The news that is guaranteed to send US antiquities dealers into paroxysms of delighted 'gottcha' - excitement is that about 7:30 this morning, the Museum of the History of the Olympic Games in Ancient Olympia (a UNESCO World Heritage site) in southern Greece was robbed. Two (?) masked artefact thieves armed with Kalashnikovs and reportedly speaking "broken Greek" ambushed and overpowered a 48-year old female museum guard starting her morning shift having previously knocked out the alarm. The criminals demanded that she tell them where the "golden wreath" (the museum has no such object) was kept. Before she had time to summon help, the intruders tied her up and gagged her and then set about smashing the reinforced glass fronts of selected cases with a hammer and stole dozens of items on display. The robbers are believed to have escaped in a car driven by an accomplice. It is reported that an inventory of the missing items was not yet available, but local authorities and police said about 68 bronze and pottery artefacts are estimated to have snatched, they were apparently mainly figurines, but the thieves also took a gold seal ring dating to Late Bronze Age Mycenaean times. Greek state television has reported that culture minister Pavlos Geroulanos immediately tendered his resignation after learning of the robbery and was at the scene soon afterwards. Police have set up roadblocks in an attempt to prevent the thieves leaving the area.
Daily Mail (updated)
Savvas Hadjigeorgiou, 'Thieves Break Into Ancient Olympia Museum In Greece', CyprusNewsReport 17/02/2012.
Photos: Objects from the Museum, some of which may have been among those taken. Aerial view of site of robbery from the BBC.