shipment in Kentucky.

The agency reports that the shipment contained ancient artifacts from the 10th century. An expert on the items was able to determine that they ranged in age from Post-classic to the Aztec era - roughly 1100 through 1532 A.D.

In all, the shipment contained 12 adzes - tools used for chopping, and what CBP said was a skull. The agency doesn't go into detail about where, specifically, the items were headed aside from the city.

However, they do explain that the seizure was essentially part of the duty of customs agents when it comes to imported items of cultural significance.

"Most countries have laws that protect their cultural property, such as art, artifacts, antiquities, or other archeological and ethnological material. These laws include export controls and national ownership of cultural property," CBP said in a statement. "Therefore, although they do not necessarily confer ownership, consignees or importers must have documents such as export permits and receipts when importing such items into the United States."

Bilateral agreements are in place between the U.S. and 20 countries. Emergency import restrictions also exist with three others.

There have been 21 seizures since the start of the 2020 fiscal year valued at over $18 million.

“Customs and Border Protection will continue to use our border authority to identify and rescue precious antiquities being smuggled by those who profit on the theft of historical and cultural property and return them to their rightful owners,” LaFonda Sutton-Burk, the CBP field operations director for the Chicago Field Office.

Sutton-Burke added that she was extremely proud of the officers who were able to "stop priceless artifacts from being lost forever."

Paid Advertisement

Before You Leave, Check This Out