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Spain returns ‘small museum’ of artefacts to Colombia

Spain returned 691 artefacts, spanning nearly 3,000 years of history, to Colombia on Tuesday. The pieces were recovered by Spanish police during a drug trafficking and money laundering investigation in 2003. Since then, the works have been kept for conservation in Madrid’s Museum of the Americas, where 885 recovered pieces were studied.

At an official handover ceremony in Madrid, the culture ministry’s director-general of fine arts, archives and libraries, Jesús Prieto, referred to the treasure as “a small Colombian museum of archaeology”. “Today is a very special day for Colombia,” said Fernando Carrillo, the Colombian ambassador in Spain, after accepting the works. “The arrival of nearly 700 artefacts is one of the most important cultural events of recent history.” The hoard includes ceramics with animal and human figures, vases with geometric designs, necklaces with precious stones, idols, and stamps, from as early as 1,400 BC to as late as the 16th century.

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