MADRID, Spain – A treasure-filled chamber containing hundreds of museum-quality artifacts — including missing 4,000-year-old gold pieces from Peru's glittering pre-Incan past — has been found in Spain.
Police, tipped off by Peru, tracked the trove down in a privately owned, reinforced chamber in the northwestern Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela, the Interior Ministry said.
More than 30 of the 1,800 items were identified as belonging to Peru's 4,000-year-old Moche Lords of Sipan tombs, officials said.
Peru had alerted Spanish authorities it suspected that items missing following a 1997 pre-Inca exhibition were being held illegally in Spain, the ministry said. Peruvian authorities had lost track of the priceless pieces — as well as the exhibition's organizer, a Costa Rican citizen.
The Sipan pieces — including 21 items made of gold, four masks and a ceremonial costume made from gold plates — have been returned to the Peruvian Embassy, embassy spokesman Augusto Cabrera said.
Museums worldwide were advised to check their collections for missing art.
The Sipan tombs and temples were uncovered in the late 1980s near Peru's northern desert coast.