Friday, 8 June 2012

Greece: Routine traffic Stop nabs Artefact Traffickers

A 60-year-old retired policeman and a 41-year-old painter were arrested late on Thursday night east of  Thessaloniki in Greece after some artefacts were found in a shoe box under the passenger seat of the car they were travelling in "during a routine traffic check" (Costas Kantouris, 'Greece: 2 caught with ancient gold wreath, armband', Associated Press Fri, Jun. 08, 2012)
The suspects were stopped by highway police near the village of Asprovalta, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Thessaloniki late Thursday. Officers, who were working on a tip that the house painter might be trafficking in antiquities, found the 4th century B.C. artifacts in a shoebox under the passenger seat. [...] The wreath, weighing in at nearly 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds), is decorated with gold oak leaves and acorns. The gold armband is in the form of two knotted snakes studded with red semi-precious stones. Police said the 41-year-old house painter had been trying to sell the finds for several hundred thousand euros. They said he claimed to have received them from an acquaintance in his hometown of Komotini, nearly 300 kilometers (190 miles) east of Thessaloniki. The precise location where the wreath and armband were found was not immediately clear. 
 The article suggests that the items come from illegal excavation of a Macedonian grave.

Vignette: traffic stop 


Cultural Property Observer said...

First a retired Greek customs officer and now a retired Greek policeman. Perhaps the real problem in Greece is corruption. Why not have a more open system of antiquities trading that would choke off the black market? The Greeks could use the money these days.

Paul Barford said...

Britain has an open system of antiquities trading. Has it "choked off" the market in illicit antiquities there, or facilitated it? The British government sees very little of the moneyy, in fact it ends up having to buy back the items it takes a fancy to, so hardly very beneficial to the public purse.

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