Chilean Authorities Return 117 Fossils to Morocco

Chilean authorities returned 117 fossils dating back 400 million years to Morocco in a repatriation ceremony at the National Library of Chile in Santiago on Monday. The artifacts had been seized from smugglers by Chilean customs officials.

During the handover ceremony, Nelida Pozo Kudo, director of the Chilean National Heritage Service, praised the cooperation between Morocco and Chile.

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“Chilean customs’ seizure of these Moroccan-origin fossils and their return to the kingdom is a clear example of both countries’ commitment to combating illicit access to cultural property in accordance with international law,” said Pozo Kudo.

“Smuggling of antiquities and fossils dating back millions of years may be worse than drug trafficking,” added Kenza El Ghali, Morocco’s ambassador to Chile. The representatives of the countries closed the ceremony by signing a cultural collaboration agreement.

Morocco is among the countries to in recent years renew efforts to reclaim looted and trafficked cultural property. In 2021, France handed over some 25,000 archaeological objects. Those objects had been confiscated by French authorities via a series of raids on suspected antiquities traffickers conducted over more than a decade.


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