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Federal Register Notice, September 23, 1993; 58(183):49428-49430
( Amended 1997 )

Import Restrictions Imposed on
Significant Archaeological Artifacts From Mali


Customs Service
19 CFR Part 12
[T.D. 93-74]

Import Restrictions Imposed on Significant Archaeological Artifacts From Mali

AGENCY: U.S. Customs Service, Department of the Treasury.
ACTION: Final rule.

SUMMARY: This document amends the Customs Regulations by imposing emergency import restrictions on culturally significant archaeological artifacts from the region of the Niger River Valley of Mali and the Bandiagara Escarpment (Cliff), Mali. These restrictions are being imposed pursuant to a Determination of the United States Information Agency issued under authority of the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act in accordance with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

EFFECTIVE DATE: September 23, 1993.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: (Legal Aspects) Susan Wilson, Intellectual Property Rights Branch (202) 482-6960; (Operational Aspects) Mark Laria, Trade Operations (202) 927-0402.



The value of cultural property, whether archaeological or ethnological in nature, is immeasurable. Such items often constitute the very essence of a society and convey important information concerning a people's origin, history, and traditional setting. The importance and popularity of such items regrettably makes them targets of theft, encourages clandestine looting of archaeological sites, and results in their illegal export and import.

The U.S. shares in the international concern for the need to protect endangered cultural property. The appearance in the U.S. of stolen or illegally exported artifacts from other countries where there has been pillage has, on occasion, strained our foreign and cultural relations. This situation, combined with the concerns of museum, archaeological, and scholarly communities, was recognized by the President and Congress. It became apparent that it was in the national interest for the U.S. to join with other countries to control illegal trafficking of such articles in international commerce.

The U.S. joined international efforts and actively participated in deliberations resulting in the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (823 U.N.T.S. 231 (1972)). U.S. acceptance of the 1970 UNESCO Convention was codified into U.S. law as the "Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act" (Pub. L. 97-446, 19 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.). The spirit of the Convention was enacted into law to promote U.S. leadership in achieving greater international cooperation towards preserving cultural treasures that are of importance not only to the nations whence they originate, but also to greater international understanding of mankind's common heritage. The U.S. is, to date, the only major art importing country to implement the 1970 Convention.

It was with these goals in mind that Customs issued interim regulations to carry out the provisions of the Act. The interim regulations, which were set forth in Sec. 12.104, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 12.104), were published in the Federal Register as T.D. 85-107 on June 25, 1985 (50 FR 26193), and took effect immediately. After consideration of comments received on the interim regulations, final regulations were issued as T.D. 86-52, published in the Federal Register on February 27, 1986 (51 FR 6905), and took effect on March 31, 1986. Those regulations were again amended on January 19, 1990 (55 FR 1809), by T.D. 90-3 which provided members of the public a listing of all T.D.s which had been issued imposing import restrictions under the Act. Both the country where the article originates and a highlight of the type of article covered appear next to the T.D. number.

This document amends the regulations again by adding additional cultural property to the list of articles for which import restrictions exist.


Under section 303(a)(3) of the Cultural Property Implementation Act (19 U.S.C. 2602(a)(3)), the Government of Mali, a State Party to the 1970 UNESCO Convention, asked the U.S. Government to impose emergency import restrictions on certain archaeological materials from the region of the Niger River Valley in Mali and the Bandiagara Escarpment (Cliff) in Mali.

Notice of receipt of this request was published by the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) in the Federal Register on September 21, 1992.

On September 14, 1992, the request had been referred to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, which conducted a review and investigation, and submitted its report in accordance with the provisions of 19 U.S.C. 2605(f) to the Deputy Director, USIA, in December 1992. The Committee found the situation in Mali to be an emergency, in accordance with the provisions of 19 U.S.C. 2603(a) (2) and (3), and recommended that emergency import restrictions be imposed on archaeological material from the above mentioned regions in Mali. The Deputy Director, pursuant to the authority vested in him under Executive Order 12555 and USIA Delegation Order 86-3, considered the Committee's recommendations and made the determination that emergency import restrictions be applied.

