Friday 30 April 2010

Bulgarian Raid on Antiquities Ring

It has been announced by the police directorate in the city of Sliven that Bulgarian police have identified a ring of men handling illegally excavated archaeological finds in an operation in Sofia and the eastern town of Stara Zagora (
Novinte: Bulgaria Police Capture Archaeology Treasures in Crackdown April 30, 2010). Officers from the Unit for Combating the Traffic of Cultural and Historical Items of the main directorate for fighting organized crime (GDBOP), seized a number of invaluable archaeological finds that the men had been hiding (Map Stara Zagora).
The police searched two locations in Nova Zagora where they found over 500 ancient coins, jewelry, medallions, ceramic figurines and vessels [...], a bronze head – all from the period of Ancient Greece, Thrace and Rome. In addition, the police discovered several artifacts dated back to the Middle Ages, “of high historical and artistic value”. A man who is known to be a treasure hunter and dealer of antiques has been detained...
Apparently in relation to this, the police searched at several addresses in Sofia where they seized two ancient ceramic vessels, 9 silver Roman coins, an ancient bronze application with a silver image of Medusa, and a metal detector.

The photo of finds seized in Zagora (from Novinte) shows the interior of a residence (not one would have though a hovel of a starving jobless peasant 'subsistence digger') with what seem to be seized antiquities and antiques laid out on a naff coffee-table by an even more naff late (?) communist period sofa [like my mother-in-law has in Poland] on which are polybags and other items. Is this the scene which the police met in a sting operation - goods laid out for purchase, or is this a photo of the police account-taking? On the table can be seen some rhytons, large oil lamps, the handle of a large metal vessel and othe items, but also a figure supporting a globe (surely not ancient) some militaria (sabre and odd spear-head, surely not ancient either) as well as the mechanism of a clock. I suspect that not all the 'ancient' items in the photo are in fact authentic dugups.

Photo: The archaeological treasures seized in Nova Zagora by the Bulgarian Police. Photo by Interior Ministry

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