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Morocco recovers 25,500 rare archaeological finds seized in France in 2005, 2006

DR
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Nearly 25,500 rare archaeological finds relating mainly to prehistory and palaeontology and which were seized by French Customs in 2005 and 2006, were returned to Morocco on Thursday.

A ceremony took place Thursday at the Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean (MuCEM) in Marseille during which these finds were handed over to the Consul General of Morocco in Marseille, Said Bakhkhar, by the deputy interregional director of customs and indirect rights of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA) region, in the presence of several officials.

In total, there are 24,459 fossil and archaeological finds, trilobites, teeth, animal skulls and jaws, arrowheads and carved tools and rock engravings, coming from pre-Saharan and anti-Atlas sites, and dating back to 500,000 million years ago and from the Palaeolithic and Neolithic periods (6,130,000 years/- 6,000 years), which will be recovered by Morocco.

These archaeological objects had been seized by the Arles and Perpignan customs authorities between November 2005 and November 2006.

«I would like to congratulate the French customs services for their vigilance. I can only rejoice at the return of this collection to Morocco, its country of origin, where it will find its natural place in the midst of a rich and precious heritage which is proving to be an inexhaustible source of discoveries for the scientific community like us», Morocco's ambassador to France, Chakib Benmoussa, said on this occasion.

«This handover reflects the common will of our two countries to form a common front against the illicit trafficking of cultural property within the framework of our respective international commitments in the matter», he added.

«This ceremony embodies the common will of the two countries, Morocco and France, for the protection of cultural heritage», said Said Bakhkhar, Morocco's Consul General in Marseille.

The recovery of these archaeological finds is part of the action plan of the Ministry of Culture aimed at preserving the country's legacy and fighting against the illicit trafficking of cultural property.

It also takes place in accordance with the international commitments of Morocco and France relating to the implementation of the UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

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