Bolivian authorities gave a stolen, ancient, mummified toddler back to Peru.
The mummy is around 12 inches tall and is wrapped in blankets that archaeologists think likely came from a pre-Incan civilization in coastal Peru.
Bolivian authorities recovered the mummy two years ago when a Bolivian woman attempted to ship the mummy to the French city of Compiegne, according to AFP. The remains, which date from between 1200 and 1450, would have likely been taken to an auction house.
Bolivian Culture Minister Pablo Groux gave the mummy to Peruvian Foreign Minister Luis Peirano on Tuesday in Lima.
Peirano described the incident where thieves stole the mummy as “just a sample of the sacking, of the violation of our patrimony and all our inheritance,” The Associated Press quoted him as saying.
The Incan Empire and some earlier South American civilizations that preceded it were centered in Peru. The center of the empire was located in Cusco, near the historical ruins of Machu Picchu, until 1533 when Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizzaro invaded.
Thousands of artifacts and relics from the Incan civilization and others like it have been stolen over the years. Ceramics, silver, textiles, and gold works have been plundered, but it is less common for mummies to be stolen.
However, “lately, there has been an increase in this, the trafficking of human remains,” Blanca Alva of the Peruvian Culture Ministry, told AP.
The sex of the mummy is unclear, although the AFP news agency reports the toddler was female.
The mummy sent back to Peru is the second to be recovered recently. Another mummy was returned to Peru by Germany last year after being stolen in the 1980s, Alva told AP.
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