Jordan, US mark return of 9 artifacts recovered in joint effort

Minister Al-Fayez and Ambassador Wooster attending Monday’s ceremony. (Photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Jordan and the United States on Tuesday celebrated the homecoming of nine illegally trafficked artifacts, including animal figurines, a stone altar, tombstones, a statue of a goddess and a bronze pitcher, the repatriation of which follows a bilateral agreement on the protection of cultural property signed in December 2019.  اضافة اعلان

At the handover ceremony Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Nayef Al- Fayez commended the efforts of the concerned agencies in both countries in preventing the smuggling of cultural property, highlighting Jordan’s role in addressing this “phenomenon” in cooperation with international partners.  He also stressed the importance of enhancing the role of local institutions in protecting cultural heritage.

US Ambassador to Jordan Henry T. Wooster described the recovery of the artifacts as “a historic event” that highlights the US’s commitment to help protect Jordan’s cultural heritage. “We are seeing justice done today and the embassy is equally committed to preventing this problem,” he added.

The agreement between Jordan and the US aims to restrict the import of Jordanian artifacts to the United States, including historic coins, manuscripts, stones, minerals, ceramics, glass, mosaic plates, ancient bones, seashells and human, animal and plant remains. 

Wooster said that the agreement also helps address the underlying problems that lead to trafficking, through strengthening Jordan’s national cultural heritage program to provide real economic benefits to Jordanian communities.

The prized items were retrieved from an antiquities collector in New York by the Department of Homeland Security, The Homeland Security Investigations Office and the New York District Attorney’s Office, in cooperation with the Jordanian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities as well as the Jordanian Embassy in the US.

According to Director of the General Department of Antiquities (DoA) Fadi Balawi, the artifacts require further studies to identify their original locations, as well as the civilization and historic period they date back to.

Balawi stressed DoA’s continued efforts to preserve and safeguard cultural heritage in Jordan and to trace and recovered artifacts inside and outside the Kingdom.

Royal Jordanian Airlines and the Jordan Civil Aviation Regulatory Commission (CARC) provided major support for this transfer through facilitating flight arrangements and transporting the antiquities and members of the New York delegation free of charge.

Assistant Attorney General of New York Matthew Bogdanos, Homeland Security Investigation New York Deputy Special Agent Michael Alfonso and Director of the North American Department at the Foreign Ministry Issam Al Bdour also attended the ceremony.

Read more National news