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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

US Returns Ancient Stone Tools to Laos

This Week

The US government repatriated to Laos two objects of cultural significance that were seized after having been trafficked into the United States on 22 February. 

The cultural items, two stone chisels, were recently recovered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from a home in Indiana after having been brought into the United States illegally from Laos.

The cultural objects were presented to the Embassy of the Lao PDR in Washington, D.C. by members of the FBI Art Crime Task Force and representatives from the U.S. Department of State.

The ancient stone tools.
The ancient stone tools.

“These artifacts belong in Laos.  For more than 20 years, the United States has been partnering with the Lao PDR government to preserve and protect its outstanding and diverse cultural heritage.  That partnership extends beyond Laos’ borders, and I commend the FBI and our Cultural Heritage Task Force for helping to restore these items to the people of Laos,” said U.S. Ambassador to the Lao PDR, Dr. Peter M. Haymond.

“I look forward to working with Laos to further strengthen our joint efforts to protect its precious cultural heritage.”

The United States is unwavering in its commitment to protect and preserve cultural heritage around the world, and to prevent trafficking, which is often used to fund terrorist and criminal networks and activities.

Meanwhile, the US Embassy Vientiane is celebrating this year more than 20 years of cultural preservation activities in Laos under the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) program.

Under this program, the U.S. Embassy has provided more than USD $1.2 million to assist Laos in protecting its cultural heritage, most recently to support the preservation of the ancient megalithic jars in the Plain of Jars in Xiengkhouang Province.

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