Saturday, 8 December 2012

Stolen Reused Sphinx Recovered in Italy

A Ptolemaic Egyptian granite sphinx, dating back as far as the 4th century BC, about 60 cm tall and 1.2 m long  was found  hidden on the outskirts of Rome last week. It was destined for the international antiquities black market and was about to be smuggled out of the country.. Its had probably been brought from Egypt to adorn a 1st century BC Roman building in keeping with the fashion then for Egyptian sculpture as decoration following the Roman conquest of Egypt in the 1st century BC.
"The investigation began with a random check of an industrial vehicle during which police found a decorative ceramic object from an excavation as well as many photos of the Egyptian sculpture," the police said in a statement. A search of the driver's residence turned up the statue from the Ptolemaic era (4th-1st centuries BC) packed into a crate and hidden in a greenhouse. The statue is believed to have been stolen from the Etruscan necropolis of Montem Rossulum near Viterbo, some 100 kilometres from Rome. The police "prevented the sculpture, as well as a series of ancient objects from being put on the clandestine international market," the statement said. 
Italian tax police chief Massimo Rossi said an Italian and a Romanian are being investigated in the probe of suspected illicit trafficking in antiquities. Villa Giulia museum, which specialises in Etruscan antiquities, will now look after the sphinx.

 Express, 'Stolen Sphinx Recovered', Express, December 6, 2012.

AAP, 'Italian police recover stolen sphinx', December 06, 2012.

Photo: Serious faces and eroded sphinx

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