10 stolen antiques return to Vietnam from US

By Viet Tuan   November 17, 2022 | 03:00 am PT
10 stolen antiques return to Vietnam from US
Ten stolen antiques of Vietnamese origin. Photo by courtesy of Vietnam National Museum of History
Vietnam National Museum of History said it has received 10 stolen antiques, including a set of tools comprising a stone ax and bronze pieces, from the FBI.

The antiques of Vietnamese origin include one late Neolithic stone axe; three bronze axes and one ceramic pot made in the Dong Son culture (1,000 BC to the first century AD), three crocodile statues belonging to the first and second centuries AD and two bronze pipes from the 17th and 18th centuries.

During an investigation in Indiana in 2013, the FBI discovered that a man named Donald Miller (now deceased) who claimed to be a philanthropist and amateur archaeologist, had illegally kept a large collection of antiquities and the remains of nearly 500 Native Americans and foreigners.

The FBI later retrieved more than 7,000 artifacts from Miller who then gave up ownership of these objects, expecting them to be returned to their rightful owners.

The FBI published a press release on its website in 2019, declaring its desire to return stolen artworks to the communities as well as calling on governments of other countries to send experts to evaluate artifacts kept by the agency.

After classifying, storing, and coordinating with experts, the FBI confirmed the 10 items were from Vietnam.

Under the authorization of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Vietnamese Embassy in the U.S. received the antiques from the FBI in August.

Two months later, 10 antiques were brought back to Vietnam and transferred to the National Museum of History for the Antiquities Assessment Council to conduct further evaluations. The museum is completing the scientific dossier and continues to research and develop a plan to promote the value of these 10 antiques.

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