Skip to comments.Mali relics recovered in France
Posted on 01/30/2007 1:55:42 PM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu
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).
The artefacts were shipped in nine parcels from the Malian capital, Bamako, which the accompanying paperwork described as handcrafted objects.
Customs officials look out for artefacts being exported from specific countries such as Mali which may be smuggled, a customs spokeswoman told the BBC News website.
If they have a doubt, they then seize the objects and have them assessed by experts to establish their age - in this case an expert from the Department of Prehistory at the Natural History Museum in Paris, she said.
This type of traffic was unheard of a few years ago, an airport customs official told the AFP news agency.
"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," Eric Cailheton said.
French customs officials made two similarly large finds of archaeological items from Niger in March 2004 and December 2005.
The 2005 haul included more than 5,000 stone arrowheads and 90 carved stone artefacts, dating back 5,000 years.
The items were found in the baggage of a passenger who arrived on a flight from Niger's capital, Niamey.
I love that the 'million year old' relics can be dated to a period that is defined as between 200,000 and 1,000,000 ago.
Thats one hell of a range, and poor reasoing for the headline.
Isn't is a shame the Americans can't afford to buy new stuff...
Well, when one does not have a pre-history, one has to invent or purchase it.
I want to see a picture of a one million old artifact.
(And yeah, I know what's coming. Sorry.)
Well, essentially the Acheulean period is just a way to express how early humans worked stone into tools. The stone is worked with a hammerstone, shaped with slightly more specialized hammers made of other materials, and shaped on both sides rather than one side. Handaxes were made in this way for a very, very long time, as long ago as ~1.5 million years, and this level of 'technology' was not significantly improved upon for quite some time.
Anyhow, that's why the range is so long.
Artefacts a million years old? Huh? Oh, yeah, right, they must be from early alien landings on planet Earth.
Hominids go back four million years, so a million year old artifact doesn't seem unlikely.
I agree that the article is over-simplified, but, it did say, "some may be up to one million years old". Unless you are an expert in lithic technology -- and have examined all of the artifacts in question, you have zero factual basis for making your categorical statement,
Here you go... (you knew what was coming)
And you did not disappoint.
Doesn't she look CUTE like that?
Are you English?
That is nonsense. Artifact trafficking has a very long history.
The countries change as do the era and culture that is fashionable at the moment but the trade remains the same.
A while back there was a thread on "artefacts" written from India. A whole bunch of posters had fun about how the '3rd' world couldn't spell.
Aw geez, for the love of God, can't we have some sort of moratorium on that beast's picture so I don't have to see it anymore? I clicked in looking to see million year old tools, not million year old monkey a##. Yeesh!
I wasn't being critical. Just making the posts so we don't get a few idiots thinking there is only one way to spell words. I find that behaviour appalling.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.