US

Mayan artifacts to be returned by US to Guatemala

  • Los Angeles-based Consul General of Guatemala, Roberto Archila, left, and FBI Assistant Director in Charge, Deirdre Fike, middle, review pre-Columbian Mayan artifacts during a repatriation ceremony at the FBI offices in Los Angeles, Friday, July 22, 2016. The items came to the attention of the FBI's Art Crime Team earlier this year when an individual managing the art collection of the owner made contact. The individual could not determine the date the items were brought to the United States and elected to transfer custody of the artifacts to the FBI for repatriation to the Republic of Guatemala. The U.S. signed the 1970 UNESCO Convention addressing the illicit trafficking of cultural property around the world. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

    Los Angeles-based Consul General of Guatemala, Roberto Archila, left, and FBI Assistant Director in Charge, Deirdre Fike, middle, review pre-Columbian Mayan artifacts during a repatriation ceremony at the FBI offices in Los Angeles, Friday, July 22, 2016. The items came to the attention of the FBI's Art Crime Team earlier this year when an individual managing the art collection of the owner made contact. The individual could not determine the date the items were brought to the United States and elected to transfer custody of the artifacts to the FBI for repatriation to the Republic of Guatemala. The U.S. signed the 1970 UNESCO Convention addressing the illicit trafficking of cultural property around the world. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)  (The Associated Press)

  • Members of the media document pre-Columbian Mayan artifacts during a repatriation ceremony at the FBI offices in Los Angeles, Friday, July 22, 2016. The Mayan artifacts were purchased innocently in the United States in the 1970s by a collector unaware the party selling them dealt in looted antiquities. Guatemala plans to display them in a museum. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

    Members of the media document pre-Columbian Mayan artifacts during a repatriation ceremony at the FBI offices in Los Angeles, Friday, July 22, 2016. The Mayan artifacts were purchased innocently in the United States in the 1970s by a collector unaware the party selling them dealt in looted antiquities. Guatemala plans to display them in a museum. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)  (The Associated Press)

  • Los Angeles-based Consul General of Guatemala, Roberto Archila reviews pre-Columbian Mayan artifacts during a repatriation ceremony at the FBI Offices in Los Angeles, Friday, July 22, 2016. The ancient cultural artifacts were purchased innocently in the United States in the 1970s by a collector unaware the party selling them dealt in looted antiquities. Guatemala plans to display them in a museum. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

    Los Angeles-based Consul General of Guatemala, Roberto Archila reviews pre-Columbian Mayan artifacts during a repatriation ceremony at the FBI Offices in Los Angeles, Friday, July 22, 2016. The ancient cultural artifacts were purchased innocently in the United States in the 1970s by a collector unaware the party selling them dealt in looted antiquities. Guatemala plans to display them in a museum. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)  (The Associated Press)

Seven Mayan ancient artifacts will be heading to Guatemala after a representative of a longtime antiquities collector who was unsure of their origin turned them over to the FBI, which determined they were taken from the country illegally decades ago.

FBI officials said Friday that the pieces are more than a thousand years old.

FBI Special Agent Elizabeth Rivas says they were purchased innocently in the United States in the 1970s by a collector unaware that the party selling them dealt in looted antiquities.

A few months ago, a representative of the collector, who has since died, contacted the FBI saying that he couldn't establish provenance for the pieces. With the help of experts, the FBI was able to trace them to sites in Guatemala.

Guatemala plans to display them in a museum.