Mexican researchers complain of loss of Indian relics
PALENQUE, Mexico (AP) -- The loss of ancient Indian relics through theft
seriously undermines research on Mexico's pre-Colombian history,
according to experts meeting in the ancient Mayan capital of Palenque.
Over the last year, Mexican authorities have recovered more than 10,000
relics stolen from archeological sites -- an indication of the size of the
problem, according to Teresa Franco y Gonzalez, head of Mexico's
National Anthropology and History Institute.
"There is a real plundering of Mexico's archeological pieces," Franco y
Gonzalez said in an interview Monday, the second day of the five-day
Some of the stolen items -- intended for foreign collectors _ have been
recovered by the Attorney General's Office, while others were recovered by
foreign authorities and returned to Mexico.
They range from small pieces from ceremonial necklaces to large items with
great scientific value, she said.
Though no items have been stolen from the 100 archeological sites open
the public in Mexico, Franco y Gonzalez expressed concern that the institute
could not afford to post security guards at other archeological sites.
More than 400 archeological experts were gathered in Palenque, in the
southern state of Chiapas, to discuss the social organization of the Mayan
culture that dominated the region centuries ago.