Stolen artifacts back in Thailand

Thailand has welcomed back two ancient stone artifacts that are believed to have been stolen almost half a century ago.

The carved sandstone lintels were repatriated from the United States.

A Thai government investigation had found that the religious relics had been illegally removed from ruins in the country.

The artifacts were originally part of ancient temples that date back to around the 10th and 11th centuries.

A welcoming ceremony was held on Monday in Bangkok to mark the return of the carvings.

They had been on display at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. The museum says the lintels were purchased from European dealers in the 1960s. In 2017, the Thai government asked Washington to arrange for them to be returned.

Thai Culture Minister said "I am pleased that the United States has cooperated and sent them back to Thailand. The lintels are important historical artifacts."

The Thai government believes that there are around 130 other artifacts still in the US that were illegally removed from Thailand.