Ancient Afghan relics enter Britain

March 21, 2006 at 2:25 PM
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LONDON, March 21 (UPI) -- Ancient relics from North Afghanistan are appearing in Britain, including a 4,000-year-old ax handle similar to a collection being held in the British museum.

In fact the similarity to the museum collection is what tipped authorities to the metal relic on sale at an antiques shop in London's Grays Antiques Market. It was being offered for about $70, reports the Independent newspaper.

There was no suggestion that the Gray's Antiques Market or the store was involved in the illegal export of antiquities, the report said.

Those at the British Museum are among many cartons of Afghan artifacts impounded by customs at ports and airports, the report said. Police say most were taken from historic sites, bought cheaply by dealers from peasants or taken illegally, and sent to London, which is chief destination for such antiquities.

Most of the items held at the British Museum are northern Afghanistan which was home to the Bactrian civilization of around 2,000 B.C., the newspaper reported.

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