The Commissioner of Customs, in consultation with the Deputy Director of the USIA, has drawn up a list of types of covered archaeological material from the region of the Niger River Valley and the Bandiagara Escarpment in Mali. The materials on the list are subject to Sec. 12.104a(b), Customs Regulations. As provided in 19 U.S.C. 2601 et seq., and Sec. 12.104a(b), Customs Regulations, listed material from this area may not be imported into the U.S. unless accompanied by documentation certifying that the material left Mali legally and not in violation of the laws of Mali.

In the event an importer cannot produce the certificate, documentation, or evidence required by Sec. 12.104c, Customs Regulations, at the time of making entry, Sec. 12.104d provides that the district director shall take custody of the material until the certificate, documentation, or evidence is presented. Section 12.104e provides that if the importer states in writing that he will not attempt to secure the required certificate, documentation, or evidence, or the importer does not present the required certificate, documentation, or evidence to Customs within the time provided, the material shall be seized and summarily forfeited to the U.S. in accordance with the provisions of part 162, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 162).

List of Archaeological Artifacts From the Niger River Valley Region, Mali, and the Bandiagara Escarpment (Cliff), Mali

Archaeological material made prior to 1742 from the Region of the Niger River Valley, Mali, and the Bandiagara Escarpment (Cliff), Mali, includes, but is not limited to, the categories listed below. As this region is further excavated, other types of artifacts may be found and added to an amended list. The following list is representative only; dimensions are approximate.


  1. Ceramics/Terracotta/Fired Clay
  2. Types of ceramic forms (stylistically known as Djenne-jeno or Jenne, Bankoni, Guimbala, Bambara, Bougouni, and other stylistic labels) known to come from the region include, but are not limited to:

    1. Figures/Statues.
      1. Anthropomorphic figures, often incised, impressed and with added motifs, such as scarification marks and serpentine patterns on their bodies, often depicting horsemen or individuals sitting, squatting, kneeling, embracing, or in a position of repose, arms elongated the length of the body or crossed over the chest, with the head tipped backwards. (H: 6-30 in.)
      2. Zoomorphic figures, often depicting a snake motif on statuettes or on the belly of globular vases. Sometimes, the serpent is coiled in an independent form. A horse motif--usually mounted--is common. Includes quadrupeds. (H: 6-30 in.)
    2. Common Vessels.
      1. Funerary jars, ocher in color, often stamped with chevrons. (H: 50-80 cm.)
      2. Globular vases, often stamped with chevrons and serpentine forms. (H: under 10 in.)
      3. Bottles with a long neck and a belly that is either globular or streamlined. Some have lids shaped like a bird's head.
      4. Ritual pottery of the Tellem culture, decorated with a characteristic plaited roulette.

      5. a. Pot made on a convex mold built up by coiling.
        b. Hemispherical pot made on three or four legs or feet resting on a stand. (H: 18 cm.)
      6. Kitchen pottery of the Tellem culture with the paddle-and-anvil technique decorated with impressions from woven mats. (H: 20 cm.)
  3. Leather
  4. Objects of leather found in Tellem funerary caves of the Bandiagara Escarpment include, but are not limited to:

    1. Clothing.
      1. Sandals, often decorated and furnished with a leather ankle protection.
      2. Boots profusely painted with geometric designs.
      3. Plaited bracelets.
      4. Knife-sheaths.
      5. Loinskins.
      6. Bags.
  5. Metal
  6. Moveable metal artifacts from the Niger River Valley Region and the Bandiagara Escarpment are made from the following components:

    1. Copper and Copper Alloy (such as Bronze).
      1. Figures/Statues.

      2. a. Anthropomorphic figures, including equestrian figures, kneeling figures. (Some are miniatures no taller than 2 inches; others range from 6 to 30 inches.)
        b. Zoomorphic figures, such as the bull and snake.
      3. Bells (H: 4-5 in.) and finger bells (H: 2-3 in.).
      4. Pendants, known to depict a bull's head or a snake (H: 2-4 in.)
      5. Bracelets, known to depict a snake (H: 5-6 in.), known to be shaped as a head and antelope (H: 3-4 in.)
    2. Iron.
      1. Figures/Statues.

