Skip to main content

Pre-Columbian Artifacts Coming Back to Costa Rica

By Chrissie Long
Tico Times Staff | [email protected]
Spain may be bringing home the World Cup gold trophy this week, but Costa Rica’s bringing home something of its own from Spain.Thanks to an application sent to the court in Santiago de Compostela, Spain in 2008, the Central American country is recovering a pre-Columbian pot and a stone sculpture that have been held in Madrid’s Museo de América.

The artifacts are part of the “Colección Patterson,” which is composed of 1,500 pieces of pre-Columbian gold, jade and ceramic from a handful of Latin American countries. The items belonged to Costa Rican Leonardo Patterson, who resides in Germany and is accused in Spain of illegally trafficking the artifacts. He is believed to have 498 Costa Rican pre-Columbian artifacts in total.

Foreign Minister René Castro congratulated the actors in the recovery process, saying that “if a people do not care for and respect their history, they are certainly a citizenry without dreams and without future.”

Costa Rica has also submitted requests to repatriate items from Denmark (four pieces), Switzerland (8 pieces) and Italy (18 pieces). In June, Costa Rica achieved repatriation of 24 items, which are being held in the Costa Rican Embassy in Washington, D.C., awaiting transfer to Costa Rica.

The two Patterson pieces are now in the custody of the National Museum.