"If I find something, I wah tek that!" This is a phrase heard often enough in Belize, when people talk about possibly finding artifacts on their properties. Another one we usually get is "How much will you pay me for that?" The truth is, the artifacts are priceless, but not in the way you might imagine. A simple red bowl or colonial bottle may seem to have no real monetary value, but its value to history and our patrimony as a nation is priceless.
We have all seen or heard the stories of people trying to sell items on the black market, some of them getting caught and being charged. There are also the many rumors that if something is found on your property, that it shall be confiscated and your lande title revoked. Rest assured, these are just rumors. The really interesting thing that lots of people don't know, is that they can help in the fight against the black market and even 'own' a piece of such history. Own a piece of history? How is this possible you ask? It takes one simple process, the registration of antiquities. Many people out there have found artifacts such as vessels, arrowheads, old bottles and the like on their properties, perhaps when bulldozing or digging. Sometimes people inherit manos and metates from their parents or grandparents. Perhaps somewhere in a box in the shed or basement is a nice array of colonial bottles and inkpots. And yes, you can keep these legally.
The process of registration simply allows the Institure of Archaeology to have a record of the antiquities one may possess and to issue a proper license for said antiquities. That's it! More and more people are coming to us with stuff they have but were too scared to mention. Well now you all know, there is nothing to fear, well except fear itself. So if you have antiquities, or you are not sure, call us at 822-2106 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. Help us preserve our nation's long and proud history. Help us stop the illegal selling of our nation's treasures. Help us contribute to the ever growing and changing knowledge of the history of this proud and beautiful nation, Belize.