      2. a. Anthropomorphic figures. (H: 5-30 in.)
        b. Zoomorphic figures, sometimes representing a serpent. (H: 5-30 in.)
      3. Headrests of the Tellem culture.
      4. Ring-bells or finger bells of the Tellem culture.
      5. Bracelets and armlets of the Tellem culture.
      6. Hairpins, twisted and voluted, of the Tellem culture.
  7. Stone
  8. Objects of stone found in Tellem funerary caves of the Bandiagara Escarpment include, but are not limited to:

    1. Faceted carnelian beads.
    2. Quartz lip plugs.
  9. Glass Beads
  10. Glass beads have been recovered in the Tellum funerary caves and in archaeological sites in the region of the Niger River Valley.

  11. Textiles
  12. Textile objects, or fragments thereof, have been recovered in Tellem funerary caves of the Bandiagara Escarpment and include, but are not limited to:

    1. Cotton.
      1. Tunics.
      2. Coifs.
      3. Blankets
    2. Vegetable Fibers.

    3. Skirts, aprons and belts made of twisted and intricately plaited vegetable fiber.
  13. Wood
  14. Objects of wood may be found archaeologically (in the funerary caves of the Tellem or Dogon Peoples in the Bandiagara Escarpment) for example:

    1. Figures/Statues.
      1. Anthropomorphic figures, usually with abstract body and arms raised standing on a platform, sometimes kneeling. (H: 10-24 in.)
      2. Zoomorphic figures, depicting horses and other animals. (H: 10-24 in.)
    2. Headrests.
    3. Household Utensils.
      1. Bowls.
      2. Spoons, carved and decorated.
    4. Agricultural/Hunting Implements.
      1. Hoes and axes, with either a socketed or tanged shafting without iron blades.
      2. Bows, with a notch and a hole at one end and a hole at the other with twisted, untanned leather straps for the "string".
      3. Arrows, quivers.
      4. Knife sheaths.
    5. Musical Instruments.
      1. Flutes, with end blown, bi-toned.
      2. Harps.
      3. Drums.

Inapplicability of Delayed Effective Date and Public Notice Procedures

While this amendment is being made without notice or public procedure, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), because the action being taken is of an emergency nature and such notice or public procedure would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest, it should be noted that the USIA did provide public notice in the Federal Register that it had received a request from the Malian Government that these restrictions be imposed. Because of the emergency nature of the action, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), a delayed effective date is not required.

Executive Order 12291

Because this document concerns a foreign affairs function of the United States, it is not subject to E.O. 12291; therefore, a regulatory impact analysis is not required.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

Because a notice of proposed rulemaking is not required to promulgate this regulation, the provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) do not apply.

Drafting Information

The principal author of this document was Peter T. Lynch, Regulations Branch, Office of Rules and Regulations, U.S. Customs Service. However, personnel from other offices participated in its development.

List of Subjects in 19 CFR Part 12

Cultural property, Customs duties and inspections, Imports, International conventions, Prohibited merchandise, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Seizure and forfeiture.

Amendment to the Regulations

Part 12 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR part 12) is amended as set forth below:


1. The general and specific authority citation for part 12 continues to read as follows:

Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301, 19 U.S.C. 66, 1202 (General note 8, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS)), 1624;


Sections 12.104-12.104i also issued under 19 U.S.C. 2612.


Sec. 12.104g [Amended]

2. In Sec. 12.104g, in the table in paragragh (b), the list of emergency actions imposing import restrictions on described articles of cultural property is amended by adding "Mali" under the column headed "State Party", the description "Archaeological material from the Niger River Valley Region, Mali, and the Bandiagara Escarpment (Cliff) forming part of the remains of the ancient sub-Sahara culture" under the column headed "Cultural Property", and "T.D. 93-74" will be placed on the same line as "Mali", in the column headed "T.D. No."

Michael H. Lane,
Acting Commissioner of Customs

Approved: September 8, 1993.

John P. Simpson,
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.

[FR Doc. 93-23396 Filed 9-22-93; 8:45 am]

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