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29 December 2005
French customs seize ancient treasures

French customs agents seized two illegal shipments of artefacts from Africa, including statuettes, prehistoric fossils, jewels and pearl necklaces. The separate seizures in recent weeks in the southern cities of Arles and Perpignan netted more than 17,700 archaeological objects in vehicles driven by two Moroccan nationals.
     In the first operation, agents in Arles seized more than 17,600 objects from Mali and Morocco in a Moroccan-registered vehicle that was headed to Germany. They included fossils of crocodile and turtle skulls, and a dinosaur’s jaw from about 60 million years ago. The same vehicle was carrying dozens of bronze statuettes in human and horse forms, jewels and pottery from Mali – most of which date to around 1,500 BCE
     In Perpignan, agents stopped an Italian-registered car containing 124 objects dating to the Neolithic era between 6,000 and 5,500 BCE including arrowheads, axes and pearl necklaces.

Source: Evening Echo (28 December 2005)

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