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INDIANAPOLIS – FBI agents have seized thousands of artifacts from Native Americans, Russia, China, and other nations from a 91-year-old man's private collection in rural central Indiana.
The items, which also came from Haiti, Australia, New Guinea and Peru, were collected by Donald Miller of Waldron over eight decades, FBI Special Agent Robert Jones said at a news conference.
"The cultural value of these artifacts is immeasurable," Jones said while refusing to disclose details of any of the individual items taken from Miller's property.
Some items were acquired improperly, but Miller, who traveled extensively, obtained others legally or before laws affecting them were on the books, Jones said. Federal authorities will attempt to repatriate items with their rightful owners, he said.
Miller told CBS News that he "absolutely" has rightful ownership of the artifacts and that he was cooperating with the FBI's investigation.
"I have been in 200 countries collecting artifacts," he said.
It was unclear whether he would face any criminal charges, Jones said.
FBI seizes cultural artifacts from 91-year-old Indiana man's home
Not to worry, this thread is about cultural artifacts, not fossils (and archaeologists don't dig up dinosaurs...but I digress). Provenance matters.
We went fossil hunting in Ontario Canada a bunch of years back. I've got a kids beach bucket full of millions-of-year-old ocean floor fossils. I wonder if the Canadian Mounted Police are going to come knocking on my door looking to get their treasures back. (we rescued them from a quarry floor ... all the millions-of-years-old fossils were being ground into cement)
So the FBI in all their authority decide to come in and raid this 91 year old mans home and take all his stuff.....WHY?
The aim of the investigation is to determine what each artifact is, where it came from and how Miller obtained it, Jones said, to determine whether some of the items might be illegal to possess privately.
WoodcarverIm sure most here can imagine some things that are so important culturally, they should not be taken from the country and people that it is relevant too.
All that being said, i think its important to know what kind of items we are talking about. My guess is some of these things came from registered dig sites. That could put the whole collection up for scrutiny.