The priceless artifacts included human and animal sculptures as well as vases, some dating back more than 5,000 years.
They were found after being put up for auction by the Kuchenmueller family in Germany, who eventually agreed to return them.
A member of that family was a university professor in Ecuador’s largest city, Guayaquil, and had taken part in several archeological digs along the Pacific coast.
“He was German and when he returned to his country, he took the artifacts,” Cesar Molinaro, secretary of Ecuador’s committee combating the trafficking of cultural heritage property, told AFP.
Joaquin Moscoso, executive director of the National Institute of Cultural Heritage, said the recovery was a boost to the defense of Ecuador’s “cultural rights and heritage assets.”
Since 2010, Ecuador has recovered more than 12,000 looted artifacts, sculptures, canvases and documents, almost 5,000 of which had been whisked out of the country, mostly to Britain, France, Belgium and the United States, said Molinaro. — AFP