Friday, 19 November 2010

Coin-Handling Archaeological Thieves Caught in Italy

News you will not read on the ACCG blogs:

As a result of an operation called “Operation Brettion”, police officers of the Cultural Patrimony Protection Squad of Cosenza, together with units from Venice, Bari, Turin, Ancona, Florence, Naples and Rome, have arrested sixteen persons allegedly involved with the trade in illicitly-obtained archaeological objects.

In July they carried out a series of raids in Bisignano (Cosenza), Castrovillari (Cosenza), Reggio Calabria, Grottaferrata (Rome), Latium Albano (Rome), Saint Marco of the Cavoti (Benevento), Cervignano of the Friuli (Udine), Saint Martino Siccomario (Pavia), Verbania, Grottaglie (Taranto), Foggia, Saint Giuliano Terme (Pisa), Grosseto, Teramo and Avezzano (L' Aquila). As a result of these raids they seized thousands of objects illegally taken from archaeological sites in the province of Cosenza. Among the items were four thousand silver and bronze Greek, Roman and Byzantine coins,* six hundred other archaeological artefacts (fibulae, rings, buttons, weights) and ceramics. Three hundred items 'of paleontological nature' were were also seized.

Surveilance of the group began from the observation of a man from Bisignano who was trading online in archaeological artefacts. The deepening of the investigation led to the other men and allowed the reconstruction of a whole network of illicit trading which had been going on over the last two years.

“This is an important seizure, that confirms that this field is flourishing and produces much wealth with a paltry risk”, Captain Raffaele Giovinazzo (commander of the Cultural Property Protection police of Calabria) said in a press conference, “it is difficult to quantify the value”, he said, “but we can speak confidently of at least a million euro”.

The sixteen charged face trial for purchase of objects of suspect origin, receiving stolen goods, alienation of property, violations of the Code of the Cultural Assets and the Landscape and illicit export (violations of Italian customs legislation).

*Let us remember that it is precisely this kind of coins that the ACCG is pressing the US government to allow to be imported to prevent the US ancient coin trade from being (in their own words) "strangled".

Sequestrati 4mila oggetti archeologici: perquisizioni anche nel Sannio Quaderno 18/11/2010

Scoperto un traffico di reperti archeologici giornale di calabria 18/11/2010

Hat-tip, MSN

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