A private collector has returned a Mayan artifact to Guatemala after there were plans to auction the piece in 2019 in Paris.

Guatemala had objected to the auction and presented evidence, prompting for the Mayan artifact to be returned, according to a BBC News report.

The artifact shows the head of an ancient ruler wearing a mask in the image of a bird of prey. The Mayan artifact has disappeared from the site of Piedras Negras in the 1960s.

The private collector, Manichak Aurance, had negotiations between the French and Guatemalan governments. The sale was also suspended.

Aurance has volunteered to return the artifact to Guatemala. It was returned during a ceremony in Paris.

UNESCO said in a statement that the important fragment shows the top part of the headdress of an ancient ruler of Piedras Negras, who was leading in the year of 729 AD. The piece shows the ruler in a jade petticoat worn by the god of corn.

Felipe Aguilar, Minister of Culture and Sports of Guatemala, said that Guatemala is grateful for the respect, good faith, integrity, and value the cooperation with UNESCO.

Piedras Negras in the UNESCO Maya Biosphere Reserve. It has archeological sites and other tangible and intangible elements with great cultural importance.

The returned Mayan artifact will be sent to the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology of Guatemala City.

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Mayan Artifacts Returned to Guatemala

In July 2016, seven Mayan artifacts that were looted decades ago from Guatemala were returned after a representative for an antiquities collector grew suspicious of their origin. The collector contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation over the matter, according to an Associated Press News report.

FBI called in experts to determine the limestone pieces, which were all more than a thousand years old. They were reportedly removed illegally from two specific regions of Guatemala and sold to a California collector in the 1970s.

FBI special agent Elizabeth Rivas said that the four limestone pieces were dated to 400 to 600 A.D.

Rivas added that experts believe they are symbolic of the Earth Monster connecting the Earth to the underworld. She specializes in art crimes investigation.

The other three were smaller pieces covered in hieroglyphics likely once made up a calendar. Rivas said that they were determined to be around 1,400 to 1,100 years old.

The consul general to Guatemala's Los Angeles consulate said that every piece that was returned to Guatemala was very important to them.

Roberto Archila said that those artifacts were part of their culture.

Recently, Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History announced that researchers have discovered around 2,500 pre-Hispanic structures, 80 burial sites, and thousands of vessels along the route of the Maya Train, according to a KMOV 4 report.

The artifacts were discovered through the help of GPS georeferencing, satellite topographic images, and LIDAR sensors.

Archeologists believe that the vessels were used by the ruling elite during important "political or religious" events.

READ MORE: Mexico Creates National Guard Special Team to Recover Stolen Archaeological Pieces

This article is owned by Latin Post.

Written by: Mary Webber

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