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Country Summary for BELIZE

I.  Relevant Legislation
II.  Regulated Cultural Property


'IRMAC'—Institute for the Research and Management of Material Culture established under §34 of this Act;

'Ancient Monument'—any structure or building erected by man or any natural feature transformed or worked by man, or the remains or any part thereof, whether upon any land or in any river, stream or watercourse or under the territorial waters of the country, that has been in existence for one hundred years or more;

'Antiquity'—any article manufactured or worked by man, whether of stone, pottery, metal, wood, glass, or any other substance, or any part thereof:
(i) the manufacture or workmanship of which belongs to the Maya civilization, being of an age of one hundred years or more; or
(ii) the manufacture or workmanship of which belongs to a civilization, being an article which is of an age of one hundred years or more. (NICA §33, selected definitions)

“Abandoned Wreck”—any wreck which has remained continuously upon the sea bed within the limits of the country of Belize for a period of fifty years or upwards before being brought to shore. (ASA 1990 §2)

Competent State Agencies

The National Institute of Culture and History serves:
(a) to implement the objects and principles set out in the NICA §4;
(b) to coordinate and supervise the policies and programmes of the various divisions of the Institute established under this Act; and
(c) to do any other thing which is concerned directly or indirectly with the strengthening, preservation or development of cultural, historic or artistic activity in Belize. (NICA §5)

There shall be established as a division of the Institute, a body to be called the Institute for the Research and Management of Material Culture Interpretation (IRMAC) responsible for research on the material culture of Belize and for the preservation and management of such objects, structures and sites as are entrusted to it by virtue of this Act. IRMAC serves…to collect, store, document and catalogue antiquities and other objects of material culture. (NICA §§34-35)


Any person who at any time has or takes or comes into possession, custody or control of any ancient monument or antiquity shall within fifteen days of his first having or taking or coming into such possession, custody or control of the ancient monument or antiquity, register his possession, custody or control with IRMAC. (NICA §39(1))

III.  Export Restrictions

IV.  Ownership Rights and Restrictions

V.  Violations, Penalties and Sanctions

VI.  International Conventions and Bilateral Agreements
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Country Contact
for Cultural Property
Gil Williams
National Institute of Culture and History
Administrative Office
Museum Building, Culvert Road
Belmopan City, Belize
Ph: 501-822-3302

Herman R. Longsworth
Consul General
Consulate General Of Belize
600 3rd Avenue Floor 2
New York, NY 10016
Work: 646-571-2532