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Forwarded on behalf of Janet Vandenburg
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France Seizes African Archaeological Objects
http://reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=scienceNews&storyID=7473357
Sat Jan 29, 2005 08:20 AM ET
PARIS (Reuters) - French customs officials have seized 845 African archaeological objects, including 70 million year-old dinosaur fossils and rare figurines, destined for possible resale in Belgium, the government said on Saturday.
The French Finance Ministry said in a statement that the objects were part of a 503 kg cargo sent from Niger in north Africa and falsely declared as "artisan products."
They comprised just over 100 70 million year-old dinosaur bones, 668 stone objects dating back to the Neolithic period (8,000-6,000 years B.C.), and 29 pieces of pottery and rare figurines likely to have been used in funeral ceremonies by inhabitants of the Bura region between Niger and Burkina Faso in the second to 10th centuries.
Bura figurines are on the International Council of Museums's red list of objects which have borne the brunt of pillage and theft. The export or sale of such objects is prohibited.


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