Jordan retrieves ancient artifacts from Canada

Ruins theft wide spread as poverty and unemployment rise

28 November, 14:23

    (ANSAmed) - AMMAN, NOVEMBER 28: Jordan announced it has retrieved dozens of smuggled antiquities seized by Canadian authorities during a botched attempt of smuggling at Toronto airport, highlighting difficulties of the kingdom in preserving its ancient artifacts and looming threats of cross border smuggling.

    Authorities have received a total of, 67 that belong to various ancient eras, Petra news agency, quoted Jordan ambassador to Canada Reem Alaa Al Din today.

    The Jordanian diplomat was authorized by the government to receive the antiquities and return it to the kingdom, said Petra.

    The antiquities included oil lamps, pottery, glass jars and statues dating back to various eras of Jordan's history.

    Officials and scholars believe that the threat of organized crime in smuggling artifacts is difficult to stop due to involvement of influential figures including diplomats and well connected syndicates.

    Experts told ANSAmed it is hard to determine the typical route for illegally excavated archaeological materials, but recently authorities seized at crossing between Jordan and Israel a stash of coins and statues, which were hidden in a diplomatic vehicle.

    "The smuggling of ruins is difficult to control or stop because foreign diplomats sometimes hide these goods in their own personal belongings. Sometimes relatives of the diplomats use the vehicles to cross the borders," said an official who requested anonymity due to sensitivity of the subject.

    Jordan is known to have a rich presence of ancient civilization including Roman, Byzantine, Othoman and Islamic Era and a wide range of artifacts across its territories.

    A growing unemployment and poverty has lead to rise in number of attempts by local communities to dig for ancient ruins and gold on hope for a quick money. Authorities have imposed heavy laws to thwart stealing of artifacts, but experts say the law is being implemented selectively. (ANSAmed)

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