German court orders ancient Olmec figures returned to Mexico

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A Munich civil court says it has ordered a Costa Rican art dealer living in Germany to return two ancient wooden figures to Mexico after determining they were improperly obtained and exported.

German court orders ancient Olmec figures returned to Mexico
Wooden busts from the El Manati archaeological site 
[Credit: Jen Garrett/WikiCommons]

The court said in its ruling that Leonardo Patterson also has to pay court costs because he was unable to prove ownership of the figures.

A witness testified Patterson told him they had been taken by a grave robber from the archaeological dig in El Manati, Mexico, a sacred site of the Olmec people, and that he’d bought them from a dealer.

The court estimated the value of the figures at 50,000 euros ($53,000) each.

The court said Friday it was not clear whether Patterson, who has said he obtained the pieces legally, would appeal the Nov. 18 verdict.

Source: The Associated Press [November 28, 2015]

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