LA PAZ – The Bolivian government presented on Friday the 55 archaeological pieces returned this week by Argentina under a UN-sponsored initiative to combat illicit trade in antiquities.
Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca and the head of the Culture and Tourism Ministry, Marko Machicao, were joined for the event by the Argentina ambassador in La Paz, Normando Alvarez.
The items include vases from the Tiahuanacota and Mojocolla cultures, as well as basins and other receptacles adorned with representations of faces.
“To recover our patrimony means to recover our history,” Machicao said, pointing to Bolivia’s membership in the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Committee on Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property.
The identification of the two traffickers in possession of the relics returned this week took place in 2009 and work to repatriate the trove from Argentina has been ongoing since then, the minister said.
Investigators initially thought the traffickers had 33 pieces, but they ultimately found them to be holding 22 other treasures taken from Bolivia, the head of the ministry’s Archaeology and Museums Unit, Jose Luis Paz, said Friday.
At the same event, Bolivian officials handed over to a representative of Peru two 17th-century Peruvian coins confiscated from a trafficker.