A group of stolen historical artifacts was found and seized in a Turkish town in Izmir on Monday, Dec. 6, from what is believed to be a smuggler group, with the Turkish government promising to return the artifacts to their original country.

The teams from the Customs Enforcement Smuggling and Intelligence Directorate of the Turkish Ministry of Commerce raided a house in the Aliağa district of the province of Izmir after they received word of historical artifacts being stored there, according to the Hurriyet Daily News.

Over 59 artifacts of varying sizes and significance were found. Another raid also occurred in a warehouse three days later, where over 269 artifacts were found, including 27 18th Century European oil paintings as well as shrunken heads presumed to be from the Jivaroan tribe of Peru, The Daily Sabah reported.

The seized artifacts have been taken to the Izmir Archaeological Museum, where they will be studied and examined to recognize its source country and authenticity, potentially tabulating its historical significance to the world.

The shrunken heads are a tradition by the Jivaroan tribe of northern Peru and eastern Ecuador, where the tribe would use a special method to shrink the severed heads of their enemies, with its warriors wearing them across their necks.

Izmir Archaeological Museum Director Hünkar Keser has said that they would be publishing a preliminary report on the artifacts once all the inspections have been finished, with an emphasis on DNA testing being used to confirm the origin of the shrunken heads.

“Although we cannot tell their exact origin, we think that the shrunken heads belong to the Jivaroan peoples, one of the most primitive tribes of the period who lived in the Amazon Forest,” Keser said in a press statement.

Keser has emphasized that once the original country has been determined, that the historical artifacts found would be sent and returned to them as per the international agreements that Turkey is a part of.

“Our country does not want anything that does not belong to it. It only wants to showcase the works that belong to it on its own territory,” he said.

“If we determine where the artifacts belong in our work in the laboratories of the Izmir Archaeological Museum, we will surely send them to their lands,” Keser continued. “However, we have not discovered certain information on the works yet. Our study on the artifacts is expected to continue for a year.”

Mock shrunken heads are displayed on a stall at the second British international tattoo event on Oct. 6, 2006 at The Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, London England. The event brings the world's best tattoo artists to London. Dave Etheridge-Barnes/Getty Images

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