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12 April 2004
Prehistoric artefacts seized in France

French customs officers have seized a large number of prehistoric artefacts they believe were pillaged from archaeological sites in the desert in Niger, customs officials said. A statement issued by customs officials at Roissy airport outside Paris said a 42-year-old person from Mali had tried to smuggle the items into France on March 29 after landing on a flight from Niamey in Niger.
     Customs officers found 5,530 carved stone arrowheads and 90 neolithic two-sided carved stone items in very good condition. They were stuffed into plastic bags and weighed more than 23kg. The passenger initially said the artefacts were found at various places in the desert in Niger and the aim was to export them to the US, but later said the intention was to sell them in France. Such items are sometimes found in excellent condition because of sand storms which bring them to the surface after thousands of years.

Source: Gulf Daily News (10 April 2004)

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