Related Encyclopedia Entries
Cancuén is a major Classic Maya site in northern Guatemala which has experienced several looting events from the 1960s into the 2000s.
Cancuén Ballcourt Marker
Classic Maya stone sculpture from the site of Cancuén, Guatemala; looted in 2001 and recovered in 2003. Note: the piece was sometimes referred to as an ‘altar’ in the press.
Classic Maya hieroglyphic panel looted from the site of Cancuén, Guatemala sometime before 1981.
Dos Pilas Stela 17
Maya sculpture that was looted and partially recovered; some portions remain missing.
Classic Maya city heavily looted in the 1960s and 1970s.
El Zotz Lintel 1
Classic Maya carved wooden lintel looted from the site of El Zotz, Guatemala, in the late 1960s and repatriated from the collection of the Denver Art Museum in 1998.
A huechero is a person who clandestinely excavates at archaeological sites for the purpose of obtaining marketable antiquities; a looter.
Ixkun Stela 5
In 1972 looters heated this Maya monument and doused it in water, causing it to break into easily-transportable fragments.
La Amelia Stela 1
A classic Maya stela, cut into pieces for transport, which ended up in the collection of Sweden’s National Museum. It was returned to Guatemala in 1994.
Machaquilá Stela 2
Maya sculpture looted from Guatemala and smuggled into the U.S. resulting in a ground-breaking court decision.
Maya ‘Fresco’ Fake
Antiquities dealer Leonardo Patterson convicted of federal wire fraud for attempting to sell a fake Maya ‘fresco’
Maya Sculpture Seized in Brooklyn in 1999
Large Ancient Maya pieced seized from a Brooklyn residential garage...
Naranjo Stela 30
Stolen Maya sculpture seized by US Authorities when a crate carrying it broke open in the port of Houston Naranjo is a Maya site located near Guatemala’s border with Belize. It is 18 km north of the town of Melchor de Mencos via a logging road built in the 1950s (Peabody Museum n.d.). Naranjo was discovered in 1905 by Teobert Maler, who recorded 32 stela at the site, including Naranjo Stela 30...
November Collection of Maya Pottery
A spectacular collection of Classic Maya pottery thought to have been systematically looted from Guatemalan sites throughout the 1980s now in the possession of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
During the 1960s a number of archaeologically recorded monuments were looted from the Classic Maya site in Guatemala’s Peten region and trafficked into the United States.
Piedras Negras Stela 9
Maya sculpture that was stolen in the 1960s and reappeared for sale in Paris in 2019.
Remote Classic Maya site which was extensively looted in the 1970s for spectacular grave goods.
Río Azul Mask
A Classic Maya funerary mask apparently looted from the Guatemalan site of Río Azul and illicitly trafficked into the United States and then Europe.
Río Azul Vase
A Classic Maya vase now in the Detroit Institute of Arts that is thought, based on linguistic evidence, to have been looted from Tomb 12 at the Guatemalan site of Río Azul in the late 1970s.
Site Q (La Corona)
For years this site was only known from looted archaeological material for sale on the art market; its location was unknown. It has recently been identified in the Peten region of Guatemala.
A Classic Maya site from which several archaeologically-recorded stelae were looted in the 1970s. Their whereabouts are unknown.