U.S., China sign agreement affecting importation of antiquities

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WASHINGTON (AP) – Under a new agreement, the United States will forbid the import of many Chinese antiquities from as long ago at the early Stone Age.

Details published in the Federal Register speak of crude tools and weapons from the Paleolithic era 75,000 years ago to 7,500-year-old ceramics, jade and other jewelry to 1,000-year-old silks, tools and coins.

The pact will bar the antiquities from the United States without proof they were obtained and shipped legally. Many such objects have been stolen over the centuries from graves, tombs and other archaeological locations.

“The agreement establishes a means of cooperation to reduce the incentive for archaeological pillage and illicit trafficking in cultural objects that threaten China’s ancient heritage,” the State Department said in announcing the signing.

The pact was signed Wednesday, and the Federal Register report of it appeared Friday.

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AP-CS-01-16-09 2055EST