Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Smuggled Saharan artefacts seized in Paris

"French customs officials say they have seized more than 650 ancient artefacts smuggled from Mali in one of the largest such finds at a Paris airport. Described as an 'archaeological treasure', the objects were thought to be on their way to private US buyers.
Experts say most of the items are from the Neolithic period, but some may be up to one million years old. The artefacts are thought to have been taken from archaeological sites on the edge of the Sahara desert. The 669 items - 601 stones and 68 bracelets - were confiscated on 19 January at Charles de Gaulle airport and included axe heads, flintstones and stone rings. Most of the artefacts date from a few thousand years BC. But others are from the Acheulean period, between one million years and 200,000 years old, and from the Middle Stone Age (200,000 years BC to 20,000 years BC)."

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