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Spain returns priceless trove of pre-Columbian art to Colombia
Pre-Columbian pottery pieces are exhibited during a press conference at the San Carlos Palace in Bogota, on September 1, 2014. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia presented Monday several of the lots that make up the total of 691 pre-Columbian pottery pieces repatriated from Spain in recent weeks. The pieces, of different ages, cultures and regions, include objects with geometric and organic designs, the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History (ICANH) reported in a recent statement. AFP PHOTO/Luis Acosta.

By: Lissy De Abreu

BOGOTA (AFP).- Spain on Monday returned to Colombia a huge and priceless find -- almost 700 pieces of pre-Columbian art that Spanish authorities siezed in over a decade ago in a drug bust.

The catalogue of museum-worthy artefacts includes vases decorated with human faces, ceramic bowls decorated with geometric designs in ochre tones, musical instruments, necklaces and even small figures of people -- dating from 1400 BC up to the 16th century.

"Recovering for our nation these 691 archaeological treasures has a value that is really difficult to put any price on. They are from many of our (indigenous) cultures, and getting them home took years," Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin said at a briefing, presenting 50 of the remarkable pieces.

The artefacts -- from Calima, Narino, San Agustin, Quimbaya, Sinu and other groups -- had been spirited out of Colombia in 2001 before being seized from drug traffickers by Spanish authorities in 2003.

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

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