Stone Age artefacts from Mali seized by French customs

30th January 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 30, 2007 (AFP) - French customs agents at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris have seized more than 650 Stone Age artefacts from Mali which were being smuggled for private buyers in the United States, the customs service said on Tuesday.

PARIS, Jan 30, 2007 (AFP) - French customs agents at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris have seized more than 650 Stone Age artefacts from Mali which were being smuggled for private buyers in the United States, the customs service said on Tuesday.

The 669 items confiscated on January 19 included axe heads, flintstones, stone rings and several rock drawings. They are presumed to have been taken from archaeological sites on the edge of the Sahara desert.

Most of the artefacts date from the Neolithic period -- a few thousand years BC -- but others are so-called Acheulean tools, which could be up to one million years old.

"Since 2004 we have observed regular traffic in this kind of contraband. There is a big market and we are pretty sure that these items, which had been neatly sorted and were of very high quality, had been pre-sold," said Eric Cailheton, a senior airport customs official.

Customs officials made two similarly large finds of archaeological items from Niger in March 2004 and December 2005.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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