Puerto Rico seizes artefacts from tourist at airport

Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, Puerto Rico.

Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, Puerto Rico. Image by Prayitno / CC BY 2.0

Five ancient carved artefacts attributed to the indigenous peoples of the Greater Antilles have been discovered in the luggage of a US traveller at Puerto Rico airport. The clay pieces date back to pre-Columbian times and are believed to belong to the Arawak or Taino indigenous peoples, who inhabited Cuba, Quisqueya (Hispaniola), Jamaica and Boriquen (Puerto Rico) before the islands were colonised. An examination by the archeology department of Puerto Rico’s Institute of Puerto Rican Culture confirmed the artefacts are authentic. The tourist claims he was given the carvings as a gift in Dominican Republic, but did not possess an export permit for the items.

Lorna Parkes

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