Reward Offered for Stolen Moundville Artifacts

A major part of our early heritage is missing.

A reward of $20,000 has been offered for information leading to return of artifacts stolen in a Moundville burglary. A major theft from the Erskine Ramsay Archaeological Repository in 1980 resulted in the loss of 264 pottery vessels plus other artifacts of the Moundville culture. These were originally excavated in the 1930s by the Alabama Museum of Natural History. Failure to recover any of the artifacts since the theft suggests that the artifacts were not sold on the antiquities market, and the collection may still be intact.

Regarding the original burglary, there was no sign of forced entry, so the thief had a key. After discovery of the loss the FBI investigated the burglary for seven years until the case went cold.

This was the largest antiquities theft in the history of the South, perhaps in the nation. The collection’s appraised value would be over three million dollars today. There is a great need to reunite these rare artifacts with the citizens of Alabama and the South.

Photographs of many of the missing objects have been posted on the following web site:

A new confidential tip line has been set up at 205-348-2800. Anyone with information about the missing artifacts is encouraged to call.

We believe this is a solvable case.