Thursday, September 15, 2011

You Throw the Party, ICE Will Bring the Old Pottery

ICE is publicizing the repatriation of a common pre-Columbian bowl to Belize. See

The repatriation took place at an embassy event celebrating the 30th anniversary of the country's independence from Great Britain. We are told that it was recovered after a search warrant was executed in New Mexico, but we have few other details about the basis of the seizure.

Was there any evidence linking this bowl to an archaeological site or was the fact that it was a bowl identified as coming from Belize enough for ICE to seize it, presumably without any effort by the owner to contest the seizure?

How much did orchestrating this publicity stunt at the Embassy cost the American taxpayer? What will the authorities do with such a common bowl? Put it on display somewhere? Probably not except perhaps as some sort of trophy.

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