Questions? Comments? Concerns? Please send us an email at claas[dot]email@example.com, send a message through Twitter @CLAAS_CA, or through Facebook messenger.
Please note that CLAAS does not comment on the authenticity or cultural affiliation of any objects for members of the public. As archaeologists we abide by ethical codes, which are in place to protect the cultural heritage of the regions that we study and work in. Objects outside of their country of origin have likely arrived there through illicit means, since most countries have legal frameworks in place that lay patrimonial claim to cultural objects manufactured within their borders. Canada recognizes the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, designed to reduce the looting of sites worldwide and the sale of illegally acquired antiquities, through the Cultural Property Export and Import Act. Under this act, it is illegal to bring cultural property into Canada whose export or sale is banned or controlled by the country of origin.
The International Council of Museums maintains emergency ‘red lists’ which document heritage at-risk of looting and illicit trafficking, including lists specific to Latin America. They also provide an overview of the vast range of legal protection afforded to such heritage, and we encourage you to view these lists for more information: https://icom.museum/en/resources/red-lists/
If you are interested in learning more about a cultural object in your possession, please contact the ministry of culture or a museum in the country of origin where it likely originated. To learn more about issues of looting and the illegal trade of cultural heritage, and what you can do to help, visit the following websites: