Thousands of pre-Columbian artifacts returning to Costa Rica

April 27, 2017

The first batch of more than 4,500 pre-Columbian artifacts unearthed in Costa Rica have returned after a 77-year stay at the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

In an attempt to have the world’s largest collection, the Brooklyn Museum gathered thousands of artifacts from around the world. The Costa Rican pieces belong to the Keith Collection, a mass of artifacts accumulated by Minor Keith, an American businessman and Brooklyn native who donated the pieces in 1934 after a long and prosperous career in Costa Rica’s railroad and fruit industries.

Curators at the Brooklyn Museum are minimizing inventory by returning pieces to their countries of origin. While the pieces may have been excess in New York, Costa Rica National Museum director Cristian Kandler explained the significance they hold here.

“Indigenous societies continue to be a great unknown. The northern zone is almost forgotten. The southern zone is largely unknown when in fact the natives in Talamanca resisted the Spaniards, their tactics and attempts at colonization,” Kandler told The Tico Times.

The returning pieces will arrive in three stages over the course of three years. About 300 pieces from the Keith Collection will remain in Brooklyn.

Acquiring the pieces from Brooklyn was easy but packaging and shipping them proved troublesome. Attempts were made to raise the necessary $59,000 from the public before the National Insurance Institute stepped in and donated $88,000 for the relocation. The first shipment consists of 981 pieces and arrived on September 19.

“Here we have a lack of information about our indigenous history,” Kandler said. “This collection will help educate Costa Ricans and the world about our past.”

The exhibit will open October 20 and run for six weeks. An arrival date for the next shipment of artifacts has not been determined.

You may be interested

5 questions for Costa Rica’s indigenous Jirondai Project
Weekend Arts Spotlight
74 views
Weekend Arts Spotlight
74 views

5 questions for Costa Rica’s indigenous Jirondai Project

Elizabeth Lang - April 22, 2018

Preserving the ancestral traditions of Costa Rica's eight indigenous cultures: that's the mission that the Jirondai Project has been pursuing…

Protests continue, 20 people killed, journalist shot in Nicaragua unrest
Nicaragua
102 views
Nicaragua
102 views

Protests continue, 20 people killed, journalist shot in Nicaragua unrest

AFP - April 22, 2018

More than 20 people have been killed in a clashes between Nicaraguan police and demonstrators in a wave of protests…

PHOTOS: Happy Earth Day, Costa Rica
Environment and Wildlife
1015 views
Environment and Wildlife
1015 views

PHOTOS: Happy Earth Day, Costa Rica

The Tico Times - April 22, 2018

In celebration of our little 51,100-square-kilometer stretch of earth, here are some of our favorite photos: [gallery ids="48420,31657,83102,84464,84465,84462,59195,32291,64278,52006,86580,86575,71998,31199,75927,83006,49557"] Originally published…