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30 January 2005
France seizes African archaeological objects

French customs officials have seized 845 African archaeological objects, including 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 668 stone objects dating back to the Neolithic period (8,000-6,000 years BCE), 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.

Source: Reuters (29 January 2005)

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