Germany is set to return Mayan artefacts to Mexico and Guatemala after they were looted by tomb raiders and sold for less than EUR 100 at a flea market.
The historical pieces made up of figures, plates and cups were used by the Mayan civilisation between 250 AD and 850 AD and they will be handed over by Reiner Haseloff, the Prime Minister of the German state of Saxony-Anhalt, to the ambassadors of Mexico and Guatemala, according to German daily Tagesspiegel.
Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff (CDU) is expecting Guatemalan Ambassador Jorge Lemcke and Mexican Ambassador Francisco Quiroga in Berlin today (Friday 5th November), after an announcement by the State Chancellery.
The artefacts were discovered by police officers in autumn 2020 on a property in the town of Kloetze, near the city of Wolfsburg, in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, when a man, who has not been named, contacted the authorities saying he wanted to hand over weapons that belonged to his father in World War II.
When the police arrived to pick up the weapons, they discovered the artefacts, which were subsequently determined to have probably come from tomb raiders who looted Mayan graves.
The State Chancellery said that the pieces had been authenticated by an expert, who revealed that 11 of the pieces came from what is now Guatemala and two came from Teotihuacan, once the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas and located 25 miles northeast of Mexico City.
They had reportedly been bought in 2003 from a flea market near the city of Leipzig for less than EUR 100 (GBP 86).
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