Argentina intercepts mailed pre-Inca mummy, skulls
Buenos Aires: The shipping label said the
mailed package contained replicas of Peruvian ceramics. An
X-ray machine used by customs agents discovered it really held
three skulls and a mummy more than 2,000 years old.
Authorities said on Friday that the package was
intercepted at Argentina's central post office, and an
Argentine citizen who was waiting for the shipment has been
detained as part of an investigation into illegal trading in
ancient cultural artifacts.
Officials speculated the package would have been
relayed to a museum or a private collector in Europe, where
such old bones are in demand because of the blankets and other
woven material that surround ancient South American mummies.
A preliminary evaluation by Argentina's national
archaeology institute determined that the bones are from the
pre-Inca Paracas culture on Peru's coast, and date from
between the 7th and 3rd centuries BC, officials said.
Authorities said the artifacts were mailed from La
Paz, Bolivia, with the false contents declaration.
Last year, Bolivian police foiled a similar mummy
mailing enterprise and detained a woman who tried to send a
Peruvian mummy to France.