Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Smuggling Stopped at the Post Office

Monday, June 17, 2013

LIMA, PERU—Archaeologist Gladiz Collatupa and art historian Sonia Rojas work with customs officers in a post office in Lima, where they examine packages for looted archaeological artifacts and other cultural items. So far they have rescued books from the National Library, a nineteenth-century oil painting, coins, fossils, and historic documents. Sometimes they identify looted pre-Columbian cloth that had been used to decorate reproductions of ancient dolls.  “You never know what you’re going to find. Every box could contain a surprise,” said Rojas. The seized items are handed over to the National Museum.