A museum in California has returned 557 bronze-age pots to Thailand after an investigation found they were smuggled out of the South-East Asian country, a news report said on Tuesday.
The Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California sent them back after signing a non-prosecution agreement with the US district attorney, Thairath reported.
US authorities found that the pots were smuggled from a UNESCO heritage archaeological site in Udon Thani, around 600 kilometres north-east of Bangkok.
The small, earthenware pots, in a variety of conditions, had arrived back in the country and were undergoing inspection for authenticity, the report said.
“Ban Chiang artefacts are very unique so the inspection will not take long,” said Anek Seehamatra, director general of the government’s Department of Fine Arts.